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Series editors: C. Balme; T. Davis; C. Cole


Transnational Theatre Histories

Series Editors
Christopher B. Balme
Institut für Theaterwissenschaft
Munich, Germany

Tracy C. Davis
Northwestern University, USA

Catherine M. Cole
College of Arts and Sciences
University of Washington, Seattle, USA

Transnational Theatre Histories illuminates vectors of cultural exchange,
migration, appropriation, and circulation that long predate the more
recent trends of neoliberal globalization. Books in the series document
and theorize the emergence of theatre, opera, dance, and performance
against backgrounds such as imperial expansion, technological develop-
ment, modernity, industrialization, colonization, diplomacy, and cultural
self-determination. Proposals are invited on topics such as:

• theatrical trade routes
• public spheres through cross-cultural contact
• the role of multi-ethnic metropolitan centers and port cities
• modernization and modernity experienced in transnational contexts
• new materialism: objects moving across borders and regions
• migration and recombination of aesthetics and forms
• colonization and decolonization as transnational projects
• performance histories of cross- or inter-cultural contact
• festivals, exchanges, partnerships, collaborations, and co-productions
• diplomacy, state and extra-governmental involvement, support, or
• historical perspectives on capital, finance, and administration
• processes of linguistic and institutional translation
• translocality, glocality, transregional and omnilocal vectors
• developing new forms of collaborative authorship

More information about this series at

Christopher B. Balme  •  Berenika Szymanski-Düll

Globalization and
the Cold War

Christopher B. Balme Berenika Szymanski-Düll
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität
Munich, Germany Munich, Germany

Transnational Theatre Histories
ISBN 978-3-319-48083-1    ISBN 978-3-319-48084-8 (eBook)
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-48084-8

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Cover illustration: Rosina’s first appearance in Act I of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia,
1974, Bayerische Staatsoper.
Photo: Sabine Toepffer

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 1 Introduction 1
Christopher B. Balme and Berenika Szymanski-Düll

Part I  Shifting Borders: Tours and Touring 23

  2 A Cold War Battleground: Catfish Row versus the Nevsky
Prospekt 25
Charlotte M. Canning

  3 Spirituals, Serfs, and Soviets: Paul Robeson and 
International Race Policy in the Soviet
Union at the Start of the Cold War 45
Christopher Silsby

  4 The Politics of an International Reputation:
The Berliner Ensemble as a GDR Theatre on Tour 59
David Barnett

  5 ‘A tour to the West could bring a lot of 
trouble…’—The Mazowsze State Folk Song and 
Dance Ensemble during the First Period of the Cold War 73
Berenika Szymanski-Düll

vi   Contents

  6 Song and Dance Ensembles in Central European Militaries:
The Spread, Transformation and Retreat of a
Soviet Model 87
Václav Šmidrkal

  7 Theatre, Propaganda and the Cold War: Peter Brook’s
Midsummer Night’s Dream in Eastern Europe (1972) 107
Zoltán Imre

Part II  Institutions and Institutional Imbrications 131

  8 MI5 Surveillance of British Cold War Theatre 133
James Smith

  9 Creating an International Community during
the Cold War 151
Hanna Korsberg

10 The Cultural Cold War on the Home Front:
The Political Role of Theatres in Communist
Kraków and Leipzig 165
Kyrill Kunakhovich

Part III  Acting, Artists and Art Between the Battlefronts 187

11 Years of Compromise and Political Servility—Kantor
and Grotowski during the Cold War 189
Karolina Prykowska Michalak

12 ‘A Memorable French-Romanian Evening’: Nationalism
and the Cold War at the Theatre of Nations Festival 207
Ioana Szeman

Stanislavsky. 1970s to Early 1990s 273 Christine Matzke 17 ‘How close is Angola to us?’ Peter Weiss’s Play Song of the Lusitanian Bogeyman in the  Shadow of the Cold War 293 Rikard Hoogland 18 Manila and the World Dance Space: Nationalism and Globalization in Cold War Philippines and South East Asia 307 meLê yamomo and Basilio E. Villaruz Bibliography325 Index343 . Contents   vii 13 An Eastern Bloc Cultural Figure? Brecht’s Reception by Young Left-wingers in Greece in the 1970s 223 Nikolaos Papadogiannis 14 Acting on the Cold War: Imperialist Strategies. and Brecht in German Actor Training after 1945 239 Anja Klöck 15 Checkpoint Music Drama 259 Sebastian Stauss Part IV  Postcolonial Perspectives 271 16 Whose Side Are You On? Cold War Trajectories in Eritrean Drama Practice.

Cambridge Scholars. His current research interests focus on the legacy of modernism in the globalization of the arts. He has published in peer-reviewed journals (Perepeti and the Nordic Journal of Culture Policy) and in anthologies published by She is the author of On the Performance Front: US Theatre and Internationalism (2015). theatre and the public sphere. Rikard  Hoogland  is Senior Lecturer in Theatre Studies at Stockholm University. and the relationship between media and performance. Ohlms. Charlotte M. He has written several articles and essays on German-. David Barnett  is Professor of Theatre at the University of York. Centennial Professor in Drama in the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Texas at Austin. Brecht in Practice: Theatre. Texas. Palgrave and Cambridge University Press. Erwin. USA. He is the author of A History of the Berliner Ensemble (2015). She has also written Feminist Theaters in the USA: Staging Women’s Experience (1995) and The Most American Thing in America: Circuit Chautauqua as Performance (2005). Balme holds the Chair in Theatre Studies at LMU Munich. English-language. Rainer Werner Fassbinder and the German Theatre (2005) and a monograph on Heiner Müller (1998). Theory and Performance (2014). Jr. ix .global-theatre-histories. He is director of the Global Theatre Histories project (www. Currently he is part of a research project about Swedish stage art in the period 1880–1925 financed by the Swedish Research Foundation. political and postdramatic theatre. Canning  is the Frank C. Notes on Contributors Christopher  B.

Bangor University. Hanna  Korsberg  is Professor of Theatre Research at the University of Helsinki. she is the vice president of the International Federation of Theatre Research. historiography and performance analysis. She is currently preparing a book on the politics of actor training programmes in Germany (1945–1990). He is completing a book manu- script entitled Culture for the People: Art and Politics in Communist Poland and East Germany. Staging Theatre—Theories. an overview of Hamlet in Africa (2014). University of London (2005). and is currently a Reader at the Department of Comparative Literature and Culture. Currently. She specializes in Eritrean theatre arts and cultural production. Anja Klöck  is Professor of Drama at the University of Music and Theatre “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy” in Leipzig. Christine  Matzke teaches Anglophone literature and theatre at the University of Bayreuth. His publica- tions include Theatre and Theatricality (2003). Germany. and Alternatives (2009) and Staging the Nation—The Changing Concept of the Hungarian National Theatre from 1837 until Today (2013). He obtained his PhD in 2010 from the University of Cambridge. 1974–1981 (2015). He is the author of Militant around the Clock? Left-wing Youth Politics. Budapest. Histories. Kyrill Kunakhovich  is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Virginia. with Yvette Hutchison and Jane Plastow). Nikolaos  Papadogiannis  is a Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary History at the School of History and Archaeology. USA and a postdoctoral fellow in the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard. theatre and politics.x   Notes on Contributors Zoltán Imre  received his PhD from Queen Mary College. and the history and theory of acting and actor train- ing. theatre and mediality. a topic which she has studied in two monographs. Karolina Prykowska-Michalak  is Associate Professor in the Department of Drama and Theatre of the Institute of Contemporary Culture at the . Eötvös Loránd University. She has published widely on early twentieth century avant-garde theatre. Her research interests include the relationship between theatre and politics in Finland. Her recent publications include the co-edited African Theatre 14: Contemporary Women (2015. Leisure and Sexuality in Post-dictatorship Greece. She is also the author of several articles on theatre history. He was previously a Mellon Faculty Fellow in Global Studies at the College of William & Mary. and a chapter on a South Sudanese production of Cymbeline (2013).

Christopher  Silsby  is a Doctoral Candidate in theatre at the CUNY Graduate Center. where his work centres on the intersection of Soviet. He is also author of various articles on opera and aspects of operatic performance history of the nineteenth and twentieth century. Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Roehampton. She is the author of several books and articles about the relations between Polish and German theatre in history and the present. Segal Theatre Center. 1930–1960 (2013). he has served as editorial assistant and production editor on nine books. East Germany and Poland. African American and musical theatres. he is assistant professor of contemporary Central European history at the Charles University in Prague and project researcher at the Masaryk Institute and Archives of the Czech Academy of Sciences. as assistant editor. For the Martin E.  Her current project addresses the . Currently she is working on a book about theatrical organization systems in Europe. Poland. Sebastian  Stauss  is Lecturer in Theatre Studies at LMU Munich. Her ethnographic research focuses on how Roma express citizenship and belonging and uses performance paradigms to discuss the politics of recognition that Roma face in Romania and across the EU. managing editor and editorial advisor. He completed his degrees in theatre studies. James Smith  is a Reader in English Studies at Durham University. and his doctoral thesis was published in 2010 (Between Narcissism and Self-Hate: The Representation of the Aestheticist Artist in the Theater of the Turn of the 20th Century and the Inter-World-War Period). where he has particular research and teaching interests in topics such as surveil- lance and censorship of modern literature and culture. Ioana Szeman  is a Principal Lecturer in Drama. Currently. including Czech Plays (2009) and Playwrights before the Fall: Eastern European Drama in Times of Revolution (2010). He has worked in multiple capacities at the journal Slavic and East European Performance. Notes on Contributors   xi University of Łódź. London. Václav  Šmidrkal earned his PhD in Modern History at the Charles University in Prague in 2014 for a dissertation about transnational history of military musical institutions in socialist Czechoslovakia. with a focus on theatre systems in post-Soviet countries. English and German literature. His most recent book was British Writers and MI5 Surveillance.

Germany. she outlined the theatricality of the Polish resistance movements in the 1980s. Berenika  Szymanski-Düll is Lecturer in Theatre Studies at LMU Munich. Her current research interests include international touring theatre in the nineteenth century.xii   Notes on Contributors relationship between theatre and diplomacy during the Communist period in He holds a PhD in theatre studies and musicology from LMU Munich. he has worked with several theatre and production companies in south-east Asia. critic and dance historian. She is an associate of the research project Global Theatre Histories (www. meLê yamomo  is Assistant Professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Amsterdam. In her dissertation. choreologist. where he is professor emeritus. Mr Villaruz is the editor of several periodicals and books. . He founded the dance degree programme at the University of the Philippines. He was an Exchange Artist Fellow at the Korean National Arts Council and the Korean National Theatre and an artist-in-residence at the CASA San Miguel in the Philippines. Villaruz  is a choreographer. and has been a critic/columnist for sev- eral national daily newspapers in the Philippines. As a theatre-maker and sound designer/composer. and performance art in Eastern Europe during the Cold War. theatre and migration. Basilio Esteban

List of Abbreviations AAN Archiwum Akt Nowych. Berlin-Lichterfelde BArch-MA Bundesarchiv-Militärarchiv. Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki AUS VN Armádní umělecký soubor Víta Nejedlého BArch Bundesarchiv BArch-DDR Bundesarchiv. Freiburg im Breisgau BayHStA Bayrisches Hauptstaatsarchiv BE Berliner Ensemble BC British Council BEA Berliner-Ensemble-Archiv BYFC British Youth Festival Committee CCP Cultural Center of the Philippines CCT Central Cultural Troupe CIA Central Intelligence Agency DTI German Theatre Institute ELF Eritrean Liberation Front EPLF Eritrean People’s Liberation Front FRG Federal Republic of Germany GDR German Democratic Republic xiii . Abteilung Deutsche Demokratische Republik. Warsaw APK Archiwum Państwowe w Krakowie ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations ASP Archiwum Sił Powietrznych.

Scientific. Archiv HUAC House Un-American Activities Committee IATC International Association of Theatre Critics IFTR International Federation for Theatre Research IPN Instytut Pamięci Narodowej. Praha VUS JN Vojenský umelecký súbor Jána Nálepku .  Lee Theatre Research Institute. Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Section 5 PASOK Panhellenic Socialist Movement PPR Polish Worker’s Party PPS Polish Socialist Party PZPR Polish United Workers’ Party RF Rigas Feraios RSC Royal Shakespeare Company SAPMO Stiftung Archiv der Parteien und Massenorganisationen der DDR SCAC State Committee for Arts and Culture SED Socialist Unity Party SStAL Sächsisches Staatsarchiv Leipzig STL Leipzig City Theatres StVuR Stadtverordnetenversammlung und Rat der Stadt Leipzig TfD Theatre for Development TRI/OSU Robert Breen Collection. and Cultural Organization USIA United States Information Agency USIS United States Information Service USSR Union of Soviet Socialist Republics VÚA-VHA Vojenský ústřední archiv-Vojenský historický archiv. The Ohio State University UN United Nations UNESCO United Nations Educational. Warsaw ITI International Theatre Institute KKE The Communist Party of Greece KNE Communist Youth of Greece LAB Landesarchiv Berlin MI5 Military Intelligence.xiv   List of Abbreviations HMT Leipzig Archive Hochschule für Musik und Theater ‘Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’ Leipzig.

1 Rosina’s first appearance in Act I of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia. List of Figures Fig. II. 230 of the Chief of Administration of the Soviet Military Administration of Thuringia of 28 October 1947). 6. orchestra and dancers in a show by the Slovak VUS JN on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the Communist Party in 1956 94 Fig. and Allan Edwall in Song of the Lusitanian Bogeyman. 230 of the Chief of Administration of the Soviet Military Administration of Thuringia of 28 October 1947. Nils Eklund. Isa Quensel. C. 3. Björn Gustafson. 6. Photo: Sabine Toepffer 263 Fig.2.2 German translation of order no. T 302/1.1 The classic three-level stage with choir. C.3. 1974. Musikverket 298 xv .1 Order no.1 Yvonne Lundeqvist. II. Photo: Sven-Åke Persson. 14. HMT Leipzig Archive 240 Fig. 15. 3. 17. Monica Nielsen. Sandrews. HMT Leipzig Archive 241 Fig. T 302/1. 14. Bayerische Staatsoper.2 ‘Lysistratiáda’: A musical theatre show from 1968 based on Aristophanes’s anti-war comedy ‘Lysistrata’ by the VUS JN as a result of its reform efforts in the 1960s 98 Fig.

The Atlantic and its Enemies: ‘there was no question about it: Soviet high culture was far richer than American’. Munich. Globalization and the Cold War. Szymanski-Düll (eds.B. Khrushchev was claiming the higher ground and. rightly so. Balme and Berenika Szymanski-Düll It is a curious paradox that the most significant geopolitical development of the postwar period—the Cold War—has brought forth so little research into the role theatrical culture played in this global conflict. DOI 10.B. Germany © The Author(s) 2017 1 C. always had a pronounced cultural component. Szymanski-Düll Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität. Theatre. B. who pronounced that a kitchen had nothing to do with culture. in those days at least. Balme. Norman Stone comments on this episode in his ‘per- sonal history’ of the Cold War. Vice-President Richard Nixon was present and an argument ensued between him and Nikita Khrushchev.). among other technological advancements. Explicit engagement with the concept of the Cold War in theatre and performance studies is a C. CHAPTER 1 Introduction Christopher B.1007/978-3-319-48084-8_1 . This dearth of scholarly interest is especially remarkable in light of the fact that Cold War confrontation and competition.1 Perhaps this obvious cultural supremacy on the part of Soviet Union is one reason there has been so little research into the mutual imbri- cations of Cold War politics and theatre. Balme (*) • B. Transnational Theatre Histories. At the end of the 1950s an international exhibition took place in Moscow at which Americans proudly demonstrated their kitchens. although primarily military and ideological.

although they lie ten years apart. On the Performance Front: US Theatre and Internationalism (2015) is closer to the current volume in that it engages specifically with international and transnational questions albeit from an exclusively US perspective. and remained the only other book-length study on the topic. Charlotte Canning’s study. this a subject is extensively discussed in David Caute’s The Dancer Defects: The Struggle for Cultural Supremacy during the Cold War (2003) which includes a broad discussion involving other art forms as well as theatre.B.3 This wider con- text is now framed by the emergence of a new post-millennial discipline termed ‘Cold War Studies’ which can be roughly defined as an interdisci- plinary inquiry into the Cold War beyond the previous studies. however. the problem for researchers has been on the one hand to isolate those wider geopolitical currents that may have impacted on theatre and performance and on the other hand to develop methodologies that clarify them. point to a growing interest in reassessing the impact of the Cold War in cultural as well as political terms.  Its publica- tion immediately after the fall of the Iron Curtain did not. which includes literature and the arts.2   C. BALME AND B. Over a decade later. 1947–1962 (2005) addressed the question from a US perspective by examining the central metaphor of ‘containment’ to reread canonical Broadway plays and musicals.2 The vastly improved access to archives on both sides of the former Iron Curtain and else- where is one of the prerequisites for this historiographical revision. The earliest attempt to contextual- ize theatre and the Cold War is probably John Elsom’s study. Both these books. Cold War Theatre (1992). In a survey of the subject Patrick Major und Rana Mitter argue for the need ‘to take culture seriously as a category […] rather than as an afterthought to the analysis of high politics’.5 Since the Cold War affected almost the whole globe. which outlines a history of postwar theatre with a strong emphasis on institutional structures in the UK. as the Nixon/ Khrushchev exchange reveals. SZYMANSKI-DÜLL r­elatively recent phenomenon. immediately generate comparable studies from other countries. dramatists and performances these connections may be tenuous or even non-existent and attempts to ‘read’ the Cold War into .4 This discipline also comprises a cultural wing. somewhat limited to the fields of political science and diplomacy. Bruce McConachie’s American Theater in the Culture of the Cold War: Producing and Contesting Containment. On the level of individual directors. The Cold War was seen by the actors themselves as an arena of cul- tural rivalry.

in the context of the Cold War. Following Kiran Klaus Patel we can distinguish between these competing concepts in the following way: Fruitful is a definition according to which in transnational constellations the nation continues to play an essential role. however. but also documentary theatre. was recognized as an important medium in the ideological struggles that characterize this epoch. INTRODUCTION   3 them would in many instances result in allegorizations that may illuminate the scholar more than the performance. of a much broader set of theories and methodolo- gies that enable a more complex research paradigm. opera production and Polish folk-dancing. This book and the introduction to it outline a number of those categories which are leading to a profound reassessment of the Cold War and theatre. It is therefore necessary to ask under what conditions. Most importantly. Transnational history encom- passes therefore all that which is located beyond (and sometimes inside) the national but which continues to be defined by the latter. as having been transnational or even global. were an integral part of Cold War rivalries. and theatrical culture in particular with its high degree of representational power. Bertolt Brecht. The contributions demonstrate that there was much more at stake and a much larger investment of ide- ological and economic capital than a simple dichotomy between home appliances and Bolshoi might suggest. They represent in turn a variety of perspectives. Culture. This volume aims to examine Cold War theatrical tensions by present- ing a range of current scholarship on the topic from scholars from a dozen countries. […] World and global history can be described as those forms of historiography in which nation-state entities do not play a decisive role. the volume explores how theatre can be recon- ceptualized in terms of transnational or even global processes which. Conceptual Framework: From National to Transnational and Global History Recent developments towards global and transnational history provide the historiographical framework of the volume. it will be argued.6 . methodolo- gies and theatrical genres including not only the usual suspects. Jerzy Grotowski and Peter Brook. criteria and concepts we can conceptualize theatre history. Distinctions between global and transnational history need to be made. Theatre and performance studies dispose today.

connections. circulations.4   C. although obviously this has a large role to play. transnational. While the Cold War was itself undoubtedly a global phenomenon. however. which influence in turn the knowledge we value and produce. accord- ing to the authors of a recent discussion of transnational historiography: historical comparison. as they examine specific nations in situa- tions of exchange with other national entities. BALME AND B. on developments within their own cities and/or nations. (cultural) transfers. there will be a tension between the container of a nation-state and all its affiliated institutions. logically. while archives are collated and assembled according to local or national imperatives. A transnational approach obviously has disciplinary repercussions. a particularly large one. . These tools include. While it may be normal. even trendy. the research perspective taken by most of the contributors to this volume are. peoples. Theatre departments tend to focus. entan- gled or shared history as well as a modern form of international history. By the same token transnational perspectives can be applied to smaller areas such as regions where processes of circulation and entanglement can be observed particularly acutely. to be more exact. the analysis of which would require a transnational perspective. Inevitably. histories and cultural forms on the one hand. in as much as it affected directly or indirectly most corners of the globe. Not all contributions can. We are now better aware of the disciplinary implications of such nationally oriented perspectives. but seldom transna- tional ones. to critique such per- spectives and demand their transcendence. be fitted into the transnational paradigm and the volume’s struc- ture attempts to reflect the multipolarity of the phenomenon. Theatre studies’ privileging of local contingencies rather than global perspectives is not just due to our focus on the here and now of per- formance. All of these tools or perspectives stress the importance of the interaction and circulation of ideas. and a global or transnational approach on the other. institutions or technologies across state or national boundaries and thus the entanglement and mutual influence of states. such privileging derives also from how our archives are organized. societies or cultures. SZYMANSKI-DÜLL The actual practice of ‘transnational’ history shows that it incorporates many established tools and methods into a new ‘umbrella perspective’ rather than establishing a specific methodology sui generis.B.7 Global history would refer to a specific spatial framework. in academic practice it is not so easy.

‘the production of locality. INTRODUCTION   5 In globalization studies. Theatre is credited with possessing a high level of representative potential. once took the performing arts very seriously: theatres. From this perspective the Cold War may be seen as . it is quite usual to follow a combined global/local approach. it is almost gratifying to look back at a bygone age and observe that governments and their institutions. A variation of this approach can in fact be found in Bruce McConachie’s study American Theater in the Culture of the Cold War: Producing and Contesting Containment. us from them. It may seem hubristic to even want to discuss theatre in the context of a global political phenomenon such as the Cold War. what might the ‘alleged worldwide com- monalities’9 be that a global-historical perspective seems to demand? This apparently insoluble tension has created an aporia which has positioned theatre studies between a methodologically induced focus on less and less and the quite obvious existence of world-changing. Paris and so on. to be too unspecific to be included in theatrical analysis. In our current age of electronic media and its concomitant marginalization of theatre. cultures and theatri- cal genres represented here—the latter spanning from folklore dance to opera—one main thread connects most papers. McConachie’s synecdochal claims—certain Broadway productions stand in for American theatre and indeed the nation itself—is one way to link the global with the local. where McConachie links the geopolitical strategy of ‘containment’ (stopping the spread of Communism) with the cognitive metaphor of ‘containment’ proposed by Lakoff and Johnson as a way of separating inside and outside. in Arjun Appadurai’s phrase. Does not theatre privilege the local and specific rather than the global and the general? In the case of theatre history. a way of life—capitalist or Communist—both posi- tively and negatively. Across the wide range of countries. such as the CIA. however. however. groups and even individual artists could stand in for a country. an ideology. London. The essays in this volume fit into several broad areas of emphasis with which to frame the study of theatrical globalization against the background of the Cold War.’8 We can ask: how did the Cold War affect your village. not the least being the application of a cognitive model designed to explain human behaviour to the analysis of specific productions. but it also has its limitations. or rather the theatre in your village? More realistically we would suggest perhaps the capital city with its metonymical claims to represent the whole nation: New York. global developments such as colonialism and imperialism in the nineteenth and the Cold War in the twentieth century which appear.

we see ideas and prac- tices being disseminated via touring and print media: Brecht. global and transnational history is invari- ably concerned with what Dominic Sachsenmaier has termed ‘border- crossing perspectives. While the performances of the Berliner Ensemble and Peter Brook were certainly seen by tens of thousands of spectators. SZYMANSKI-DÜLL the last flowering of a global accord that theatre is important—artistically and politically—and that it stood for much more than the two or three hours’ traffic of the stage. holy and immediate theatre. ‘Shifting Borders: Tours and Touring’. which expounded a modernist philosophy of theatre dedicated to media specificity. Theatre became mobile to a high degree for the first time under the auspices of state sponsorship.6   C. were . In the context of the Cold War. edited by Eugenio Barba and Odin Teatret. The spread of a particular aesthetic programme or ideological formation was a by-­ product rather than a primary aim of a company such as the Ballets Russes.’10 It is very evident from the papers gathered in Part I. State-sponsored tours on both sides of the ideological divide functioned to transnationalize theatre to a remarkable extent. but a somewhat paradoxical one. Shifting Borders: Tours and Touring On the most fundamental level. that the spatial movement across borders is a distinguishing factor. restrictive visa policies and so forth.B. Both directors. Although the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries saw an expan- sion of touring. this was primarily commercial in orientation.11 Of far greater transnational impact was his book Towards a Poor Theatre (1968). whose productions outside Poland were only presented at a few festivals. Grotowski and Brook are the most prominent examples of border-crossing theatrical artists who represented in turn concepts that literally spread around the globe by means of books as much as experience of live performances: epic theatre. the Berlin Wall. in this period of their work at least. in light of the impermeability inherent in the Cold War: the Iron Curtain. to cite perhaps the most famous example of pre-Second World War the- atrical touring. which circulated in several translations around the world and became something of a ‘sacred’ text for the alternative theatre movement. the same cannot be said of Jerzy Grotowski. BALME AND B. We can observe a curious counter-tendency on the part of culture generally and theatre in particular to counteract the stasis and impenetrability of the various blocs. The same function can be accorded to Peter Brook’s The Empty Space (1968).

the latter did not want to harm one of the GDR’s best cultural exports. Shakespeare played an energizing role in the culture wars.12 Neither has been exten- sively discussed within a framework defined by Cold War tensions. which toured Eastern Europe in the 1970s. His importance to politically committed theatre-­makers around the globe. meaning that his universality could be co-opted to communicate Western. As Dennis Kennedy puts it. although specializing in dialectic theatre. especially in developing countries. Zoltán Imre focuses on Peter Brook and his legendary production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Both the Everyman Opera Company’s Porgy and Bess tour—the first major US theatrical tour after the ‘thaw’ occasioned by Stalin’s death—and the opera singer and actor Paul Robeson’s tours to the Soviet Union between 1930 and 1950 foregrounded the race question: for the USA as a demonstration of the growing equality of African Americans. did not seek to make theatre directly critical of the regime which hosted the ensemble. Brecht’s international reception is not in itself a new question and has been the subject of various essay collections surveying the transformation of his work in various cultural contexts. is undeniable. the Socialist Unity Party (SED). Going beyond the Soviet Union Berenika Szymanski-Düll and Václav Šmidrkal discuss how folkloric performance was employed on the east- ern side of the Iron Curtain as an instrument to disseminate Communist . and therefore by extension theatre. benefited from each other: Whereas the former.13 In this volume David Barnett devotes his article to Brecht and the highly successful (and controver- sial) tours by the Berliner Ensemble (BE). ‘Shakespeare was a cultural Marshall Plan’. for the Soviets as proof of the exact opposite. Touring activities in the Soviet Union are dealt with in the articles by Charlotte Canning and Christopher Silsby.14 However. could still function as a locus of inter- cultural encounter. despite all differences. in his article Imre exemplifies how the Midsummer Night’s Dream production. The same cannot be said of Brecht. INTRODUCTION   7 working with a concept of theatre reduced to its basic essentials. despite political differences. both of which. By examining its first tours he explores not only how the company was involved in international politics early on but also the paradoxical relationship between the BE and the East German ruling party. values. whose openly Marxist sympathies formed the basis of his own work and placed it in the middle of Cold War antagonisms. mainly American. which resonated in countries and cultures as distant as South African townships and New Zealand’s alternative theatre scene.

