Theater in the Planned Society: Contemporary Drama in the German Democratic Republic

Theater in the Planned Society: Contemporary Drama in the German Democratic Republic

Theater in the Planned Society: Contemporary Drama in the German Democratic Republic

Theater in the Planned Society: Contemporary Drama in the German Democratic Republic

Excerpt

History officially begins for the German Democratic Republic on 7 October 1949, when a new People's Parliament and a new constitution took over the affairs of state from the Soviet Military Administration. But the prehistory of that state, the years between the end of the Second World War in 1945 and the date of obtained sovereignty, cannot be divorced from the historical process. In a span of twenty-nine years, this process has brought one-third of a totally devastated nation from utter economic and cultural prostration to an economic and cultural position within the alliance of Eastern European socialist states second only to that of the Soviet Union. The history of the theater in the German Democratic Republic is an integral part of this cultural, economic and political development. An objective study of East Germany's dramatic literature must necessarily strive for a historical perspective if it is to be fully understood.

In Theater Bilanz, an excellent, all-encompassing survey of GDR theater compiled in 1971 under the auspices of the Society of Theater Workers of the GDR, the history of East German theater is viewed as a historically homogeneous and continuous phenomenon:

The continuity of development of GDR theater is evident in the stages of its manifestation: in building the base for an antifascist, democratic theater (1945-49), in the development of the humanistic people's theater in the new state (1949-55), in the creation of the premises for a socialist national theater of the GDR (1956-62), and in the maturing period of the theater arts in the developed, i.e., fully achieved, socialist society of the GDR.

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