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Durrenmatt once wrote of himself: “I can best be understood if one grasps grotesqueness,” and The Visit is a consummate, alarming Durrenmatt blend of hilarity, horror, and vertigo.
The play takes place “somewhere in Central Europe” and tells of an elderly millionairess who, merely on the promise of her millions, swiftly turns a depressed area into a boom town.
But the condition attached to her largesse, which the locals learn of only after they are enmeshed, is murder.
Durrenmatt has fashioned a macabre and entertaining parable that is a scathing indictment of the power of greed.
Joel Agee is the author of two memoirs, Twelve Years: An American Boyhood in East Germany and In The House Of My Fear. His translations of Heinrich von Kleist's Penthesilea and Hans Erich Nossack's Der Untergang won the Helen and Kurt Wolff Prize and the Lois Roth Prize of the Modern Language Association, respectively. In 2007 he was a finalist for the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize and received the Alta National Translation for his translation of the Selected Writings of Friedrich Dürrenmatt.