Hoppla, We're Alive is a landmark drama of the Weimar Republic and one of the founding works of what would become known as a powerful portrait of a fragile democracy at war with itself, inevitably corrupted from within by the rising forces of capitalism and fascism. Toller's main character Karl Thomas, a participant in the failed Communist revolution of 1919, has spent eight years in a mental hospital. Released into the much-changed Germany of 1927, Thomas encounters each of his former comrades in a world where all of the lessons of the first World War and the revolution seem to have been forgotten. Building to a powerful and tragic climax, Toller’s play has lost none of its power to shock, provoke, and awaken readers.
Hinkemann is a painfully poetic plaidoyer for the overlooked vision and voice of the victim. Having suffered the penultimate wound, emasculation, in the trenches of World War I, Eugene Hinkemann returns to civilian life in Germany as physically and psychologically damaged goods. In a desperate attempt to win back his wife Grete’s love and to make ends meet, he hires himself out as a carnival strongman. A two-timing friend, Paul, meanwhile, puts the moves on Grete, who yields to his advances. This leads to a confrontation, followed by a denouement and Grete’s suicide and Eugene’s clear vision of a broken world.
Hoppla, We‘re Alive!
Author: Ernst Toller
Translator: Drew Lichtenberg
Softcover; 144 pp.
Dimensions: 5’’ x 8’’
Suggested retail: $ 13.95
ISBN USA: 978-1-935902-49-2
ISBN Germany: 978-3-96026-042-4
Release: May 1, 2023
Peter Wortsman is the author of two stage plays, Burning Words and The Tattooed Man, of two books of short fiction, A Modern Way To Die and Footprints in Wet Cement; a travel memoir, Ghost Dance in Berlin, A Rhapsody in Gray ; a novel, Cold Earth Wanderers; and a work of nonfiction, The Caring Heirs of Dr. Samuel Bard, forthcoming in 2019. His critically acclaimed translations from German into English include works from Robert Musil, Heinrich von Kleist, the Brothers Grimm, and Franz Kafka.
Ernst Toller, born 1893 in Samotschin in the then-German province of Pomerania was a revolutionary, poet, and playwright engagé. He was also president for six days of the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic. In his day, Ernst Toller was as renowned as the young Bertolt Brecht. High profile persona non grata in 1933 when the Nazis came to power, Toller fled to London, went on a lecture tour to the U.S. in 1936, warned Roosevelt of the Nazis, and tried to make it as a screen writer in Los Angeles. Convinced that the world as he knew it had succumbed to the forces of darkness, Toller was found dead by hanging, a presumed suicide, in his room at the Hotel Mayflower in New York City on May 22, 1939.
Drew Lichtenberg has been the Resident Dramaturg at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. since 2011. He has worked as a dramaturg, adaptor, and translator for theatres around the country and internationally, including the Royal National Theatre in London and the Roundabout Theatre Company on Broadway, La Mama, and the Public Theater off-Broadway. He also has taught as an adjunct at Eugene Lang College at the New School and at the Catholic University of America. He holds a Doctorate in Fine Arts from Yale School of Drama.