This is one of Kirchner's first paintings to depict a stage scene. It shows actors from a Japanese theatre company performing at Dresden's Albert Theatre. Theatre and cabaret scenes were extremely popular among the Brücke expressionist group. The artist's unusual viewpoint, looking down on the actors from a side angle, suggests that he may have seen the play from a theatre box. Kirchner saw an exhibition of Matisse paintings in December 1908, and this painting shows the influence of Matisse's flat areas of anti-naturalistic colour.