Reconstruction in the West German theatre : from the "Stunde Null" to the currency reform
This account of reconstruction in the post-war German theatre analyzes the development of theatre in the Western Zones between 8 May 1945 and 20 June 1948. It establishes a number of previously unknown facts about the types and numbers of theatres which existed, which plays were premiered during the three seasons, as well as reconstructing and investigating the repertoires of twenty selected houses. The findings allow received opinions to be challenged concerning the status of Berlin and other leading theatre centres in relation to provincial houses and the alleged absence of contemporary German drama. They also lead to revisions of data on repertoires, production dates, premieres and so on. An assessment of the difficult and contradictory status of the German theatre at the time illustrates the tensions in cultural and national reconstruction within Germany, and the uniquely significant role played by theatre as a focus for re-establishing national and personal identity in the devastation following the Second World War. The thesis was largely researched at theatres and archives in the Federal Republic of Germany and Berlin since no systematic attempt had previously been undertaken to analyze each of the aspects covered in relation to the three Western Zones individually and comparatively. The three main divisions of the account deal with the context for reconstruction (the roles and ideas of the German theatres and critics and of the Allied authorities; the physical conditions determining reconstruction); a statistical overview of theatres, premieres and repertoires; an investigation of the roles and significance of foreign drama, the German classics, and modern German drama in relation to national and cultural redevelopment illustrated by production reconstructions of selected works: (Anouilh: Antigone; Wilder: Wir sind noch einmal davongekommen; Ardrey: Leuchtfeuer; Goethe: Iphigenie auf Tauris; Lesslng: Nathan der Weise; Borchert: DrauBen vor der TUr; Weisenborn: Die Illegalen; Wolf: Professor Mamlock; Zuckmayer: Des Teufels General).