|Physicists, the (1962) [Play]|
by Friedrich Dürrenmatt
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(From the publisher):
The setting: a madhouse. The principal characters: three male patients, all nuclear physicists. One, Herbert Georg Beutler, believes he is Newton; a second, Ernst Ernesti, thinks he is Einstein. Both are fairly recent arrival at the asylum. The third, Johann Wilhelm Möbius, who has visions in which King Solomon appears to him, has been there for fifteen years. In charge: the efficient, aristocratic, hunchbacked woman-psychiatrist, Fräulein Dr. Mathilde von Zahnd. To this, add the Aristotelian unities of place, time and action ("The action takes place among madmen and therefore requires a classical framework," the author notes), and one has the basic ingredients of the Swiss dramatist Friedrich Dürrenmatt's latest - and perhaps most ambitious - play.
With these ingredients, Dürrenmatt has fashioned a work that probes beneath the surface of seeming comedy to ask a number of pertinent questions about today's world. For it soon becomes evident that the harmless, lovable lunatics are not as simple as they seem. Are they, in fact, really mad? Or are they playing some murderous game, with the world as stake?
Original title: Die Physiker
Genre: Drama and Plays→ Comedy→ Black Comedy