translated by Michael Hamburger
As a young university student in Munich, Bertolt Brecht was only a few years away from early success as a playwright when he wrote five one-acts. Of these plays, only one was performed in his lifetime, and none were published until after his death. They provide a retrospective look at Brecht before his evolution into the founder of epic theatre, demonstrating some of the tendencies that would mark his later work.
In The Beggar, a beggar dares to speak the truth to an emperor when the emperor descends to complain about the smell. It was neither produced nor published during the author’s lifetime.