Bennewitz, Goethe, 'Faust'

Bennewitz, Goethe, 'Faust': German and Intercultural Stagings

DAVID G. JOHN
Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 344
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt2ttt3v
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  • Book Info
    Bennewitz, Goethe, 'Faust'
    Book Description:

    Bennewitz, Goethe, Faustmakes a cogent argument for this director's place alongside the twentieth century's greatest theatre innovators.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9590-0
    Subjects: Performing Arts, Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
    David G. John
  4. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. [Illustration]
    (pp. 1-2)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 3-14)

    Prominent and lesser-known playwrights of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) turned frequently to the use of classical adaptation to create metaphors for the exploration of intellectual, social, and political conditions in their country. In doing so, they were able to engage the stage in a dialogue with its audiences despite the increasingly watchful eye of state censors. Their use of classical themes and models was also in keeping with the official GDR doctrine on the sustenance and development of the arts, which included an unabashed commitment to classical theatre as a vehicle to educate the citizenry, and while the works...

  7. Part I Fritz Bennewitz
    • 1 Persona and Theory
      (pp. 17-43)

      For a man who was prominent on the East German and international theatre scenes for more than thirty years, who held the position as resident director of Weimarʹs Nationaltheater for most of that time, who directed over a hundred plays there and dozens performed on other East German, West German, and international stages, biographical information on Fritz Bennewitz in theatre lexica is surprisingly slim. Brief, if incomplete, overviews of his career do appear in RischbieterʹsTheater-Lexikon(1983), Baumgartner and HebigʹsBiographisches Handbuch der SBZ/DDR(1996), Trilse-Finkelstein and HammerʹsLexikon Theater International(1995), SucherʹsTheaterlexikon(1999), and LalʹsOxford Companion to...

    • 2 Peers: Interviews with Erika Stephan, Dieter Görne, and Wolfgang Engel
      (pp. 44-68)

      The following interviews are with three of Bennewitzʹs contemporaries. They were all recorded personally by the author between 1999 and 2001, and their texts have been approved for publication by the interviewees. All three are eminent persons in the history of theatre in the German Democratic Republic and, after the reunification, German theatre in general. All still reside in eastern Germany. Erika Stephan (1929–) studied with Bennewitz in Weimar and was an instructor at the Theaterhochschule in Leipzig as well as a prominent theatre critic from 1960 until her official retirement in 1989; still, she recently co-edited a book...

  8. Part II The German Stagings of Faust:: Chronicle of a Society
    • 3 Hooray for Socialism! Weimar 1965/67
      (pp. 71-102)

      The fact that Fritz Bennewitzʹs first WeimarFaustwas produced for the GDRʹs ʹNationaltheaterʹ in Weimar, that its Part I premièred on 7 October, the celebration of the founding day of the German Democratic Republic (Tag der Republik), that Part II was scheduled to première on the same day two years later, and that it was filmed for national television and broadcast repeatedly, are all signs that thisFaustwas meant to be a grand statement of East German politics and social order through the medium of art, a validation of the GDRʹs accomplishments and promising future. The production was...

    • 4 Hooray for Socialism? Weimar 1975
      (pp. 103-128)

      A year after Bennewitzʹs firstFausthad opened in both parts, Warsaw Pact troops overran Czechoslovakia, crushing Alexander Dubćekʹs attempt to liberalize and democratize his country in the Prague Spring, and clamping down on its socialist neighbours. The year 1968 was pivotal for pan-European and Western world politics in general, for Eastern Europe and the GDR because of this invasion, Western Europe because of the revolt of young people in the academy and society, Southeast Asia because of the Vietnam War, and North America because of the rising protest against the United States and militarism in general. In that fabled...

    • 5 Socialism? Weimar 1981/82
      (pp. 129-159)

      As Bennewitzʹs 1975Faustran through its first year, the SEDʹs ninth party convention in 1976 trumpeted optimism under Erich Honeckerʹs leadership, but at the same time the economy of the German Democratic Republic was fragile and freedom of speech and movement continued to be restricted. The Berlin Wall remained, the Stasi continued to go about its work, the political tutelage in schools and the place of the Freie Deutsche Jugend became even more pronounced. More and more artists left the country, for example, the immensely popular protest singer and confirmed socialist Bettina Wegner in 1981. The classic example of...