Elsom calculates that ‘the . however. as Frances Stonor Saunders notes.8   C.e.’16 The CIA was. on the basis of secret government files that were made available recently James Smith examines in this volume the important role that MI5 played in monitoring Britain’s theatre industry during the Cold War. should receive state support was no doubt accelerated by Cold War competition. i. who conducted many successful international tours behind the Iron Curtain and came to be viewed by MI5 as a ‘Communist-­ controlled theatre company’ that represented the threat of Soviet-bloc interference into British cultural life. in which the state assumed a major if not always directly acknowledged role. especially the performing arts. Although the argument for public funding of the arts. SZYMANSKI-DÜLL i­deology. at least certain forms of it.15 Only recently has the full extent of the CIA’s involvement in cultural matters become apparent. left-wing theatre artists. In his article he focuses on ‘suspi- cious’.B. only one of a multitude of actors involved in negotiating the fos- tering and dissemination of theatre against the background of a veritable explosion of theatrical exchanges. Although such touring groups were initially designed to promulgate an ideological message within the socialist sphere of influence. ‘the CIA was in effect acting as America’s Ministry of Culture. a strong case can be made that the almost universal agreement amongst Western governments that theatre. Already in the 1950s President Eisenhower had established a special fund to support the performing arts as a weapon in the Cold War. in this case Joan Littlewood and the Theatre Workshop. Institutional Imbrications and Epistemic Communities The Cold War period saw an unprecedented expansion of public funding of the arts. For instance. Throughout the Eastern bloc there existed a large network of state-funded theatres. which sent dance companies to Latin America and jazz musi- cians to the Soviet Union. and theatre in particular. ­understood as uncontaminated rural peasant life. well predates the Cold War. The so-called Emergency Fund for International Affairs channelled public money into a cultural export pro- gramme. they gradually gained an audience in the West as well and provided direct inspiration for the establishment of similar folkloric dance troupes worldwide. BALME AND B. Via various founda- tions and fronts the CIA made a significant contribution to the funding of Western arts organizations so that. in this case the song and dance traditions of the ‘people’.

the home of commercial theatre. Even Great Britain. France expanded after 1960 its network of public theatres or maisons de la culture. at one count. This is nowhere more apparent than in the controversies surrounding the Berliner Ensemble in the 1950s (see Barnett in this volume). however. Italy established a small number of municipal theatres. the campaign to make theatre the responsibility of municipalities and the public purse goes back to the early decades of the twentieth century and was part and parcel of social democratic labour reform. we also find the establish- ment of a state-subsidized repertory system. Since Eastern bloc theatres were comparatively well funded.’19 Theatre did matter in the Cold War. the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. a third of them for operetta. As James Smith has argued: ‘the issue of the Berliner Ensemble caused debates at the highest levels of Whitehall.18 Institutional rivalries manifested themselves more clearly on aesthetic questions and the degree to which a particular theatre represented one or the other ideological system. In Germany. it was the Nazis who finally created the generously funded system of municipal and state theatres which this country still enjoys today. The actual implementation of such policies cannot be simply adduced to Cold War rivalries.’17 Although among Western countries only West Germany could even begin to compete with such numbers. the most famous of which was and remains Giorgio Strehler’s Piccolo Teatro in Milan. a move towards some kind of public funding took place. formally established—albeit with great reluctance—two flagship public theatres. Ironically. which as a subsidized ensemble theatre of high artistic quality provided palpable proof of the Communist system’s cultural superiority. Kyrill Kunakhovich argues that the ideolog- ical struggles of the cultural Cold War were conducted not only between . In his study of cultural policy in Leipzig and Kraków from the end of the Second World War to the early 1970s. teatri stabili. At the same time performances of Brecht’s plays were banned in West Germany in the 1950s and MI5 went to great lengths to prevent or disrupt the Ensemble’s tours to Great Britain in the 1950s and 1960s. however. INTRODUCTION   9 Soviet Union had. for example. So in a divided Germany. there was no or little ideological dissent on a systemic level: both Germanys retained and financed an arrangement inherited from the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany. 625 subsidized theatres. directly leading to a small but significant shift in British and NATO policy regarding East Germany. their inter- nal problems lay more in the ideological than the economic realm. In the Netherlands.

10   C. however. La Comité International . or in the amateur realm. For this rea- son epistemic communities have become a favoured object of transnational historiography of the postwar period. usually on questions of scientific and technical complexity. was by no means immune to political instrumentalization. By examining the 8th Congress held in Helsinki in 1959 and Eugène Ionesco’s divisive keynote address. even global discussion of theatre in the Cold War. Epistemic communities refer to networks of knowledge-based experts who advise policymakers and govern- ments. conferences. Paris and New  York (to name only the most prominent) where common artistic values were displayed and discussed.20 They have a high degree of international organization. founded in 1926. to give only two examples. multi-sited movement known as ­theatrical modernism. BALME AND B. critics and scholars.B. Beyond the example in this case study. as local institutions manoeuvred within the structures of those policies which both fostered and critiqued the ‘bourgeois’ art form of theatre. to the international. which was founded in Prague in 1948 as an ‘international’ organization designed to bridge the already emerging geopolitical divide. They may also be found in the new international organizations such as the Société Universelle du Théâtre. she demonstrates that ITI. Its ideological formation goes back even further. despite its stated goal of transcending ideological differences thanks to the ‘common language’ of theatrical art. Its ‘prehistory’. it could achieve this because of its function as the most visible representative of new forms of international cooperation amongst theatre artists. expositions and learned publications. The idea that theatre is an art form and hence of high cultural value provided the ideological basis of the community. A more direct illustration of a theatrical Cold War can be seen in Hanna Korsberg’s examination of the International Theatre Institute (ITI). frameworks which seldom remain restricted to a single country. the ITI is also significant for its role in fostering a transnational. SZYMANSKI-DÜLL two opposing fronts but also within the system itself: the most intense struggles took place on the home front. albeit by no means in an organized form. may be located in internationally distributed theatrical periodicals such as The Mask (edited by Edward Gordon Craig) or in the international theatre expositions of the 1920s held in Vienna.21 It could be argued that an epistemic community devoted to promot- ing theatre as a medium of cultural development took on concrete insti- tutional form in the postwar period. usually taking the form of professional associations. For these forms of collaboration historians have applied the term ‘epistemic communities’.

 An important feature of these organizations is that they emphatically sought to bridge the East– West divide. Although there has been little historiographical work done on them. and Grotowski remained a member of it for over two decades. INTRODUCTION   11 pour les Théâtres Populaires and the British Drama League which had by 1950 branches in dozens of English-speaking countries. which also manifested itself in the domain of theatre. they appear to form different facets of a theatrical epistemic community that could bridge ideological divides if only by insisting on a putative aesthetic dimension to theatre. as Karolina Prykowska-Michalak dis- cusses in her article. It is well known that playwrights such as Brecht had a ‘complicated’ relationship with state authorities in East Berlin. Also less well known are posi- tions taken by directors such as Tadeusz Kantor and Jerzy Grotowski.and left-wing positions. how theatre could be used to reflect the regime’s ambition to project an image of Romania as a nation independent of the Soviet Union. as mentioned. and spiritual. which were caught up in internecine conflicts between extreme right. Yet Kantor had a close ‘working relationship’ with the Polish Communist Party. Much less well known however is the role taken by such con- tested writers in ‘battleground’ states like Greece. By focusing on the 1969 tour to the Theatre of Nations Paris festival by the Bulandra Theatre from Bucharest she shows. in 1948 with the founding of the International Theatre Institute (ITI). Artists and Art between the Battlefronts The relationship between the artist and the state belongs to the more familiar topics in the Cold War context. . all of which initially had close ties with each other through their affiliation with UNESCO. Permanent institutional form emerges. which transcended politics. a significant segment of Greek left-wing youth in the 1970s experienced a grass-roots and selective ‘Sovietization’. who in the West were seen to be largely above politics by virtue of their artistic programmes: imagistic avant-garde for the former. the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC) in 1956 and the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) in 1957. quasi-religious ‘research’ for the latter. where renowned directors such as Lucien Pintilie and Liviu Ciulei were able to obtain permission to work in the West although they were unable to direct in their home country. furthermore. In his paper Nikolaos Papadogiannis argues that far from being cultur- ally ‘Americanized’.22 Acting. Ioanna Szeman points to the somewhat paradoxical situation in Romania.

as Sebastian Stauss shows. In the early 1950s the Soviet Union sent several ‘experts’ to China to assist in establishing an acting school on Stanislavskian princi- ples at both the Central Academy of Drama and its branch in Shanghai. SZYMANSKI-DÜLL Actor training was also caught up in ideological divisions. the ortho- dox Soviet approach to the arts. Realist theatre. this ‘truth’ was bound by different ideological parameters. the apparent contradiction between Stanislavsky’s and Brecht’s approaches to acting in the early 1960s. using the example of directors from Eastern bloc countries such as Götz Friedrich. was adopted by the Communist Chinese state founded in 1949. Harry Kupfer and Ruth Berghaus (East Germany) who embarked on successful careers in the West.25 Their style and performance aesthetics were constantly critiqued because of their perceived political implications.24 They were dispensed with after Sino-Soviet relations deteriorated in the late 1950s but the long-term impact of Stanislavsky on acting in China is undeniable. mod- ern drama. actors and actresses appear as an ideal- ized medium of ‘truth’ for the (re)building of a German democratic soci- ety. However. Modernization was one of the watchwords of the Revolution and initially China received direct support from the Soviet Union. In the discourses on actor training programmes licensed during the postwar years. and in particular opera production. especially China. Conservative circles amongst Western audiences attacked . both foreign and home-grown. or rather socialist-realist theatre. But perhaps it is not so surprising in the light of Soviet-Chinese relations in the immediate post- war period. Anja Klöck explores the problematic status of Bertolt Brecht in GDR acting programmes and offi- cial discourses in the 1950s and examines the struggle of the leaders of the SED to resolve. The Central Academy of Drama in Beijing was founded in 1950 and while it continued to train performers in the traditional forms. It is surprising because Asian performance cultures proceed from quite different principles. after the international success of Brecht’s Berliner Ensemble. depending on the occupation zone in which a school was located and on the trajectories of the people teaching there.B.23 The diffusion of Stanislavsky’s ‘method’—although its first transplanta- tion to the USA predates the Second World War—is closely imbricated in Cold War alliances. mainly exhaustive physi- cal training regimes that often begin in childhood. Even the putatively ‘apolitical’ realm of opera. The more surprising aspect of this story is how it took root in Asia. BALME AND B. received equal if not more attention.12   C. became caught up in ideological debates. especially in a divided Germany.

however. whose concept of ‘interweaving’ poses a challenge to the implicit binaries inherent in any notion of intercul- tural theatre. Western and Eastern Europe.29 As countries were released into independence in the 1950s and 1960s.27 These have also emerged via new paradigms such as that proposed by Erika Fischer-Lichte. Although there now exists a rich body of research into postcolonial and intercultural theatre. often as proxy states. August Everding’s production of the Ring tetralogy at Warsaw’s Teatr Wielki in 1988–9 was regarded as a major diplomatic (rather than aesthetic) achievement. or on the African continent were involved in and interconnected by these rivalries and con- testations. a dearth of research into the p ­ owerful transnationally operating forces. there is still. Cold War rivalry had a decisive influence on the initial rapid devel- opment of theatrical activity and even institutions. they shifted their dependencies and reliance on direct colonial tutelage to new networks of . economic as well as artistic. it is neces- sary to ask how for example certain countries in Asia. political. this aspect of con- temporary political history has received little attention in the study of postcolonial theatre. that motored the rapid development of postcolonial theatre. Postcolonial Perspectives Another aim of this volume is to begin to map theatre in the Cold War beyond the main ‘battlefields’ of the USA and the Soviet Union. On the other hand. Despite the many studies of individual artists and countries. which is by definition predicated on a concept of discrete cultures. the term ‘postcolonial theatre’ has been critiqued in recent years. INTRODUCTION   13 productions such as Friedrich’s Tannhäuser at the Bayreuth Festival of 1972 or Berghaus’s Barber of Seville at the Bavarian State Opera in 1974 as propagating socialist realism. As there were very few countries in the world between the 1950s and the 1980s not affected by Cold War rivalries. It is not our intention to argue for a ‘Third World’ perspective but rather to uncover a range of little known and highly diverse theatrical ‘entanglements’ within the framework of Cold War tensions. Although most postcolonial countries were involved directly or indi- rectly in Cold War rivalries.26 Major challenges have been formulated by exponents themselves.28 This work has meant that scholars are now working in a more nuanced field sensitive to multiple hybridities and multipolar movements of performance practices. Yet the flow of funds and knowledge into theatre in the Cold War period was largely an outcome of this larger geopolitical cli- mate.

i. The implementation of something as complex as a professional theatre system and practice ex ovo. as we have seen. Large sums of money from both governmental and non-governmental sources were invested in establishing new theatri- cal institutions where either they had not previously existed or had been largely commercial operations. historian Tony Day notes how ‘independent nation-states arrived at specific aesthetic and cultural solutions to their specific cultural dilem- mas that antedated. the theatrical dimension of this period of international history. and never became entirely aligned with the ideologies of either bloc’. outlasted. during this period Eastern Europe began to export its ver- sion of art theatre. as nodes around which networks of self-­ styled ‘experts’ formed and mediated the transmission and transforma- tion of knowledge in specific cultural environments. by the two antonymic names of Stanislavsky (for an approach to professional acting training) and Brecht (for an anti-naturalistic approach to playwriting and mise en scène).14   C. both economic and human. From a South East Asian per- spective. a subvention that was not forthcoming from the Trinidad and Tobago government. organized and disseminated in the postwar period. BALME AND B. direct support through founda- tions such as those of Ford and Rockefeller.000 to the University of Ibadan in Nigeria for the ‘development of the drama program’. required a high degree of transnational information exchange as well as the movement of capital. or even both. SZYMANSKI-DÜLL aid from either East or West. in short all those phenomena that we associate today with globalization.30 These selected examples. funded. and more partic- ularly. . and there are many more. Recent research on specific regions has begun to recognize the impor- tance of culture in the Cold War conflict. encapsulated. but also via new international organizations such as UNESCO produced a remarkable efflorescence of theatrical activity. In the mid-1950s British colonial administrators began planning a National Theatre for Uganda to coincide with independence for the new African nation.31 An under-researched area is the— broadly speaking—‘Communist’ contribution to the cultural struggle for the Third World. Between 1957 and 1967 the Rockefeller Foundation provided the major source of funding for Derek Walcott’s Trinidad Theatre Company. Future research needs to investigate the ‘cultural’. especially in newly emerging nations.e. the situation pertaining in many decolonizing states. In the postcolonial context both figures can be understood as ‘mediators’ in actor networks. In 1962 Rockefeller also provided $200.B. document a significant change in the way theatre was understood.

1960s and 1970s. During the 1950s. on the contrary. Despite growing critiques from left and right of its prob- lematic teleological implications. Books such as Walt Rostow’s The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-communist Manifesto (1960) with its famous five stages progressing from traditional societies to ‘mass consumption’. philanthropy on the other. yet still largely under-researched role in the emergence of theatre in postcolonial countries was played by the interconnected imperatives of modernization and developmentalism on the one hand and Western. free themselves from their extrication in the structures of world capital established in the nineteenth century. Third World countries needed to. political scientists.33 An integral part of this discussion was the countermovement to modern- ization known as dependency theory. promulgated by many Third World economists. Exponents included the sociologist Edward Shils and the early work of the anthro- pologist Clifford Geertz (manifested most clearly in their jointly edited collection Old Societies and New States: The Quest for Modernity in Africa and Asia. which sought to categorize and describe problems of Third World ‘development’ in comparatist. the term ‘development’ became institu- tionalized and found its way into countless international organizations and initiatives aimed at supporting the Third World. Closely allied to modernization theory was the school of ‘developmen- talism’. espe- cially US. intellectuals and artists. 1963).34 Dependency theory argued that rather than simply following the path or ‘stages of growth’ advocated by modernization exponents. INTRODUCTION   15 A key. which have been renewed in recent years through globalization debates. the efforts of policy-generating think tanks such as the MIT-based CENIS (Centre for International Studies) and their proximity to political power. The US-based initiatives were also partially influenced by older colonialist policies as practised by the major empires such as those of Great Britain and France.32 The aim was to formulate a powerful alternative to Communist ideas that had considerable traction with non- aligned nations. ranging from the many development banks to the Theatre for Development (TfD): the lat- ter can be regarded as the theatrical wing of developmentalist thinking. these theorists demonstrated that modern underdevelopment was a direct . or Paul Rosenstein-Rodan’s (1957) notion of the ‘big push for development’. gained dominance through a unique combi- nation of academic research. often highly abstract categories. Building on earlier Marxist analyses of imperialist exploitation of the Third World. a series of meta-theories were proposed and implemented that sought to accelerate the progress of newly decolonized nations.

so that the cultural theory emanating from this work tended to operate within the new. resolutely the nation-state. capitalist-driven neo-imperialism that reinforced the ­division between centre and periphery. however.16   C.36 Although there exists extensive literature on the dramatic output of postcolonial drama- tists such as Wole Soyinka and Derek Walcott. Rather than imitating and adopt- ing Western institutions. ‘developing’ countries needed to rediscover existing indigenous forms and reinvigorate these for the contemporary world. theatre was seen in terms of its representative func- tion as a localized cultural form manifested in various plans for ‘national theatres’. especially those of Rockefeller and Ford. we can observe internationalist attempts to ‘move’ it around the globe.B. The Rockefeller Foundation alone was involved in funding ­theatrical activity in sixteen ‘developing’ countries and provided assistance ranging from study trips for individuals to large-scale institutional funding (especially in Nigeria and Chile). expended considerable sums of money and pro- vided expertise and advice to developing countries in the area of theatre. and thus adaptable to new claims to nationhood. as a new cultural space replete with prestige and symbolic capital. In the 1950s and 1960s private American foundations. their transnational institu- tional affiliations have received less attention. coordinated by networks such as ITI. their frame of reference remained. In this period culture was on the agenda of international development thinking. Preliminary research based on the analy- sis of the annual reports of the Rockefeller Foundation reveal patterns of assistance that extend throughout the developing world but which reveal a particular emphasis on West Africa. at the beginning of their careers.37 Yet both writers. were deemed by the Rockefeller Foundation in . BALME AND B. SZYMANSKI-DÜLL result of Western. In both cases we can speak of a global phenomenon in as much as ‘theatre’ was increasingly seen as a necessary part of an emerging nation’s cultural infrastructure and the new international organizations and initiatives provided the networks to facilitate the showcasing of that infrastructure ‘abroad’.35 On the one hand. with Nigeria being the second-largest recipient of theatre-related funding after the USA itself. which organized festivals to show- case new dramatists and ‘decolonized’ theatrical cultures and established branch offices to coordinate the exchanges. colonially derived national- ist coordinates: discussions of ‘Nigerian’ and ‘Indian’ theatre proliferated whereas studies of Yoruba or Marathi performance tended to either be relegated to performance ethnography or to take on a synecdochal func- tion (where Yoruba stood for Nigeria). Like their opponents. on the other.

Manila. colonial exploitation in Angola and Mozambique. and this in turn had direct consequences for the development of theatrical and dramatic prac- tice. which deals with Portuguese colonialism in its African colonies. as Rikard Hoogland shows in his study of the Song of the Lusitanian Bogeyman by German dra- matist Peter Weiss. the search for a new national culture as part of the country’s emergent nationalism. They demonstrate that the country’s capital. The ‘Third World’ could also come to Europe. and on the other. which switched allegiance from the USA to the Soviet Union. author of the internationally acclaimed Marat/Sade and The Investigation. was premiered in Stockholm in 1967 where it created a major controversy revolving around Weiss’s position as a German Marxist author with connections to East Germany and Sweden’s putative neutrality. meLê yamomo and Basilio E. and which were part of systematic programmes seeking to foster cultural knowledge and practice in new nations. Dramatic writing provided a means to transcend the fixed dichoto- mies of the Cold War and by integrating a diverse range of traditions an autochthonous Eritrean theatre practice emerged. In the present volume we have only begun to survey the extremely rich and complex field of transnational postcolonial theatre history. Christine Matzke deals in her article with the political conflicts in the Horn of Africa and in particular the Eritrean War of Independence from Ethiopia against the background of the Cold War. Now they were fighting against a Marxist-Leninist state with which they shared ideological common ground. but which gave its local artists the opportunity to travel and train abroad. became side- lined in favour of these ‘larger’ and—from a European perspective—more . They were aided by research and fact-finding trips by the Foundation which aimed to see and experience best practice in the USA or Europe. the global cultural influences affecting the country during the Cold War as a result of US and Soviet rivalry. In their contribution. The actual issues Weiss attempted to portray by unconventional theatrical means. The play. the Eritrean independence movements found themselves in a dilemma. Villaruz sketch the development of dance in the Philippines in the twentieth century against the background of two parallel processes: on one hand. She shows that as a result of the shift- ing alliances of Ethiopia. INTRODUCTION   17 consultation with critics and academics as having potential to contribute to the ‘development of drama’ in their respective countries. became an important city within a global network of dance exchanges and tours during which was not only visited by many important artists from both sides of the Iron Curtain.

The Atlantic and Its Enemies: A Personal History of the Cold War (London: Allen Lane. we can see that there was much more at stake than a simple dichotomy between US kitchens and Soviet bal- let. who saw theatre as a medium for bridging or dissolving the political antagonisms of real politics. Bruce McConachie.B. political.18   C. 1992). it was also acting indirectly through globally operating philan- thropic foundations such as those of Ford and Rockefeller. Perhaps working within a para- digm defined by the founders of ITI. 176. 2010). and investigate the transnationally operating forces. funding theatrical activity throughout the Third World and its many proxy states. BALME AND B. The Dancer Defects: The Struggle for Cultural Supremacy during the Cold War (Oxford: Oxford University Press. This marginalization of the play’s actual political issues is symptomatic of the general neglect of postcolonial theatri- cal cultures by the Cold War perspective. especially in understanding the influence of so-called ‘experts’. American Theater in the Culture of the Cold War: Producing and Contesting Containment. On the Performance Front: US Theatre and Internationalism (London: Palgrave Macmillan. David Caute. We are conscious that this volume represents only a cross section of possible research agendas within the wider field of the theatrical Cold War. artists and advisors whose task was to help implement the new medium in cultures and contexts where it was still regarded as foreign. Charlotte Canning. If we return to the Nixon–Khrushchev debate mentioned at the beginning of this introduction. . 2005). theatre research has often avoided direct engagement with the issues outlined here. Not only was the US government channelling money and expertise directly into high culture through the CIA and various front organiza- tions. Notes 1. Western and Eastern Europe. the movement of skilled workers. There remains much to be done. 2015). 2003). Norman Stone. SZYMANSKI-DÜLL i­mportant geopolitical questions. that enabled a high degree of transnational infor- mation exchange within a world that was officially separated into sup- posedly mutually impermeable spheres. See John Elsom. economic and artistic. 3. The Soviet Union was also active on a global scale. 2. 1947–1962 (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. It is our hope that this volume will serve as a point of departure for future research that can map theatre in the Cold War beyond the main ‘battlefields’ of the USA and the Soviet Union. Cold War Theatre (London: Routledge.

in Across the Blocs: Cold War Cultural and Social History. Bernhard Struck. 8. 5. Jürgen Osterhammel (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner.4 (2011). Ibid. Rana Mitter and Patrick Major (London/Portland. 11.’ Percy Mtwa. The far-reaching impact of this philosophy on the basis of written texts is well illustrated by an anecdote related by South African actor Percy Mtwa. here 74 and 76. OR: Frank Cass. ‘East is East and West is West? Towards a Comparative Socio-cultural History of the Cold War’. see Diana Looser. ‘Introduction: Space and Scale in Transnational History’. 2008). 12. Global Perspectives on Global History: Theories and Approaches in a Connected World (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2011). Kiran Klaus Patel. Immerman and Petra Goedde (eds). ‘How Histories Make Geographies: Circulation and Context in a Global Perspective’. See for example Richard H. Patrick Major and Rana Mitter. ‘I’ve Been an Entertainer throughout My Life’. here 12. Dominic Sachsenmaier. See for example. 573–584. INTRODUCTION   19 4. We read these books and studied them. 13.. in Weltgeschichte. alternative theatre and film director Paul Maunder established a ‘Grotowski-inspired’ theatre group named The Theatre of the Eighth Day in the 1980s. Kate Ferris and Jacques Revel. West Berlin 1970. 9. 160–175. We read that book and studied it intensively and later we got another book by Peter Brook. one of the co-creators of the legendary township play. ed. Woza Albert!: ‘When we were still compiling the material (for Woza Albert!) we were thinking of making it a cast of six. 6. New York 1969. Anthony Tatlow and Tak-Wai Wong (eds). The volume is particularly sensitive to the regional and transnational variants of the conflict. here 573–574. Transcultural Studies 1 (2010). 1982). 2004). 1–22. 2014). Brecht and East Asian Theatre: The Proceedings of a Conference on Brecht in East Asian Theatre (Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. Matatu: Zeitschrift für afrikanische Kultur und Gesellschaft 3/4 (1988). The International History Review 33. Grotowski’s Theatre Laboratory did of course tour. Translation Christopher Balme. here 1. But somewhere we came across that book of Jerzy Grotowski called Towards a Poor Theatre. In New Zealand. The Oxford Handbook of the Cold War (Oxford: Oxford University Press. 7. HKU. 7. Arjun Appadurai. 67–89. 55. Basistexte. 5–13. 2013). 10. here 170. . interview with Eckhard Breitinger. ‘Überlegungen zu einer transnationalen Geschichte’. 1. Remaking Pacific Pasts: History. and Identity in Contemporary Theater from Oceania (Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press. ed. even though the actual number of spectators was quite small. The more ­important guest perfor- mances included Théâtre des Nations in Paris 1968. He said a lot that inspired us. Memory.

For a detailed discussion of Boris Kulnev’s teaching of the Stanislavsky sys- tem in China in the 1950s. John Elsom. 19. See for example. NH: Wesleyan University Press.pdf. the New York City Ballet and Jose Limon were harnessed for diplomatic purposes. Durch Austausch entsteht Identität: der Einfluss des Stanislawski-Systems auf die realistischen Inszenierungen am Volkskunsttheater Beijing der 1950–60er Jahre. 16. the Berliner Ensemble. Contemporary European History 14 (2005). in a programmatic article: ‘Epistemic Communities and International Policy Coordination’. On the Performance Front: US Theatre and Internationalism (London: Palgrave Macmillan.ub. LMU Munich. 22. see Jingzhi Fang.4 (2000). they were directly funded by the state or municipality. here 919. Patricia Clavin. BALME AND B. 307–323. 815–989. 129. 2004). Both dance and jazz music have been studied already. Emily S. 2012). International Organization 46 (1992). 1992). 17. 21. and the British Government’. Dance for Export: Cultural Diplomacy and the Cold War (Hanover. Dennis Kennedy. 421–439.4 (2006). 75–93. accessed 15 March 2016. ‘Defining Transnationalism’. New Theatre Quarterly 22. here 308. 144. Naima Prevots. and Emily Fang_Jingzhi. http://edoc. Peter M. see Charlotte Canning. see Bruce McConachie. Rosenberg refers explicitly to ‘transnational epistemic communities’ within the wider concept of ‘circuits of expertise’ which began to form at the end of the nineteenth century. ed. MA: Harvard UP.20   C. in A World Connecting 1870–1945. James Smith. ‘Transnational Currents in a Shrinking World’. In 1933 many municipal theatres in Germany were still privately managed: by 1939 all had been ‘communalized’. Who Paid the Piper?: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War (London: Granta Books. 2009). Frances Stonor Saunders. Cold War Theatre (London: Routledge. here 81. Rosenberg (Cambridge. 18. 1998) examines how dance companies such as Martha Graham. London: Harvard University Press.  Haas. MA. ‘Method Acting and the Cold War’.e. 47–68. Theatre Survey 41. 23. 1999). 1–35. 2015). The term was coined by the scholar of international relations. SZYMANSKI-DÜLL 14. For a discussion of ITI in the context of the internationalization of US theatre.B. ‘Shakespeare and the Cold War’.uni-muenchen. . i. 15. 24. ‘Brecht. in The Spectator and the Spectacle: Audiences in Modernity and Postmodernity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 20. Penny Von Eschen explores the same question for popular music in Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War (Cambridge. Doctoral Dissertation. For a discussion of method acting and the Cold War in the US context.

