Advertisement

Hamlet and the Fall of the Berlin Wall: The Myth of Interventionist Shakespeare Performance

  • Emily Oliver
Chapter
Part of the Reproducing Shakespeare book series (RESH)

Abstract

The critical reception of Heiner Müller’s 1990 Hamlet/Maschine at the Deutsches Theater in East Berlin epitomizes a trend of crediting GDR Shakespeare performance with political influence. Drawing on rehearsal notes and reviews, Oliver challenges the interventionist Shakespeare myth, contrasting the Deutsches Theater’s political involvement with the impact of its Hamlet production on events surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall. Shakespeare’s capacity for political intervention at this point was limited by theater practitioners’ reliance on public funding, their close relationships with governmental authority, and an underlying distrust of the masses. Ultimately, GDR artists proved useful to the 1989 protest movement because they occupied a unique position at the interface of dissidence and power.

References

  1. Ash, Timothy Garton. 1991. The Uses of Adversity: Essays on the Fate of Central Europe. Revised and Updated Edition. London: Granta Books.Google Scholar
  2. Barnett, David. 2006. Resisting the Revolution: Heiner Müller’s Hamlet/Hamletmaschine at the Deutsches Theater, Berlin, March 1990. Theater Research International 31 (2): 188–200.Google Scholar
  3. Bradley, Laura. 2010. Cooperation and Conflict: GDR Theatre Censorship 1961–1989. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brecht, Bertolt. 1967. Notizen zur Philosophie 1929–1941. In Schriften zur Politik und Gesellschaft, vol. 20 of Gesammelte Werke, ed. Elisabeth Hauptmann, 157–159. Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, Hilda Meldrum. 2008. The Theatre of Dissent from Sturm und Drang to Brecht, 1770–1920. In A History of German Theatre, ed. Simon Williams and Maik Hamburger, 146–170. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Delabastita, Dirk, Jozef De Vos, and Paul Franssen, eds. 2008. Shakespeare and European Politics. Newark: University of Delaware Press.Google Scholar
  7. Dresen, Adolf. 1992. Theater, Deutsche, Rettung: Theater in Deutschland II. In Vom Aufbruch zur Wende: Theater in der DDR, ed. Knut Lennartz, 74–77. Velber: Erhard Friedrich.Google Scholar
  8. Graf, Fritz. 1993. Greek Mythology: An Introduction. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Guntner, J. Lawrence. 2008. Rewriting Shakespeare: Bertolt Brecht, Heiner Müller, and the Politics of Performance. In Shakespeare and European Politics, ed. Dirk Delabastita, Jozef De Vos, and Paul Franssen, 179–195. Newark: University of Delaware Press.Google Scholar
  10. Guntner, J. Lawrence, and Andrew M. McLean. 1998. Redefining Shakespeare: Literary Theory and Theater Practice in the German Democratic Republic. Newark: University of Delaware Press.Google Scholar
  11. Hamburger, Maik. 1998. Shakespeare on the Stages of the German Democratic Republic. In Shakespeare on the German Stage: The Twentieth Century, ed. Wilhelm Hortmann, 369–434. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Hammerthaler, Ralph. 1994. Die Position des Theaters in der DDR. In Theater in der DDR: Chronik und Positionen. Mit einem Essay von Ralph Hammerthaler, ed. Christa Hasche, Traute Schölling, and Joachim Fiebach, 151–261. Berlin: Henschel.Google Scholar
  13. Hattaway, Michael, Boika Sokolova, and Derek Roper, eds. 1994. Shakespeare in the New Europe. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.Google Scholar
  14. Heine, Matthias. 1999. Wie Müllers Hamlet zum Wendestück wurde. Die Welt, October 28.Google Scholar
  15. Höfele, Andreas. 1992. A Theater of Exhaustion? ‘Posthistoire’ in Recent German Shakespeare Productions. Shakespeare Quarterly 43 (1, Spring): 80–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Holderness, Graham. 1992. The Politics of Theatre and Drama. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Kennedy, Dennis, ed. 1993. Foreign Shakespeare: Contemporary Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Kranz, Dieter. 1990. Rundfunk-Sendung von Dieter Kranz im Berliner Rundfunk am 8.5.1990. Verbatim Transcript of Radio Interview, 1–15. Inszenierungsdokumentation 677a, Archiv Akademie der Künste, Berlin.Google Scholar
  19. ———. 1995. Die Kunst der Stunde. In Theater 1995, ed. Peter von Becker, Michael Merschmeier, and Henning Rischbieter, 87–88. Zurich: Füssli & Friedrich.Google Scholar
