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Absinth Makes the Heart Grow Warmer

by Flann O'Brien


The Irish novelist and playwright Flann O'Brien (1911-1966), who also wrote under the pseudonyms of Brian O'Nolan, Briain O'Nuallain and Myles na gCopaleen, is best known for his novel At Swim-Two-Birds. His huge journalistic output has dated quickly, but his plays are as fresh as ever. Absinth Makes the Heart Grow Warmer (ca. 1950) is perhaps the best of these, a powerful expression of mankind's capacity for tragic error.

This is only the second time the group has attempted a play by O'Brien (after Thirst), and it was almost certainly the play's second performance in Germany, the probable first performance having been an even more impromptu affair at no less a venue than the Landestheater Tübingen, at the end of a Student Theatre Festival. In order not to lessen its impact it is performed without an interval.