32. The Dramatic Touch of Difference: Theatre. Narr. 1945–1975’. 1990). Notes on the Theory of the ‘Big Push’ (Cambridge. 1962 (New York: Rockefeller Foundation. ‘Decolonisation. On intercultural theatre. Theatre Research International 35. (eds). Politics (London. 293–294. 27. 1957). See Walt Rostow. MIT. Theatre at the Crossroads of Culture (London. 2003). 1962). New York: Routledge. Decolonizing the Stage: Theatrical Syncretism and Post-colonial Drama (Oxford: Clarendon Press. ‘Cultures at War in Cold War Southeast Asia: An Introduction’. Tony Day. and Paul Rosenstein- Rodan. 31–53. Cornell University. Post-­colonial Drama: Theory. 1999). 208. London: Johns Hopkins University Press. See Helen Gilbert and Jacqueline Lo. 29. INTRODUCTION   21 25. ‘Towards a Topography of Cross- cultural Theatre Praxis’. New  York: Routledge. On postcolo- nial theatre. 2003). 26. South Asian scholar Mark Berger argues in this vein by emphasizing the continuity between Cold War modernization and ‘the civilising mission that animated imperial expansion … while giving more weight to the trans- formative character of decolonisation and the Cold War. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 34. MA: Center for International Studies. 1996). the s­ tandard works include Helen Gilbert and Joanne Tompkins.  Liem (Ithaca: Southeast Asia Program Publication. See also Václav Kašlik (from Prague) or the later-exiled Yuri Lyubimov (from Moscow) to name just two other prominent figures. and Christopher Balme. The Drama Review 46. 30. 28. 2010). New York: Cambridge University Press. Mandarins of the Future: Modernization Theory in Cold War America. Staging Growth: Modernization. Brian Crow and Chris Banfield.  Engerman et  al. and Patrice Pavis. and Nils Gilman. Own and Foreign (Tuebingen: G.T. in Cultures at War: The Cold War and Cultural Expression in Southeast Asia. 1–20. New Studies in American Intellectual and Cultural History (Baltimore. See The Rockefellar Foundation Annual Report. 1960). 1992). see in particular David C. 31. Erika Fischer-Lichte.3 (October 2010). Josephine Riley and Michael Gissenwehrer (eds).3 (2003). 1996). Practice. On ‘modernization’ and ‘developmentalism’. see Erika Fischer-Lichte.’ Mark T. ‘Interweaving Cultures in Performance: Theatre in a Globalizing World’. Development. here 422. here 2. 33. . Tony Day and M. and the Global Cold War (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.H. 421–448. An Introduction to Post- colonial Theatre (Cambridge. The Stages of Economic Growth: A Non-­ Communist Manifesto (Cambridge. UK: University Press. ed.3 (2002). Modernisation and Nation-building: Political Development Theory and the Appeal of Communism in Southeast Asia. Berger.

the Ford Foundation’s field office attained considerable influ- ence on Indian development policy.” The Trinidad Theatre Workshop 1959–1993 (Oxford. see Bruce King. nationalist and internationalist discourses. Derek Walcott and West Indian Drama: “Not only a Playwright but a Company. ‘Requiem or New Agenda for Third World Studies?’. SZYMANSKI-DÜLL 34. For a critical review of dependency theory. in The Politics of Interweaving Performance Cultures: Beyond Postcolonialism. the various pan-African or pan-Asian initiatives of the 1950s and 1960s. For India. and Christopher Balme. see Bernd Lindfors. BALME AND B. The Ford Foundation 1952–2002 (New Delhi: The Ford Foundation. NJ: Africa World Press. 532–561. if sometimes avant la lettre. . see Leela Gandhi. 2002). although its involvement in theatrical activity remains largely unresearched. For an initial survey. see Tony Smith. 1995). Erika Fischer-Lichte et al. (London: Routledge. On the Rockefeller Foundation’s support of Walcott. 37. 36. 2014). Arts and Culture: From Heritage to Folklore. 2008). New York: Clarendon Press.B. 35.22   C. 239–257. In the dependency school can be placed also. Early Soyinka (Trenton. ed. World Politics 37 (1985). which had a chequered ideological career. on Wole Soyinka and the Rockefeller Foundation. ‘Failed Stages: Postcolonial Public Spheres and the Search for a Caribbean Theatre’. oscillating between regionalist.

PART I Shifting Borders: Tours and Touring .

Theatre. USA © The Author(s) 2017 25 C. Canning Five months after covering the first performance by a US theatre company in the Soviet Union. CHAPTER 2 A Cold War Battleground: Catfish Row versus the Nevsky Prospekt Charlotte M. Wolfert could be confident his readers understood the juxtaposition as one that borrowed key aspects of guided missiles—they were steered precisely to a target.’1 Such comparisons were historically recent as the first guided missile had made its debut only 12  years earlier in 1944.2 The term entered the Anglophone lexicon in 1945.1007/978-3-319-48084-8_2 . self-propelled. TX. so Wolfert’s 1956 analogy referred to current and developing technology. fine art. or tanks) as equiva- lent to the impact of soft ones (live performance. Ira Wolfert asserted in The Nation. Transnational Theatre Histories. Szymanski-Düll (eds.).3 These comparisons between the tools of hot and cold wars—the efficacy of hard weapons (missiles. Austin.B. and the C. Balme. that: ‘For the last four years [the company] has been functioning as a kind of guided missile in the cold war. a progressive weekly of politics and culture.M. Canning (*) The University of Texas at Austin. or s­ cholarship)— were rampant during the 1950s. In fact. the follow- ing year the New York Times would designate the contemporary moment the ‘Missile Age’. used on England by Germany. B. Globalization and the Cold War. bombs. DOI 10.

got mired in a larger impasse over trade and cultural exchange. CANNING product of the most advanced thinking and strategy—and applied those characteristics to endeavours usually far removed from the fatal arena of warfare. Even the negotiations that made the tour possible demonstrate this relationship. As one internal memo put it ‘the opera presents an undignified picture of the American colored population as being downtrodden and uneducated’. theatre.26   C.M. No one in the West was sure what the new Soviet cultural approach would be—a con- tinuation of Stalin’s isolationism or. France. the proxy hot wars of Korea. however. US Secretary of State. the State Department worried that the opera itself might further fuel Soviet claims about conditions for African Americans in the USA. a loosening of restrictions. The Soviets did not want to invite the Everyman Opera Company only to have the USA refuse the company permssion to travel and withdrawn their passports. But the two types of war were not really that different. and to sup- port the Soviet tour would deplete the remaining European budget. Under Joseph Stalin’s leadership. and the USSR. dance. but the two were imbricated. the military and the cultural are often seen as discrete. also played out through music. academic exchanges. Those same geo- politics. attempts to arrange tours had been rebuffed by both sides. The tour had already had more than its share of federal funds.4 So there the possibility sat. During the Cold War state-to-state geopolitics played out through nuclear threats. and Afghanistan. In addition. The negotiations took close to two years. Great Britain. even though they did not want to encourage it. however. but undercut the welcome news by not offering any financial support. including Khrushchev and John Foster Dulles. and commercial trade fairs. and brutal attempts to dominate non-aligned nations. The matter was raised at the July 1955 Geneva Summit of the USA. and the geopolitics of the 1950s deployed them commensurately. and Nikita Khrushchev had only just become party secretary as negotiations began in 1953.5 Director Robert Breen was undaunted and sent letters to every influential official he could. Finally the USA removed its objections. The Porgy and Bess tour produced by the Everyman Opera Company that Wolfert counted as part of the US weapons arsenal was covered by newspapers in both countries as though they were reporting from the front lines of a hot war. theatre.6 .  Tour discussions. The USA did not want to be put in the position of seeming to prevent the tour. The hot and the cold. and most of that time was spent in a delicate diplomatic dance. possibly. officials informed the company. in this case. caught between both sides’ uncertainties. Vietnam.

7 In addition. This tour played out against cru- cial events in the US and the USSR. and Czechoslovakia between 21 December 1955 and 19 February 1956. Her trip seemed to be a success. the University of Alabama used mob violence as an excuse to expel Autherine Lucy. Dr Martin Luther King. The US government hoped to dem- onstrate that Soviet claims about race were fallacious and that theirs was a country of freedom and opportunity. the performers. I will argue that every party invested in the tour was guiding the missile of performance to a target particular to their interests. The tour trav- elled to Russia. Stalingrad. There were multiple performances in Leningrad. even though there was no secure source of funding. He sent his wife to Moscow in September 1955 to finalize the plans. sup- ply an orchestra and even a ‘domesticated she-goat’. and as they performed in Stalingrad’s Wyspianski Theatre. An examination . While they were onstage in Warsaw. Warsaw. Poland. the Soviets would pay the company $16. This chapter will focus on the Russian leg of the larger Soviet tour of the Everyman Opera Company production of Porgy and Bess. A few days after the company returned to Germany. the first African American admitted to a public university in the state.000 (half in rubles) for each week in the Soviet Union. desired to assert their agency as citizens and offer their nuanced and varied depictions of life in the USA. Premier Khrushchev denounced Stalin at the Twentieth Party Congress. The USSR wanted to portray its country as open and advanced.8 What remained to be done was to perform and see what Soviet audiences would make of this complex cultural text. The Soviets contracted to cover ‘all expenses connected with the preparation. but it was not until the end of November that Breen and producer Blevins Davis knew for sure. Moscow. thrilled to be travelling the world. it cannot be discounted that part of the way the two nations perceived each other was through the context of productions like Porgy and Bess. Jr’s Montgomery home was bombed. Finally. A COLD WAR BATTLEGROUND: CATFISH ROW VERSUS THE NEVSKY PROSPEKT   27 Breen persevered. Given the insistence in both countries on the political and diplomatic significance of cultural work as part of the larger and ongoing power struggle. the rehearsals and the performances’. An official agree- ment was reached—the Soviet government would transport the company from Berlin to Leningrad and then around the Soviet Union. as well as being a superior society where all races were free to pursue their dreams. The show’s producers wanted to make an argument that the USA needed a national theatre culture and that theatre had an impor- tant role to play in national identity. and Prague. Working from Wolfert’s analogy.

the USA paid scant attention to cultural arenas. This was a long-standing Bolshevik strategy which they had pursued since the early 1920s as a way to legitimate the fledgling nation.9 The show’s popularity and production quality alone. Soviet leaders paid particular attention to culture. particularly the arts. however. those regu- lated by mutual agreement became increasingly significant. could influence public opinion and attitudes toward the USA. each side sought to penetrate the oth- er’s cultural polity while denying access to its own […]. cannot account for the significant role the tour played in the Cold War. In the post-Stalin period (1953–1964). sometimes coordinated aspirations will document the ways in which live performance both participated in and resisted the foreign policies nation-states wanted it to support.M. As Khrushchev’s biographer Taubman wrote: ‘The Bolsheviks were supposed to become a cultural as well as a political vanguard’ and ‘given their determination to control intellectual life. and its cultural officers had little or no institutional influence. The initial performance was at the Texas State Fair Auditorium in Dallas on 9 June 1952 and the final one at the Theatre Carré in Amsterdam on 3 June 1956. Post-World War II the Soviets focused on cultural diplomacy far more thoroughly than their Allied counterparts. to the populations of colour in Cairo and Montevideo. both sides came to accept a role for cultural relations. and seen as a positive example of US culture and creativity.11 Evidence was increasing in the ten years following World War II. It appeared in 29 countries and on four continents. and while unilateral methods of influence continued to be used. .12 The Porgy and Bess visit came just as matters had begun to shift on both sides. that attending to these matters. Everywhere the company went it was hailed as uniquely American. Wherever it performed it was met with great enthusi- asm—from the sophisticated opera audiences of La Fenice and La Scala. however. In 1952 Breen and Davis founded the Everyman Opera Company to produce a revival of Porgy and Bess. to the jazz enthusiasts of Paris and Berlin. Historian Nigel Gould-Davies observed: In the early Cold War (1946–1953). The production toured the world for 201  weeks.’10 Conversely. something its original production had failed to do. Soviet and US. The touring production is credited with ensuring the musical’s place as an American classic. CANNING of these sometimes competing.28   C. understandably sceptical of US racial equality claims.

named after its author and Stalin’s ‘chief ideologist’ Andrei Zhdanov. and ‘stimulate desire for consumer goods’. which offered the choice to ‘align with the regime’s policies or perish’. A COLD WAR BATTLEGROUND: CATFISH ROW VERSUS THE NEVSKY PROSPEKT   29 For the Soviets.14 But the post-Stalin approach was to be different.21 On the US side. the goal of cultural diplomacy was clear. Switzerland in mid-July 1955. By mid-1956 it would be described as to foster ‘greater individual freedom’.13 The demand for conformity that started at the end of World War II came as Stalin ‘deliberately and effectively cut’ the USSR ‘off from cultural con- tact’ with the West. President Eisenhower requested $5 million in 1954 to support and stimulate US participation in international cultural activi- ties.15 Porgy and Bess could not have arrived in the Soviet Union at a more propitious moment. British. Stalin had supported a harsh domestic cultural policy.20 This was not surprising as Russians were hungry for innovative art and were searching ‘for a fresh style and individualized self-expression […] in the sphere of the arts’. as historian Vladislav Zubok concisely noted. ‘Zhdanovshchina’. went backstage to congratulate the cast. the shift was made possible by Stalin’s death in March 1953. He declared the money was ‘to demonstrate the dedication of the United States to peace and human well-being [and] to offset worldwide Communist propaganda that the United States has no culture and that . which opened many more opportunities for exchange. then premier. Frustrated with informal efforts supported by unofficial funds.18 In November 1955 Peter Brook was able to bring his production of Hamlet. At the four-power summit in Geneva. in April 1954. with Paul Scofield in the title role. and US governments presented a plan for cultural diplo- macy to the Soviet representatives.’16 The Gershwin piece was not the first production from a capitalist country to tour the USSR.17 and Georgy Malenkov.19 This production thrilled Soviet audiences.22 But it would take time for everyone in the US government to agree that cultural diplo- macy could achieve those ends. to the Vahktangov as well. Nothing was decided but an ‘era of Soviet-American cultural negotiations began’ that would bear fruit two years later with the so-called Lacey-Zarubin Agreement of 1958. that honour went to the Comédie française who. presented a produc- tion of Molière’s Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme in the Vahktangov Theatre. particularly theatre practitioners. ‘freedom of thought’. performers. and just plain tourists rushed into a previously her- metically closed Soviet society. Before that. art exhi- bitions. as Zubok observed: ‘In 1955–56 artists. the French. Khrushchev’s son called it a ‘diplomatic act’.

whistling airs from Porgy and Bess. given five days after Truman’s warning. At the end of the Second World War the USA found itself with a challenge to its national identity. Truman had bluntly cautioned: ‘Theirs is a godless system. were to have faith in democracy. made the tour of Porgy and Bess a site where the ideas and struggles of the historical moment could constellate. compared the USA and Soviet Union: ‘freedom is pitted against slavery.27 The year Porgy and Bess went to the USSR. That this particular production of Porgy and Bess would in turn influence government policy. The dance programme was dominated by Alvin Ailey. the United States would need to reassure them that American democracy was not synonymous with white supremacy.’25 White suprem- acy and democracy had historically been coeval. [It] seemed to be universally known and universally loved’.M. African. In music. Triumph in the Cold War depended on that refutation because US foreign policy posed two potential futures: freedom under democracy or slavery under communism.23 A chief beneficiary of the so-called ‘Emergency Fund’ was the Porgy and Bess tour. and US national identity had been produced by this relationship. Robert Breen asserted that when he toured Europe in 1949 and 1950. lightness against the dark’. and particularly non-white peoples. Eisenhower (1955) repeated his .30   C. Eisenhower had cited the production as evidence of the efficacy of cultural work for furthering US goals. particularly racism and colonial- ism. Historian Mary Dudziak described: ‘If other nations. a system of slavery. CANNING its industrial production is oriented toward war’. That these areas of the world con- tained the majority of non-aligned and non-white countries was no coin- cidence. A fascination with African American artists and with US domestic concerns. Such rhetoric had emerged in the previous presidential administration. restaurants.. In his final presidential address. ‘wherever [we] went [we] heard people in the streets. may be seen as having been a certainty from the start. coupled with world events at that time. etc. and Middle Eastern legs were all funded by the US government. Its Latin American. jazz reigned supreme and Louis Armstrong became virtuously synonymous with the State Department’s programme.24 This was the US culture with which the world was most intrigued. and State Department monies helped keep that company solvent. and later enjoyed government fiscal support. Now the USA wanted to argue for democracy as a resistance to intolerance. Porgy and Bess was successful primarily because the USA’s Cold War cultural diplomacy efforts relied disproportionately on African American artists.’26 Eisenhower’s 1953 inaugural address.

30 In this stunning reversal. Porgy and Bess was not the first text by white authors that purported to capture the essence of African-American culture and experience. Breen was not the only party invested in the tour’s reception. Breen worked within this genealogy by insisting on the speci- ficity of his production’s details. the lawfulness of the free society’. Multiple potential meanings had been freighted onto the tour by all the stakeholders.33 The Soviets understood. White artists have long legitimated their representations of African Americans through the trappings of social science—declaring that they were merely reproducing observed behaviours and practices—and Porgy and Bess is no exception. Between a husband and wife [a] small quarrel over two or three cents she is missing from her wages […]. One woman prepares a scanty supper for her hus- band. a slave state for almost the first century of its existence and contemporaneously an apartheid one.34 Juxtaposing these multiple agendas meant that no one was quite sure what the tour would come to mean in either nation.” […] or man is a soulless animated machine to be enslaved. how- ever. instead he worked actively to influence the reception of the production and the tour. . as foreign rela- tions scholar Cora Sol Goldstein argued. materialistic barbarians’. the Cold War is defined as a ‘polarization of power which now inescapably confronts the slave society with the free’. known as NSC-68. A Polish critic described the opening: ‘children are playing. the deep tolerance. that ‘all aspects of culture were intrinsically political and could serve as a vehicle of propaganda. Men who have returned from their work are playing dice’. insensi- tive. In that foundational document. used and consumed by the state for its own glorification. intended as much as a ‘manifesto’.’28 This characterization was even written into the top-secret elaboration of con- tainment. the USA. A COLD WAR BATTLEGROUND: CATFISH ROW VERSUS THE NEVSKY PROSPEKT   31 theme: ‘Either man is the creature whom the Psalmist described as “a little lower than the angels. Another is knitting a jumper […].31 The white governing elite saw no contradictions in sending African Americans abroad to testify to US racial harmony. Breen wanted to establish the USA as a theatre culture for both foreign and domestic audiences. and the Soviet government saw a productive opening to focus on the USA’s weak spot. The USA wanted to contradict the USSR because.32 Breen did not passively wait for the critics and audiences to ‘get it’. as Representative Frank Thompson argued they ‘find it extremely easy to spread […] lies that we are gum-chewing. is officially designated an exemplar of ‘the marvelous diversity.29 as a statement of policy. either direct […] or the indirect’ and this included the arts.

juxtaposed with the ways in which he represented the tour’s participants. CANNING Breen and Davis did all they could to construct those potential meanings. Europe. reveals another element of the Cold War narrative Breen.35 Both Wolfert and Lyons fulfilled Breen and Davis’s greatest expectations and filed glowing reports of the significance of the tour and the positive impression the production made on its Soviet audiences. Davis. Capote’s work left a sour taste in the mouths of the company. Also present by invitation and fully funded was Truman Capote. at this point best known for his novels Other Voices. and ‘took substantial liberties for the sake of lively reading. Capote. Ultimately. One such reporter was Pulitzer Prize- winning journalist Ira Wolfert who wrote for the highly conservative and anti-communist Reader’s Digest. then available in the Americas. however was not conventional reportage because.36 Capote parodied Breen’s earnest intentions. Breen and Davis would go to great lengths to disavow the book. and others were constructing and were constructed within. One actor wrote: ‘[S]ince Capote thought we were all “Uncle Toms”.38 The company’s nickname for Capote does not simply recall the germinal nineteenth-century US novel . a syndicated gossip columnist whose column was available in over 100 papers in the USA.M. we had our own name for him: “Little Eva”’. The two men carefully chose those who would report from the front lines. Capote’s presence. Northern Africa. constructed the African-­ American cast through tropes recognizable from minstrelsy. Other Rooms (1948) and The Grass Harp (1951). indeed. and it] was in that spirit of mischief that he observed his fellow travellers. Also along (and paid for by the tour) was Leonard Lyons. Capote had long been interested in reinventing him- self as a journalist. Truman was not interested in writing an account of a historic event. as his biographer Gerald Clarke notes.32   C. and parts of Asia. They had not worked for years only to have the tour be an artistic or diplomatic disaster. sometimes changing the order of events. [H]e realized that in Breen’s history-making enterprise there was also material ideally suited to his comedic talents[.37 His New Yorker article ‘The Muses Are Heard’ (also the title of his book) would not be published until October 1956 so it had no immediate impact on the tour’s reception. he was probably constitutionally incapable of such a portentous undertaking […]. What he had in mind. and occasionally bringing separated episodes together […] even invent[ing] a whole scene’.

Helen Thigpen (Serena) and Earl Jackson (Sportin’ Life) had become engaged a few months earlier and had decided they would get married in Moscow. Capote has Jackson noting that such an event was ‘bound to be a big story […]. although no press foregrounded . 2500 people crammed into the church and several thousand more were outside waiting to catch a glimpse of the wedding party.40 By labelling Capote ‘Little Eva’ the anonymous actor tapped into the pervasive belief that the persecution of homosexuals was legitimate. That’s front page. loving. white female child Evangeline St Clair (nicknamed Little Eva).39 Historian David K. In turn they sought (at least as one actor claimed) to portray him through the same literary touchstone. blonde. The couple were married in the Moscow Baptist Evangelical Church (after a civil ceremony at the registrar’s office the previous day). A COLD WAR BATTLEGROUND: CATFISH ROW VERSUS THE NEVSKY PROSPEKT   33 Uncle Tom’s Cabin and its legacy for US culture and politics. as popular representations of the character Uncle Tom claimed. but at what one newspaper euphemized as ‘sex deprav- ity’ and ‘nasty moral habits’. The wedding was reported in multiple newspapers across the USA and was included in Soviet reporting as well. it was a big story. In this choice they reveal the ways in which the moral panic around sexuality haunted the Cold War as perniciously as did racial politics.42 Interestingly. This kind of heteronormative discourse was most visibly on display dur- ing the Moscow stop on the tour. Johnson observes that ‘even a rumor of homosexuality was often considered a graver transgres- sion in 1950s America than an admission of former membership in the Communist party’. but despite his mockery of Jackson’s predictions. even as other forms of discrimination were being protested in the streets and courtrooms. it is less well known that his tactics were also aimed at gay and lesbian civil servants. not at communism. But for him they chose the angelic. While Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-WI) may have been censured by his colleagues in the Senate the year before Porgy and Bess arrived in Russia. McCarthy may be best known for his reckless and unsubstantiated accusations about alleged communists in the USA.41 Much of the dialogue Capote attributes to Jackson and Thigpen does sound like a caricature of the kind of slang attributed to African-American musicians in the 1950s. Three-quarters of the letters McCarthy received from voters across the nation expressed panic. That’s TV’. As early as 1947 questions had been raised about the fitness of gay and lesbian citizens for public service. The actors believed that Capote portrayed them as obsequious and subservient to white authority. the loyalty and security systems he helped develop would remain in place until the 1970s.

well now look. but sexuality. What caught the press’s attention in the USA. The fact that both the journalist and the actors. each of whom was in his or her own way resisting the nor- mative and oppressive narratives being scripted for them. CANNING this. Capote’s biographer notes that an offi- cial of the Ministry of Culture commented disgustedly. and even when the penal codes were revised in the late 1950s to reflect Khrushchev’s liberalization. with its overtones of sex and aggression. sodomy remained as harshly punished as ever. As Jet Magazine (1956) noted.43 Despite the fact that this had been explained as a Russian custom (the minister then shook hands with the bride).47 Capote’s presence in the Soviet Union was not without some risk. the Soviet Union of Writers in Moscow). Robert Dustin. ‘kissed Jackson on the lips after the ceremony’. and the African-American groom was supported by his white best man. but it is also clear that the kiss is more the object of its discomfort.44 The newspaper uses minstrel tropes to characterize Jackson’s response. Homosexuality had been decriminalized after the revolution but Stalin had it recriminalized in 1933. took refuge in those narratives to depict each other demonstrates the power such tropes held both within the USA and abroad. was not race. Breen’s production assistant Warner Watson. rather than ‘kiss’ thinly veils a disgust at two men kissing. although as an internationally respected author he was unlikely to face much official sanction (he addressed. As Joseph James (Jake) remembers: ‘When we went to Berlin. the use of the more informal ‘smack’. we were called into a ­meeting by the State Department. but ve hide them’. Officials briefing the cast did all they could to influence the ways in which the members of the tour would experience the Soviet Union.  Karpov.45 Hide them they did. the wedding party was not segregated: the African-American bride was given away by the white company manager. Capote did not find a culture in the Soviet Union any more hospitable than the one he had left at home. the US government constructed for them a Soviet Union that suited its purposes. Just as Capote and the Porgy and Bess company were using mainstream tropes of race and sexuality to construct one another. there isn’t anybody on earth that behaves that . and we were shown an anti-Soviet pro- paganda film which was so absurdly ridiculous—it was such a caricature that we said. ‘Ve have them like that in the Soviet Union.M.46 Gay men (more so than lesbians) were sent to the Gulag by the thousands. however. in fact. a Texas newspaper described the moment: ‘Jackson grinned broadly and rolled his eyes as the pastor then leaned over and planted a smack on his lips’. the minister. Reverend Alexei N.34   C.

Despite this. .49 The official transcript of the briefing prepared by the State Department supports James and Carter’s memories of being told to downplay the racial situation in the USA. the ‘Soviet government and its allies […] delighted in publicizing news of American racial discrimination and persecution’. that stands as another example of subtle Soviet points about their position on the intertwined issues of race and art.’48 More typically. the federal government had no choice but to allow the tour to depart and hope for the best. we are on a cultural mission’. A COLD WAR BATTLEGROUND: CATFISH ROW VERSUS THE NEVSKY PROSPEKT   35 way. and the public Soviet response was very positive. “Don’t say this. you could only say a few things. muses are silent. laughing. Coreania Hayman Carter (ensemble) remembers the State Department warning as more mild. In the context of the Cold War. the State Department reminded the cast that there are ‘48 states which vary. but no federal statutes concerning discrimination or segregation—point out progress and accomplishments in many fields the problem is of no interest to the Soviets—their motive is condemnation of the US’.51 It is breathtaking that the federal government would hide behind a minor technicality. ‘American Actors in Moscow’. “where muses speak.53 Nikolai Savchenko used this at every gathering to the point where it became a company joke. they were all very much aware of how dominant white powers were using the cast to their own ends. ‘Because […] you were […] behind the Iron Curtain.” […] But we were briefed not to say a lot of things about segregation and that sort of thing in our country’. and don’t say that. Through an erasure of realities for African-­ American citizens. as historian Thomas Borstelmann points out. The claim that there were ‘no federal statutes’ mandat- ing discrimination ignored centuries of federal collusion to maintain white supremacy through juridical and vigilante means. At one of the many banquets held to celebrate the produc- tion.52 All sides wanted a publicity coup. The Soviets produced a 22-minute newsreel. the official from the Ministry of Culture who oversaw the tour trum- peted: ‘There is a well-known saying “where the cannons speak. When asked how they should answer questions about race the officials briefing the cast were emphatic. Throughout the documentary there are multiple scenes of white Soviets eating. ‘Don’t answer them. where. company members tended to be less vocal about politics. cannons should be silent”’. however.50 Most stunning is the briefing’s attempt to reposition the US apartheid state as a race-neutral one. while another. unnamed entity supports ‘cannons’ more than art.” Soviet people treat the problem from a different angle. but there is a subtle implication that the Soviets are the ones promoting art.

