Three physicists, pretending to be insane, voluntarily commit themselves to an asylum administered by a megalomaniacal psychiatrist, Dr. Mathilde von Zahnd. They discover that Dr. The Physicists. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback.
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Informed by the Second World War and the many recent advances in science and nuclear technology, the play deals with questions of scientific ethics and humanity's ability to handle its intellectual responsibilities. It is often recognized as his most impressive yet most easily understood work.
The story is set in the drawing room of Les Cerisiers sanatorium , an idyllic home for the mentally ill, run by famed psychiatrist Mathilde von Zahnd. This drawing room connects to three rooms, each of which is inhabited by a mentally ill patient. These three men, all physicists by trade, are permitted use of the drawing room, where they are periodically monitored by the female nurses that are charged with their care.
When the play begins, "Einstein" has just killed one of his nurses, and the police are examining the scene. It is revealed through their discussion that this is the second slaying of a nurse by one of these three patients in just three months, the first having been committed by "Newton". The motive behind these two murders becomes clear in the play's second act, when it is revealed with startling abruptness that none of the three patients is mad. They are all only faking insanity.
He instead feigned madness, that he might be committed to a sanatorium and thus protected along with his knowledge. Each spy murdered a nurse to protect his secrets and to strengthen his simulation of madness. After much debate, the three men finally agree that they are content to protect humanity by living out the rest of their lives in captivity, while furthering and serving physics.
However, these noble plans are thwarted by the play's final plot twist. The story ends with a sense of impending doom. Shifted the convincing effects in the play from the chaff of its thriller-comedy element. The light relief dialogue is there for the purpose of keeping a puzzled live audience amused, and on television this doubtful sprinkling of humour did not come through; similarly the two murders and police investigations range false in such unrealistic treatment.
Christopher Muir As though seen under a magnifying glass, the gripping features of the play showed clear and sharp; the only real and understandable figure, fortunately one central to the play, was given a worthy portrayal by Wynn Roberts although one of his big scenes was cut. This was Mobius, the genius impelled by both fear and courage.
Tension is well supplied to the second half of the play by, the unexpected twists of the plot, and the cold, lucid arguments of the three physicists were excellently focused in this production.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Australian Broadcasting Commission. The Physicists. Translated from German by James Kirkup.
New York: Grove Press. The Diversity Website. BBC Radio 3. Retrieved The Age. Sydney Morning Herald. The Canberra Times. Retrieved 14 February — via National Library of Australia. Romulus the Great The Marriage of Mr. End of the Game. TV productions of Christopher Muir.
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Performed on countless stages all over the world up to the present day, it is a story of insanity and genius that leaves the spectator alternate between amusement and uneasiness. At first, the three inmates seem to be harmless and easy to steer. Mentally disturbed, they consider themselves great minds. Beutler, for instance, firmly believes to be Sir Isaac Newton whereas Mr. Ernesti claims to be no less a figure than Albert Einstein. Rather, he suffers from the delusion that King Solomon has revealed to him laws of physics for 15 years.
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