The Lulu Plays

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Erdgeist, 1895 and Die Büchse der Pandora by German playwright Frank Wedekind (1864-1918) are collectively known as The Lulu Plays. In Erdgeist the world of adolescence as portrayed in his play Spring's Awakening, is changed into the world of later youth, with a tragically symbolic heroine in Lulu, who, evil incarnate, lusts instead of loves. In the sequel, Die Büchse der Pandora (written with one act in German, one in French, one in English), Lulu is shown moving to a dismal end, even while a spirit greater than hers arises in the person of her Lesbian devotee, the Countess Geschwitz.

The original text

Published in German in Gesammelte Werke, Band 3 by Frank Wedekind. Munchen : Muller, 1924.

Translations and adaptations

Published in English in The Lulu plays, & other sex tragedies by Frank Wedekind; translated from the German by Stephen Spender. Calder and Boyars, c1972.

Also available as Lulu : a sex tragedy, adapted by Peter Barnes from Frank Wedekind's Earth spirit and Pandora's box, translation by Charlotte Beck. Heinemann Educational, 1971.

Performance history in South Africa

Ken Leach directed The Lulu Plays for PACT at the Rosebank Arena, Johannesburg, in 1976.

An adaptation of Earth Spirit and Pandora's Box by Chris Pretorius was presented in English by CAPAB under the title The Lulu Sex Tragedies and directed by Pretorius, opening at the Nico Malan Theatre on 11 April 1984. The cast were Megan Kruskal (Lulu), Russel Savadier, Dawid Minnaar, Marthinus Basson, David Dennis, Laurens Cilliers, Rayne Hindle, Lynita Crofford, Charlton George, Sandra Temmingh, Terry Greyvenstein, Stephen Jennings. Costume design by Marthinus Basson, lighting by Brian Kennedy, metal sculptures by Barend de Wet, electronic music by Guillaume Rossouw.


World Drama by Allardyce Nicoll. Harrap, 1949. 372.

The Lulu Sex Tragedies theatre programme (CAPAB), 1984.

Stellenbosch University Library catalogue.

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