The Passion of Kaspar Hauser
a theatre play commissioned by the Mask Studio
comprising a story-teller/actor, an actor/puppeteer,
a hurdy-gurdy player, and a dancer.
A boy of 15 appeared one afternoon in May 1828 in a square in
Nuremberg. He walked like a toddler who has just learnt to
stand and spoke words he had been taught parrot-fashion but
the meaning of which he did not understand. Unable to
consume anything but plain bread and water, he is initially
imprisoned as a vagabond. A teacher on sick leave undertakes
his education and later, to save him from the cruelties of
visitors who see him as a circus freak, takes him into his own
Once he learns to speak properly, Kaspar, as he comes to be
called, describes how for as long as he could remember he had
been kept chained so he could not stand in a dark room with just one small
aperture for a window. He believed himself to be the only creature in the world.
After a year in his teacher's home, a masked man appears and attempts to kill him.
He is removed to a more central location and thence to a guardian who seeks to protect him
from the negative influences that beset him. However, an English lord arrives and succeeds in
turning the boy's head and those of the city elders, who agree to the lord adopting him. Kaspar
is then taken to a town some distance away from his Nuremberg friends and placed with a schoolmaster
who is sceptical of Kaspar's story. The English lord then disappears promising to return for the boy
and take him back with him to England. This never happens. Instead, on December 14th 1833 the boy is
lured into a park where he is stabbed, dying three days later surrounded by officials trying to make
him confess that he had stabbed himself.