Erwin Piscator

Dr.Annette Beer kindly invited “Discover Berlin through Literatur” group for an evening lecture on 27 January 2019. Michael Lahr, the Program Director of “Elysium - Between Two Continents”, talked about the revolutionary changes in theater in the 1920s pioneered by Erwin Piscator, the originator of the epic theatre.

The gruesome experiences during the World War I had shattered Piscator's outlook on the world. He produced social and political plays to present his political ideology: propagation of left-wing. In order to draw the audience into the scenic events, he used films, cinematic projections, lighting effects, scaffold and globus-stage, conveyer belts, and employed acoustical devices that always created new effects. He did not succeed in triggering a political revolution, neither through his proletarian theatre, nor through his agitprop. However, his technical and dramaturgical innovation of his epic theater has made a revolution in the aesthetic perception in the 1920s. Since theater has never changed since the Baroque era, Piscator’s experiments were the revolution itself.