    • 6 ʹAlles für die Katzʹ: Meiningen 1995
      (pp. 160-180)

      In the years during and immediately following the reunification of Germany, Bennewitz wrote passionately about the collapse of the German Democratic Republic, as is evident in his correspondence, and he became increasingly estranged from his homeland. During the years 1989–94 he directed in India (all in the local language)Die Dreigroschenoperin Bhopal,Der gute Mensch von SezuanandA Midsummer Nightʹs Dreamin Heggodu,Twelfth NightandDer groβe Friedenin New Delhi,Faust Iin Bombay,Faust IandIIin Manila, andMann ist Mannin Dhaka, Bangladesh. In the same period he directed the opera...

  9. Part III The Intercultural Stagings of Faust
    • 7 The First Black Gretchen: New York 1978
      (pp. 183-204)

      On 5 May 1978, GoetheʹsFaust I,in Walter Kaufmannʹs translation (1961) and directed by Fritz Bennewitz, opened at the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club (LMA) on the Lower East Side of Manhattan Island, New York. With thirteen performances through 21 May, it was a major production with twenty-two actors, an eight-person chorus, six musicians, numerous dancers, and eighteen crew members. This was a federally funded cultural project, made possible by the Comprehensive Employment Training Act (CETA) Artists Program, which was devised to support unemployed talented artists and contribute to the cultural strength of the community. La MaMa was and...

    • Illustrations
      (pp. None)
    • 8 The Hindu Faust: Bombay 1994
      (pp. 205-231)

      In his interview, Dieter Görne made these remarks about Bennewitz and India:

      Ich weiß gar nicht, wie gut er da als Regisseur war. Aber dort war er als Theaterenthusiast und einer, der für Theater wirklich mit aller Leidenschaft und Konsequenz lebte. Da war er, denke ich, unglaublich gut und unentbehrlich. Er war ein neugieriger Mensch, er wollte nicht abgekapselt leben, sondern wollte, wenn er nun schon da war, das Leben kennenlernen. Von einem der ersten Besuche in Indien ist er todkrank nach Hause gekommen, weil er Eisenbahn gefahren ist, letzte Klasse, und irgendwann verseuchtes Wasser getrunken hat. Er hat Jahre...

    • 9 The Christian Faust: Manila 1994
      (pp. 232-263)

      The Republic of the Philippines is an archipelago of 7,100 islands in Southeast Asia, about a thousand of which are populated with more than ninety million people. It has a centuries-old Malay-type indigenous culture with diverse influences from outside. The Filipinos have been repeatedly colonized during the last half millennium, so much so that their indigenous cultures have become blended with those of their colonizers, for more than three centuries the Spanish (1565–1896), and for almost a half century the Americans (1900–46). It has only been independent again since just after the Second World War, although American influence...

    • 10 From Loyalist to Intercultural Pioneer
      (pp. 264-270)

      Fritz Bennewitzʹs direction of GoetheʹsFaustseven times, four in his native country, three abroad, was by volume alone a singular accomplishment in German stage history. For most of his mature life Bennewitz was a citizen of a state well known for its restrictive control of movement, especially to Western countries, yet from 1970 until the reunification of Germany in 1989 he travelled and worked in his profession abroad at least once annually, and, more commonly, several times. Only a loyal party member could gain such freedom, and that he was. Yet his belief in socialism as it was being...

  10. Appendix 1. Fritz Bennewitz: Biographical Highlights
    (pp. 271-273)
  11. Appendix 2. Fritz Bennewitzʹs Travels
    (pp. 274-276)
  12. Appendix 3. Plays Directed by Fritz Bennewitz
    (pp. 277-284)
  13. Appendix 4. Holdings of the Fritz Bennewitz Archive
    (pp. 285-288)
  14. Bibliography: Archival and Other Unpublished Sources (Typescript Unless Otherwise Indicated)
    (pp. 289-296)
  15. Bibliography: Reviews of Bennewitzʹs Productions of Faust
    (pp. 296-302)
  16. Bibliography: All Other Published Sources
    (pp. 303-312)
  17. Index
    (pp. 313-330)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 331-331)