Kaspar and Other Plays

Peter Handke; Translated by Michael Roloff

Hill and Wang

Kaspar, Peter Handke's first full-length drama--hailed in Europe as "the play of the decade" and compared in importance to Waiting for Godot--is the story of an autistic adolescent who finds himself at a complete existential loss on the stage, with but a single sentence to call his own. Drilled by prompters who use terrifyingly funny logical and alogical language-sequences, Kaspar learns to speak "normally" and eventually becomes creative--"doing his own thing" with words; for this he is destroyed.

In Offending the Audience and Self-Accusation, one-character "speak-ins," Handke further explores the relationship between public performance and personal identity, forcing us to reconsider our sense of who we are and what we know.


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Kaspar and Other Plays
OFFENDING THE AUDIENCEfor Karlheinz Braun, Claus Peymann, Basch Peymann, Wolfgang Wiens, Peter Steinbach, Michael Gruner, Ulrich Hass, Claus Dieter Reents, Rüdiger Vogler, John Lennon 
Rules for the actors 
Listen to the litanies in the Catholic churches.Listen to football teams being cheered on and booed.Listen to the rhythmic chanting at demonstrations.Listen to the wheels of a bicycle upturned on its seat spinning until the spokes have come to rest and watch the spokes until they have reached their resting point.Listen to the gradually increasing


Praise for Kaspar and Other Plays

"It's not often you come across writing that resounds with the undeniable sense that a writer's life hangs in the balance."--Sam Shepard, Vanity Fair

"Unmistakably one of the best writers we have in that self-discovering tendency in contemporary writing we have chosen to call post-modernism. His plays and novels have steadily and splendidly put to the test many of our essential presumptions about the nature of reality and art."--Malcolm Bradbury, The New York Times Book Review

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Peter Handke; Translated by Michael Roloff

  • Peter Handke was born in Griffen, Austria in 1942. His many works of fiction include Absence, Across, The Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, and Short Letter, Long Farewell.
  • Peter Handke Lillian Birnbaum


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Kaspar and Other Plays

Peter Handke; Translated by Michael Roloff