Finborough Theatre in London is to stage a largely forgotten classic of 20th-century theatre, The Coral, by German dramatist Georg Kaiser.
Dating from 1917 and radical for its time, the play is being brought to the UK for the first time in 100 years by female-led international company Collide Theatre.
Directed by Emily Louizou and using a translation by BJ Kenworthy, it will run at the Finborough from 4 to 29 October 2022. Casting is still to be announced.
Originally an anti-naturalistic Expressionist play, it is described as part parable, part family drama, and part thriller, exploring humanity’s infatuation with money and the power it holds over those who possess it.
Kaiser’s plays ask vital questions about how we choose to lead our lives, and The Coral, the first part of his didactic Gas trilogy, is no exception.
A millionaire is intent on acquiring as much wealth as possible to distance himself from his unhappy poverty-stricken childhood, and he ruthlessly exploits the poor in his efforts.
When his socialist-influenced children become conscious of his misdeeds, they reject him and his wealth. As a result, he desires a new identity and, with it, a new carefree past by exchanging his life for that of another man – a man whose one physical difference is a piece of coral on his suit.
Louizou said: “Written more than 100 years ago The Coral is a stark depiction of a capitalist society rotting away. Kaiser was writing just after the end of the First World War – in a forever-transformed world – presenting a prophetic vision of a society doomed to destruction.
“Why are we staging it today? Because our world has – to one’s despair – too many similarities with Kaiser’s world.
“Collide’s passion for an expressionist aesthetic and dream-like visual theatrical language provides the perfect frame for an evening full of twisted doppelgangers, nightmarish visions and futile escapes.”
The Coral is presented by Collide in association with Finborough Theatre and its artistic director, Neil McPherson.
Kaiser was a leading German dramatist of the early 20th century, known for plays such as From Morning to Midnight, The Burghers of Calais and his Gas trilogy which features The Coral, Gas and Gas II.
Louizou formed Collide in 2015 with a mission to discover hidden gems and re-invent classic texts, merging storytelling with dance, live music and a highly visual language.
Since its inception, Collide has created five critically acclaimed sold-out productions in London and Manchester and has collaborated with more than 50 artists from around the world.
In 2019, Collide was named by the New Diorama Theatre as “one of the 10 most promising companies to watch”.