Revolution On Stage: Erwin Piscator & Radical Art In The 20th Century
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Level: Undergraduate, Graduate
Division: The New School for Social Research
Department: Liberal Studies
Course Number: GLIB 5844
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Liberal Arts
  • Art History, Theory & Criticism
  • Theater
This course is timed to the celebration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Dramatic Workshop at the New School (1939), overseen for a decade by Erwin Piscator (1893-1966), one of the most influential radical artists in the twentieth century. In addition to studying Piscator’s many influential political interventions in the arts, especially in relationship to the parallel (and far better known) career of Bertolt Brecht, the course also serves as an introduction to the era’s Marxist aesthetic debates and criticism in the first half of the twentieth century – an especially fertile period in Western Marxist thought. At the same time, the course will trace the development of political theatre from its origins in the didactic humanism of Lessing’s drama “Nathan the Wise,” which Piscator later staged on Broadway, to the formation of proletarian and popular theatres in Germany and Russia after WWI (and then in the United States after WWII). In addition to surveying the work of Piscator and Brecht, students will read plays by Lessing, Schiller, Büchner, Hauptmann, Shaw, Gorky, Witkacy, and Weiss, among others. This course satisfies the Drama requirement for Lang Literary Studies majors.
Course Open to: Degree Students with Restrictions