Although Elfriede Jelinek is an internationally recognized playwright, her plays are difficult to find in English, which makes this new volume all the more valuable. In Rechnitz, a chorus of messengers reports on the circumstances of the massacre of 180 Jews, an actual event that took place near the Austrian–Hungarian border town of Rechnitz. In The Merchant’s Contracts, Jelinek brings us a comedy of economics, where the babble and media spin of spectators leave small investors alienated and bearing the brunt of the economic crisis. And in Charges (The Supplicants), Jelinek responds to the immeasurable suffering among refugees fleeing death, destruction and political suppression, and asks what refugees want, how we as a society view them, and what political, moral and personal obligations they impose on us.
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