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Foreword by Diana Damian Martin
Werner Schwab’s final work, also known as a theatre-extinction comedy, is a brutal, irreverent and bizarrely comical piece about what happens when an emerging stage production is sabotaged by outsiders. Following a dispute with the cast, the director replaces all the actors with pensioners from a nearby home for the elderly.
At first compliant and polite, the ‘forgotten and dispossessed’ gradually start to question the director’s authority, leading to a ‘coup d’état’ where the theatre’s cleaning lady is selected as the group’s leader. Not everybody survives the new order.
Marking two decades since the playwright’s death, this is the first English-language publication of a forgotten masterpiece. Werner Schwab was only thirty-five years old when he was found dead in his room following a New Year’s Eve drinking spree in 1994. He was, at the time, the undisputed star of Germanspeaking theatre who effortlessly rose to fame for his unique talent with language and his darkly humorous, confrontational narratives. In only four years, he completed fifteen plays with Dead at Last, At Last No More Air (Endlich tot, endlich keine luft mehr) being his last.