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Dramaturgy Database

The crisis in West German dramaturgy

In this PhD dissertation Lynn Ann Sobieski offers an insight into the practice of dramaturgy in West Germany just before the fall of the Berlin Wall. First the author explores various lexical definitions of the terms ‘dramaturgy’ and ‘dramaturg’ in three different languages. She then examines the (in 1986) current practice of dramaturgy in West Germany and its state of ‘crisis,’ during which the employment and appreciation of dramaturgs in artistic processes had declined after a long and fruitful history and development starting with Gotthold Lessing. After sketching this landscape the author offers a detailed documentation of the 1985 production of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Katzelmacher at Munich’s Bayerische Staatsschauspiel. The focus of this documentation is how the dramaturg Uwe Carstensen works within and affects the artistic process, and which obstacles he encounters. The author then returns to the aforementioned crisis in West German dramaturgy and contextualizes this with an examination of changes in the practice of dramaturgy in the first part of the 1980s that might have led to that situation.

Sobieski, Lynn Ann. “The crisis in West German dramaturgy.” PhD diss., New York University, 1986.