Cover illustration by Lamont O'Neal

The Underpants

Carl Sternheim, translated by Eric Bentley

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In THE UNDERPANTS, she is waiting in the crowd — Berlin, circa 1910 — craning her neck forward to see the Kaiser pass by. Her panties fall down. It is possible that the Kaiser might see them at her feet. What crisis could be bigger than that? Carl Sternheim poses this question at the outset of THE STERNHEIM TRILOGY. By the end, the lady is pregnant, pregnant, one might say, with the future of the booboisie in the person of THE SNOB, Christian Maske, who rises, in the second part, from the lower booboisie to the higher. In the third part, 1913, Christian rises higher all the way to the top of bourgeois society in twentieth-century mode. The whole crisis of 1914–1918 looms. 1933–1945 is not far away.

Production Info

Cast: 6 total (2 female, 4 male)
Full Length Comedy (about 100 minutes)
Minimal Set Requirements
Period Costumes
About the Author


  • Carl Sternheim

    Carl Sternheim (1878 – 1942) was a German playwright and short story writer. Sternheim found success in the 1910s poking fun at the burgeoning German middle class in a series of plays he called "Scenes from the Heroic Life of the Middle Class," of which DIE HOSE (THE UNDERPANTS) (1911) was one. His other plays include THE BOX (1912), BURGHER SCHIPPEL (1913), THE SNOB (1914), 1913 (1915), and TABULA RASA (1916).

  • Eric Bentley

    Eric Bentley was born in England in 1916, became an American citizen in 1948, in 1998 was inducted into the (American) Theatre Hall of Fame, and in 2011 won a gold medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Scholar, critic, teacher, performer, translator, and, finally, playwright , he has had many books published and many plays and adaptations performed. Several of his critical works have become classics, notably The Playwright as Thinker, Thinking about the Playwright, and The Life of the Drama. Today, nine of his plays are published by Northwestern University Press in three volumes entitled RALLYING CRIES, MONSTROUS MARTYRDOMS, and THE KLEIST VARIATIONS. Four more Bentley titles have recently been published by Broadway Play Publishing Inc: ROUND ONE, ROUND TWO, A TIME TO DIE AND A TIME TO LIVE, and THE STERNHEIM TRILOGY. He died in August 2020.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 11/26/2012
Pages 154
ISBN 9780881455458

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:
The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
The Underpants is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC


Upcoming and Recent Productions


6/3/2022 – 6/5/2022
Bergen County Players
Oradell, NJ