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#1 - Prologue and Act 1

Earth Spirit

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Summary

Earth Spirit (1895) (Erdgeist) is a play by the German dramatist Frank Wedekind. It forms the first part of his pairing of 'Lulu' plays (the second is Pandora's Box [1904]), both of which depict a society "riven by the demands of lust and greed". Together with Pandora's Box, Wedekind's play formed the basis for the silent film Pandora's Box (1929) starring Louise Brooks and the opera Lulu by Alban Berg in 1935 (premiered posthumously in 1937). The eponymous "earth spirit" of this play is Lulu, who Wedekind described as a woman "created to stir up great disaster." Indeed, she is a purely sexual creature who scandalizes the community and drives men to ruin. The play has attracted a wide range of interpretations, from those who see it as misogynistic to those who claim Wedekind as a harbinger of women’s liberation.

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