"...a genuinely interesting and thoughtful piece of theatre"
John Farnsworth, The Press
Both Lulu and the play she gives her name to are indefinable. It is called a tragedy, but has many comic elements that make it grotesque. Its central character is differently redefined by different men, but each attempt to define her destroys the man who tries. This is dramatized as an animal-taming circus act where civilization represented by man, tries to tame the earth spirit of woman, who proves herself too near to nature to be tamed.
Lulu is the first 'vamp' in European theatre. The prototype of an image that domainated twentieth century film and produced both Marlene Deitrich and Marilyn Munroe. This image, of woman as both innocent child-waif and destroying witch, is a male stereotype, and at times Wedekind comes close to a feminist critique of it. But the fascination of this curious late nineteenth century play (it was first performed in 1895), is that it often seems to contradict itself and there are times when the playwright seems firmly shcakled to the masculine stereotype of woman as angelic bitch. For all his committment ot his plays (he played the main roles himself), he seems to have been unwilling to resolve its contradictions.
"My concern in writing the play was to get rid of all the concepts like 'love', 'faith' and 'gratitude' which are logically untenable"
"My intention was to have the human consciousness (which always excessively overestimates itself) founder on the human unconscious"