At a Moscow Christmas party the film records a Russian girl giving a child from the cast her Young Pioneer scarf. this critic puts the emphasis on the Soviet contribution to this cultural exchange. the exchange benefitted the USA whilst ultimately working to the Soviets’ advantage. For this critic anyway. Kovalyev. Bogdanoff-Berezovski was the exception when he opined in the Evening Leningrad: ‘We. but leave the compari- son to the reader. The film showed the USSR going to great lengths to accommodate their guests. realize the corrosive effect of the capitalistic system on the consciousness.54 Whether the Soviets intended their representations of accommodation and integration to con- trast with what was possible in the USA I do not know. even though the Russian Christmas was not until 7 January. His voice is neutral about the USA—the production allows the Soviets to ‘form an idea’ about US culture—but it allows the latter to appreciate ‘the cultural achievements of the Soviet Union’. ‘Something to remember their young Soviet friends by’.55 V. which they found impres- sive. CANNING and dancing with their African-American guests. The Soviets sponsored a Christmas party for the company in Leningrad on 25 December. Local newspaper reviews largely echoed this approach. the Soviet spectators. like U. noting the ways the production ‘testifies to the high talent of the Negro people’. State Department officials would have been furious if they had known that the Soviet Union would solicit support from the African-American citizen the federal government most despised. the mental- ity and the moral outlook of a people oppressed by poverty. Many of them offered serious analysis of the music and singing. ‘Wishing a Happy New Year to the Soviet people from the bottom of his heart.58 No reviewer lost sight of the larger mission of the tour: cultural diplomacy.’57 Still others simply focused on the prodi- gious abilities onstage. the narrator cheered. The reviewer for Izvestia reminded readers that the event was intended to work in two directions: ‘We must remember that this is the first visit to the Soviet Union of American artists which gives us a chance to form an idea about the opera culture in the United States. Onstage—portions of dilapidated houses crammed full of down-trodden Negroes […]. and gives them a chance to find out more about the cultural achievements of the Soviet Union’. do note the conditions within the play. None condemned the opera. the o ­ utstanding .59 Like Savchenko.M. I can say neverthe- less that the film is striking in its emphasis on the pleasure the actors found in their visit and the open welcome they received from their hosts.36   C. few even made outright comparisons to the Soviet system.’56 Others. ‘The action takes place in the sordid Negro quarter of a seaport town.

64 The significance of this moment can also be found in the ways in which performers took matters into their own hands. a Moscow paper trumpeted. despite government attempts to impose interpretations on their work and identities.62 Constantly pillo- ried in the white press. one performer noted. sent warm comments […] to his countrymen […] in the […] American opera now in the Soviet Union’.61 The most visible African-American supporter of the USSR. Quoting Robeson. the paper continued. and had told one court it believed Robeson to be a ‘diplomatic embarrassment’ and ‘dan- gerous’ because ‘during concert tours of foreign countries he repeatedly criticized conditions of Negroes in the United States’. they spoke freely about .60 The tim- ing of this message was no coincidence. Borstelmann stresses. given their history of sending African Americans out to counter Robeson’s charges. In her 2004 study of US cultural diplomacy and jazz. and all you could hear was Paul Robeson’s voice. Robeson paid dearly for his politics. ‘offered an irresistible opportunity to respond to American publicity about repression of individual liberties in the Soviet bloc’. They called for increased government support for the arts. constituting themselves as international ambassa- dors by taking on the contradictions of Cold War internationalism. they were cultural translators who inspired the vision and shaped its contours. and they’d come to you and ask if we knew Paul Robeson’.63 The USA made no rebuttal to the Robeson message. ‘I know […] that they are proud of the heroic struggle of their people […] defending equality and human dignity in Mississippi and South Carolina where the events of the opera take place’. Robeson’s consistent support of the Soviet Union and insistence that Communists had always supported African Americans’ civil rights contradicted the message the USA wanted to send as it courted Third World countries. In the most fundamental sense. The State Department had long denied Robeson a passport (he could not leave the USA between 1950 and 1958). A COLD WAR BATTLEGROUND: CATFISH ROW VERSUS THE NEVSKY PROSPEKT   37 artist and worker from the United States. Paul Robeson. as the Kremlin was well aware. ‘When we got to Russia we would have radios in our hotel rooms. Penny Von Eschen argues that artists used these tours without being completely coopted by oppres- sive power structures: Musicians were not simply tools or followers of [US] policy. perhaps they thought the tour was doing that effectively. Events like these (both Robeson’s message and the tour). They would play all of his records.

There are only the defenses of the human spirit.’68 His famous pro- nouncement mystifies.M.69 States deeply implicated in the intrigues of global modernization. the State Department.67 This ecstatic release may not have been what Breen. Life reported what happened next: ‘the American visitors took over the room and staged a historic jam session that lasted well into the night’. the ways in which the Cold War exploited that belief. or the Soviets intended. Wolfert supports his claim to the missile status of Porgy and Bess by quoting General Dale O.38   C. pleasure. They would ‘play for the people’ when the opportunity presented itself. and other nations willingly enlisted their artists as combatants. Concluding with such an uncomplicated depiction of resistance and pleasure suggests an unwarranted optimism about artist or African-­ American agency. Great Britain. They asserted their right to ‘play for the people. or as Ira Wolfert put it. a violent and rapacious enterprise. but it demonstrates that these performers would follow official dictates when it pleased them. Concomitant with this illustration of resistance. The USA was not alone in this: the Soviet Union. Archibald MacLeish articulated a common belief when he declared in 1947: ‘There are no longer physical defenses against the weapons of war- fare. Von Eschen asserts that the view that culture was decisive in winning the Cold War assumes an illusory separateness of the categories ‘culture’ and ‘militarism’ […]. CANNING their struggles for civil rights. and agency is live performance as a form of coercive engagement. but … this separation of the cultural from the military ignores the extent to which the awesome material influence of the United States in the post-1945 era was dependent on the domination of cultural resources.’65 The Porgy and Bess company asserted this right no less than did Dizzy Gillespie or Duke Ellington. and they challenged the State Department’s priorities. The General . Not long after their arrival in Leningrad. as ‘a guided missile’. the cast found themselves in the hotel supper room where a local jazz band played desultorily for an empty dance floor. ‘people were screaming all over the joint’. however. China.66 Earl Jackson commented. Not only were artists deployed in proximity to covert and overt military campaigns. Smith’s warm approval of the tour. although we cannot consider theatre and the Cold War without the categories of resistance and pleasure. could weaponize any resource.

. it is almost impossible to delineate the victors and vanquished. of global dominance by any state or individual actors who wield missiles of any kind. a forceful collision with its target—and the artists as soldiers. “I intend to recom- mend that the entire company be decorated” by our government. 217. 6. The Life and Times of Porgy and Bess: The Story of an American Classic (New York: Alfred A. given that within the borders of her country she was legally denied access to many public areas and services. commended by an officer for medals—the Porgy and Bess performances in the Soviet Union in December to January 1955–6 were indeed at the front lines. ‘Disguise. 3.2 (2001). In Leningrad the com- pany performed in the Palace of Culture and in Moscow at the Stanislavsky Nemrovich-Danchenko Musical Theatre. Alpert. ‘Ambassadors at Large’. 3. 9 May 1956. What can be found in this constellation of events. Ibid. 211. politics. 7. and intentions. experiences. 13–14. here 296. and the Porgy and Bess Revival of 1952–1956’. 1990). The Life and Times of Porgy and Bess. Notes 1. The Nation. Hanson W. and always a potential target of violent domestic terrorism. 275–312. 2004). 2. exemplifies as much the limits. however. New York Times Magazine. 4. At that time it made us feel real—it made me feel wonderful […]. Ira Wolfert.  Siouris.’70 That a high-ranking military officer comfortably understood the tour in military terms demonstrates how widely accepted the imbrication of culture and militarism was. But her refusal to cede the USA to white supremacy is an example of why the tour is an ideal site to examine how the ideas and struggles of the historical moment con- stellated. With the tour as a missile—Smith’s reference to ‘impact’. I think we were quite representative of our country. David Monod. 208. as the assertion. In this battle. Containment. Hollis Alpert. Lillian Hayman (Strawberry Woman) reflected in a 1987 interview: ‘I never thought I ever would have been that important to my country. this battleground. Missile Guidance and Control Systems (New York: Springer. . ‘A Military Policy for the Missile Age’. 5. Journal of American Studies 35. A COLD WAR BATTLEGROUND: CATFISH ROW VERSUS THE NEVSKY PROSPEKT   39 ‘saw its impact on his command area […] and wrote. George M. 3 November 1957. however. Knopf.’71 That an African- American citizen could imagine herself as representing and representative of the USA is significant.  Baldwin.

Gould-Davies. chapter 10.. 26. almost $1. Ibid. here 59. As quoted in Naima Prevots. 11. 207. 88. Company Press Release. 78. Zhivago’s Children. 55 and 306. 25. The phrase ‘chief ide- ologist’ comes from Kees Boterbloem.gilderlehrman. 16. 39.1 (Winter 1999). accessed 12 September 2012. 7. The Russian Theatre After Stalin (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ‘Outline of Pre-Production Phase of PORGY AND BESS’. 10. 57–69. 40. 204. 11.40   C. CANNING 8.  Truman. 59. 23. and David Caute. 2009). The Dancer Defects: The Struggle for Cultural Supremacy during the Cold War (Oxford: Oxford University Press.2 (April 2003). Zubok. 13. 20. http://static. His Era (London: Free Press. http:// www. 2004). accessed 15 March 2016. ‘The Role of Culture in American Relations with Europe: The Case of the United States’s Occupation of Germany’. 2003). Nigel Gould-Davies. 19. 24 November 1955. here 212–213. 18. 21. Khrushchev: The Diplomatic History 27. ‘The Logic of Soviet Cultural Diplomacy’. Gould-Davies. final presidential address. 1. 13. 197. 29 June 1956.M. 1998). The Life and Times of Andrei Zhdanov (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press. Zhivago’s Children. Dance for Export: Cultural Diplomacy and the Cold War (Hanover: Wesleyan University Press. Estimates put the full cost to the Soviets at $150. 1. Welles Hangen. Vladislav Zubok.state. 22. . See Allan Woll. Rebecca Boehling. ‘The Logic of Soviet Cultural Diplomacy’. Ibid. Dudziak. 24. Harry S. 17. ‘Statement of Policy on East-West Exchange’. 193–214. 22 April 1953. Ibid. ‘Moscow Cheers British “Hamlet”’. 15 January 1953. ‘The Logic of Soviet Cultural Diplomacy’. 12.000. 1989).3 million in 2012 US dollars. 15. Zhivago’s Children: The Last Russian Intelligentsia (Cambridge: Harvard University Press.. 2003). 2000). New York Times. 1999).history. TRI/OSU. Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy (Princeton: Princeton University Press. Black Musical Theatre: From Coontown to Dreamgirls (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. Diplomatic History 23. Mary L. particularly page fab-32d6-­4 650-98e3- 371176128628?back=/mweb/search%3Fneedle%3Dglc06802%26fields% 3Dall%26sortby%3Ds301001610%26items_per_page%3D20. NSC-5607. Zubok. William Taubman. png. 14. Anatolij Smeliansky. 9.

did not like to think of himself as a gossip columnist. 36. 28.mtholyoke. ‘General Memorandum on Additional Personnel to Wilva Breen’. 39. 1. July–August 1955. 1956). Dagmar Herzog. Nicholas Thompson. 6 January 1955. Music Journal.vlib. 32. A COLD WAR BATTLEGROUND: CATFISH ROW VERSUS THE NEVSKY PROSPEKT   41 27. accessed 15 March 2016. http://www. 38. 34. Eisenhower. 94. Clarke. however. 2009). 46. Clarke. Containment. Capote. 75. 2004). here 747. 42. Dwight D. Life. TRI/OSU. 169. ‘Leonard Lyons Dies. http:// www. ‘Post Mortem’. presidency. David K. 18 January 1956. 747–778. 45. nd.ucsb. 30. 47. Cora Sol Goldstein. 14 April 1950. Gerald Clarke. 43.htm. ‘Before the CIA: American Actions in the German Fine Arts (1946–1949)’. http://www. 2 February 1956. 33. NW. 112. TRI/OSU. Ibid. Dwight D. Columnist for 40 Years’. Victoria [Texas] Advocate. 4 December 1955. ‘NSC-68: United States Objectives and Programs for National Security’. Ziegler quoted in Monod. and the Porgy and Bess Revival’. np. and the History of the Cold War (New York: Henry Holt. George Kennan. 20 January 1953. 40. ‘Mr. 5. ‘Moscow Agog: “Porgy and Bess” Pair in Colorful Wedding’. 1988). Lyons. Diplomatic History 29.php?pid=9600. 37. ‘Inaugural Address’. 286. nt. New York Times. accessed 15 March 2016. Ibid. Frank  Eisenhower. 6 February 1956. 41. ‘State of the Union’. The tour paid for all of Lyons’s ‘transportation and room and board while he is with the company’. Jet Magazine. Sexuality in Europe: A Twentieth Century History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. This law was not . The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze. 29. 38. 290–291. 35. ‘Moscow Mariage’. Robert Breen. 294. 19.5 (November 2005).. Jr. 8 October 1976. The Lavender Scare: Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Johnson. 2011). ‘Are the Communists Right in Calling Us Cultural Barbarians?’. 31. ‘A Social Note from Moscow’. point- ing out that he rarely printed […] items that reflected unflatteringly on the notable whose names were his grist. Capote. Capote: A Biography (New York: Simon and Schuster. ‘Disguise. 292. Truman Capote. The Muses are Heard (New York: Vintage Books.’ Alden Whitman. accessed 15 March 2016.

react negatively to what they perceived as an excessive eroticism. TRI/OSU. U. 64. 1956). TRI/OSU. 50. Kovalyev. TRI/ OSU. 48. There do not seem to have been any such documentaries made about the visit of the Comédie Française or Peter Brook’s Hamlet. Leningrad. 75.  Baratov. 16 December 1987. translator unknown. ‘Speech of Mr. 54. artists. 10 February 1993.P. The Cold War and the Color Line: American Race Relations in the Global Arena (Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ‘Porgy and Bess’. 25 January 1955. 1987. 53. dir. 29 December 1955).. Many critics did. 51. Berlin. ‘Interview with Coreania Hayman Carter’. Tatiana Palast. Kovalyev noted with displeasure: ‘The astounding erotic coloring of some of the dancing scenes is unpleasant’ (U. 57. Alan Woods. I. ‘Interview with Coreania Hayman Carter’. ‘Porgy and Bess—Visit of Everyman Opera Company to USSR’. Evening Leningrad. The Cold War and the Color Line. TRI/OSU. 29 December 1955. 62. 12 January 1956. 59. His distaste was typical of the crit- ics in both Leningrad and Moscow. A3. but they also featured successful individuals in official pub- lications. Bogdanoff-Berezovski. 47. Evening Moscow. however. Alan Woods. 2001). Alan Woods. TRI/OSU. 1989). Leningrad Smena. Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia: The Regulation of Sexual and Gender Dissent (Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Ibid. US Department of State. Barshay. 31 December 1955. N. Jill J. 63. 58. Martin Duberman. TRI/OSU. and other public figures they believed might represent the story of race in the USA in a positive light. Moscow Izvestia. American Actors in Moscow. 55.  Zagoursky. TRI/ OSU. 258. Leningrad Smena. ‘Interview with Joseph James’. 60. ‘Russia’s Gay Men Step Out of Soviet- Era Shadows’. 17 December 1955. 16 December. L. from 1953–1999 . V. New York Times. Borstelmann. Savchenko to Porgy and Bess Company’. CANNING repealed until 1993. transl. Kopalin. 434. 49. ‘Company Briefing on USSR’. 75. 61. Thomas Borstelmann.42   C. The United States Information Agency (USIA. Not only did the Department of State send out speakers. Ibid. 2001). Dan Healey.M. B. Inna Caron (Moscow: Central Red Flag Order Studio of Documentary Films. 13 December 1987. Paul Robeson: A Biography (New York: New Press. Kovalyev. 52. 56.

Satchmo Blows Up the World. 65. In it she is quoted as saying ‘I think of myself first as an American and second as a Negro’ and the ‘Communists […] have misled many peo- ple about minority groups in the United States. 9 January 1956. ‘They Don’t Sound Like Khrushchev: Russians Lionize “Porgy” Cast’. 2004). Alan Woods. Satchmo Blows Up the World: Jazz Ambassadors Play the Cold War (Cambridge. 68.’ Her story emphasizes progress and opportunity. 70. 428. Archibald MacLeish. 40–41. Von Eschen. Wolfert. MA: Harvard University Press. ‘Museums and World Peace’. Michael L. 66. 1999). a US delegate to the United Nations. Ibid. TRI/ OSU. but offer narratives that contradict the charges of nationwide racism and oppression. 32. Sharpe. 252. A COLD WAR BATTLEGROUND: CATFISH ROW VERSUS THE NEVSKY PROSPEKT   43 the arm of the US government that oversaw public diplomacy) did a fea- ture in a 1952 publication on Edith Sampson. ‘Interview with Lillian Hayman’. 71. 19. Penny Von Eschen. Black Diplomacy: African Americans and the State Departement.  Krenn. Government officials believed that stories about people like Sampson were the best way to deal with international questions of race—don’t deal directly with the accusations. 1945–1969 (Armonk: M. 16 December 1987. 69. advantages available to her because she resides in the greatest nation on earth. ‘Ambassadors At Large’.1 (January 1947).E. Magazine of Art 40. Life. 254. 67. .

Silsby (*) Graduate Center. and then turn to the development of Robeson’s use of racialised. The source of these investigations was the perceived threat of Robeson’s growing political activism. Balme. USA © The Author(s) 2017 45 C. stated Soviet policy on race to a performance of nuanced disagreement with the later. transnational performance in his visits in 1934. 1936. Paul Robeson was considered a popular American performer living abroad in London. Robeson would transform from a figure of broad US acclaim to the object of CIA. and 1949. NY. City University of New York. FBI. Globalization and the Cold War. State Department. and Soviets: Paul Robeson and International Race Policy in the Soviet Union at the Start of the Cold War Christopher Silsby In 1934.B. Over the course of the next 15 years as the Cold War commenced. New York. B. C. Theatre. Robeson’s reception in the Soviet Union was heavily influenced by the Communist Party’s ‘Black Belt’ ­theory of ­internationalism. DOI 10. I will first look at the official policies of the Soviet Union regarding race.). CHAPTER 3 Spirituals. and Congressional anti-communist investigations. These three visits trace a trajec- tory from public agreement with the official. leading to the revocation of the artist’s passport in 1950. Serfs.1007/978-3-319-48084-8_3 . more blatant. Szymanski-Düll (eds. Transnational Theatre Histories. a propaganda technique attempting to identify an oppressed African American nation within the US South as similar to the ethnic nations in Imperial Russia.

of discrimination. ‘the Russian word chernyi (black). Soviet director and film-maker Sergei Eisenstein. as well as to put a positive intercultural face on Soviet propaganda. and Tazhiks—in an attempt to undo the Russian Imperial policies that had stripped these cultures of self-­ identity in the name of allegiance to the Empire. the Soviets had preferred to use the phrase “national minorities”’.5 If ‘white’ did not exist as a l­inguistic category.1 Minorities in the Soviet Union In the 1930s. in Robeson’s formulation. Cultural colour blindness also ignores a peculiar linguistic trait of the Russian language. such totalising colour blindness both inverts the ‘identity problem’ of Russia—which suffers from national anxiety over its identity as neither Asian nor European—and praises the Soviet Union for one of its cultural paranoias. protection of national minorities was written into the 1936 ‘Stalin’ Soviet Constitution. the Soviet Union outlawed not only the act. the basis of such a national . was often used to refer to non-Slavic peoples such as Chechens.2 Eventually. to repurpose a phrase from Alan Rice. In a discussion with Robeson. while Africans and blacks were called afrikantsy (Africans) or negry (Negroes). the Soviet Union promoted the cultures of ‘national minori- ties’—such as the Uzbeks. he explained. for example. which would pun- ish the ‘propagation’ of the idea that people are not equal. whereas everyone else could be coded as ‘other’ by any various racialised categories. Robeson’s ‘strategic Sovietphilia’. According to Barbara Keys.3 Therefore. SILSBY Stalinist enactment of Soviet xenophobic racism during the Cold War. Robeson spent much time with his official host. Yakuts. Even though the official policy of anti-racism in the Soviet Union was not a part of the constitution until 1936.46   C. Paul Robeson singles out his admiration of the Soviet Constitution for the law. These three visits reveal the simultaneous implementation of the Soviet ‘Black Belt’ theory and. On his 1934 trip. ‘Eisenstein said he disliked the unfair implications of inferiority which the term “primitive” conveyed— which was why. it became official policy that racism could not exist in the Soviet Union.4 However. but there was no cat- egory corresponding to “white”’. but also the thought. Official Soviet pronouncements and propaganda emphasised a lack of distinction between ‘brown-skinned’ Central and Eastern Soviets and white European Soviets. the total erasure of racial identity only existed for Slavs.

the connection between Americans and Russians is entirely economic. exploitation and oppression of the people.7 According to Lenin’s purely Marxist analysis. In each instance these songs were born out of the misery and suffering. which were formerly tsarist colonies. Robeson directly cites Lenin as drawing a connection between African American slaves and the Russian serfs: Lenin writes in 1913: There is a striking similarity between the economic position of the American Negroes and that of the former landlord peasants of the central agricultural region of Russia. In Marxism and the National Question. mindset. AND SOVIETS: PAUL ROBESON AND INTERNATIONAL. Robeson.. language. SPIRITUALS. I feel that a tremendous bond of sympathy and mutual ­understanding unites us. share-cropping system. bear a close rela- tionship to folksongs of the Negro people.8 This was the heart of the ‘Black Belt’ theory of inter- nationalism. i. saw the connection between African Americans and Russians as one that ran much deeper than the shared economic position outlined by Lenin: When I sing the ‘Spirituals’ and work songs of the Negro people to Soviet audiences. What is the economic foundation of which this beauti- ful superstructure now rests? The foundation of the typically Russian.6 In place of the racial requirement.9 . and—of course. In a letter written to Pravda in 1951. since he was providing a Marxist definition—economy. As in the USA. but the effects of enslavement continued to haunt the socio-economic position of for- mer serfs until the revolution.. truly Russian otrabotki. Stalin emphasised the necessity of shared loca- tion. the shared position of formerly enslaved agrarian peoples is the most fundamental of possible parallels. SERFS. linking the African-American experience to the suffering of Soviet ‘national minorities’ under the tsarist regime. eman- cipation in Russia did not arrive until the early 1860s. however. The Comintern used Lenin’s connection between serfs and slaves to suggest that ‘American Communists should oppose the Tsarist-­ like American imperialists who oppress the “peasant” black nation living within its borders’. Since all concerns for a Leninist-Marxist interpretation necessarily flow from the economic.   47 policy could be seen in Lenin’s and Stalin’s 1913 writings. Stalin rejected the nineteenth-century con- cept of ‘nation’ that depended on a shared racial identity.e. The Russian folksongs and those of the Soviet National Republics.

dance. between artist and political activ- ist. and art forms. bodily pain was transferred to music. Robeson could still distinguish. touched with mysticism. SILSBY For Robeson.48   C. In three years’ time. he would loudly deny the possibility of such a divi- sion between art and activism. since Robeson. he may have been con- sciously affecting the distance between artist and political activist.10 A his- tory of extended physical and psychic pain that extended beyond mere economics. Robeson made his initial trip to the Soviet Union. The 1934 Trip In 1934. and that was systematically exerted on the Russian serf and American slave. in which Robeson ‘cast his [1934] visit as an exclusively cultural one. or intentionally obscured in his public pronouncements. but a ‘politicized folk adaptation’ used to educate the whole Union in the various national music. suffering became the legitimising experience that tied Soviet and Negro artistic expression. I have heard most of the great Russian singers on the gramophone and have occasionally found whole phrases that could be matched in Negro melodies. Paul Robeson’s son claims of his father that this visit ‘marked the beginning of the public expression of his private political views’. Conversely. was constantly aware of the power of public display. Even before his travels to the Soviet Union. and emphasised the importance of cultural experience to the type of music produced: The Russians have experienced many of the same things the American Negroes have experienced. However. They were both serfs and in the music there is the same note of melancholy.11 Robeson’s views on folk art coincided with the resurgence of folk culture in the Soviet Union under Stalin. rather than as a political figure’. But. and then used as a means of combating oppression. in both countries.12 This Soviet interest in folk culture was to be the point most often used by Robeson to connect his work to the history of the Soviet Union. The Soviet interest in folk culture was not a dispassionate anthropological exercise. became a means of transferring the memory of enslavement. He was going as an artist. Robeson was aware of musical analogues between Russian and Negro songs.13 At this point. at least in public. if we take Robeson at his public word that he had no intention of politicising . As Kate Baldwin writes. a performer. a fact either unknown even to the artist himself. Robeson came to view ‘“suffering” as fundamental to a certain kind of knowledge’.

