June 27, 2014 | Special staged reading

  • Austrian Cultural Forum 3524 International Court, NW Washington, DC, 20008 United States

The Last Days of Mankind by Karl Kraus

Don't miss this apocalyptic tale of man's madness by the landmark Viennese satirist Karl Kraus. SCENA Theatre presents acreatively-staged reading of the powerful Kraus drama—brought to life by 12 talented local artists and Director Robert McNamara.

Written between 1915 and 1922, The Last Days of Mankind chronicles the development of World War I through the daily and faithful quotation of “voices and rumors”, street conversations, newspaper headlines, official speeches, and military reports.

This thrilling drama paints a vivid picture of the outbreak of WWI after the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Casually but relentlessly,Kraus leads his readers through the stages of war production. He dissects patriotism as well as subscriptions to national papers, and he warns about the consequences of the irresponsible association between politicians and scientists:

If mankind deems it indispensable to life that men kill one another, it makes no difference how it is done, and mass murder is more practical. Tanks and gases will yield the field to bacteria, after the adversaries have continuously outdone one another, and we shall no longer resist the bright idea of utilizing epidemics as instruments of war rather than seeing them as consequences as heretofore.


About Karl Kraus

Born into a wealthy Jewish family from Bohemia, Karl Kraus(1874-1936) eventually rejected Judaism as well as his adopted religion, Catholicism. His brilliant essays and cabaret-tinged public addresses made him one of the most popular figures of his time. He was a major influence on such 20thCentury artistic geniuses as Arnold Schoenberg, Walter Benjamin, Anton Webern, Elias Canetti, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, among others.

Kraus spent a large part of his life fighting hypocrisy in Viennese society. He did so through his position as editor and publisher ofthe famed magazine Die Fackel (The Torch) that let him become a highly influential writer of the 20th Century.

He set out to write what would become his masterpiece under the title, The Last Days of Mankind on at the outbreak of World War I.

When: Friday, June 27, 2014 | 7:30 p.m.
Where: Austrian Cultural Forum (Embassy of Austria) | 3524 International Court NW | Washington, DC 20008
Admission: FREE (SEATING IS LIMITED) | Please register for this event at http://lastdaysofmankind.eventbrite.com