Friedrich Ludwig Schröder


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Schröder, Friedrich Ludwig

 

Born Nov. 3, 1744, in Schwerin; died Sept. 3, 1816, in Rellingen. German actor, stage director, teacher, and theater figure.

Schröder, son of the famous tragedienne S. S. Schröder, is considered, along with G. E. Lessing, to have been the greatest representative of the German Enlightenment theater. Making his stage debut as a child, he performed in the company of his stepfather, K. Ackermann, until 1756 and again in 1759 and 1760. From 1756 to 1759 he performed in the circus troupe of M. Stuart as a dancer, juggler, and acrobat and appeared in farces with J. F. von Kurz’ company. Schröder helped found the Hamburg National Theater, and during the years 1771–80, 1785–98, and 1811–12 he headed the company. From 1781 to 1785 he worked in the Vienna Burgtheater. In Ackermann’s company, Schröder played comic roles, becoming known as a master of improvisation. He also staged and composed approximately 70 ballets.

Schröder was the first German actor to play the role of Truffaldino in Goldoni’s A Servant of Two Masters. He was the first to present Shakespeare’s tragedies, notably Hamlet, King Lear, Macbeth, and Othello, on the German stage. These productions were in his own translations, and Schröder played the leading roles. Schröder also performed in the dramas of F. Schiller and in D. Diderot’s bourgeois drama The Father of the Family.

Schröder established a national German repertoire, affirmed realist principles in stage design, and taught a natural, psychologically truthful and inspired method of acting. His acting harmoniously combined inner emotion with carefully conceived outward means of expression.

REFERENCES

Gvozdev, A. A. “Ot akrobatizma k tragicheskomy iskusstvu.” In his Iz istorii teatra i dramy. Petrograd, 1923.
Hoffmann, P. F. Friedrich Ludwig Schröder als Dramaturg und Regisseur. Berlin, 1939.