Erwin Piscator


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Related to Erwin Piscator: Vsevolod Meyerhold
Erwin Piscator
Erwin Friedrich Max Piscator
Birthday
BirthplaceGreifenstein-Ulm, German Empire
Died
NationalityGerman
Occupation
Theatre director, producer
Education Gymnasium Philippinum (1907) University of Munich
Known for Founded the Dramatic Workshop at The New School for Social Research (1940).

Piscator, Erwin

 

Born Dec. 17, 1893, in Ulm; died Mar. 30, 1966, in Starnberg, Bavaria. German director. Member of the Communist Party of Germany from 1919.

In 1914, Piscator was an apprentice at the Hoftheater in Munich. He organized the Tribunal Theater in Königsberg in 1919 and the People’s Theater in Berlin in 1920 and 1921. In Berlin he staged Russia’s Day (1920), a play, written jointly with his troupe, that called for support of Soviet Russia. In 1923 and 1924 he managed the Central Theater, where he staged Gorky’s Smug Citizens and Rolland’s The Time Will Come (both in 1923). The Communist Party commissioned Piscator to create the political shows Revue Roter Rummel (1924) and Despite Everything (1925). From 1924 to 1927 he was director of the Volksbühne, where he staged Gorky’s The Lower Depths (1927) and plays by progressive German dramatists, including Rehfisch’s Who Weeps for Juckenack? (1925), Zech’s The Drunken Ship (1926), and Welk’s Storm Over Gothland (1927). In Berlin he opened the Piscator Theater, which remained in operation from 1927 to 1932, with interruptions. The repertoire included anti-imperialist and antiwar plays by E. Toller, F. Wolf, and V. N. Bill’-Belotserkovskii.

During the 1930’s, Piscator was a member of the executive committee of the International Workers’ Theater Union, serving as its president in 1934. He played a significant role in the development of revolutionary theater and antifascist drama during the 1920’s and 1930’s. He was one of the first to advance and implement the idea of the political theater, which was called upon to become a combat weapon in the proletariat’s struggle. Piscator employed new directorial devices, seeking to encompass a wide range of sociohistorical phenomena in his plays, to show the scope of the labor movement, and to rouse the spectator to thought. Piscator introduced newsreels and photomontages into his productions and staged action in several areas at the same time by using new stage constructions, such as treadmills and divided stages.

After the Nazis came to power in 1933, Piscator emigrated from Germany. He lived in the USSR to 1935, then in France and the USA. In 1947 he began staging productions in Mannheim, Munich, and other cities, and in 1962 became artistic director of the Freie Volksbühne in West Berlin. Among his productions in Berlin were The Deputy by Hochhuth (1963), In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kipphardt (1965), The Investigation by Weiss (1965), and Night of the Generals by Kirst (1966). He scripted a stage version of L. N. Tolstoy’s novel War and Peace, which he produced in a number of German theaters.

WORKS

Schriften, vols. 1–2. Berlin, 1968.

REFERENCES

Gvozdev, A.A. Teatr poslevoennoi Germanii. Leningrad-Moscow, 1933.
Lâ cis, A. E. Revoliutsionnyi teatr Germanii. Moscow, 1935. (Translated from German.)
Ihering, H. Von Reinhardt bis Brecht, vols. 1–3. Berlin, 1958–61.

I. IA. NOVODVORSKAIA

References in periodicals archive ?
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En Masas, Bustillo se alfa a las innovaciones politicas del teatro de Erwin Piscator con notable vigor expositivo.
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And if the workers theaters in Europe inspired avant-garde directors like Vsevelod Meyerhold and Erwin Piscator and planted the seed for Brecht, the workers theater in America gave us Waiting for Lefty and Angels in America.
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A type of drama developed in Germany in the 1920s by Bertolt Brecht and the director Erwin Piscator (1893 - 1966), who saw theatre as a means to agitate for political change.
por su emocion" (para utilizar una imagen de Jean Genet en Las criadas), ante los sucesos que prohija, mientras que el "expositor de tesis" intenta hacer a un lado --dentro de lo mas que le es posible-- las emociones, para plantear en forma --a veces excesivamente racional-- tal o cual circunstancia, en un analisis frio, calculado, absoluto, con tomas de posicion ideologica y politica categoricas y, a veces, dogmaticas, cuando no queda mas opcion que el radicalismo como lucha llevado hasta sus ultimas consecuencias; quiza como un viento de libertad, caso de Bertolt Brecht o de Erwin Piscator o Dario Fo, en cuyas obras subsiste una clara inclinacion hacia la dialectica y la verdad discernida y, por consecuencia natural, denunciatoria.
Los ilimitados recursos desplegados por Lepage van desde la utilizacion del filme documental (en este caso las aventuras y logros de los cosmonautas sovieticos), a la manera propuesta hace casi un siglo por Erwin Piscator, o su interaccion con la tridimensionalidad del cuerpo del actor, pasando por un ambiente sonoro que acentua intimidad, atmosferas, referencias temporales (como el "gis" de las transmisiones televisivas que a los miembros de mi generacion remiten a la infancia), hasta el empleo de la robotica y un diseno espacial que se multiplica con impecable precision para crear todos los espacios requeridos por el relato.
While reading the script, the director was struck by the incendiary style of Williams' social-protest drama, and by the obvious influence of German writer-director Erwin Piscator, a mentor of Bertolt Brecht.
He knows what Edward Gordon Craig, Max Reinhardt and Erwin Piscator did as directors and how Welles's theater grew out of theirs.