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Erwin Piscator – Founder of The New School of Drama

(December 17, 1893- March 30, 1966)
A German theatre director and producer who, along with Bertolt Brecht, brought about the new wave of theatre portrayal in the early to mid-20th century called, ‘Epic Theater’. This form primarily focuses on the ‘socio-political content of drama, rather than its emotional manipulation of the audience or on the production’s formal beauty.’
Besides Piscator’s influence on transformation the New School’s dramatic aspect, his impact of European and American productions allowed theatre to become an instrument to presenting the interpersonal relationships between individuals and their societies. In general, performances would show how people relate to the world around them on a conscious level and their ability to effect change.
“The purpose of theatre”, said Piscator, “should not only be to teach us about the creative process, but to teach us of human relations, human behavior and capacities. It is to this task, consciously and unconsciously, suggestively, and descriptively, that the theatre is best suited.”

Eysium Between Two Continents- Erwin Piscator Award
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Memory of Erwin Piscator: “I would have to make a formal appeal to the workshop’s board. At the appointed time, I arrived to find four judges waiting for me. The most intense one had pink skin, a shock of white hair, and penetrating eyes. He spoke with a German accent, and had a stern Prussian manner. That was the German director I’d heard about, the one who founded the workshop: Erwin Piscator.”

Food for thought: Erwin Piscator obviously had a great impact on Harry Belafonte’s life as an artist. Can you think of someone in your life that has impacted your life in some way?

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