   49 this trip. Robeson was singing not to a paying audience who were restricted in assigned seats within a concert hall. Robeson’s choice of repertoire revealed a concern with internationalism and resistance to hierarchical valuations of art. the impact of reframing a musical theatre number as a protest song similarly decou- ples the song from its original source in order to claim authorial control. Robeson arrived in the Soviet Union on the verge of the deepest repressions of the Stalinist era. AND SOVIETS: PAUL ROBESON AND INTERNATIONAL. but to people at their site of labour.14 Therefore. He was consid- ered an important foreign visitor because of his high cultural position in Western Europe and the USA. on this initial trip. the same cannot be said of his host country. During this visit.. and the single radio broadcast of Robeson’s ‘Steal Away’ provoked controversy because the song had overtly religious lyrics. Robeson’s views of race came closest to the official policy of the Soviet Union. The first Conference of the Union of Soviet Writers.16 The juxtaposition of the high art of Mussorgsky’s opera alongside the American commer- cial musical and the low art of folk songs and workers’ songs levelled all cultural value hierarchies. he did perform.. the year also saw the assassination of Sergei Kirov. SPIRITUALS. minstrelsy. Robeson could establish a new political meaning for this song to an audi- ence unaware of its original context in the troubled history of Broadway. Robeson was known less for his music and more for his renown in the rest of the world. which outlined the socialist realist aesthetic that was to be enforced as the official artistic movement. opera and folk songs. none of his records were officially avail- able in the Soviet Union. the bus drivers of the Moscow Foreign Workers’ Club garage. While not as drastic as Robeson’s 1937 ­rewriting of Hammerstein’s lyrics to emphasise a positive political struggle. These unplanned concerts for workers included Russian and English. Even though Robeson did not sing on an official concert tour dur- ing the 1934 visit. .15 Even in these spontaneous performances. Prior to Robeson’s 1934 visit. was held in 1934. an aria from Boris Godunov and ‘“Ol’ Man River”. Using a tactic later perfected in the USA during his tours of union halls and factories during the 1940s and 1950s. Robeson gave impromptu a cappella concerts for the House of Cinema Workers. and factory workers at a ball-bearing plant in Leningrad. which he introduced to them as a song of protest’. the only potential challenger to Stalin’s authority. and African-American performers. SERFS. since the Soviet Union was carefully crafting a global image as a country free of racism.

who nevertheless misrecognise him as a fictional figure.50   C. Robeson focuses instead on the reaction of the children in the audience to his presence in the auditorium. so as not to appear a supporter of foreigners above the Soviet Union. While the 1934 visit occurred following Kirov’s assassination.18 The performance itself is not examined by Robeson in his reminiscences. Robeson remembers a Russian children’s theatre performance from the 1934 trip.17 Robeson does not name the performance. he had to be careful when praising Robeson. had much to lose if the tour was not a success. while a Soviet ship helps him to retrieve his friend and become a Young Pioneer. Thus. or symbol: either equivalent to the pitiable African boy who loses his monkey or the kindly Slavic version of Santa Claus. Of particular interest to potential denouncers would be Robeson’s use of religion in his spirituals. Under Stalin. SILSBY In an article explaining why he brought his son to Moscow. this concert tour began only two months after the first Stalinist show trial. A black African child loses his favourite monkey to the capitalist ship labelled USA. Eisenstein. The 1936 Tour Robeson returned to the Soviet Union for an official concert tour in 1936. While freedom of religion was officially protected. Robeson recounts a similar anecdote about walking by a playground and being called ‘black Grandfather Frost’ while little children hugged his leg and wouldn’t let go because they ‘hadn’t been taught to fear black men’. except with the most superficial of propagan- distic readings that the Soviet Union is the true friend of Africans. a live black man is treated with love and kindness by Russian children. The reception caused him to realise that his own son could grow up and be accepted among these open-hearted Soviet Young Pioneers-in-training. religion in the Soviet Union faced a particular form of double identity. Robeson claims that the children in the audience at this performance hugged and greeted him with such love and compassion. Robeson launched his singing career in the Soviet Union during a period of heightened sensitivity to the potential terror of the government’s whims. but it was Natalia Sats’s The Negro Boy and the Monkey. even .19 In both examples. as the man who first invited Robeson to the Soviet Union. Therefore. that one child would not let go of his hand throughout the second act. The director and film-maker Sergei Eisenstein was under particular scrutiny for his attempts to make films that were banned by the ­authorities. however. which had begun in August.

if not more so.21 Rather. ancient folk songs of France and England. Eisenstein’s attempted to recast Robeson’s spirituals as class-based folk songs played on this double nature. SERFS. The artist’s face is distorted with suffering. A Russian reviewer described it as ‘[drawn] from Negro folk songs. they are in no condition to do any more heavy work. in justifying this foreign performer’s visit to the country.22 For Soviet reviewers like Solodobnikov and Eisenstein. only ties this ‘burden of forced labor’ to the American context of slavery and Russian serfdom. Using a formulation similar to Robeson’s own view that Russian and African-American music shared a common history in embodied suffering. In the Soviet press. worker songs of democratic America. in much the same way that Robeson had recast ‘Ol’ Man River’ as a protest song. … [interspersed with] short but instructive commen- tary which immediately defines the progressive civic trend of the song’.] Robeson accompanies the conclusion of a verse with a gesture which seems to express the unbearable burden of forced labor.. Therefore. This connection further justified Robeson to the Soviets as a fel- low labourer. Eisenstein used a tactic of exposing the double-consciousness inher- ent in these songs at the risk of conflating all spirituals into atheistic songs of coded rebellion.   51 by Stalin’s 1936 constitution. Russian musical classics and works of contemporary Soviet composers. AND SOVIETS: PAUL ROBESON AND INTERNATIONAL. but not to the then-­current con- text of Stalinist gulags. The structure of Robeson’s Russian concerts was similar to his con- certs in America. The danger of rebellion coming from such condi- tions is safely contained either by historical or geographic distance. of course. overt religious displays were criticised and denounced in the media or violently repressed.23 The review. calling attention to the ‘class con- tent in the folk tradition of Negro songs’. the context and educational aspect of the concert was just as important as the music.20 Eisenstein’s review of Robeson’s spirituals avoided ‘the patronizing tone. the strenuous physical work of Robeson’s performing is highlighted by the reviewer. SPIRITUALS. Eisenstein defended Robeson’s choice to include spirituals in his concerts. in an almost direct inverse of the coding used on plantations in the USA where the songs were allowed precisely because of their religious overtones. his hands tremble. .. the endless harangues over the artistic merit’ that was present in Western reviews of Robeson’s concerts. Audience members could openly appreciate the songs of struggle while privately listening for the religious meanings. but also showed a fascination with the muscular black male body under stress similar to American viewings of the black male body: [In the song ‘Waterboy’.

here in the Soviet Union. He explained differences between the treatment of ‘explained differences’ in the USA and the Soviet Union. This was not merely a stultifying ‘tolerance’ of indig- enous culture. Writing for the Left Review. there was no such contradiction. reflecting in no way contemporary social reality … [or are] destroyed or allowed to decay. Robeson attended a gala perfor- mance of Uzbek opera at the Moscow Bolshoi Opera House—with Stalin himself in the audience. […] Here.] indigenous cultures exist mainly as museum pieces. from religion and impe- rialism). Before me was a theatre of a coloured people of the East. rather it was the flourishing of Uzbek culture within the protections afforded by the Soviet system. SILSBY In 1937. stating that: [in the United States.24 For Robeson. a culture which embraced the multiple nationalities within its borders toward a shared political goal. Soviet culture in the 1930s was to be. [while] the great masses are flung upon the mercy of alien forms.52   C. which had created opera in its own form—a form which must have served this people for centuries. Robeson credited Stalin with the multiple-nation policy that allowed these types of cultural art to exist. as resolved by the 1934 First All-Union Congress of Soviet Writers.25 The concept of ‘progress’ demanded of all by the Soviet Union was not restricted to an assimilation into a single racialised culture. the content of the opera—the overthrow of religious and imperial oppression—matched the form of the opera—a traditional Uzbek cultural expression. In opposition to the treatment of minorities in the rest of the world. Robeson saw that under Soviet rule. quite com- parable to some of the tribal folk of China—quite comparable to the proud Yoruba or Basuto of West & East Africa—but now their lives flowering anew under the Socialist way of life—20 years matured under the guidance of Lenin and Stalin. which in the final analysis benefit the few who share the privileged position with the foreign rulers. … But apparently. the Uzbeks ‘were not being told that their language and culture were “either dead or too primitive to develop” and had to give way before the “superior” utility of alien forms’. Referencing the leader’s presence in the theatre that night. . But it was filled with the sub- stance of their present-day life. Robeson summarised the opera as about Uzbek women struggling for freedom from the ‘dou- ble yoke’ of Islam and Russian serfdom (that is. following the concert tour. Robeson writes: […] in a box on the right—standing and applauding the audience and the artists on the stage—stood the great Stalin. a people.

rather than referencing the poet’s African heritage. the Soviet government specifically informed Robeson that ‘comrade Stalin has pointed out that Pushkin should be referred to as a Russian poet’.. to leave his son in Moscow to be educated. The Soviet Union’s official racial policy of the past was beginning to crumble. SPIRITUALS. The 1949 Visit By 1949. was not blind to the realities of the purges occurring at the time. on this tour. the largest of the purges had already been performed.   53 And in this whole area of the development of national minorities of their relation to the great Russians—Stalin had played and was playing the most important role. When Robeson was asked to speak at the gala commemorating the sesquicentennial of Alexander Pushkin’s birth. he did so ‘with maximum publicity’ in order to avoid the problems of other Americans whose children would be kept by Soviet authorities as a means of guaranteeing the parents’ allegiance to the Soviet Union. Robeson’s view of race was neither the ‘melting pot’ of American lib- eralism. and not only against Jews. When Robeson decided. The policy was not an attempt to correct the problems of racism. nor the erasure of difference of the Soviet policy line. Robeson was aware of the increasing disconnect between the official policy of the Soviet Union and the dangers of Stalin’s growing nationalistic practices. According to Mihailovic: .29 For official Soviet policy. for all of his praise of Stalin in this passage. SERFS. the way to counter racism of the kind found in the USA was to ignore the subject at home. but rather to use race as one prong of attack in the larger propaganda assault on the USA.26 Robeson. but in actuality a term used to politically justify any anti-Semitic persecution. the ‘published proceedings of the sesquicentennial repeatedly refer[red] to Jim Crow and lynchings in the United States’..27 Perhaps most telling of his complicated relationship with Stalin is Robeson’s final trip before the revocation of his passport by the US State Department. and redirect all efforts toward depicting the horrors of the American system.28 Despite the fact that Pushkin’s own ethnic history was erased from all speeches given at the celebration. ostensibly a term used to denounce Jews who placed foreign governments above the Soviet Union. to forcibly deny by omission any attempt to raise the complexities of these issues. AND SOVIETS: PAUL ROBESON AND INTERNATIONAL. and Soviet policy was beginning to turn against ‘Zionists’.

33 Mihailovic.54   C. the stakes were much higher for such a musical challenge to authority. the poet carried on a banal ­conversation.32 Robeson’s son goes further to say that this gesture ‘temporarily “rehabilitated” Feffer’. on this 1949 trip. Robeson had many Jewish friends living in Russia in the 1930s. the yellow. however. However. specifically calling on ‘the deep cultural ties’ he felt with both Jewish and Soviet culture—overtly placing this song in the same tradition as his Negro spirituals/Russian folk song ­formulation. while covertly protesting the treatment of Soviet Jews and signalling his distance from Stalin. Feffer communicated on two levels. Verbally. the white. Mikhoels had been killed by the secret police before Robeson’s arrival.34 The very act of using a Yiddish ‘song of solidarity’ during a time of the Soviet Union’s internal fragmentations and turning against fractions of society . since ‘anyone allowed to visit an honored guest such as Paul Robeson could not at the same time be an “enemy of the peo- ple”’. Robeson rewrote the line to emphasize a multi-cultural view: ‘Side by side. Robeson was not averse to subtly challenging the Soviet mentality within the country’s own borders.31 The conversation led Robeson to add an encore to his concert on his final night in the Soviet Union. Rather than the erasure of differ- ence implied by the lyrics ‘for us there is neither black nor light-skinned’. and Feffer was only allowed out of a secret prison to meet with Robeson because the American had made multiple inquiries with authorities. SILSBY Robeson change[d] the lyrics of the song ‘Native Land’ [by Dunaevsky] to reflect his own cultural ideology.’30 As shown in his rewriting of Dunaevsky’s ‘Native Land’. Jr that the inclusion of the Yiddish song was a political swipe at the Stalinist regime. instead merely calling it a song of solidarity. assuring Robeson that life in the Soviet Union was wonder- ful—in order to satisfy any bugged recording devices in Robeson’s hotel room. most famously the actor Solomon Mikhoels and the poet Itzik Feffer. Robeson dedicated the Yiddish ‘Song of the Warsaw Ghetto Rebellion’ to Mikhoels and Feffer. who were both persecuted under the new ‘anti-Zionist’ purges. In their brief meeting. the black. Feffer visually communicated using hand gestures and written notes to inform Robeson of his imprisonment and Mikhoels’s murder. Simultaneously. At the end of an otherwise standard concert of the type given on his previous tour. dismisses the interpretation by Duberman and Robeson. Martin Duberman sees this gesture as ‘all that [Robeson] could have done without directly threatening Feffer’s life’.

   55 makes Robeson’s choice of an encore a political swipe. SERFS. This is a nuanced and double-coded political critique that attempts to correct the course of the ship of state. ‘strategic Anglophilia’. he had embraced the pro-Soviet and anti-fascist stance. SPIRITUALS. implies a deliberate omission of guilt in the slave trade in order to highlight similarities between African-American US culture and the British Isles (Alan Rice. The American per- former—sympathetic to the Soviet cause—had begun to subtly oppose Stalin’s policies.36 He completed this set of visits with a final concert in 1949 that covertly questioned Stalin’s actions. enslavement. typified by his famous quote that ‘the artist must elect to fight for Freedom or for Slavery.. These three visits from 1934 to 1949 trace a decisive change in Robeson’s public pronouncements of his ‘counter-discourse’ political ide- ology. . The ‘counter-discourse’ voiced by the travels of African Americans in the Soviet Union is initially a discourse based on seemingly similar histories of oppression. The tactic worked temporarily. ­displaying a hesitancy to blindly accept the party line. Notes 1. 172–187). Radical Narratives of the Black Atlantic (London: Continuum. Robeson’s Shift of Counter-discourse Kate Baldwin claims in her analysis of African-American intellectuals in the Soviet Union that ‘the frame of the Soviet Union alters the black Atlantic model’. AND SOVIETS: PAUL ROBESON AND INTERNATIONAL. In contrast to Europe’s troubled colonial and exoticising dual lens. I had no alternative’. rather than capsize the Stalin regime through revolt. 2003). Rice’s term.35 African-American lines of flight to and from the Soviet Union do not retrace the historical forced migra- tions. and that Robeson’s time in the Soviet Union ‘prefig- ured the transnationalist thrust of the counter-discourse Gilroy maps in black Atlantic expressive cultures’. Russia and the Soviet Union never held colonies on the African continent. at the end of which period Robeson would be stranded in his home country and unable to return to the Soviet Union due to the anti-communist policies of the Red Scare. By 1937. and Feffer’s life was spared for three years. A similar conscious omission can be seen in Robeson’s statements made in the Soviet Union. and the promise of equality.. I have made my choice. Robeson started in 1934 as an artist who was attempting to find a way to integrate his public art with his personal politics.

The Undiscovered Paul Robeson: An Artist’s Journey. 1992). ‘Black People in the Soviet Union’. 221. Boyle et al. Paul and Eslanda Robeson Collection. Paul Robeson Papers.. Paul Robeson. Russia Today. 14. 1937b. Paul Robeson. 4. Soviet Worker. NC: Duke University Press. SILSBY 2. Robeson. May 1951. Jr. Howard University. Historian 71. Anthony Dawahare. Robeson as quoted in Sheila Tully Boyle and Andrew Bunie. 316. 2001). For example.. 18. Marxism. Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. Ibid. Paul Robeson: A Biography (New York: Ballantine Books. Paul Jr. Dawahare. Paul Robeson. 1989). 280. Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. Pravda. Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. Paul Robeson: The Years of Promise and Achievement (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press. 9. 74. Moorland- Spingarn Research Center. 221. Beyond the Color Line and the Iron Curtain: Reading Encounters Between Black and Red. Paul Robeson Papers. Robeson. Howard University. 5. Jr. 2001). 13. 11. 363. Russian Popular Culture: Entertainment and Society since 1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Kate Baldwin. Paul Robeson. 8. Ibid. 7. Boyle and Bunie. 1898–1939 (New York: Wiley. Nationalism. 1922–1963 (Durham. ‘An African-American Worker in Stalin’s Soviet Union: Race and the Soviet Experiment in International Perspective’. Martin Duberman. ‘Why I Left My Son in Moscow’. Paul Robeson. Manuscript Division. 303. Barbara Keys. 2003). 31–54. Boyle and Bunie. Box 19. Manuscript Division. 10. 78–79. 2001). and African American Literature. Manuscript Division. New World Review. 2002). Nationalism. Marxism. Paul Robeson.. 307. 310.1 (2009). 19. September–October 1975. and African American Literature between the Wars: A New Pandora’s Box (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. 17. The Undiscovered Paul Robeson: An Artist’s Journey. 15. see Lily Golden. 3. 79. Box 158–1 Folder 13. 16. Folder ‘Writings by’ 1951. . 1898–1939 (New York: Wiley. 12. Soviet Worker. 7. Howard University. 2001). Paul Robeson: An Artist’s Journey. here 37. Paul Robeson Papers. February 1938. ‘Negro in America’. 6. Howard University. Paul Robeson. Paul Robeson. 21. 16–21. 226. 187. 20. Manuscript Division.56   C. 217. Richard Stites. 1898–1939 (New York: Wiley. Box 19.

Paul Robeson Papers. Mihailovic. Manuscript Division. Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. Howard University. [no date]. Manuscript Division. Martin Duberman. 312. 26. Russian Letters. Left Review. Howard University. IL: Northwestern University Press. Box 20. 28. 31. Kate Baldwin. 577. AND SOVIETS: PAUL ROBESON AND INTERNATIONAL. 1989). 24. SERFS. Duberman. 1971). . Ibid. 34.. Folder 2. The Undiscovered Paul Robeson. A. 2006). Here I Stand (Boston: Beacon Press. Paul Robeson. Paul Robeson. 52. 211. Beyond the Color Line.   57 22. Paul Robeson (New York: Ballantine Books. here 310–311. 25.. 318. Nepomnyashchy. Paul Robeson. Alexandar Mihailovic. Robeson. Box 19. Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. 36. 9 and 216–217. Paul Robeson. Catharine T. Paul Robeson Papers. Trigos (Evanston. Ibid. Paul and Eslanda Robeson Collection. November (1937a). 30. ‘Paul Robeson... 29. [Stalin. 32. 153). Robeson. SPIRITUALS. “National Cultures and the Soviet Union”. 154. Artist and Fighter’. Manuscript Division. 152. Howard University. Moorland-Spingarn Research Center. Paul Robeson. 302–331. remembrances of]. 23. Ibid. Nicole Svobodny. ‘“Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child’: Paul Robeson and the 1949 Pushkin Jubilee’. ed. 353. Duberman. and Ludmilla A. 33. Box 158–6. in Under the Sky of My Africa: Alexander Pushkin and Blackness. 207. 27. ‘“Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child”’. The Undiscovered Paul Robeson. [no date]. 35. Solodobnikov.

Brecht envisaged the Berliner Ensemble (BE) as a theatre that toured. Barnett (*) University of York. CHAPTER 4 The Politics of an International Reputation: The Berliner Ensemble as a GDR Theatre on Tour David Barnett The Importance of Touring to the Young Berliner Ensemble From its inception. produce ‘Modell productions with which it can tour Germany’. UK © The Author(s) 2017 59 C. he hoped that the company would develop ‘a real- istic. York. Szymanski-Düll (eds. Transnational Theatre Histories. Balme. new mode of acting’ in its first year and would then.). DOI 10. it had already performed in Brunswick and Cologne in what had recently become the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). D. Theatre. Globalization and the Cold War.1007/978-3-319-48084-8_4 . in its second.1 Before the BE was a month old. B.B. In a document submitted to the Socialist Unity Party (SED) in early 1949. The theatre’s manager in Cologne had invited Brecht to bring his company to that city and he declared ‘that Germany had to remain This work was supported by a British Academy Research Development Award and an Arts and Humanities Research Council Fellowship (AH/I003961/1).

3 The BE. West German theatres were actively courting the BE. BARNETT intellectually and culturally unified’. a theatre founded by returning left-wing émigrés. By November 1949 the Party suggested a tour to Bulgaria. while this was technically a foreign tour. The BE ventured to Vienna in September 1950. West German officials were quickly becoming wary of the BE and sought means to prevent it touring the FRG. in September 1951. then. refused to grant the BE entrance visas to perform at the Venice Biennale. when the Italian government.5 Indeed. Thus. the BE was not to return there until a tour of North Germany in 1958. something that the SED also supported. Munich. in contradistinction to any other GDR theatre. At this time. having toured six cities in the FRG before the conference.4 The FRG’s stratagem was successful: tours to the- atres in Hamburg. however. and the BE in particular was discussed at a conference of the FRG’s culture committees in Munich on 19 and 20 June 1950.2 As is already evident. and Brecht’s home town of Augsburg were all declined when the local authorities applied pressure.8 something that is not beyond the realm of possibility. By the summer of the following year. Back in 1949.7 BE actor Regine Lutz noted in a letter home to her parents that the West German government had applied pressure to the Italians. the BE was actually playing to an audience that both agreed with its politics and understood its language. the SED had strongly supported the founding of the BE despite both practical and political obstacles that stood in its way. This was not the case. where it played at the Neue Scala. This eight-year hia- tus marks the distance between the BE’s establishment in the GDR as an innovative company and its rise to international prominence in the mid-­ 1950s. While they concluded that there was no legal basis for a ban on the company touring the West.6 although this did not actually take place. was considered ‘an explicitly SED institution […] that had the aim of infiltrating cultural life with the politics of the East via the theatre’. and was keen to use it internationally almost from the off. By that time. . they believed exclusion could be enforced informally ‘by different means’.60   D. Already. under the conservative prime minister Gaspari. the BE found its touring plans inflected by the tensions of the Cold War. the company was actively offering tours to West German theatres rather than being invited. the BE’s first tour was undertaken in the context of the Cold War: at a time when the division of Germany was not yet a certainty. Brecht’s name and the quality associated with his theatre were being deployed as a means to push a pan-­ German agenda. given the behaviour of the FRG’s cul- tural functionaries in 1950.

and a developed political consciousness could foster the quest for peace.. in its 1951 produc- tion. Brecht as artistic director was committed to making theatre that clearly articulated dialectical contradictions and engaged everyone on stage. which.. His thorough rehearsal methods delivered high-quality productions of great clarity that differed from more standard theatre fare. As of 1951. and Łodz in December 1952 and was the first German troupe to play the country since World War II. . it was prepared to allow the company to take a production that had been explicitly criticised in connection with formalism. The Mother.   61 The first trip beyond the German-speaking world was to an historically delicate destination: Poland. The SED could thus be reason- ably certain that it was dispatching work that would be well received rather than producing well-meaning mediocrity. in a commitment to ensemble work. the SED had launched its cam- paign against formalism in the arts and the BE was to become its prime target domestically. This double standard reflects how the Party’s aesthetic dogma could stop at its own borders in order to capitalise on the praise that high-quality. The BE toured Warsaw.9 on tour to Poland. This support for excellence already says something important about the distinction the Party made between the BE’s status as a GDR theatre and as a GDR theatre on tour.  The programme itself was carefully constructed: Mother Courage and her Children spoke to the horrors of war and offered a distinctly unheroic picture of a German woman who does not question militarism and consequently suffers at its hands. Kraków. The tour acknowledged cultural sensitivities while contextualising them within a broadly leftist frame—the disaster of war was not inevitable. innovative theatre could reap from foreign audiences. THE POLITICS OF AN INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION: THE BERLINER. However. This produc- tion was presented with Brecht’s The Mother. The BE’s first tours reflect how the company was involved in inter- national politics early. Heinrich von Kleist’s The Broken Jug completed the line-up with an historicised comedy that satirised bourgeois justice. not just the leading actors. The very act of taking an actively left-wing German theatre company to the country the Nazis invaded in 1939 was designed to build cultural bridges between the two nations that were politically aligned by their socialist governments. Its trips to the FRG and Poland used culture as a way of establishing links that were either non-existent or nascent. This was achieved at least in part through the nature of the BE’s work itself. portrayed the processes involved in developing class consciousness in sympathetic terms.

15 In a letter written to his old friend Lion Feuchtwanger after the second Paris tour. although it was the former that garnered the most enthu- siastic plaudits. the de facto head of state. on 17 June 1953. The SED was also keen to promote the company that it had harassed and attacked earlier that decade. it did little to generate a great deal of interest from further afield. Brecht noted that ‘since Paris there’s no real danger in staging a play of mine in Western Europe’.10 This was to ensure that Mother Courage could be performed in a version that was as close as possible to the one to which spectators flocked in Berlin. By 1954.12 The only major paper to find fault with the pro- duction was the conservative Le Figaro13 although this seemed thoroughly out of step with the public’s reception at the Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt. BARNETT The Breakthrough Years Early touring was a relatively low-key affair. found that it had its own workshop and set about constructing a portable revolving stage specially manufactured for the Paris tour. While the trip to Poland. The BE’s tours had rehabili- tated Brecht the playwright in the international arena. one reviewer wrote that while he did not want to denigrate Vilar’s achievements. The Parisian audience was already familiar with Mother Courage from a production directed by Jean Vilar.14 Brecht had been sharply criticised in the West for supporting the SED in a part-published letter to Walter Ulbricht. the founder of the Festival d’Avignon and the Théâtre National Populaire. which had finally moved into a theatre building of its own in March 1954. However. the BE’s reputation was growing at home as it pioneered new ways of making the- atre and it took advantage of the cultural thaw that followed the uprising in the GDR of 17 June 1953 to venture forth to the capitalist West. for example.11 The combined efforts of company and Party paid off.16 He considered himself vindicated. the Party made sure that the tour was well funded with lots of expensive foreign currency. so popular was the BE that it returned the following June with The Caucasian Chalk Circle to even greater adulation: this time the same reviewer at Le Figaro wished that the BE had stayed longer. However. A tour of Paris in summer of 1954 marked a change of gear on both the BE’s and the SED’s part. the BE’s produc- tion was far superior. The BE. Indeed. together with The Broken Jug.62   D. In the same letter . was politically valuable to both the SED and the BE. and the BE was able to present Courage in all its splendour. his belief in letting the theatre do the talking instead of fulminating himself in public had paid off.

The plan was quickly realised and the BE were guests at London’s Palace Theatre for a three-week residency from 27 August–15 September 1956.. in addition to its two Paris hits. in a much-quoted tagline to the BE’s book Theaterarbeit: ‘we have to develop two art-forms: the art of acting and the art of spectating’. The company therefore approached and honed its particular take on the business of stage production over many years. The BE’s repertoire reflects its confidence in that. its comedy was more difficult to apprehend for speakers of English.17 The experiment with Trumpets was not entirely successful due to the language barrier. it included its adaptation of George Farquhar’s The Recruiting Officer as Trumpets and Drums. That meant that the primacy of a dialectical interpretation of reality pervaded the work and that situa- tions rather than characters provided the starting point for theatrical reali- sation. John Gielgud.18 In this. Second. Two aspects account for this asymmetry. The British critics mixed appreciation for the new possibilities of theatre with a scepticism towards what they understood to be Brecht’s theoretical ambi- tions at times. Courage and the Chalk Circle.. THE POLITICS OF AN INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION: THE BERLINER. The BE’s reception abroad reflects this sentiment in that spectators were rarely used to the BE’s theatrical work. the BE pursued its Brechtian legacy with almost religious zeal. Negotiating the Travel Ban after the Wall One of the BE’s great attractions to the SED was that the company was regularly invited to perform in what it considered politically important countries.19 . First. The success of the international tours established the BE as a pioneer of a new approach to melding theatre and politics.   63 he noted that Peggy Ashcroft. and so it appeared fresh and engaging on foreign soil however tired it may have been in the GDR. Its reputation abroad would rarely desert the company despite regular crises at home from the late 1960s onward that very much dented its standing with GDR audi- ences. Brecht acknowledged that an audience could not simply appreciate the new theatre he sought to introduce. Laura Bradley writes that the BE’s ability to tour the West meant that it was able to go to places that the GDR’s diplomats could not. such dis- tinctiveness was then thrown into relief abroad where approaches like this were virtually unheard of. Brecht had declared. but had to learn how to read and understand it over time. and George Devine of the English Stage Company had spoken to him during their tour of Berlin and were very keen to bring the BE to England.

such a gesture was a public one and would have a positive effect on the BE’s relationship with the SED by publicly tying the company to the GDR. refused entrance visas to GDR artists as a direct response to the erection of the Wall. which were not insubstantial. the personal combined with the political. and. It could claim that the BE flourished as a result of its own cultural policies. the issue of visas for GDR ­artists had become suitably contentious. An interesting example of the way in which the SED came to the BE’s assistance can be seen in an incident brought about by the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961. however. the relationship between company and Party was not particularly hostile. for the most part. was a mutually advantageous rela- tionship in which the SED provided due support in order to bask in the reflected glory of a successful tour. also had the power to deny entry. The BE’s status as the GDR’s most successful touring theatre meant that it could call on the SED when it encountered problems abroad. However. something that made the BE the GDR’s most prestigious cultural export—none of its other theatres could compete with the sustained attractiveness of the BE’s approach. Helene Weigel was indeed good friends with the late president. National govern- ments. BARNETT The many countries that hosted the company wanted to see innovative and high-quality theatre. On the one hand. On the other. What developed. politically dynamic theatre. By this time. administered by the three Western Allies.64   D. But even in the BE’s act of solidarity. the BE spontaneously cancelled a performance in the West German town of Marl to mark the death of Wilhelm Pieck in 1960. while the BE furthered its own reputa- tion as a purveyor of high-quality. especially during the GDR’s more Stalinist period in the early 1950s. The BE was virtually forced to stay behind the Iron Curtain as a GDR theatre between 1961 and 1965 because the West Berlin ‘Travel Board’. the National Theatre in London invited the BE to London in January 1964. yet an abandoned tour to England in 1963 actually brought about a climbdown from the British government on this policy. of course. it would be a mistake to believe that the BE had some kind of fool’s licence to do whatever it fancied either at home or abroad. This status worked very much to the BE’s advantage for a fairly obvious reason: it made SED interference more difficult because the company now had a properly inter- national profile and the support of important friends abroad.20 He was the GDR’s first and only president and had supported the BE.21 Against the backdrop of weaken- ing government resolve. this plan to perform in . Indeed. in addition. The SED still financed the bulk of each tour’s haulage and logistics costs.

more importantly. and how far they were prepared to go in negotiations to secure the primacy of the BE as a GDR theatre company.. Deputy Minister Kurt Bork feared that a Polish Ui would make the need for a home-grown GDR production superflu- ous and thus undermine the GDR’s struggle against travel restrictions.28 Axer’s response was never to direct Brecht again.24 She noted both that he had not sought permission to take the production to London and. . for example. noting that Brecht’s ability to attract a number of prominent actors to Berlin was important to offset those leaving for the West. and this was a usefulness whose context ran beyond the Soviet Zone’s borders.23 Weigel was also aware of the tour and wrote to the Viennese-born direc- tor of the Polish Ui. This blatant statement of self-interest concluded with a plea for Axer’s solidarity in all things with the GDR. how resolute the GDR authorities were in fighting the travel ban.22 This plan was in fact already known to the Ministry of Culture.25 The director replied that he had applied for the rights and that he considered he was very much acting in Brecht’s interests.29 Berlin councillor Max Kreuziger added a comment to Bork’s. Even before it had been constituted.   65 London was later scuppered by the Travel Board.. someone whom she and Brecht had met on the tour of Poland in 1952. THE POLITICS OF AN INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION: THE BERLINER. functionaries explicitly linked Brecht’s significance to his usefulness. Erwin Axer. The International Dimension as Constant Presence The SED was almost always concerned about the ways in which its cul- tural policies would be received in the international arena when consider- ing decisions about the BE. The incident shows that the BE could align its position with that of the GDR authorities when it served its interest. then. Kurt Bork.27 Bork told Weigel later that year that it was the Ministry of Culture’s intervention that prevented the tour. was keen to stress the importance of keeping Brecht in Berlin. From the outset. Yet behind the scenes a further intrigue was being played out. officials latched on to Brecht’s promise to attract émigré actors and directors. Kenneth Tynan had warned Weigel that a Polish troupe would be bringing a production of Brecht’s Arturo Ui to London in May 1964. that it was tactical for London to develop a hunger for Brecht that only the BE could satisfy.26 Yet despite the Polish governmen- tal support. not only for the calibre of his work but for ‘its extraordinary propaganda value’.

