by Qingyuan Jiang. Lulu is a five-act play written by German playwright Frank Wedekind (—). Early critics considered it to be “the climax of Wedekind’s. Lulu: Lulu, fictional character, an amoral femme fatale who is the protagonist of German dramatist Frank Wedekind’s plays Der Erdgeist (; Earth Spirit) and. Frank Wedekind, original name Benjamin Franklin Wedekind, (born July 24, , In the Lulu plays, Erdgeist (; Earth Spirit) and Die Büchse der Pandora.

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She is the face that launched a thousand fantasies. She is all things to all men.

She is a snare and the one who sets you free, the hunter and the hunted. She is amoral but also curiously selfless, the femme fatale who embraces death at the hands of Jack the Ripper. She is a contradiction.

Frank Wedekind | German actor and dramatist |

She is a blank. She is what you want her to be. Her name is Lulu and she is nothing but trouble.

She certainly was to her creator, the German playwright Frank Wedekind. As werekind all men who cross her path, she brought him nothing but disaster and infamy.

Wedekind had already outraged with his play Spring Awakening, an explicit, sexual, coming-of-age drama focusing on a group of teenagers and the tragic consequences of sexual ignorance, which ends in suicide and a botched abortion. The play caused such a scandal that Wedekind fled abroad. In Paris, he saw a performance called Lulu, the Clown Dancer – a cross between a pantomime and a circus act. It may have provided some of the inspiration for the Lulu plays, Earth Spirit and Pandora’s Box, that he began work on in It was also in Paris that he met the woman some say was the inspiration for Lulu.


She was beautiful, vivacious, intellectually accomplished and didn’t give a fig for convention.

Frank Wedekind

The philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and the poet Rainer-Maria Rilke were in love with trank, and she later wecekind a friend of Sigmund Freud, as well a successful psychoanalyst and writer. Although Wedekind’s sexual advances were repulsed by Salome, the writer didn’t forget her; her free spiritedness and a variation on her name made their way into the Lulu plays.

Wedekind struggled to write the plays between and Wedekind was forced to keep revising the plays, a process that would continue until several versions of them existed, each telling of a Lulu who passes from lover to lover, husband to husband and eventually ends up destitute in London’s East End. In the struggle to make them acceptable, Wedekind sacrificed sense and sensibility, and the plays could have been relegated to the realm of theatrical curiosity had film-maker GW Pabst not used them as the basis for his silent, Pandora’s Box, with Louise Brooks.

Brooks’s performance, that tiny secret smile playing across her blank face framed by that black helmet street urchin haircut, transformed her into the world’s first great screen icon, the eternal child woman, a boyish femme fatale whose image would haunt the 20th century. Why do we keep coming back to Lulu?


Lulu’s her name, trouble’s her game

The Almeida Theatre has produced versions of the play twice in 10 years, the first starring Joanne Whalley-Kilmer, the second last year with Anna Friel. The latest to try to make sense of Lulu are Emma Rice and Neil Murray, whose new version of the plays opens at Newcastle Playhouse this week before setting out on a national tour.

Rice and Murray come with impeccable credentials: According to Rice and Murray, it is time to look at Lulu afresh, to peel away the layers of fascination and find the real woman. For starters, they have a radical piece of casting with Rice as Lulu.

I am not a star, I am not Anna Friel. I am chubby with a skin condition. That immediately sets up new expectations for the audience and makes her much more complex.

Drank for the first time since Wedekind unleashed her upon the world, Lulu will be a real flesh-and-blood woman, not just a fantasy.