A: Georg Kaiser W: 1912 Pf: 1917, Munich Pb: 1916 G: Drama in 2 acts (7 scenes); German prose S: A small town and a large city, Germany, c.1912 C: 22m, 12f, extrasThe Cashier is silently and mechanically working in a provincial bank, when a suspiciously elegant lady is refused the facility to cash a cheque. He steals a large amount of cash from the till and rushes to the lady's hotel. He declares that he has stolen the money for her and pleads with her to run away with him. A respectable woman, she rejects his ludicrous advances. Deciding that there is no turning back, he returns home to reassure himself that he must put his bourgeois existence behind him. This break in his routine kills his mother and drives his wife to despair. Arriving in the big city, the Cashier goes to the bicycle races, where he induces ecstasy in the crowd by offering ever greater amounts of prize money. The arrival of the monarch subdues the spectators, and, disappointed, the Cashier goes to a nightclub. Disgusted by most of the women, he finds a mysterious beauty, who refuses to dance. When he discovers that she has a wooden leg, he leaves for a Salvation Army Hall, where the Cashier joins those confessing their sins. Recognizing that money can bring no happiness, he flings his cash into the congregation, who fight wildly over the banknotes and run from the hall. Only a Salvation Army girl remains behind. The Cashier, finally disillusioned when he discovers that she has stayed only to collect the reward money on his head, shoots himself, crying ‘Ecce homo!’ as he dies against a cross.
A: Georg Kaiser W: 1912 Pf: 1917, Munich Pb: 1916 G: Drama in 2 acts (7 scenes); German prose S: A small town and a large city, Germany, c.1912 C: 22m, 12f, extras
One of the best-known German Expressionist plays, this piece shows the nameless protagonist passing through seven episodes or ‘stations’ to arrive at the recognition that money is meaningless. Typically for Kaiser, the focus is on the suffering individual, but here there is no hope of redemption.