Paul Verner. Wilhelm Girnus.66   D. the SED had been paralysed by Weigel’s profile. when the Central Committee decided not to move the BE into the building with which it is now associated. as an event in which capitalist and socialist countries participated side by side. the head of the Dramaturgy Department. She was succeeded by Ruth Berghaus. This argument would accompany other major decisions. Weigel stayed on as the head of the BE until she died in 1971. wrote in early 1972 with respect to the official programme: ‘this is not about a tour of West Germany. yet the Party clearly demarcated the sym- bolic value of the cultural from the sporting sphere. argued to Walter Ulbricht that ‘in view of the international ramifications’ it would be ‘untenable’ to deny Brecht his own theatre in the long run.34 The importance of getting the . Kurt Hager. the works of Bertolt Brecht. himself an SED loyalist.33 This curious response says much about the SED’s indecision in such matters at that time: one might have assumed that the Olympics. warned against an ‘international scan- dal’. it’s a tour on the occasion of a major international sporting event’. such as when it became evident that the BE’s decline of the late 1960s was intimately connected to Helene Weigel’s leadership. Weigel considered the invitation ‘very important’ but the Minister told her that the question of accepting was ‘still completely open’.31 In short. on the contrary. and her legal position with respect to the GDR’s most marketable cultural commodity. where things were wholly unambiguous. proposed forcing her out. the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm. Werner Hecht.30 Girnus was thus primarily contemplating problems from abroad if the decision to bar Brecht from the Schiffbauerdamm were made public. BARNETT Similarly. whose short tenure from 1971–77 included one tour in particular that is worthy of note. as was always the case. The head of the SED’s District Leadership in Berlin. but Alexander Abusch registered grave doubts about associating her impending seventieth birthday with public quarrels. would have presented no great prob- lem at all regarding attendance.32 Weigel contacted both the Ministry and the Municipal Authority for Greater Berlin to ask their opinion. August Everding had invited the BE to perform together with ‘theatre from the whole world’ at the Olympics in Munich. The first major tour under Berghaus’s leadership took place in 1972. the most senior figure in GDR cultural policy. which had been concretely established through her work with the BE at home and abroad. and also failures to act on the SED’s part. and Minister of Culture Klaus Gysi reminded the cabal that Weigel still held all the rights to Brecht. although it had been pre- pared in 1970.

represented the opening of communication that may have helped bring about a normalisa- tion of relations in due course. and this led its Jewish citizens to criticise one-sidedness in its media. He noted that their performances of Leben des Galilei (Life of Galileo) had shown the power of reason in a land of contradictions.37 His more conciliatory tone did not mark a new beginning.. . the first time a GDR theatre company had played there. the GDR was highly critical of Israel’s positions and actions in the Middle East. He led the BE to Israel in 1989.   67 text right reflected the BE’s and the GDR’s attempts to navigate the symbolism that surrounded the Games. yet his greatest achievement echoed that of its first major international tour. The trip betokened a symbolic rapprochement with the German past and the forging of international links through culture rather than diplomacy. the SED was certainly pleased with the BE and the way it had presented itself in Munich. the line between asserting the GDR’s cultural independence and not instigating inter-German tension had been expertly negotiated. Once the tour was over. Minister Gysi wrote to Berghaus that he had been told ‘that you have run your tour with great prudence. however: the GDR imploded after the opening of the Wall in November 1989. Berghaus was ousted from the BE in 1977 and replaced by Manfred Wekwerth. Israel had still not recog- nised the GDR and so the tour. The GDR thus wanted to disassociate itself from a sense of shared respon- sibility for the historical catastrophe because it saw itself as the inheri- tor of Germany’s progressive. Indeed. the GDR and the FRG found themselves at the start of a process of détente. Touring Israel brought with it similar historical associations to those that had marked the BE’s tour to Poland in 1952. not reactionary traditions. commitment and discipline. Wekwerth certainly took the BE beyond Europe. With this you have made a valuable contribu- tion to raising the GDR’s prestige along with our excellent sportsmen and women’. and Berghaus had thus proved herself as a responsible leader in the early years of her tenure. On the other hand.35 To the Minister. The SED thus had to be careful not to alienate the FRG at one of the first major occasions in which the two states would be on show together. On the surface. as in the pre-détente era.. THE POLITICS OF AN INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION: THE BERLINER.36 A change in mood can be detected in an article Wekwerth published in the SED’s newspaper Neues Deutschland after the successful tour. Munich was the first German city to host the Games after the infamous Berlin Olympics of 1936.

All the same. from issues of performance to the structures of the institution itself. their reputation overseas did not enhance their arguments because domestic pressure was too great. They might not have agreed with all its agencies’ decisions. Thus. . the SED had little to worry about in terms of the BE’s reception abroad. Both Berghaus in 1976 and Wekwerth in 1991 cited success- ful tours in their defence before they were forced out of office. something that mostly found favour with the SED. an unusual company that presented its international credentials and potential before it had even been founded. of course. Brecht’s desire to rethink the very fundamentals of theatre. and partisan politics meant that once the SED had finally understood the value of the BE in the mid-1950s. in their own fortunes. Coupled to this was Brecht’s commitment to social change. true. The combination of innovation. from its foundation onwards. In other words. The BE’s three leaders in its GDR period were all supporters of the State and were able to work productively with the SED for the most part. the BE found itself greeted with fanfare and adulation while on tour. this is. Yet the Berliner Ensemble was. They also very much appreciated the role touring played in the health of the BE and. and perhaps dismiss touring as an appendage to these activities. meant that the BE would offer audiences a very different experience in its auditoria than in other theatres.68   D. For many companies. the company became its flagship theatrical and indeed cultural export. For the SED. one tends to think about how they rehearse and produce work for a domestic audience.38 In both cases. however conventional its fare was con- sidered at home. high quality. The BE’s focus on taking a dialectical approach to the fictional worlds it staged put enough distance between its productions and the Party line to allow for a more complex reception of the BE’s work in the West than for it merely to be dismissed as ‘communist propaganda’. In addition. The BE’s distinctive approach to making theatre meant that it would rep- resent something unusual abroad. the SED could take the credit for running a state that allowed such art to flourish. the BE was a visiting card from the GDR with gilt edges. at times. even during a fairly stagnant period domestically in the 1980s. defections were virtually unheard of. BARNETT Concluding Remarks on a Lop-sided. something that made the BE all the more attractive in the SED’s eyes. Symbiotic Relationship When considering the work of theatre companies. but broadly supported its policies and its politics.

B Rep 014 3148. Bertolt-Brecht-Archiv. Wolfgang Bömelburg. 1997). because the increased international profile conferred more power upon the BE as an institution at home. pp. it appreciated the way that such success allowed it to maintain a good relationship with the SED.1. 16 October 1950. THE POLITICS OF AN INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION: THE BERLINER. the BE could not be said to have exploited this position. 24 June 1950. ‘Theaterprojekt B. undated. the SED was the ultimate arbiter—it financed the BE and had the power to accept or reject touring arrangements. [Bertolt Brecht]. LAB. 3 August 1950. DR 2/8237. All translations from the German are mine unless otherwise acknowledged. 4. 15 November 1949. but at times it was also a millstone for the Party. B Rep 014 3148 and [Unclear signature] to Councillor May. rather. 7. it did not pro- voke fights and sought a practicable working relationship. 30 September 1951. [sent for approval on 27 July 1950]. Fred Oelssner in Hans Lauter. FH 15. [Untitled]. B Rep 014 3148. Yet. 9. . B Rep 014 3148.79’. [Unclear signature] to Councillor May. 10. 3 September 1949.’. 2. The BE and SED were thus fairly comfortable bedfellows because the BE did not seek to make theatre critical of the regime. 11. ‘Mutter Courage nicht in Venedig’. Regine Lutz to her parents. Draft letter to the FRG’s Ministers of Education.. Hobellied für Bertolt Brecht. 43–44. BArch. Abusch as quoted in ‘Notat zu Gespräch mit Alexander Abusch am 31. and the SED. Der Kampf gegen den Formalismus in Kunst und Literatur. 6. Ein Theatertischler erzählt (Berlin: Eulenspiegel. uncatalogued Lutz file ‘Briefe ab Feb. 1954’. C Rep 120 1504. 44. 51. its leadership. with such a reliable company. Both sides benefitted while neither actually asked too much of the other. 1951). 48–49. LAB. The examples given above confirm that the BE’s reputation was a source of prestige. Informationen Deutsches Friedenskomitee 29 (1951). Herbert Maisch. LAB. LAB. undated. Senator Landahl to Councillor May. and the SED did not want to dam- age a very marketable cultural export. 51 bis Nov. Helene-Weigel-Archiv. Norddeutsches Echo. 8.. 5. ‘Mutter Courage kommt nach Westdeutschland’.   69 The role of touring in the BE’s history is difficult to evaluate due to the different values it held for the BE itself. Notes 1. LAB. However. 3. That said. für eine fortschrittliche deutsche Kultur (Berlin: Dietz.

Letters 1913–1956. Kurt Bork to Helene Weigel. Kurt Bork to Councillor Kreuziger. Daily Express. August Everding to Helene Weigel. Erwin Axer to Helene Weigel. 1 June 1954. 21. Werner Hecht. 28 August 1956. File ‘Tourneen [unnum- bered]’. Grosse kommentierte Berliner und Frankfurter Ausgabe. Baum. Brecht. 22 June 1955. pp. ‘L’Allemagne de l’est présente: Le Cercle de Craie Caucasien’. 378. 1998). BEA. 32. DY 30/IV 2/2. 27 July 1953. John Willett (London: Methuen.026/67. BArch. 15. and the British Government’. BArch. Siegfried Wagner to Alfred Kurella. 29. 4. L’Humanité. For example. vol. ed. 30. 16. Bertolt Brecht. Jean-Jacques Gautier. Aktennotiz. 23. Letters. DC 20/7716. BArch. File ‘Tourneen [unnumbered]’. BArch. 19. pp. 1004. ed. Guy Leclerc. vol. 24. BArch.  Ulbricht.70   D. 191. 27.. . Le Figaro. 13. Ergänzendes Protokoll zur Beratung über die Berliner Theatersituation am 23 Oktober 1969 bei Genosse Kurt Hager. BArch. ‘Au Festival de Paris Mère Courage de Bertolt Brecht’. 24 April 1970. 25. 22. ‘Paris a Fait un Accueil Triumphal aux Acteurs Berlinois de Mère Courage’. 21 January 1964. 31. Aktennotiz.026/40. LAB. DC 20/7716. DC 20/7716. Klaus Gysi to Helene Weigel. Jean-Jacques Gautier. 14. Brecht Chronik (Frankfurt on the Main: Suhrkamp. BARNETT 12. 1 June 1954. 23 (Berlin and Frankfurt: Aufbau and Suhrkamp. 26. 30. Cooperation and Conflict: GDR Theatre Censorship 1961–1989 (Oxford: Oxford University Press. C Rep 120 1529. vol. 30 (Berlin and Frankfurt: Aufbau and Suhrkamp. ‘Brecht. SAPMO. transl. Bertolt Brecht. 515–516. 3. BArch. 13 January 1949. transl. ‘The Extraordinary Leading Lady who Startled London Last Night’. 2010). BEA. 22 January 1964. File ‘Tourneen [unnumbered]’. 1993). Wilhelm Girnus to W. 28. the Berliner Ensemble. 18. Brecht. 8 January 1964. 307–323. BEA and [Helene Weigel] to Klaus Gysi. SAPMO. New Theatre Quarterly 22. 28 April 1970. James Smith. Grosse kommentierte Berliner und Frankfurter Ausgabe.4 (2006). 33. Bertolt Brecht. 16 January 1964. Werner Hecht. DC 20/7716. 13 September 1960. 21 October 1964. 14 April 1970. DC 20/7718. et al. DY 30/IV A 2/2. 1997). BArch. 378. Kenneth Tynan to Helene Weigel. DR 1/8688. Grosse kommentierte Berliner und Frankfurter Ausgabe. 17. 316–320. 1990). 549. Le Figaro.024/30. Helene Weigel to Erwin Axer. BArch. DY 30/IV 2/2. 5 February 1964. Herbert Krolikowski. John Barber. 20. 5. Laura Bradley.

DY/IV B 2/2. Juden in der DDR und der Staat Israel’. 36. Neues Deutschland. Moshe Zuckermann (Goettingen: Wallstein. ‘Sieg der Vernunft—Sieg der Vernünftigen’. ed. pp. File ‘Tourneen [unnumbered]’. Ekkehard-Schall-Archiv. 35. Ruth Berghaus to Kurt Hager. 14 January 1972. 24 September 1976. 37. Angelika Timm. Manfred Wekwerth. 38. BEA.. Klaus Gysi to Ruth Berghaus. File ‘Tourneen [unnumbered]’. Juden in der DDR. Stellungnahme zu dem ‘Theatergutachten’.  2. SAPMO. 22 September 1972. A-Z’. p. 32. Akademie der Künste. 11 April 1991. in Zwischen Kultur und Politik..   71 34. 20 June 1989. ‘BE Int.  1. 2003). THE POLITICS OF AN INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION: THE BERLINER. 17–33. Notiz. BArch and Manfred Wekwerth. BEA. Werner Hecht. ‘Ein ambivalentes Verhältnis.024/79. .

CHAPTER 5 ‘A tour to the West could bring a lot of trouble…’—The Mazowsze State Folk Song and Dance Ensemble during the First Period of the Cold War Berenika Szymanski-Düll The Cold War was—as David Caute states—not only a traditional ­political and military confrontation between the Western and the Eastern blocs but also an ideological and cultural contest: ‘The cultural cold war was shaped by the new primacy of ideology. Their major aim was to present and popularize artists successfully working in the particular system as outstanding accomplishments of their home states. These representations proliferated and circulated quickly. radio. Arts and culture. DOI 10. particularly in the USSR. Balme. Institutions and organizations were formed whose purpose it was to position their own cultural system above the other. not overlooking the proliferation of theatres and concert halls open to the broad public.B. achieving a global presence on a large scale. Szymanski-Düll (eds.1007/978-3-319-48084-8_5 . Munich. Szymanski-Düll (*) Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität. served as a representation of a certain political position. Globalization and the Cold War. of film. Transnational Theatre Histories. In this B. and television. by the ­astonishing global ascendancy of printing presses. thus. both sides exploited the arts as political weapons. B. Germany © The Author(s) 2017 73 C.’1 To this end.). […] and not least. Theatre.

which according to Gould-Davies can be divided into two phases with respect to cultural politics: In the early Cold War (1946–1953). SZYMANSKI-DÜLL context. and while unilateral methods of influence continued to be used. which coincided with the building phase of socialist Poland. Between 1950 and 1960. has unfortunately been neglected in the academic landscape to this day. First. I will show that in these two phases Mazowsze served as a twofold metonymic ­ representation. the ensemble was only active in the territories of their allied countries with the intent of strengthening their ‘socialist friendships’. On the one hand. even though world renowned. both sides came to accept a role for cultural relations. I will focus on the late 1940s and the 1950s. I will give a historic overview of communistic folklore tradition and the founding of Mazowsze. it represented the overarching Soviet idea.4 This time span also corresponds to the first period of the Cold War. Before 1954. the ensemble toured extensively. the years fol- lowing the founding of Mazowsze. In the following article I aim to analyse one example of the aforemen- tioned socialist model of centralized governance within the cultural sector by focusing on this Polish ensemble which. My article is divided into two sections. the USSR transformed folk dancing into an ideologically charged art that— due to the Soviet Union’s imperial structure and its range of geopolitical ­influence2—was also adapted by the satellite states to their own national circumstances. these different phases become evident. […] In the post-Stalin period (1953–1964). the Mazowsze3 Polish State Folk Song and Dance Ensemble can be seen as a typical product of such Soviet cultural policies during the Cold War period. each side sought to penetrate the oth- er’s cultural polity while denying access to its own. Only after 1954 were the tours expanded to western countries in order to represent and to popularize the cultural achieve- ments of the ‘new’ Poland. Mazowsze visited 17 countries and performed in 117 different cities. Accordingly. Even in this early phase. and second.74   B. and on the other hand it represented the ‘new’ Poland. Founded in 1948. those regu- lated by mutual agreement became increasingly significant.5 Looking at Mazowsze’s touring activities in the 1950s. which were only made accessible to the public after 1989 and are kept in the Archiwum Akt Nowych in Warsaw. I will analyse the ensemble’s touring activities during the first two phases of the Cold War . On the basis of secret state documents of the Ministry of Culture and Art.

was oriented towards the politics of the USSR in almost all aspects of everyday life. […] Although the Russian people themselves were burdened with the yoke of tsarism and of feudal lords. journalists. the message behind the rise of folk art was obviously that the USSR gave their rural population the unique opportunity to carry on its folk traditions. A New Cultural and Folklore Tradition After the Second World War. professors. to the extent that he decided to create a similar ensemble for Poland.7 In the light of this. toured throughout Poland in 1948 and inspired the Vice Secretary for Art and Culture. in which he expresses the necessity of Soviet support in the fight for a ‘new’ Polish culture: ‘The state of play in our fight for a new ­culture can be described as one connected to difficulties. In addition to getting to know the cultural achievements of the Soviet Union. it was not only Sokorski’s admiration of the Pyatnitsky State Choir that facilitated the founding of Mazowsze. especially at the beginning. Jerzy Albrecht. the director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. One can even state that. Pyatnitsky. Włodzimierz Sokorski. I hope to elucidate how the first tour to the West in particular was an exceptional challenge for the political elites. plays. as part of the communist system. The creation of the Polish folklore ensemble should rather be understood as a result of an impulse coming from the Soviet Union.’6 In this context. which had been suppressed by tsarist forces for many years: The ‘silly songs’. Mazowsze cannot but be considered a result of this emu- lation of USSR culture. As can be read in many documents of the time. the . ‘A TOUR TO THE WEST COULD BRING A LOT OF TROUBLE…   75 as described by Gould-Davies. the People’s Republic of Poland. we are dependent on its aid in solving our problems. ‘naive games and stories’ and ‘devilish dances’ that were uncomfortable for the ruling classes because of their truthfulness with respect to the representation of national life were banished from the pub- lic. novels. schoolbooks. to the Secretary of Propaganda. Mazowsze would never have come into existence. libretti and so on were sent from the USSR to Poland and there was an intensive exchange of information and ideas between teachers. which knew how to use folk art in an ideologi- cal manner.8 However. as becomes evident in a letter from Wiesław Sobiejarski. artists and sportsmen. The same holds true for Polish ­culture. without the Soviet folk ensemble Pyatnitsky. a choir initially consisting of artists with a mainly peasant and proletarian background. the fate of the non-Russian peoples.

for the USSR. It is […] precisely the calling of the choreographer to use the motives given to us by the people so that new forms suitable for the people can develop.12 With the help of other chore- ographers.’10 In this context and. SZYMANSKI-DÜLL Ukrainians. In doing so. Furthermore. By order of the Soviet authorities. Kazakhs. Even though brochures and playbills of the ensemble speak to his attempt to (re-)create an authentic aesthetic by mentioning. but also as the patron of their creative power: ‘Led by the party of Lenin and Stalin the peoples of the Soviet Union received unprecedented opportunities. this advancement of folk dance and folk songs was undoubtedly an ideological exploitation of folkloristic art that was to represent the Soviet Union not only as the liberator of the once oppressed social classes. and created a folk art that truly inspired them. Armenians. All of these newly founded folklore ensembles were funded by the state. which had to be fostered. the choreographers’ fieldwork. In addition.9 Furthermore.76   B. on the one hand by the ruling classes of their nation. the State Ensemble of Folk Dances of the Peoples of the Soviet Union. played a pioneering role in popularizing folk art and its ideological message. […] All these robbers were trying to eradicate the folk culture. semi-­ professional or amateur folk ensembles like the Pyatnitsky State Choir or the Moiseyev Dance Company. Kyrgyz. hitherto unknown in the history of mankind. and on the other hand by the exploitation of the tsarist governor. Buryat-Mongols and others was far more difficult. primarily known as the Moiseyev Dance Company. As a consequence. for example. Moiseyev him- self instead envisioned promotion of traditional folk art: ‘I don’t agree with the position that one isn’t to add anything to certain folk dances. they were encouraged to lend their own national character to the art form. since each nation had its own traditional songs and dances. the folk genre became a global phenomenon. Georgians. in addition to the Pyatnitsky State Choir men- tioned above. Moiseyev’s model was implemented throughout the Soviet Union. the dancer Igor Moiseyev (1906–2007) founded the ensemble in 1937.13 . the best amongst them—like for instance Mazowsze—were even sent on tours around the world. he highly stylized folk dance.’11 He merged elements of folklore with nineteenth-century clas- sical ballet and created choreographies with spectacular movements. They lived under a double suppression. all satellite states were ordered to found professional. to develop their culture. towards the end of the 1940s and at the beginning of the 1950s. thereby turning it into a new art form and creating a new dance genre.

food. Its purpose was formulated one year later.15 Along the lines of metonymy. metonymy is suspended in an interesting paradox between connotations of authenticity on the one hand and incompleteness on the other. before the outbreak of the Second World War. The Birth of Mazowsze The People’s Republic of Poland was one of the first satellite states to form a folklore ensemble based on the Soviet model. Below I will illustrate to what extent this is applicable to Mazowsze.17 After the Second World War. is framed within the metonymic notion that performance(s) can stand in for the culture as a whole. Christopher Balme speaks of ­‘performance as metonymy of culture’. free accom- modation. On 8 November 1948. […] The whole tradition of folkloristic performance. ‘A TOUR TO THE WEST COULD BRING A LOT OF TROUBLE…   77 Under these conditions. the Ministry of Art and Culture decided by decree to establish the Mazowsze State Folk Song and Dance Ensemble. but also a school education. It has inscribed in it already a discursive strategy symptomatic of colonial discourse: the penchant to circumscribe and con- tain. these were good enough reasons for parents to let their ­children leave . Viewed in this context. folkloristic performance gradually became s­ ynonymous not only with the Soviet system but also with the i­ndividual nations of the satellite states. Balme states: As a figure of speech. it can be stated that the newly created folk art in socialist Eastern Europe represented both the overarching Soviet idea of folk art and the culture of each of the ‘new’ socialist countries. metonymy as a trope of cultural dis- course carries with it more than just the signature of abbreviation typical of most figures of speech. which begins in the nineteenth century in Europe […]. namely to provide a select number of boys and girls from peasant or proletarian families with an artistic education in the traditional dancing and singing of the Masovian region in order to maintain folk tradition. clothing and medical care.14 He understands metonymical forms of representation first and foremost in the sense of the figure of the synecdoche in which a part stands for the whole.16 In order to find good candidates for Mazowsze. Sygietyński toured throughout rural Poland for months and organized auditions which drew large crowds because the young people were prom- ised not only musical training. Concerning such phenomena of self- and imposed theatrical representation. This task was given to the composer Tadeusz Sygietyński who had already travelled around Polish villages to collect folk songs.

Sygietyński picked the 63 most promising talents—the youngest was only 11 years old. I believe that you will understand me and that you will write to Mazowsze and tell them to accept my sister and me as members of the ensemble. Fascinated by the fiddle of a nearby manor. stressing the unique possibilities that the communist system was granting its poorest children so that they could become the ‘new generation of artists of a new Poland’. theory of har- mony and notation. A letter to the Secretary General. a home. the mass media promoted Mazowsze in an ideological fashion. Now. all of them had a background the party favoured: ‘65 per cent of the children were farmers’ children. the students went to school and in the after- noon and evening they had lessons in singing and dancing. Meanwhile.78   B. […] I ask you to confirm my acceptance for the ensemble as soon as possible. as I can hardly wait to be part of it.’20 The refer- ence to Janko the Musician can be found frequently within the reception of Mazowsze in Poland in the late 1940s and early 1950s. reads for instance: Esteemed friend Bolesław Bierut! […] I really want to be part of the ensem- ble because it would be a pity to waste such big talent as I have. these children would have no chance and would lead the tragic life of a Janko musician.19 Statements like the following were commonplace at the time: ‘In a system of capitalism. According to Kazimierz Korcelli. Furthermore. Bolesław Bierut. It is a short story from 1879 written by the Nobel Prize winner Henryk Sienkiewicz that focuses on a poor peasant child named Janko who is gifted with great musi- cal talent but due to his poverty does not own an instrument. 30 per cent were from working class families and five per cent were children of craftsmen from rural areas. they have all the possibilities to develop their talents: They have a school. Thus. every child had to learn how to play an instrument. however. I have attached a stamp for your answer letter. Dear Mr Bierut. Some of the rejected candidates even tried to get accepted into the company by contacting members of the Party leader- ship. but also resulted in more and more young people applying to Mazowsze.’18 In 1949.21 . In the morning. a village near Warsaw. he dies from his wounds. the oldest 22. he succumbs to the temptation to touch the fiddle and is sentenced to flagellation. the comparison between members of the Mazowsze ensemble and Janko had a clear political message: in the People’s Republic of Poland all children with promising talent would be promoted regardless of their ori- gin or the financial means of their parents. Sygietyński and his team began to work in Karolin. SZYMANSKI-DÜLL home. instruments and excellent teachers. Ultimately. Dear Mr Bierut. Such reports not only ensured the popularity of the ensemble.

