A foreword by Professor Walter Flury
“The Physicists” by Friedrich Dürrenmatt
The satirical drama was first performed on 20 February 1962 at the Zurich theatre.
The exclusive Cherry Trees sanatorium caters to a very special clientele. All three of its current "residents" are brilliant physicists - and all three are quite insane. There's wild-haired Albert Einstein, who tries to soothe his tortured spirit by playing the violin; there's prim-and-proper Sir Isaac Newton, who hides his liquor in the fireplace where his keepers will never think to look; and Möbius, the most brilliant of them all, and perhaps the most insane. Overseeing the sanatorium is Fräulein Doktor Mathilde von Zahnd, a hunchbacked alienist and rich heiress.
Oh, there's one last thing the physicists have in common - they've all murdered their nurses at one time or another, much to the annoyance of hyperactive police inspector Voss ….
The Physicists is considered to be Friedrich Dürrenmatt's masterpiece of espionage, nuclear proliferation, and the dilemma of the responsibility of the individual to society. Viewed in the context of the tragedy of Fukujima the play appears to be timeless.
Who was Dürrenmatt? The famous Swiss dramatist passed away twenty years ago. He was a poet of the paradox and the grotesque; his intention was not to provoke but to raise awareness.