Friederike Caroline Neuber
Neuber, Friederike Caroline
Born Mar. 9, 1697, in Reichenbach, Vogtland; died Nov. 30, 1760, in Laubegast, near Dresden. German actress and reformer of the German theater.
Neuber began her stage career in 1717. She performed at the court theaters of Dresden, Hanover, and Hamburg and had her own company in Leipzig during the years 1727–43 and 1744—50.
As an actress of wide range, Neuber performed in the tragedies of Corneille and Racine, as well as in comedies (frequently improvised). She was the first German actress to perform breeches parts. Together with the critic and man of letters J. C. Gottsched, she sought to reform the German theatrical repertoire; she decried the crude naturalism, violent passions, and exaggerated emotion and buffoonery which were then prevalent in the German theater.
Neuber staged French classical tragedies, Enlightenment dramas, and literary comedies, and the early comedies of Lessing. She called for a rejection of improvisation and advocated a declamatory style of performance. At the same time, she ignored the positive experience of German folk theater (folk comedies involving the character Hanswurst and the like). Among the talented actors trained by Neuber were K. Ackermann, J. F. Schönemann, and H. Koch.