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Erwin Piscator and the American Theatre


Prof. Gerhard F. Probst

As the centennial of his birth approaches, a revaluation of Erwin Piscator's influence on the theatre of the western world seems due. Although he was the first to do political qua epic theatre, it was his pupil Brecht who received all the attention.
During the Hitler years Piscator spent almost 13 years (1939-1951) in the United States where he founded and directed the Dramatic Workshop at the New School for Social Research and had among his students Beatrice Arthur, Harry Belafonte, Marlon Brando, Tony Curtis, Judith Malina, Walther Matthau, Tony Randall, to name only a few. The question is raised whether his alleged influence can be felt in contemporary American theatre, particularly with regard to playwrights such as A. Miller, R.P. Warren, Th. Wilder, and Tennessee Williams.
Contents: Revaluation of Erwin Piscator's influence on the American theatre, especially on Arthur Miller, Robert Penn Warren, and Tennessee Williams - Discussion of epic theatre in US and EP's relationship to American literature from the 1920's on.