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Lulu: A Murder Ballad - 2014

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The songs of Lulu – A Murder Ballad come from the verses written by Frank Wedekind.

It is not a happy or a nice story. Lulu is abused by all her lovers: Shunning, Goll, Schwartz, Alva; and Shig encourages this abuse. Her final lover, Jack, ends her short life, liberating her from the squalid hypocrisy of all of them.

Frank Wedekind, the writer of the original Lulu, was born in Hanover in 1864. His first play, Spring Awakening, was banned in Germany for its graphic portrayal of abortion, homosexuality, child abuse and suicide. His bohemian lifestyle and political activism on the Left brought him into contact with many of the leading artistic and philosophical figures of his time.

He wrote the first Lulu play, Earth Spirit, in 1898 and the second, Pandora’s Box, in 1905. In an early staging of Pandora’s Box Lulu was played by the young Austrian actress Tilly Newes, with Wedekind himself as Jack. He once said that Lulu was created ‘to stir up great disaster’.

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