Kasperl or Kasperle or Kasper



  • The most popular puppet character in Austria and Germany, wherehe is the equivalent of Punch (see Punch and Judy).Kasperl was originally acted by Johann Laroche (1745 - 1806),a leading player at Vienna's Leopoldstadt Theater, who derived thecharacter from Hanswurst. Laroche's Kasperl became a legendaryfigure in Viennese popular comedy; his leitmotiv was a cavernous moaningfrom the wings "Auwedl" ("Deary me!").

    The character was first seen in puppet form in the AustrianKasperltheater, where he was seen brandishing a bat against such charactersas Gretel, Grandmother, the Devil, and Crocodile. The puppeteer JosefLeonhard Schmid (1821 - 1912) transformed him into an intellectualBavarian gentleman named Kasper Larifari, while the writer Max Jacob(1888 - 1967) developed an acerbic self-important Kasperl in the1920s. The name 'Kasper' has subsequently become a German word forany puppet.