Heiner Muller's Democratic Theater: The Politics of Making the Audience Work

Heiner Muller's Democratic Theater: The Politics of Making the Audience Work

by Michael Wood


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The East German playwright Heiner Müller (1929-1995) is one of the most influential European dramatists and theater directors since Brecht. While critical literature on Müller often discusses the politics of his works, analysis tends to stop at the level of the text, neglecting the theatrical events that emerge from it and the audiences for which it was written and performed. Situating his study within Müller's interests in democracy and audience activity,Michael Wood addresses these gaps in scholarship, making an original contribution to the understanding of Müller's work as playwright and director.
In 1985, Müller spoke of the importance of a "democratic" theater: one thatconfronts theatergoers with densely contradictory material that they must interpret for themselves, reflecting the complexity of material reality and encouraging them to question their participation in political life. Wood's studyshows that Müller sought to do this in his combined 1988 production of Der Lohndrücker, Der Horatier, and Wolokolamsker Chaussee IV: Kentauren, staged at a time when questions of democracy were at the forefront of East German consciousness. It also demonstrates that from the beginning of his career Müller tried to make theater that would create a form of democracy both within and outside the theater.

Michael Wood is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Edinburgh, where he received his Ph D in 2014.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781571139986
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer, Limited
Publication date: 06/30/2017
Series: Studies in German Literature Linguistics and Culture Series , #180
Pages: 240
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Producing the New Public: Der Lohndrücker, 1956-60
Process and the Public Forum: Der Horatier, 1968-73
Treating Woodworm: Wolokolamsker Chaussee IV: Kentauren, 1986
"SOMETHING IS ROTTEN IN THIS AGE OF HOPE": Der Lohndrücker at the Deutsches Theater, 1988-91

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