On Tour The first challenge on a foreign stage was the tour to the Soviet Union in May 1951. Even though the Soviet audiences cheered at the concerts—even Stalin is said to have been among the spectators—the Soviet mass media criticized the performances. some countries. Romania and Bulgaria. Thus. The show was such a huge success that the Ministry decided to send Mazowsze on tour not only in Poland. like the German Democratic Republic. ‘A TOUR TO THE WEST COULD BRING A LOT OF TROUBLE…   79 After two years of work. the first performance took place in the Teatr Polski in Warsaw during the festivities of the October Revolution. Since the original dances and lyrics talked mostly about love rather than realist socialism or collective farming. The reason for this was that the artistic quality of the ensemble was more relevant to Sygietyński than its involvement with communist ideas. Most importantly. unlike other leading folk artists he was reluctant to rework the traditional pieces thematically. but also abroad to represent the new Polish nation and to consolidate the friendship between socialist countries. The lyrics met with particular disapproval. His colleagues were far less afraid to toe the political line and created a variety of new choreographies and songs that corresponded to Soviet ideology. As the following article from the newspaper Neues Deutschland from 21 July 1951 shows. The Ministry also interfered in the selection of the programme and ordered that one song about the Six-Year Plan and at least one song of praise for Stalin had to be included in the repertory. some core pieces were taken out of the pro- gramme because the ministry decided they were not folkloristic enough. They were said to allow too much space for romantic topics and therefore could not possibly treat the socialist reality in an appropriate manner. China. However. he added some songs and dances requested by the Party for the upcoming guest appearances in the GDR. welcomed this kind of . due to Soviet criticism and pressure from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. even though the artistic director objected. the Ministry of Art and Culture decided that the young ensemble was ready to perform in public for the first time. he was determined to come as close to the original Polish folk traditions as possible even though he was aware that his art consequently had to appear highly stylized. Sygietyński was forced to show his ‘goodwill’ if he wanted to keep his leadership position. His goal was to retain und convey a certain mode of authenticity. In addition. On 6 November 1950.22 Sygietyński fought against these changes but eventually had to give in.

there were critical remarks concerning the songs’ lyrics. the young artists introduced us to songs about the new way of life in their home country.25 In this respect. The infectious melody of the ‘Song of the Six-Year Plan’ was met with a jubilant echo by the Berlin Werktage. During subsequent performances in those countries. for example. being in love and so on. The article does not focus so much on the folkloristic parts of the show but instead highlights those describing the new way of life in the People’s Republic of Poland: In addition to the old folk songs and dances. as its chorus—‘Fulfil the plan!’—was like an encourag- ing cheer for their own work. Another report by the director of the department for mass propaganda shows even more clearly that Bulgarian journalists criticized the ensemble for not being political enough at a time in which they felt that political statements were needed in order to ensure the education of a new people. a report by the Polish ambassador in Bulgaria still read: Even though the singing and dancing found acclaim.24 The ambassador explains this reaction by pointing to the programmes of Bulgarian folk ensembles that visualize the new life in Bulgarian villages through song and dance. a big part of the programme is about intrigues.23 Other socialist states Mazowsze travelled to were still not satisfied with the extent to which the programme had been changed. In 1954.80   B. it also has to be noted that along with Mazowsze’s programme. They could not understand why Mazowsze refused to act on the criticism first voiced in the Soviet Union in 1951. that of the latter came from Polish diplomats within the satellite states: . the attitudes of its members were equally criticized. This however. for example. While criticism of the former was mainly expressed by the foreign mass media. Mazowsze continually had to face criti- cism. is quite rare in Mazowsze’s programme. surely has songs that are about this fight with the big land owners and the occupy- ing forces and about the new life in a Polish village today. SZYMANSKI-DÜLL programming. the joyous harvest and the peaceful community. that had to suffer under the pressure of the big land owners. later participated in the fight for liberation and is now striking new paths. the ploughing of the fields. They portray. It was maintained that the Polish vil- lage.

however. When 21-year-old Mazowsze mem- ber Riszard Gabryel fled the group during a US tour in 1971. for instance. The Polish press also refrained from reporting on it. the diplomats strongly advised the Ministry to expand the ensemble’s political education. Although the true reasons for the defection are obvious. One report reads: ‘With this political consciousness the ensemble cannot be sent to Western countries. Asks US Political Asylum. A tour to the West could bring a lot of trouble to the ensemble and leave a wrong impression of Poland’s cultural status. where you won’t find such a supervision as in the countries of our Soviet partners. It is important to note that artists.’26 The demonstration of this lack of political conviction reached its climax when members of the ensemble first started to defect. they are never discussed in the records. After jumping out of the window. Mieczysław Dzierżanowski and Tadeusz Bednarski.’30 Alarmed by the young people’s lack of interest in communist ideas. contained the headline: ‘Polish Dancer Flees Troupe. In 1951. there is no trace of this incident in the press material of the Mazowsze tour in the GDR. dressed in grey coats. fleeing the Eastern bloc while touring in the West posed the biggest risk of cultural exchange. however. the reason is evident: On the one hand it is possible that outsiders persuaded them. From the numerous reports covering this incident. they fled to the other zone. especially when planning a tour to France in October 1954 after Stalin’s death had made an increase in cultural exchange between the two hostile nations possible again. it is not surprising that the diplomats were worried about a lack of political conviction. This is why the artists had to submit to rigid supervision during their tours. the American press covered it. ‘A TOUR TO THE WEST COULD BRING A LOT OF TROUBLE…   81 ‘The moral-political level of the ensemble leaves a lot to be desired. especially dancers and opera singers. made use of the fact that they were located just five metres away from the French Zone. did not occur during a tour in the West but during a stay in an allied country.’29 Hence. In my opinion. In .27 The first escapes.’28 For understandable reasons. The Chicago Tribune from 26 May 1971. Instead we find a lot of speculation such as: ‘Both Dzierżanowski and Bednarski did not show their intention to defect. we know that the two defecting artists. The Ministry took the accusations seriously and gave an order that political education was to be added to the schedule of Mazowsze. two dancers fled the group while touring in East Berlin (GDR) before the Wall had been erected. on the other hand the erroneous belief in their talent played a cru- cial role.

32 The meaning of the word ‘performance’. 2. we would like to ask you in the name of our deep friendship and in the name of the peaceful coexistence of all nations to fight with us for peace […]. when the Paris Accords are going to rebuild the Wehrmacht under the direction of Hitler’s criminal generals. In the eyes of the authorities. but also representatives of a certain political agenda. The political attitude of a Polish ensemble abroad. written by selected members of Mazowsze immediately after the Paris Accords of 1954. Mazowsze were not only singers and dancers on a stage.33 . 4. […] Today. France as an imperialistic power. 3. however. This plan can be broken down into the following topics: 1. We believe that the French nation will join us in our protest against attempts to rule over peace and will take part in our efforts for collective safety […] of all nations independent of their governments’ form.31 The Ministry explained the aim of such a procedure as follows: The political education before the tour should leave no doubt to the mem- bers of the ensemble of how big of a responsibility lies on the shoulders of each individual serving as a representative of the People’s Republic of Poland in a capitalist country and how much of an effort it is to prepare a high quality performance for France.82   B. executioners of our rela- tives and the destroyer of Poland’s and other countries’ national heritage. The tradition of friendship between Poland and France. elucidates these circumstances: We were proud and happy to perform our songs and dances for the French audiences and to show both the wealth of our folk culture and the achieve- ments of our beloved home country. A letter to the Secretary of the General Association of Friendship between Poland and France. SZYMANSKI-DÜLL order not to be forced to cancel the planned tour to France. exceeded the mean- ing of the simple word ‘concert’. They were to deliver perfect public per- formances as ambassadors of the new Poland and thus of communism and anti-fascism. The struggle of French proletarians for peace and the right to live. a 28-hour teaching plan was put together.

Mazowsze became the flagship of Polish folklore and the favourite of Polonia. Instead. it became less imperative for the artists to have specific rural or proletarian backgrounds. they differed not only with respect to their specific national repertoires but also with regards to how strongly they followed the spe- cific agendas imposed by their political elites. fought relentlessly for the artistic independence of Mazowsze and developed a spectacular repertory. and thus was metonymically representative of its system and of the achievements of a new Poland. This strategy included policies offering equal opportunities in the field of arts education for economically and educationally challenged parts of the population. Although—at first glance—the folk ensembles seemed to be very similar to each other. Conclusion The Soviet elites exploited the tradition of folkloristic performance in order to represent the achievements of the USSR and to insert certain propagan- distic issues into such productions. As time went by. The programme designed by Sygietyński consisted of three ethnographic regions. the folklore genre became famous thanks to various touring ensembles and therefore served as a weapon for positioning the Soviet cultural system above those of the opposing side. it is clear that the ensemble—although it tried to avoid submitting to a variety of structures as much as possible—was implemented as a product of Soviet imitation. In particular. . who took over the direction of Mazowsze in 1955 after her husband’s death and who directed the ensemble until 1997. by writing letters like the one quoted above or by per- forming politically acclaimed songs or dances—Mazowsze always considered itself much more as an ambassador of Polish folklore art than as an ambas- sador of communism. Especially during the Cold War. ‘A TOUR TO THE WEST COULD BRING A LOT OF TROUBLE…   83 Even though Tadeusz Sygietyński and his staff tried to fulfil the political orders—for example. It also led to a growth of protection and attention given to rural art forms and rural popula- tions. In the case of Mazowsze. One might even surmise that it was only possible for the ensemble to continue to exist after the collapse of the socialist state system because its artistic directors had only followed the political demands in the most rudimentary way while focusing instead on high artistic quality on stage. Sygietyński’s wife Mira Zimińska-Sygietyńska. Zimińska-Sygietyńska added 39 more to it. they were already profes- sionally trained before they become part of the ensemble. Beyond the Iron Curtain in particular.

1. 12. 157). 366 MKiSz. 1. 1960). 1990). here 212–213. 11. 10. 6. in Die Entwicklung der Laienkunst in der Sowjetunion. 13. Wymiany kult. here 42. Mira Zimińska-­Sygietyńska. 273–275. ‘Mazowsze’ is the Polish term for the Polish region of Mazovia. t. Tadeusz Kruk and Alojzy Sroga. 2003). Diplomatic History 27. Pacz. 41–43. Mazowsze tańczy i śpiewa (Warsaw: Iskry. ‘Igor Moissejew über den deutschen Volkstanz und seine künstlerische Weiterentwicklung’. Annelies Müller- Hegemann (Berlin: Verlag Kultur und Fortschritt. ed. The second . SZYMANSKI-DÜLL Notes 1. wherein the global. 10. It was a dicta- torially structured system. Dance Research International 31. AAN. 29–56. ‘The Logic of Soviet Cultural Diplomacy’.und Volkskunst in der Sowjetunion’. ideological and political dimensions of communism were predominant. 5.84   B.. Some researchers refer to these aspects as imperial structures—primarily understood as institutional- ized patterns of power and interaction between an autochthonous. All of the nation-states of Eastern Europe and several regional areas as well had state-sponsored companies […]. Without a doubt. The Dancer Defects: The Struggle for Cultural Supremacy dur- ing the Cold War (New York: Oxford University Press. ‘Laien. 7.2 (2003). Nigel Gould-Davies. Shay divides the founding of the folk dance ensembles worldwide into three phases: ‘The first wave of these companies began after the Second World War. M. 8. the political orientation of the satellite states and their position during the Cold War was predetermined. Anthony Shay.Z. David Caute.  All translations from the Polish and the German are mine unless otherwise acknowledged. 68. z ZSRR. Ibid. here 12–13. 1953). Soviet-style real socialism was based on a specific geopo- litical unit designed as cohesion of several national societies. In this way. Here. 4. 8. 56/2/49. Ibid. Mazowsze tańczy i śpiewa. politi- cal sovereign elite in the centre and different but politically dependent national elites on the periphery (see Frank Ettrich. 194–214. ‘Parallel Traditions: State Folk Dance Ensembles and Folk Dance in “The Field”’. 9. Anneliese Müller-Hegemann. Die andere Moderne. 2005). Soziologische Nachrufe auf den Staatssozialismus (Berlin: Berliner Debatte. 9–56.2. Druga miłość mego życia (Warsaw: Wydawnictwa Artystyczne i Filmowe. 2.S. here 29 and 37. Kruk and Sroga. Volkskunst und Volkswahlen 10 (1954).1 (1999). 3. Igor Moiseyev.

38 ff. 1955–57 r. Ibid. Plan pracy polityczno-wyjaśniaja ̨cej poprzedzaja ̨cej wyjazd PLZPiT ‘Mazowsze’ do Francji. 366 MKiSz / Pacz. 366 MKiSz / Pacz. 19. 32. 28. ‘Boten der Freundschaft aus Polen’. t. List do Członków Stowarzyszenia Przyjaźni Francusko-Polskiej. 14. 18. Ibid.R. 3. ‘W poszukiwaniu czasu nie straconego. AAN. without title and signature. 15. A third wave of companies. 204. Państwowy Zespół Ludowy Pieśni i Tańca ‚Mazowsze’ w Karolinie. t. Karolin. The Chicago Tribune. Kazimierz Korcelli. many indi- viduals […] in the United States and Western Europe founded private companies in emulation of the spectacle and success of these extremely popular dance ensembles’ (ibid. 2. Ibid. 23. 27. Sprawozdanie z pobytu Państwowego Zespołu Pieśni i Tańca ‘Mazowsze’. Notatka w sprawie ucieczki Mieczysława Dzierżanowskiego i Tadeusza Bednarskiego. 82. 167. Archiwum Mazowsza. Druga miłość mego życia. 366 MKiSz / Pacz.. 30. AAN. 366 MKiSz / Pacz. 2. 366 MKiSz / Pacz. Druga miłość mego życia. 2. 4. 163. t. 2m t. II. 366 MKiSz/Pacz. AAN. Zimińska-Sygietyńska.L. 26. 33. 29. Zimińska-Sygietyńska. 2.  Balme. cz. Some examples can be found in David Caute’s book The Dancer Defects. Ibid. Rzecz o pow- staniu “Mazowsza”’. 31. 112. AAN. ‘Polish Dancer Flees Troupe. 5. ‘A TOUR TO THE WEST COULD BRING A LOT OF TROUBLE…   85 wave of companies began in other areas of the world such as the Philippines and Mexico in the 1950s. 1. 21 July 1951. Karolin. 3. 22. 37). 15. began in the 1960s and 1970s. Mazowsze. 132–134. Neues Deutschland. Asks US Political Asylum’. zawiadomienia o eliminacje]. 17. without signature. 3. 366 MKiSz. Notatka z pobytu Zespołu‚ Mazowsze’ w B. 24. AAN. . film clip. 20. [Prośby o przyjęcie. 2. Sprawozdanie z pobytu Panstwowego Zespolu Piesńi i Tańca ‚Mazowsze’. 2007). AAN. t.. 21. 26 May 1971. / 3221. t. 3. 169–179. 366 MKiSz / Pacz. AAN. In the 1960s. t. 3. 16. 2. AAN. 596. 25. Christopher B. Archiwum Mazowsza. Sprawozdanie z pobytu Panstwowego Zespolu Piesńi i Tańca ‚Mazowsze’. Pacific Performances: Theatricality and Cross- Cultural Encounter in the South Seas (New York: Palgrave Macmillan. such as those of Turkey and Iran. 163. 97.

 Alexandrov Soviet Army Twice Red-bannered Academic Song and Dance Ensemble (or Alexandrov Ensemble) described z itself in a publicity brochure from 1982 as a source of inspiration for other military song and dance ensembles within the Soviet military. Prague. Czechia © The Author(s) 2017 87 C. for which the Alexandrov Ensemble represented ‘the flagship of this formidable artistic squadron’. Šmidrkal (*) Faculty of Social Sciences.V. Szymanski-Düll (eds. Transnational Theatre Histories.1 If this ‘squadron’ had also included the ensembles of other socialist armies that followed the Soviet example after the Second World War. Transformation and Retreat of a Soviet Model Václav Šmidrkal Introduction The world-renowned A.1007/978-3-319-48084-8_6 . Theatre. we would have to refer to it as a whole ‘fleet’.). Balme. DOI 10. B. V. The profes- sional military song and dance ensembles quickly spread across communist states around the world and contributed to the state-sponsored ensemble This chapter was supported by the Charles University Research Development Schemes (PRVOUK) P17 and by the International Visegrad Fund. Charles University.B. CHAPTER 6 Song and Dance Ensembles in Central European Militaries: The Spread. Globalization and the Cold War.

transforma- tions and retreat of these institutions.3 their military counterparts have remained almost untouched. Polish and East German primary as well as second- ary sources.88   V.2 Whereas civilian song and dance ensembles have already received some attention from researchers. East Germany and Poland. Thus. Czechoslovakia. Military Song and Dance Ensembles: Building on Three Older Cultural Traditions The military song and dance ensemble was a product of the Stalinist cultural policy of the late 1920s and 1930s. which had always been both a normative tool for strengthening the morale. endurance and cohesion of the troops and a means for unrestrained reflection of soldiers’ subjective experience. In the case of soldiers’ songs. focusing on the empirical material from the ‘northern triangle’5 of the Soviet Bloc in Central Europe. that is. while the military command usually tries to influence the pro- . the ensembles became the official authority on the production and interpretation of this musical genre. which I conducted using Czech. it outlines the origins of inspiration for the creation of these ensembles and briefly discusses the ambivalent character of a nomi- nally artistic institution that was caught between political requirements and military utilitarianism. First. Second. ‘The medium is the message’. This chapter argues that the military song and dance ensembles represented a transnational cultural phenomenon that resulted from the implementation of communist cultural policies and adoption of Soviet organisational patterns in order to symbolically high- light the distinctive nature of the socialist military. Slovak. Although the existence of the ensembles could not be justified in military or artistic terms. ŠMIDRKAL art that was showcased as a prompt and impressive result of the ongoing socialist cultural revolution. and embraced three older cultural traditions: soldiers’ songs. As French musicologist Thierry Bouzard notes. their long-term survival was ensured by the communist parties’ conviction of their essential importance for the socialist character of the military. it uses these three examples as the framework for an overview of the transnational spread. folklorism and agitprop. the song and dance ensembles had an identity-making objective not only in their contents but also as institutions per se in the sense of Marshall McLuhan’s phrase.4 This chapter is based on my doctoral research into the socialist military’s cultural policy in Central Europe.

To this end. they were expected to catch up with other theatrical and musical institutions and achieve the same level of artistic performance. although the ensembles initially had an amateur status. their popularity cannot be decreed and soldiers represent a semi-independent agent in this regard. which used artistic means of communication as a powerful way of disseminating political ideas and mobilising the audience. they were supposed to be prepared to resume their function as a military unit both in garrisons and under field conditions. Third.   89 duction and consumption of soldiers’ songs. folk- loristic inspiration was believed to give ensemble productions more pop- ular appeal. the ensembles drew inspiration from folk culture. historical memory and military policy.6 This also applies to the communist ‘educational dictatorship’ which. and to find their own place on the artistic scene. This folkloristic ‘skin’ was used as an innovative coating for the communist agitprop contents of their per- formances. they were not particularly interested in an ethnographically accurate exploration. was not able to enforce acceptance of dull songs from the ensemble repertoire and eliminate ‘tasteless’ songs secretly learned and sung by soldiers. Political Requirements and Military Utilitarianism Even though publicity materials praised the harmony between military. despite the wide range of coercive means it used. they had to follow the requirements of ideological work in the armed forces and to edu- cate their audience in terms of the communist party’s discourse. These three inspirations from the past merged into a new type of popular per- forming arts that initially assumed. coalescence between the staged and lived reality. First. The ensembles were exposed to tensions arising from the com- munist party as patron. preservation and display of the authentic folk cul- ture found in ‘the field’. The Triangle of Tension: Artistic Needs. In the Stalinist understanding of the term ‘narodnost’7 as a crucial yet unclear aesthetic quality (vaguely and negatively defined as the opposite of cosmopolitism. bourgeois intellectualism and inauthen- tic popular culture). in a concealed avant-garde manner. SONG AND DANCE ENSEMBLES IN CENTRAL EUROPEAN MILITARIES:. . but rather in transforming its features into a new type of socialist popular culture. political and artistic qualities... However. everyday life was often far from this ideal picture. Second. the military as host and the artists as individuals trying to assert themselves.

Unlike the rather heavy-­handed military songs in Czechoslovakia and the GDR. ŠMIDRKAL Artistic Needs Artistic self-assertion in the ensembles was bound on the one hand by prescribed aesthetics. the expectations of the audience and the artistic abilities of the staff drove many authors into a cul-de-sac. contents and function and on the other by their staff- ing policy. in the 1980s even here the organisers had little success in persuading established performers to take part in this official event put on by ‘the regime’ and instead they had to look for young ambitious talents. However. In Poland this sort of music achieved more success through the Soldier’s Song ̇ Festival (Festival Piosenki Zołnierskiej) 8 which took place annually from 1967 onwards and attracted more widespread popular attention. when the personnel policy changed and the ‘professional amateurs’ became a bur- den. in the early 1950s. The over- politicised and bland winning songs in competitions such as The Golden Mace (Zlatý palcát) organised in Czechoslovakia from 1971. To this end. Polish military songs were to a greater extent freed from obviously political content and offered haunting melodies with light-hearted texts inspired by the soldiers’ life and interpreted by popular singers. The creative staff found it extremely difficult to produce mate- rial that indoctrinated and entertained at the same time. Nevertheless.9 When most of the ensembles were established. The attempts . the cre- ative restrictions imposed by the political requirements. ensembles hired composers. they recruited talented amateur artists from within the armed forces expect- ing that they would be able to improve their skills to a professional level with systematic training and intensive practice. or those pre- sented at the Soldier’s Song Parade (Parade des Soldatenliedes) organ- ised as a part of the the Workers' Festival Arbeiterfestspiele in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) could not compete with genuine pop hits. they commissioned works by renowned civilian authors. This experiment succeeded only in a few individual cases and the rest posed a difficult dilemma for the management of the ensembles in the post-Stalinist era. such pieces did not achieve popularity. However. recordings or radio (and later also TV) broadcasting. text writers and solo singers. and they ran writing contests.90   V. searching for prospective stars regardless of their class ­background or previous education was not a solution either. Even though the military had occasional success in involving prominent civilian hit-makers and first-class performers. The ensembles were expected to produce an original repertoire and to popularise it with both soldiers and civilians through public shows.

Frank Schöbel (born 1942).   91 to modernise the repertoire and make it more attractive for the audience also ran into problems where professional artists were concerned. affected his position in the pop-music charts. The members of the ensembles. and the ongoing difficulty of their work on the cusp between politics. during his performance. punished with two days of confinement and had to serve as a gatekeeper until the end of his military service. They did not only show folk culture adapted for the stage. However.10 This example shows that the logic of stardom and the mission of the ensemble clashed because they often operated in different markets.. during his military service he had to wear military uniform which. when he was expected to sing a dull song praising military service during the Soldiers’ Song Parade that took place in Görlitz in 1966. After he was promised by the political officers from the Main Political Administration of the National People’s Army that his piece would not be recorded and shown on television. were to demonstrate the possibilities of the creative potential of the people. SONG AND DANCE ENSEMBLES IN CENTRAL EUROPEAN MILITARIES:. the rising star of East German popular music. he refused. the arts and the military instead made them a safe haven for artistic mediocrity. Even though the ensembles occasionally employed distinct artistic person- alities (or. For this insubordina- tion he was demoted from Gefreiter to Soldat. Therefore. in his opinion. called up the gradu- ates from artistic schools) their origins as a platform for talented amateurs selected from the people. he agreed to sing the song. Finally. the ensembles were sup- posed to prove that the theses of the Marxist-Leninist theory of culture were correct. in the case of Czechoslovakia and Poland. While as a young civilian employee he enjoyed relative freedom. following on from . when he saw the camera of the Military Film Studio. show- ing that the working class was able to make use of this domain that had once been the preserve of the bourgeoisie. Political Requirements In the initial period of the communist regimes. their programmes also included national and world classics. audi- tioned for and was accepted into the Erich Weinert Ensemble (EWE) of the East German National People’s Army in 1962 and later served his 18-month period of military service there. and working in the military ensem- ble did not threaten his growing popularity. he switched off the camera’s microphone and sang only for the people in the hall. a potential that was untapped under capitalism. originally a selection of workers and peasants in uniform..

Therefore the political apparatus was entitled to require that the ensemble include ‘thought content’ (in Russian ideinost') reflecting ideological values such as socialist patriotism. As a beacon for the numerous amateur folk art groups within the military they were also expected to instruct them. works of art were believed to have an enormous power to influence people’s opinions. both sides usually tried to avoid such situations by looking for a mutually acceptable compromise. thus furthering the development of socialist mass culture. the flawless ful- filment of their tasks and. The programming of these was included in the category of ‘cultural enlightenment work’ that made up one of the pillars of political work in the socialist military. as we understand it. . at the Cultural Conference of the National People’s Army and the Border Troops of the GDR in 1981. According to the military hierarchy.11 Keßler’s statement was based on the Marxist-Leninist military and war theory that accentuated the importance of the ‘moral-political factor’ for victory in a war. last but not least. during which artists supported their fighting nation. Although the relations between the management of the ensembles and the political apparatus could generate conflicts. This theoretical assumption seemed to be con- firmed by the Red Army’s victory in the ‘Great Patriotic War’ (1941–45).92   V. the ensembles of the Central European militaries were required to translate communist military discourse into effective works of art that would motivate. Commander of the Main Political Administration. for the ideological purity and political clarity of their shows. proletarian internationalism or the peace mission of the Warsaw Pact. ŠMIDRKAL the agitprop genre. without culture and arts’. symbolically com- plementing real weapons. stances and behaviour and were therefore referred to as ‘weapons’.12 Within this ideological perspective. the political apparatus was the body responsible for the supervision of the ensembles. Military Utilitarianism ‘There is no combat readiness. encourage and also entertain the soldiers. they were supposed to become the standard bearers of the highly politically engaged new socialist culture. and devote their programmes to political events like various state and military anniversaries. Based on this verified theory. claimed Colonel General Heinz Keßler. elections or other such occasions. mobilise.

. according to fragments of primary sources and oral accounts. its work was extraordinarily successful and it helped to restore the ruined relations between the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. the special treatment of conscripts who were allowed to carry out their military service in the ensembles also provoked outrage among soldiers serving in the regular units who perceived this practice as a sign of inequity. in reality. For example. SONG AND DANCE ENSEMBLES IN CENTRAL EUROPEAN MILITARIES:. stationed in Eastern Bohemia.17 The Merry Squad gave 34 concerts for the Polish and Soviet troops. According to Igor Ivanovich Raevskii (born 1937). Even the East German military.14 Unlike military musicians. who was the artistic leader of this ensemble from 1968 to 1974. who were formally trained as military medi- cal orderlies for the event of war..13 Moreover. they could even weaken the combat force of the military because insufficiently trained conscripts or even professional soldiers were engaged in these non-combat units. Although no operational plan specifying the assignments of the ensembles in the event of war has been discovered so far. the ensembles were not only of no military value. could not find a solution for the conflict between the profession of a soldier and that of an artist. for the Polish guest workers in the local factories and also for the Czech population.19 . which was more reluctant to privilege artists. who was promoted to Gefreiter after only one month of military service. according to ‘bourgeois’ military experts. the military training of socialist military ensembles was hardly worthy of mention. The Polish troops.18 Also the Soviet occupying forces in the Czechoslovak territory that were legalised as the ‘Central Group of Forces’ (1968–91) established their own song and dance ensemble as an instrument of public relations between the Soviet troops and the local population. the singer Frank Schöbel.   93 Although such theories were also used to justify the existence of the ensembles. the ensembles were supposed to continue their artistic work adjusted to field conditions as trained during Warsaw Pact joint manoeuvres. in total for some 3000 viewers. did not want to irritate the soldiers in the audience and therefore he took off his rank insignia before entering the stage. but.15 An example of a short-term deployment of an ensemble in a combat-­ like situation can be found in the Soviet-led occupation of Czechoslovakia by five Warsaw Pact armies in August 1968. were visited by the Merry Squad (Wesoła Drużyna) from the Sapper Troops and by the Silesian Military Estrada16 (Śla ̨ska Estrada Wojskowa) from the Silesian Military District.