  20. Kuberski, Angela, comp. 1990. Wir treten aus unseren Rollen heraus: Dokumente des Aufbruchs Herbst ’89. Berlin: Zentrum für Theaterdokumentation und -information.Google Scholar
  21. Ledebur, Ruth Freifrau von. 2008. Shakespeare’s Coriolanus as Staged in Heiner Müller’s Germania 3. In Shakespeare and War, ed. Ros King and Paul J.C.M. Franssen, 138–52. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  22. MacKay, Ellen. 2006. Toward a New Theatre History of Dionysus. Theatre History Studies 26: 71–87.Google Scholar
  23. Mann, Thomas. (1945) 1996. Deutschland und die Deutschen. In Thomas Mann: Essays, vol. 5: Deutschland und die Deutschen: 1938–1945, ed. Hermann Kurzke and Stephan Stachorski, 260–281. Frankfurt/Main: S. Fischer.Google Scholar
  24. Martin, Thomas. 1989a. Probennotat, 17.11.89. Inszenierungsdokumentation 677a, Archiv Akademie der Künste, Berlin.Google Scholar
  25. ———. 1989b. Probennotat 23.11.89. Inszenierungsdokumentation 677a, Archiv Akademie der Künste, Berlin.Google Scholar
  26. ———. 1989c. 11./12.12.89 Durchlauf. Inszenierungsdokumentation 677a, Archiv Akademie der Künste, Berlin.Google Scholar
  27. Müller, Heiner. (1988) 2001. Shakespeare a Difference. In A Heiner Müller Reader, ed. Carl Weber, 118–21. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  28. ———. 1989. Mich interessiert der Fall Althusser. In Heiner Müller Material, ed. Frank Hörnigk, 25–29. Leipzig: Reclam.Google Scholar
  29. Patterson, Michael, and Michael Huxley. 1998. German Drama, Theatre and Dance. In The Cambridge Companion to Modern German Culture, ed. Eva Kolinsky and Wilfried van der Will, 213–232. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Rübesame, Hans, ed. 2010. Antrag auf Demonstration: Die Protestversammlung im Deutschen Theater am 15. Oktober 1989. Berlin: Christoph Links.Google Scholar
  31. Rüter, Christoph, dir. 1990. Die Zeit ist aus den Fugen: Heiner Müller, die Hamletmaschine und der Mauerfall, DVD. Aired August 20, 1991, WDR. Berlin: absolut Medien GmbH.Google Scholar
  32. ———. 2008. “Jetzt bin ich allein”: Der Schauspieler Ulrich Mühe, DVD. Aired September 29, 2008, Arte. Berlin: Chrisoph Rüter Filmproduktion.Google Scholar
  33. Shurbanov, Alexander, and Boika Sokolova. 2001. Painting Shakespeare Red: An East-European Appropriation. Newark: University of Delaware Press.Google Scholar
  34. Stadelmaier, Gerhard. 1990. Hamletmaschinenbau. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, March 26, 1990.Google Scholar
  35. Steiner, George. 1971. In Bluebeard’s Castle: Some Notes Towards the Re-definition of Culture. London: Faber & Faber.Google Scholar
  36. Stříbrný, Zdeněk. 2000. Shakespeare and Eastern Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Sucher, C. Bernd. 1990. Acht Stunden in Helsingör. Süddeutsche Zeitung, March 26, 1990.Google Scholar
  38. Suschke, Stephan. 1989a. “Konzeptionsprobe, 29.9.89.” Inszenierungsdokumentation 677a, Archiv Akademie der Künste, Berlin.Google Scholar
  39. ———. 1989b. “1. Probe, 30.8.89.” Inszenierungsdokumentation 677a, Archiv Akademie der Künste, Berlin.Google Scholar
  40. ———. 1989c. “5.9.89.” Inszenierungsdokumentation 677a, Archiv Akademie der Künste, Berlin.Google Scholar
  41. ———. 1989d. “12.10.89.” Inszenierungsdokumentation 677a, Archiv Akademie der Künste, Berlin.Google Scholar
  42. ———. 1989e. “23.10.89.” Inszenierungsdokumentation 677a, Archiv Akademie der Künste, Berlin.Google Scholar
  43. ———. 1989f. “9.11.89.” Inszenierungsdokumentation 677a, Archiv Akademie der Künste, Berlin.Google Scholar
  44. ———. 1990. “17.1.90.” Inszenierungsdokumentation 677a, Archiv Akademie der Künste, Berlin.Google Scholar
  45. Varney, Denise. 2008. Theatre in the Berlin Republic: Introduction. In Theatre in the Berlin Republic: German Drama Since Reunification, ed. Varney, 9–30. Oxford: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  46. Wahl, Christine. 2009. Lasst uns doch alle gemeinsam den Rechtsweg gehen! In Theater 2009, ed. Erhard Friedrich and Henning Rischbieter, 36–47. Berlin: Friedrich Berlin.Google Scholar
  47. Weimann, Robert. 1978. Shakespeare and the Popular Tradition in the Theatre: Studies in the Social Dimension of Dramatic Form and Function, Trans. and Ed. Robert Schwartz. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily Oliver
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WarwickCoventryUK

Personalised recommendations