‘What else isn’t true?’, or, Dennis Kelly’s Expressionism

Mark Robson (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


This chapter reads two plays by Dennis Kelly which opened in London in 2013: The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas (first performed in the UK at the Royal Court, 5 September 2013) and Kelly’s ‘version’ of Georg Kaiser’s 1912 Expressionist play From Morning to Midnight, (in a production at the National Theatre, first performed 19 November 2013). While not claiming that Kelly ‘is’ an Expressionist playwright, I read these plays and productions alongside and against each other, suggesting that together they offer a chance to examine the politics of Expressionism and its legacies in contemporary British theatre. In clarifying Kelly’s relation to Expressionist theatre, I focus on a Nietzschean questioning of what is called morality. Nietzsche can be seen as the linking intellectual shadow behind both Kaiser’s Expressionism and the moral universe of The Ritual Slaughter. Both plays invite audiences to think through the complex relations of morality, truth and dramatic form.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBeautiful Doom
Subtitle of host publicationThe Work of Dennis Kelly on Stage and Screen
EditorsJacqueline Bolton, Nicholas Holden
PublisherManchester University Press
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Dennis Kelly
  • expressionism
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
  • morality


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