The Last Days of Mankind


Photograph: © João TUNA

What happens to man when the violence of war utterly jeopardises the very definition of mankind? An angry but compassionate genius, Karl Kraus dived into the pandemonium of the Great War (1914-1918) and returned with two hundred scenes reflecting “mankind’s fallen state”.

The Last Days of Mankind (1915-1922) is a chronicle of those blood-soaked days that saw the birth of the age of industrial death, lies and stupidity. But it is also, and mostly, a laboratory of experimental writing that was once called “the submerged masterpiece of 20th century theatre”. A theatre of quotation, repetition, editing… in a word, of contrast: “real” characters and documents are vivified by the author’s satirical imagination, atrocity and futility walk hand-in-hand. Stage directors Nuno Carinas and Nuno M Cardoso bring this “laughing horror” to the stalls of the TNSJ, transformed into a construction site of forms: a city, a trench, an arsenal of memories and apparitions. Out of the monumental original building, we have extracted a dramaturgy that follows the chronological progress of a war that was supposed to end all wars but finally became a preface to all of them. This long journey was divided into three parts, which may be seen separately or all at once. It begins with a burlesque “third class” funeral and ends with God’s deep voice. “Such contrasts you’ll only find here at the front!”, someone will say…

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The Last Days of Mankind

With English surtitles

By Karl Kraus

Directors | Nuno Carinhas and Nuno M. Cardoso

Set & Costume Designer | Nuno Carinhas

Light Designer | Wilma Moutinho

Sound Designer | Francisco Leal

Dramaturgy | Nuno Carinhas, Nuno M Cardoso, João Luís Pereira, Pedro Sobrado

Cast | Ana Mafalda Pereira, Andreia Ruivo, António Durães, Benedita Pereira, Diana Sá, João Cardoso, Joana Africano, João Castro, João Lourenço, Mafalda Canhola, Marcello Urgeghe, Maria Inês Peixoto, Miguel Loureiro, Paulo Calatré, Paulo Freixinho, Pedro Almendra, Raquel Cunha, Rita Pinheiro, Sara Barros Leitão, Teresa Arcanjo, Tiago Sarmento

Premiere | 27 October 2016

Teatro Nacional São João

In the context of the CONFLICT ZONES network programme of the Union des Théâtres de l'Europe; co-funded by the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.


Karl Kraus | Nuno Carinhas and Nuno M. Cardoso

27 octobre - 19 novembre, 2016