- (German: The Robbers) The first play by Friedrich vonSchiller; its first production in 1782 caused a sensationand is now accepted as a watershed in the German theater. "Completestrangers fell sobbing into one another's arms," wrote one observer,"and fainting women tottered towards the exits." Schillerwrote Die Räuber at the age of 21 and used borrowed moneyto publish the text himself; a few months later Baron von Dalbergaccepted the drama for production at his National Theatre at Mannheim.The famous actor August Iffland created the role of FranzMoor. Younger theatregoers flocked to see the play, stirred by Schiller'sattacks on tyranny, corruption in high places, and stifling socialconventions.
Schiller, an officer in a Stuttgart regiment, travelled toMannheim to see the premiere without obtaining the permission of theautocratic Duke Karl Eugen of Württemberg. When the duke sentencedhim to a fortnight's detention and ordered him to stop writing plays,Schiller fled to Baron von Dalberg, who eventually appointed him asresident dramatist to his theater.
Die Räuber made a major contribution to the Sturmund Drang movement in Germany and also influenced the developmentof romantic melodrama in England and elsewhere. An adaptation, TheRed-Cross Knights was produced at the Haymarket in 1799.