- (1878 - 1945) German playwright, whose From Morn toMidnight (1917) is usually considered to have initiated expressionismin the theater. The play was first seen at the Berlin Volksbühnein a production by Max Reinhardt, with imaginative sets byHans Strohbach. The plot concerns a repressed bank clerk who searchesfor spiritual meaning in the modern world but is crushed and destroyedby society.
Kaiser's most ambitious work is a trilogy of plays in whichhe explores the hopelessness of the human condition: Coral(1917) shows the protagonist rejecting materialism, Gas I (1918)depicts his attempts to reform society, and Gas II (1920) endsin cataclysmic destruction.
Kaiser eventually abandoned expressionism and wrote such romancesas Alain und Elise (1940). His condemnation of dictatorshipled to a ban on his work by the Nazis in 1933; five years later hewent into exile in Switzerland, where he died.