The Contemporary Topical Drama
Since 1949, when the beginning of a socialist realistic theater tradition in the German Democratic Republic was defined by the works of the veteran prewar Communist writers Friedrich Wolf, Karl Grünberg and Gustav von Wangenheim, the straightforward development of that tradition had always been threatened with interruption by exacerbations of an experimental drama essentially based on a development of Bertolt Brecht's theories of a dialectic theater. These upheavals were rejected by the literary policymakers first as formalism/objectivism ( 1951-52), then as revisionistic abstract dialectics alien to the interests of the workers ( 1958-59), and finally as petit-bourgeois skepticism and pornography ( 1965-66).
These dialectic digressions, as exercised for the last time in 1965 by Heiner Müller's Construction, Peter Hacks Moritz Tassow, and even Volker Braun Dumper Paul Bauch, are essentially revolutionary because they demonstrate basic dialectic contradictions of their society; they are revolutionary theater in a society which has itself ceased to be revolutionary. If that society acknowledges no contradiction other than the fact that it is great yet humble--which is the case in point--a demonstration of true contradictions implies a basic need for change in the social structure. But a dramatic approach based upon the utopian Marxist goal of continuing revolutionary development toward the ideal Communist state is not viable in a society in which socialism has been declared final and permanent. In crystallizing the ideological results of the Seventh Party Congress (17-22 April 1967), Walter Ulbricht maintained that "socialism is not a short- term transitional phase in the development of society, but a relatively independent socioeconomic system in the historical epoch of transition from capitalism to Communism on a worldwide scale."1____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Theater in the Planned Society: Contemporary Drama in the German Democratic Republic. Contributors: H. G. Huettich - Author. Publisher: University of North Carolina Press. Place of publication: Chapel Hill, NC. Publication year: 1978. Page number: 141.
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