poster of Das Jahrhundert des Theaters
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Das Jahrhundert des Theaters (2002)

"The Century of the Theater" - From the "birth of the director" to the "heroes of modernity" - an overview of the world of theater - illuminates the interaction with the history of the past hundred years is also shown.

  • Peter von Becker
Release Date: Sat, Apr 06, 2002

Country: DE
Language: De

Season 1:

The Birth of the Director
Episode 1: The Birth of the Director (Apr 06, 2002)
The dawn of the 20th century is changing the performing arts more than ever in its more than two thousand year history. Arthur Schnitzler continues what Ibsen and Strindberg have prepared for the realistic drama under the impression of Freud and psychoanalysis: the human psyche is interpreted for the first time - also on stage. The theater develops from embodied declamation to multi-layered staging. The director was born, it was Max Reinhardt's great theatrical years in Germany and Konstantin Stanislawski in Russia, whose drama theories are still the basis of all stage training to this day.
Games of the Dictatorships 1933-45
Episode 2: Games of the Dictatorships 1933-45 (Apr 14, 2002)
Under the pressure of the totalitarian regimes of Stalinism and Fascism, theater artists in Spain, Russia and Germany increasingly came into conflict between resistance and adaptation. Numerous playwrights and directors went into exile. However, most of them stayed in their homeland and began to come to terms with the Nazis, since they were unable to speak any language other than their mother tongue. From then on, no Jewish or "left" authors were allowed to be played, only classics and apolitical entertainment were still allowed. Gustaf Gründgens, stage star of the century, became general director of the Berlin State Theater despite his connections to "leftist" artists and staged - not only on stage - a clever double play. In the meantime, the system used itself theatrical means and made the state a monumental and cruel "state theater"
Looking back - theater between 1945 - 65
Episode 3: Looking back - theater between 1945 - 65 (Apr 21, 2002)
Germany is in ruins, but theater was played again in May 1945. People are looking for entertainment and moral edification. Under the impression of the Cold War, the theater tumbles between the worlds: between renewal and restoration, between taking a breath and protesting outcry. Gustaf Gründgen's “Faust” together with his film version becomes a legend. Brecht's work on the Berlin ensemble has shaped the GDR theater for decades. The returning emigrant Fritz Kortner is particularly fascinating and provocative in West German theater. From the mid-1960s, his productions shaped a new generation of directors. In Italy, a former young partisan, Giorgio Strehler, founded the Piccolo Teatro in the former quarter of the fascist secret police. The new human theater in the former torture house aims to combine political awareness with the most artistic and aesthetic ambitions.
Business game or endgame - Brecht and Beckett
Episode 4: Business game or endgame - Brecht and Beckett (Apr 28, 2002)
Bertolt Brecht and Samuel Beckett were the antipodes of the theater after 1945. As the last great poet of the Enlightenment, Brecht updated his play "The Life of Galileo Galilei", which was premiered in American exile, after the shock of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Back in Germany, he founded his own theater in East Berlin: the Berlin Ensemble, which set new standards for the international scene. During this time Beckett's rise also began, in 1953 "Waiting for Godot" was premiered. Beckett embodied the radical counter-proposal to the politically committed theater of Brecht: he transformed the aesthetic and historical experiences of the century into pure, existential play. With their productions, Brecht and Beckett became icons of their time. Only the new director's theater emerged from the shadows of the two artists, as the directors themselves became more and more “authors” of the scene.
The Children of Marx and Coca Cola - The Theater of Revolt 1963-76
Episode 5: The Children of Marx and Coca Cola - The Theater of Revolt 1963-76 (May 05, 2002)
The Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, the revolts in Paris and Prague are creating new political awareness, leading to demonstrations and also to artistic provocations. Performance groups such as "Living Theater" and "Bread and Puppet" from New York open up new spaces and playgrounds for the theater - including the street. In Paris, Ariane Mnouchkine and her “Théâtre du Soleil” magnificently put the revolution on stage with “1793” and later on the screen. This is also the beginning of a renewal of the popular political theater, which is particularly evident in Dario Fo's theater. In Germany, the theater in Bremen becomes a source of renewal: the directors Peter Zadek, Peter Stein and Klaus Michael Grüber make classics like Goethe and Schiller contemporary. Peter Weiss proclaims "No revolution without general copulation" in his "Marat / Sade" play, which is a worldwide success on stage and in Peter Brooks film adaptation. With the foundation of the Schaubühne in Berlin by Peter Stein, the “revolteurs” then took over the power in the theater.
Heroes of Postmodernism - The Theater Between Self-reflection and Crossing the Border 1970–2001
Episode 6: Heroes of Postmodernism - The Theater Between Self-reflection and Crossing the Border 1970–2001 (May 12, 2002)
The theater at the end of the 20th century marginalized contemporary drama. But there are also exceptions: Thomas Bernhard's plays, especially in Claus Peymann's productions with Bernhard Minetti, Marianne Hoppe, Kirsten Dene and Gert Voss, become actor festivals. Botho Strauß develops brilliant forms of intellectual social comedy. Franz-Xaver Kroetz renews the dialect-critical folk play. The stage serves less and less as a tribunal for enlightenment, the new media are too fast for the theater and hardly allow current time pieces. Peter Stein contrasts his own wild beginnings with a new fidelity to the work. In addition, the theater of deconstructing given texts flourishes with Frank Castorf and his disciples. Directors such as Robert Wilson and Christoph Marthaler are even more decisive in delimiting the literary-dramatic theater and opening the stage for music, dance and video. This brings the theater closer to its oldest dream: the dream of a total work of art.

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