The stage design of social imitation: As a political artefact in central European music theatre in the second half of 20th century

Peter Mazalán


Since the second half of the 20th century, theatre has started using rather different forms of its expression tools. Mainly in German theatre society, critics have started to use the term that refers to this new practice as “Regietheater“(director ́s theatre). These new directing tendencies in drama interpretation led to reinterpretation of plays by exchanging or substitution of various schemes and levels of the original structures of the story such as geographical location, historical period or the relationships’ patterns. Theatre in general and especially opera, as the most comprehensive artistic form, have always had the biggest power and potential to discuss the most delicate and complicated political issues. Giuseppe Verdi or Richard Wagner can be taken as examples of artistic geniuses of that age whose works was used as an important instrument to support regimes or politicians in diverse aesthetical narratives. Music or story can be timeless especially in 21st century – the century of the liveliest visualisation. One of the ways how to make the product more attractive and appealing, raising new questions and platforms for dialogue between different cultures, is the transformation of the theatre reality into a local portrait – a visual frame that brings the drama to completely new dimensions. Anna Viebrock, as one of the most influential directors and stage designers, started to implement existing places, architecture and interiors connected mostly to former Eastern Germany. With her usage of scenic space in various theatres across Europe, interesting questions have arisen. This tendency in stage design has been described as “hyperrealistic social imitation“.

Keywords: realism, heterotopy, architecture, theatre, scenography