From Morning to Midnight synopsis
Music by David Sawer
Libretto by the composer after the play Von morgens bis mitternacht by Georg Kaiser
First performed: 2001
The little town of W
In A Bank
An Italian lady wants to draw 3,000 but the manager refuses. Her signature is not on her letter of notification. She leaves but returns suggesting that her diamonds are held as security. The cashier is dazzled by her. He steals 60,000 and rushes out to find the Italian lady and embark on a life of crime.
At her Hotel
The cashier arrives to find he is mistaken: the Italian lady is an art aficionado – not a crook. The cashier leaves already pursued by the authorities.
In A snow-covered field
The cashier allows himself a moment of enlightenment. For all his cash, death will have to be the final outcome. He discerns the shape of a skeleton in a tree and makes a deal. Death may return at midnight but meanwhile the cashier wants to investigate what's for sale.
Meanwhile back in The Cashier's House
His wife, daughter and mother happily anticipate his return for lunch. The cashier returns ecstatic from his vision in the snow. Oppressed by their cosy domestic comforts, he leaves his honestly earned wages and abandons his family. His mother dies of a seizure and the authorities continue to pursue him.
He travels to The Big City of B.
At The Velodrome a six-day bicycle race is in progress. The cashier offers increasingly large cash prizes on the races in order to provoke the mania of the crowd. A Salvation Army girl sells her copies of The War Cry. When the Kaiser arrives, the cashier is appalled by the crowd’s sycophantic patriotism.
PLEASE STAND FOR THE KAISER
In A Nightclub
The cashier is disappointed by the selfishness and compulsion of three hostesses – but the Salvation Army girl is still trying to sell The War Cry. She takes the cashier to
A Salvation Army Hall where Sinners may confess at the stool of repentance. The cashier identifies with the confessors and throws the cash to the crowd. But the Salvation Army girl betrays the cashier to the police so she can claim the reward. He honours his deal with death (who he sees in a light fixture), shoots himself and whispers "Ecce Homo" as he expires.
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