The Empire Builders: 1993

Empire Builders

An eminently bourgeois family and their maid are forced to flee within the confines of their own home from a strange and terrifying noise, which pursues them as they move upward from floor to floor. In each room they are confronted by a mysterious, bedraggled figure – the Schmurz – who suffers in silence at the family casually beat, whip and lacerate him. In a progression of mounting horror and the blackest comedy the family is reduced to nothing.

Is the noise a metaphor for death which pursues man throughout his life and from which he is constantly trying to escape? Is the Schmurz his mortal being which he abuses and ignores at his peril?

In France Boris Vian is as well known as Beckett or Ionesco but his work is rarely performed in the UK. The Empire Builders was first performed in 1959, six months after Vian’s tragic early death from a long standing heart condition. The themes of death and mortality which dominate the play may have been prompted by his own illness and account for the disturbing force of the work.



 ‘As an intriguing and relatively unknown piece of absurdist drama on man’s isolation it is well worth the trouble of staging by the Three Legged Company who once again show a knack for showcasing the genre with some style’ Ham & High

‘Larry Jones’ direction is no nonsense stuff, bounding with energy from the first, and with a sensitive set and forceful sound effects the result is an impressive slice of fringe theatre’ What’s On



One thought on “The Empire Builders: 1993

  1. My name is Rudy Motseatsea from South Africa – I need your and or info around how one can go about finding the copyright performance of the french play: Empire Builders by Boris Vian, translated by Simon Watson Taylor

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