Basshe, Emjo

Tagged: Author

Normal working name of Lithuanian-born director and playwright Emanuel Lode Abarbanel Basshe (1898-1939), in the USA from 1912; he sometimes signed as Em Jo Basshe. He co-founded the New Playwrights Theatre in 1927; he was involved in leftwing causes throughout his career; in general his plays can be understood as agitprop, and seem to have been particular successful at the heart of the Great Depression, before the New Deal began to rescue America from the effects of unmonitored capitalism. Of sf interest is Doomsday Circus: A Dramatic Chronicle (1938), seemingly unproduced during his lifetime, an expressionist, hortatory burlesque with some similarities to Elmer Rice's The Adding Machine (19 March 1923 Garrick Theatre, New York; 1923), in which the coming Near Future ownership of the world by a single multi-tentacled corporation is rendered as a circus, with the Chairman transformed into Ringmaster as Act Two begins. [JC]

Emanuel Lode Abarbanel Basshe

born Vilnius, Russian Empire [now Lithuania]: 20 January 1898

died New York: 29 October 1939

works (highly selected)


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