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Hoppla, We're Alive!

Original German book cover, 1927

Hoppla, We're Alive! (German: Hoppla, wir leben!) is a Neue Sachlichkeit (or "New Objectivity") play by the German playwright Ernst Toller. Its second production, directed by the seminal epic theatre director Erwin Piscator in 1927, was a milestone in the history of theatre.[1] The British playwright Mark Ravenhill based his Some Explicit Polaroids (1999) on Toller's play.[2]

Hoppla, We're Alive!
Written byErnst Toller
Date premiered1 September 1927 (1927-09-01)
Original languageGerman
GenreNew Objectivity



Time: 1919

Karl Thomas Eva Berg Wilhelm Kilman
Albert Kroll Frau Meller Warder Randrow
Lieutenant Baron Friedrich Soldiers

Main playEdit

This piece takes place in many countries, eight years after the crushing of a people's uprising. Time: 1927

Karl Thomas Eva Berg Wilhelm Kilman
Frau Kilman Lotte Kilman Rand
Professor Lundin Albert Kroll Frau Meller
Rand Professor Lundin Fritz
Grete Count Lande Minister of War
Banker Banker's Son Pickel
Baron Friedrich Ministry Official Madhouse Orderly
Student 1st Worker 2nd Worker
3rd Worker 4th Worker 5th Worker
Examining Magistrate Head Waiter Porter
Radio Operator Busboy Police Chief
1st Policeman 2nd Policeman 3rd Policeman
Chairman of the Union of Intellectual Brain Workers Philosopher X Poet Y
Critic Z Election officer 2nd Election Officer
1st Electioneer 2nd Electioneer 3rd Electioneer
Voter Old Woman Prisoner N
Journalist Ladies, Gentlemen People


According to theatre critic Eric Bentley’s book The Playwright as Thinker, when Erwin Piscator directed the premiere of Hoppla, We’re Alive! in 1927 and Frau Meller, the mother in the play, said "There’s only one thing to do: either hang one’s self [sic] or change the world," the youthful audience burst spontaneously into the Internationale.[3]

Hoppla, We're Alive! was one of the books burned in the infamous Nazi book burning, along with 20,000 other left-wing and Jewish books.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Pearlman (2000, 17).
  2. ^ Pearlman (2000, 31).
  3. ^ Bentley (1987).


  • Bentley, Eric. 1987. The Playwright as Thinker: A Study of Drama in Modern Times. Revised ed. San Diego: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich. ISBN 0-15-672041-8.
  • Pearlman, Alan Raphael, ed. and trans. 2000. Plays One: Transformation, Masses Man, Hoppla, We're Alive!. By Ernst Toller. Absolute Classics ser. London: Oberon. ISBN 1-84002-195-0.

External linksEdit