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Staging the Volk : Nazi policy and the reality of theatrical production in three Berlin theatres, 1933-1944 / by Hillary A. Rosenberg.

Publication | Library Call Number: PN2656.B42 R67 2010

Although theatrical production flourished during Nazi Germany, resulting in tens of thousands of performance events, there is very little English language scholarship on theatre in Nazi Germany. The definitive theatre history textbook, Oscar Brockett’s History of the Theatre, barely mentions this eleven year period. If the period is mentioned in theatre history surveys, there is the implication that theatrical production during this time must be either morally bankrupt or artistically inferior and is therefore unworthy of further study. This viewpoint is far too simplistic, and there is a need for a more in-depth examination of the theatre produced during the Third Reich.For the Nazis, creating a national, Aryan identity was the centerpiece of their political vision. The theatre offered the regime an incredibly useful tool. On the stage, the German identity could go beyond mere description and become flesh and blood. But to what extent was this vision of a staged national identity actually carried out on the German stage?In this study, I examine several productions at three theatres in Berlin: the Theater des Volkes, the Deutsches Theater, and the Berliner Staatstheater. Each of these theatres had direct ties to high-ranking Nazi officials and they were offered up as the jewels in the crown of the Nazi theatrical establishment. Because of this connection, productions at these theatres provide effective case studies for interrogating the relationship between the regime and theatrical production.In the first chapter I will explore the National Socialist theatrical ideology and examine how this ideology was translated into political policy. Each of the remaining three chapters will then focus on one particular theatre to investigate how this policy shaped performance. How (if at all) did these theatres with such close connections to the Nazi regime express National Socialist ideology against the shifting framework of the official cultural policies of the Third Reich?By combining a study of the organizational practices and political ideology of the Nazi theatre with an analysis of the performances that took place in those theatres, I will present a critical analysis of the theatrical in light of the political.

Rosenberg, Hillary A.
Record last modified: 2018-05-18 16:20:00
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