Red Masquers’ Awakening


In the “telegram speak” of German Expressionism, that would be a good description of the Red Masquers’ production of Awakening. Another word that leaps to mind would be “why,” but reviving long-obscure turning points in theater evolution is fully in the job description of academia.

Director John E. Lane Jr., Duquesne University’s director of theater arts, also adapted Awakening after J.M. Ritchie’s translation of the original (Die Haidebraut, c. 1912). The playwright, August Stramm, is better known as a poet whose life and career was ended by World War I. Indeed, the play seems prescient of the turmoil of World War I and its aftermath in Germany, but the likelihood that it was written before the war indicates just how upset the Expressionists were with life.

Germany as a nation was still young and on a fast track from agrarian culture to world-class industrial society. Much of Europe was in various stages

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