In these programmes. The performances consisted of isolated numbers. the Vít Nejedlý Army Artistic Ensemble (Armádní umělecký soubor Víta Nejedlého.1). This was the case with the most prominent Czechoslovak ensemble. meaning that they were more like a concert than a coherent the- atrical production. 6. The leading ensembles of the first generation had their roots in the Second World War. selected and adapted folk dances and songs from the ensemble’s own nation as well as befriended nations were interposed with national and world classics and new socialist music (Fig.1  The classic three-level stage with choir. orchestra and dancers in a show by the Slovak VUS JN on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the Communist Party in 1956 . They typically consisted of a large male choir. a symphonic orches- tra. which gave them additional legitimacy and emphasised their seniority. ŠMIDRKAL Foundation of Ensembles ‘As Alike as Two Peas in a Pod’ The first generation of ensembles in Central European countries was cre- ated according to the model of a military song and dance ensemble (in Russian ansambl’ pesni i plyaski) represented at its best by the Alexandrov Ensemble. 6.94   V. or AUS VN) that was established within the Fig. a dancing group and solo singers.

he was also given the opportunity to take part in the work of a cultural group in the POW camp.   95 Czechoslovak military unit in the Soviet Union in 1943 under the leader- ship of the composer Vít Nejedlý (1912–45). he refused ‘plain copying’ of the Soviet model and urged national originality. The flagship of the East German ensemble squad- ron. The beginnings of the Polish Army Central Artistic Ensemble (Centralny Zespół Artystyczny Wojska Polskiego) also dated back to 1943 and the field camp near the village of Sel’tsy (in Polish Sielce nad Oka ̨) in the Ryazan Oblast. which was a ‘university’ for him. a Soviet officer of Polish origin. the ensembles were unified in strict accordance with the Soviet model. As Nejedlý wrote in an article published in the Czechoslovak military newspaper in autumn 1944. but until the wave of Sovietisation in their countries in the late 1940s the ensembles were a compromise between the inspiring Soviet model and the national conditions. Its only link to the previous war were that some of its members had fought in the German Wehrmacht and had been captured as POWs in the Soviet Union. established a soldiers’ theatre that. the composer Kurt Greiner-Pol (1922–78). was more inspired by the song and dance ensembles he knew from his own service in the Red Army. unlike the rather traditional theatre of the 1st Division. and from clandestine rearmament to becoming one of the most militarised societies in Europe. SONG AND DANCE ENSEMBLES IN CENTRAL EUROPEAN MILITARIES:. which pre- miered in September 1943. was created within the German People’s Police in 1950 as the first ensemble of this kind in the German Democratic Republic.. Slované). the Erich Weinert Ensemble.21 East German history was marked by its path from the Soviet Zone of Occupation to the internationally acknowledged ‘other’ German state. Slavs’ (Do boje. Shortly after Konstantin Rokossovski was appointed as minister of national defence in Poland (November 1949) and Alexej Č epička became defence minister in Czechoslovakia (April 1950)..22 . With the formation of the 2nd Henryk Da ̨browski Infantry Division. He extended the original music platoon to include string instruments and a male choir and prepared the first programme. One of its leading artistic personalities.20 During the transition years between the end of the Second World War and the estab- lishment of a communist dictatorship. Both Nejedlý and Ratkowski were enchanted by the Soviet ensembles. Besides hearing ideological lectures on Marxism-Leninism. Teodor Ratkowski. allegedly drew the motivation for his work from his time as a POW in the Soviet Union. ‘To the battle. the ensembles took different forms but were also in danger of being disbanded because they were consid- ered to be war relics.

audi- ences soon became tired of repetitive and imperfect shows. The ensembles turned from an allegedly progressive art institution into ‘problem chil- dren’. they cannibalised each other. in all three countries it was about the mid-1950s when the necessity for a reform of the ensembles was detected.24 The big ensembles copying the Soviet model were dissolved and replaced by small groups for artistic entertain- ment consisting of a small band. in the end. and by their differentiation and professionalisation. and as the main representative institution of this kind.96   V. as ‘giants’ that all shared a ‘low and bland artistic level’. the military song and dance ensembles were openly criticised. As juniors they did not enjoy an exclusive position and. Post-Stalinist Period: From Reforms to Ossification Despite the different political developments and the diverse receptions of de-Stalinisation in Czechoslovakia.26 . East Germany and Poland. When the ‘coldest’ part of the Cold War was overcome and de-­ Stalinisation got underway. After initial enthusiastic reactions to ensemble programmes. solo singers and dancers.23 Despite the constructive zeal of this period. the new ensembles were based on the same Soviet model as their predecessors and they had dif- ficulties establishing their own distinctive character. Only a few years after the birth of these celebrated institutions. In all three cases similar symptoms of this protracted ‘disease’ were diagnosed. the problem was partially solved by reducing the number of ensembles. and for the fact that all their programmes ‘began with the same song and in the repertoire of almost all ensembles there were known and hackneyed pseudo-patriotic and pseudo-internationalist num- bers mixed with local specifics’. these were estab- lished in each of Poland’s military headquarters (totalling seven groups in the 1980s). remained distinctively bigger than the others. In the aftermath of October 1956. the ensembles started withdrawing from the spotlight of cultural life. when a far-reaching yet limited de-Stalinisation was introduced in Poland. they had become burdens. ŠMIDRKAL The aforementioned flagships of ensemble art in the military were soon followed by other newly established ensembles which mushroomed. inspired by successful tours of Soviet ensembles in these countries.25 The Song and Dance Ensemble of the Polish Army was renamed the Central Artistic Ensemble of the Polish Army. consuming funds and decreasing in popularity.

the Air Force’s Victorious Wings (Vítězná křídla) was indirectly dissolved in 195532 when it was transformed into the Rokoko Theatre in Prague. In a report from early 1958 it was stated that ‘the intended creation of professional ensembles by the Konsum. which was incorporated into the Vít Nejedlý Army Artistic Ensemble in 1964. a choir.   97 In the GDR the number of ensembles had been tacitly reduced by 1962. leading to proposals to dissolve . as was the already once reformed Military Estrada Ensemble (Vojenský estrádní soubor). As a meeting at the East German Ministry of Culture in November 1956 concluded. Of the four ensembles run by the Czechoslovak People’s Army in the first half of the 1950s. they all cost the state budget about 13 million marks a year. Whereas the reform efforts in the Vít Nejedlý Army Artistic Ensemble were to a certain extent hindered by its past merits and the reform process was slowed down by internal disputes throughout the 1960s. Each of the components was able to work relatively independently or in cooperation with the others..27 It was decided that two of the four ensembles in the armed forces should be dissolved.. the latter was also reformed as an association consisting of an orchestra. Therefore they lost popularity with the population and the halls where they performed were often half-empty or could only be filled using pressure from the party. their performances.29 the Ministry for State Security. with the exception of those of the Erich Weinert Ensemble. Finally. The develop- ment of the ensembles stagnated and they were no longer a source of inspiration for the amateur ensembles.30 First. were too many for the GDR and reform was called for. moreover. did not differ significantly from each other. the ensemble of the Transport Police was dissolved and parts of it were incorporated into other armed forces ensembles. SONG AND DANCE ENSEMBLES IN CENTRAL EUROPEAN MILITARIES:. including four ensembles in the armed forces. nine full-time ensembles. the Naval Armed Forces and by other institutions was only narrowly pre- vented’.28 the HO. On top of that. In 1962 the Hans Beimler Ensemble of the former German Border Police and the Republic Ensemble of the German People’s Police were both dissolved and only the Erich Weinert Ensemble remained. The execution of this plan to reduce the number of ensembles was difficult because the bands were not willing to cease their activities and. since some of the amateur groups artistically surpassed the (semi-)professional ones.31 However. other insti- tutions considered setting up their own professional groups. a ‘double quartet’ and the cabaret group The Pliers (Die Kneifzange). and the remainder had been fully professionalised. which was not reflected in the results of their work. a ballet.

The only way out of the stalemate of high costs and low outputs was a drastic reduction of the ensembles to a mini- mum size and the replacement of their members with civilian artists.98   V.2). However. the prominent Czech pop singer. Gott’s success with the audience was Fig. As one cultural official of the Czechoslovak People’s Army noted in the late 1960s. Karel Gott. but.2  ‘Lysistratiáda’: A musical theatre show from 1968 based on Aristophanes’s anti-war comedy ‘Lysistrata’ by the VUS JN as a result of its reform efforts in the 1960s . or VUS JN) in Bratislava made better use of this chance. both the Polish October in 1956 and the Prague Spring in 1968 represented a grave danger rather than a desired opportunity for the future of the ensembles. 6. unlike the male choir of the Vít Nejedlý Army Artistic Ensemble. Influenced by the devel- opments in civilian cultural life. cost a great deal of money as an individual artist.33 the Ján Nálepka Military Artistic Ensemble (Vojenský umelecký súbor Jána Nálepku. ŠMIDRKAL the ensemble completely. 6. replacing the male choir with vocal groups and positioning itself as a multitasking Slovak cultural ensemble focusing on musical theatre and popular small drama forms. the ensemble moved towards light enter- tainment based on star singers and comic scenes (Fig.

and both the Polish October and the Prague Spring were communist reform efforts. In other words. . but the militaries in both East and West also had to react to the changing security environment. While the Polish ensembles eliminated the flamboyant Marxist-Leninist allusions from their shows and replaced them with the home-made ideology of ‘military patriotism’ after 195635 and the Czechoslovak ensembles moved away from the previous artistic tenets during the more liberal 1960s. During the 1970s and 1980s the pro- grammes of the ensembles became more and more routine. The artistic leaders tried to counterbalance the prescribed political shows they had to stage anyway with entertaining or educative programmes where they were freed of the most disturbing ideological undertones.36 A two-pronged process began.. ‘How Many Ensembles are there in the Bundeswehr?’: The Ensembles Post-1989 After the fall of communist regimes in Central Europe in 1989. in late socialism they became a holdout against progress and a stronghold of traditionalism.34 On the other hand.   99 worth the money. the ensembles were brought into line with the new political discourse and its demands. After the retreat from the bold October 1956 reforms in Poland as well as the defeat of the Prague Spring by the end of the 1960s. SONG AND DANCE ENSEMBLES IN CENTRAL EUROPEAN MILITARIES:. Whereas in the early 1950s they had seemed to represent the avant-garde of socialist culture and despite cultural reform efforts.. The military transformation inspired mostly by NATO armies did not give any specific answer to the question of the role of military artistic ensembles. the ensembles were a sine qua non of a socialist military. the East German ensembles demonstrated a continuous development that was not broken by any remarkable shift in communist cultural policy. Not only was the socialist state being transformed into a democracy with a market economy. the transi- tion era that can be also understood as a process of reorientation towards western models challenged the future existence of the ensembles. the Polish officers asked about the number of ensembles in the Bundeswehr. the songs from the early 1950s that the Czechoslovak and Polish ensembles later eliminated from their repertoires were still occasionally played in the GDR in the 1980s. In the working meeting of representatives of the Polish Army and the German Bundeswehr in 1991. The (West) German officers were sur- prised by such a question and their blunt answer ‘None’ puzzled the Poles in turn.

37 Economically. In spite of occasional words of acknowledgement. ŠMIDRKAL with the end of the Cold War sealed by the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact in 1991. Lt Col. Peter Grabecki. na koncert marsz!’)38 or ‘Report to cul- ture!’ (‘Nástup na kulturu!’). sub- tle political innuendos or other contraband smuggled into programmes that had gradually slipped from the control of the party could increase the attractiveness of such shows in the context of dictatorial systems that imposed censorship and suppression of freedom of speech. The commander of the House of the National People’s Army in Zittau. quick march to the concert!’ (‘W lewo zwrot.100   V. they were among those who had profited from the symbiosis with the old regime. The former achievements of the ensembles were suddenly devalued by the political changes. For the unified German military it was the Big Band of the Bundeswehr. The military audience could no lon- ger be easily organised by the commands. for many. like ‘a red rag to a bull’ and therefore compulsory attendance was inevitable. Sporadic moments of cautious social criticism. the ensembles were trapped in a vicious circle: their costly productions did not attract a big enough audience and the state was no longer willing to subsidise them. Although many of the permanent ensemble members also hoped for a better future commencing with the political change in 1989. was dissolved as the Bundeswehr Ensemble in mid-1991 when the federal government stopped its funding. The ensemble idea did not fit into the image of the Bundeswehr that had been built up. Similarly. as a distinctively different German army giving up most of the military pomp that had marked earlier German militarism. The military artistic ensembles found themselves skating on thin ice. The Erich Weinert Ensemble. Their continued existence depended on their abilities to adapt to the new conditions and on the political will to keep them. but became redundant in the emerging liberal democracies. such as ‘Left turn. renamed the Ensemble of the National People’s Army in early 1990. a jazz orchestra with solo singers founded in 1971 in West .39 that had previously distorted the supply– demand relations.40 The empty or half-empty halls were an unpleasant but clear message from the audience to the ensembles after 1989 that they were an unpopular hangover from the old regime that could not probably attract viewers without the means of coercion. admitted shortly after the East German ‘Peaceful Revolution’ that the Erich Weinert Ensemble’s shows had  previously been. the ensembles were about to be reduced and subsequently closed down as the military as a whole was reduced in size. the Bundeswehr also delimited itself to the East German National People's Army.

when it was dissolved due to cuts in the military budget. The Polish army.. which continued to perform until 2005. is the only one in the region that has maintained its ensem- ble to this day. Slovak society did not feel the urgent need to come to terms with its communist past after 1989. for the communist period in Slovakia had meant rapid social and economic development. which had already had to economise in the 1980s and gradually terminated the activities of all smaller ensembles during the 1990s. Parts of the Ensemble became independent. the Representative Artistic Ensemble of the Polish Army (Reprezentacyjny Zespół Artystyczny Wojska Polskiego). was the first one to close in October 1991. independent Slovakia took another approach. the smallest and artistically weakest ensemble. The dissolution of the Czechoslovak federation and its army also led to the split of the semi-professional army-based folklore ensemble Jánošík in Brno. which became a civilian institution of the same name in Berlin and ceased its activities as late as in 2011. . While these Czech military ensembles disappeared from the scene mostly due to the relatively radical process of de-communisation and their role as former prominent institutions of the highly politicised socialist culture and of the unpopular socialist army.. or the cabaret group The Pliers.42 the Slovak Army re-established the Jánošík Military Folklore Ensemble (Vojenský umelecký súbor Jánošík) in Zvolen and ran it until 2011. The former Vít Nejedlý Army Artistic Ensemble in Prague was reformed a few times but helplessness leading to a pandering attempt to update its contents by including striptease shows on the one hand and the founding of an exclusive highbrow Prague Philharmonia on the other did not produce a new sustainable working platform. In Czechoslovakia. While the Czech ensemble was renamed the Ondráš Military Folklore Ensemble (Vojenský umělecký soubor Ondráš) and has remained in Brno until today. Its Soviet origins. that of the Western Military District in Tábor. such as the Carl Maria von Weber Choir. The ensemble was dissolved under the name of the Artistic Studio of the Ministry of Defence (Umělecké studio Ministerstva obrany) in 1995. the former Ján Nálepka Military Artistic Ensemble continued its work under the name of the Army Artistic Ensemble (Armádny umelecký súbor) until 2005 when conscription was cancelled in Slovakia and its armed forces became com- pletely professional.   101 Germany that was chosen to represent the modern face of the German armed forces. creating only a small group of dis- sidents. and the com- munist regime was more integrative.41 After the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993. SONG AND DANCE ENSEMBLES IN CENTRAL EUROPEAN MILITARIES:.

such as lack of finances or the ongoing revolution in military affairs in the post-Cold War era. the ensembles were perceived both as a heritage of their countries’ former dependence on the Soviet Union and as an obsolete and redundant anachronism from socialist times. such as Ukraine. their ups and downs were not diametrically differ- ent from those of civilian ensemble art and therefore they were a specific part of the national artistic scene in socialist states. distinctively different from that of the capitalist militaries of the past and present. ŠMIDRKAL which had been stressed by communists. It was not only practical mat- ters. which is rather a curiosity because it is a purely folklore ensemble. the artistic ensembles of the armed forces also demonstrate continuity with the Soviet period. Belarus or Kazakhstan. and one in the Czech Army. No matter how differently the respective armies dealt with the ensemble legacy after 1989. Whereas the Russian Army currently administrates 12 profes- sional artistic ensembles44 and in other post-Soviet states. Of all the military ensembles in Czechoslovakia. from the status of a Warsaw Pact mass army to NATO pro- fessional troops. The ensembles represented part of the socialist army’s character. Despite the intrinsic tension between their artistic. and therefore their existence in general could not have been openly contested before 1989.43 Conclusion The military artistic ensembles were created by the socialist dictatorships as a specific answer to the need to maintain morale in the mass armies of conscripts and to present the ethos of the socialist military. have survived. retreated into the background as it took up the older tradition of soldiers’ theatres and representation of Polish military traditions on the stage. East Germany and Poland before 1989. Originally they were established in the Soviet Union and spread to East-­ Central Europe through local agents in the 1940s and early 1950s. which previ- ous cultural institutions such as military bands could not fully accomplish. only one ensemble in the Polish Army. in most cases. did not allow these institutions to be reformed and kept for long. in all of them the former .102   V. At different stages along the common route that these three armies took. there was a strong political need to break away from the pre-1989 past in Central European countries and demonstrate their geopolitical ‘return to Europe’ by implementing thorough institutional changes. military and political functions. but also the changing identity of the military that. justified by rich Polish traditions in military music and theatre.

   103 song and dance ensembles had been a phase-out model of a military artis- tic institution that had lost most of its justification for existence in the new political and security order. . Frank J. mere local copies of the Soviet ‘flagship’. Histoire du chant militaire français. Festiwal Piosenki Żołnierskiej w Kołobrzegu 1968–1989 (Poznan: IPN. setting sail to new spectacular sell-outs as well as controversies over its political purpose. 10. 5. which became a synonym for the festival. 1990). Beate Ihme-Tuchel. Bewegte Propaganda: Politische Instrumentalisierung von Volkstanz in den deutschen Diktaturen (Wuerzburg: Königshausen & Neumann. 1967). 30 August 1988. Armee des Volkes? Militär und Gesellschaft in der DDR (Berlin: Ch. Folklore for Stalin: Russian Folklore and Pseudofolklore of the Stalin Era (London: Sharpe. 3. 2005). Notes 1. Choreographic Politics: State Folk Dance Companies. 60. 120–125. 8.  Alexandrova (Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Muzyka. 7. IPN Warszawa. 167–169.. Frank und frei (Berlin: Aufbau-Taschenbuch-­ Verlag. 2008). From 1969 on Połczyn Zdrój hosted the festival of military artistic ensembles. Piosenka w służbie propagandy. 1982). 400. Frank Schöbel. Representation and Power (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press. which unlike them proved to be viable under different political regimes. 25. Miller. Thierry Bouzard. 2002). de la monarchie à nos jours (Paris: Grancher. 2015).V. 15. 2000). The Alexandrov Ensemble. Anthony Shay. Understanding Media (London: Sphere Books. ‘Ocena XXII Festiwalu Piosenki Żołnierskiej (1988) “Kołobrzeg 88”’. The Central European military song and dance ensembles were. after all. 2010). SONG AND DANCE ENSEMBLES IN CENTRAL EUROPEAN MILITARIES:. and Hanna Walsdorf. 6. 9. Marshall McLuhan. Das “nördliche Dreieck”: Die Beziehungen zwischen der DDR. Karolina Bittner. 4. k. Gd 593/258. Links. 1994). 2. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union the Alexandrov Ensemble survived and in Putin’s Russia it became a success- ful instrument of Russian soft power again. From 1967–68 the festival took place in Połczyn Zdrój and in 1969 it was moved to Kołobrzeg. Matthias Rogg. der Tschechoslowakei und Polen in den Jahren 1954 bis 1962 (Cologne: Verlag Wissenschaft und Politik. Dvazhdy Krasnoznamennyi ordena Krasnoi Zvezdy ansambl’ pesni i plyaski Sovetskoi Armii imeni A. the Alexandrov Ensemble.. x–xi.

The technical term estrada. 18. ‘Mit sozialistischer Kultur und Kunst—für hohe Gefechtsbereitschaft!’. Vyjádření hl. 1963. Petra Procházková. Strategia wojenna (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo MON. 85. 39–47. 16. Mikhail Gavrilovich Zhuravkov (ed. 18. Frank und frei. Zdzisław Janoś. 13. Część II: Działalność kulturalno-oświatowa w jednostkach Wojska Polskiego stacjonuja ̨cych cza- sowo w CSRS’. Mieczysław Brzezicki. ‘Correspondence with Eugen Kusenda. 23. ‘Praca kulturalno-oświatowa w polu. former commander of Artistic Ensemble of the Western Military District (1976–1986) and of the AUS VN (1986–1990)’. 22. besides entertainment it was also supposed to educate its audience.). 1958). MNO. 24. ‘Künstler und Soldat’. ‘Kronika Zespołu Estradowego Służby Inżynieryjno-Budowlanej “Wesoła Drużyna” (1967–1969)’. č. Výň atek ze zprávy CÚV na konferenci celoútvarového výboru kulturně uměleckých složek. ‘Vojenské umělecké soubory’. f.104   V. here 137. 48–55. in Kritiky a stati o hudbě (1934–1944). here 44. ŠMIDRKAL 11. 1963. 21 September 1945. k. 13. 19. 2015). . However. used in most Slavic languages. Materiály z konference CÚV a stranického aktivu kulturně uměleckých složek. 17. k. Centralny Zespół . 5–16. ‘Istotny problem—“małe formy” sceniczne’. Supplement No. 2007). ASP. Václav Šmidrkal. Heinz Keßler.). 7 February 2012. ‘Č eši a Alexandrovci’. odd. 14. here 8. r. 136–138. 1946. 1956). 8. Kultura i Oświata w Wojsku. 139. Jaroslav Jiránek (Praha: Svaz československých skladatelů. ed. 1943–1957 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 8809/91/36.2 (April–June 1958). [no date] 91–92. Kultura i Oświata w Wojsku Polskim 2 (1970). Ministerstva oborony Soyuza SSR. im klub. r. f. 14–21. Soviet Soft Power in Poland: Culture and the Making of Stalin’s New Empire. 20. 10–16. Schöbel. Placówki kultur- alne Wojska Polskiego w Warszawie 1945–1949 (Warsaw: Neriton. 1964). Pátek Lidových novin 21 (2012). For Soviet soft power in early post-war Poland see Patryk Babiracki. im klub 12 (1969). MNO. in the socialist sense. I. Vít Nejedlý. VÚA-VHA. 36 and Andrzej Lechowski. 21./1. here 11. 3 (1981). 50. 30 August 2009 and Václav Šmidrkal. Prague. ‘Interview with Jan Opatrný. 102–103. VÚA-VHA. sygn. former com- mander of the VUS JN (1977–1981)’. št. č. Czyżewski. stands for a popular entertainment genre for the small stage which roughly corre- sponds to vaudeville or variety. and Wasilij Daniłowicz Sokołowski (ed.. Moral’no-politicheskiy faktor v sovre- mennoy voyne (Moscow: Voennoe Izdat. 12. 15. Zřízení roty AUS.

‘Die bisherige Entwicklung und die Perspektiven der hauptberuflichen Volkskunst-Ensembles’. Kultura i Oświata w Wojsku Polskim 1 (1987). BArch-MA and ‘Auflösung des Republikensembles der Deutsche Volkspolizei’. č. 26. ‘Mrok nad wojskowa ̨ estrada ̨’. 358–360. IPN Warszawa and ‘Ramowy plan koncertów’. 34. 54 VÚA-VHA. 41. Č eskoslovenský voják 9 (1969). The Silesian Military District: ‘The Silesian Military Estrada’ (Śla ̨ska Estrada Wojskowa).185. Reinhard Witteck. 76. The Pomeranian Military District: ‘The Black Berets’ (Czarne Berety). ‘Schlüsselübergabe?’. DO 1/27255. Europe-Asia Studies 60.. ‘I. 1970. 29 November 1956. Czechoslovakia 1963). 28. 35. 1970. The Border Troops: ‘The Border’ (Granica). Centralny Zespół Artystyczny Wojska Polskiego (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo MON.10 (2008). The Warsaw Military District: ‘The Assault’ (Desant). k. f. ‘Plan der Maßnahmen zur Auflösung des „Hans-Beimler-­Ensembles”’. Łukasz Polniak. 31. Ibid. ‘Křídla nejsou k zahození’.8 (1991):75–78. The abbreviation HO stood for the Handelsorganisation (Trading Organisation). The Air Force: ‘The Squad’ (Eskadra). BArch-MA. 1982). MNO. ‘Opatření k realizaci snížení počtů v Armádním uměleckém souboru Víta Nejedlého’. 1966. ‘The Normalisation Regime and its Impact on Slovak Domestic Policy after 1970’. . 36. r. 7–8. 12. SONG AND DANCE ENSEMBLES IN CENTRAL EUROPEAN MILITARIES:. Patriotyzm wojskowy w PRL w latach 1956–1970 (Warsaw: Trio. 33. r. a state-run retail business in East Germany. 30. 5 December 1961. 10 October 1961. 39. MNO. Antonín Kachlík. 59–60. 2011). VA-P-01/204. 128. BU 2327/180. DO 1/27251. The Navy: ‘The Fleet’ (Flotylla). BArch-DDR. 29. 30. VA-P-01/041. 1966. k. 52. č. 77.. Marian Czyżewski. 38.   105 25.. 2. 49–51. Ibid. f. BArch. Juraj Marušiak. Ocena przegla ̨du programów zespołów estradowych okręgów wojskowych (RSZ)’. Die Volksarmee 11 (1990). Piotr Kłudka. Wojsko i Wychowanie 2. Otakar Brůna. 32.1985. 37. 40. This practice is depicted in the Czechoslovak feature film Bylo nás deset (dir. 14 January 1958. ‘Notizen einer Beratung bei dem Ministerium für Kultur über die Arbeit der hauptberuflichen Ensembles’.. The Air Defence: ‘Radar’. 1805–1825. here 75. VÚA-VHA. ‘Konsum’ or ‘Konsumgennossenschaften’ were the consumer cooperatives in East Germany. ‘Návrhy na změny v řízení kulturně výchovné činnosti centrálních kul- turních a uměleckých složek’. 52. 27.

43.106 social/culture/ensembles. Ministerstvo oborony Rossiiskoi Federacii. 44. Z frontu na scenę: tradycje Zespołu Artystycznego Wojska Polskiego (Warsaw: Reprezentacyjne Zespół Artystyczny WP. Ansambli. http://sc. VUS Ondráš. 2002). accessed 3 December 2015. accessed 30 December 2016. Stanisław .htm. ŠMIDRKAL 42.

‘Très intéressant’ said Gliga.1007/978-3-319-48084-8_7 . Transnational Theatre Histories. 90–113. Balme. ‘Szentivánéji álmok: Peter Brook kelet-európai turnéja a hidegháború idején’ (A Midsummer Night’s Dreams: Peter Brook’s Tour of Eastern Europe during the Cold War). DOI 10. Theatre. but then words failed him. Propaganda and the Cold War: Peter Brook’s Midsummer Night’s Dream in Eastern Europe (1972) Zoltán Imre Sitting between the First Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and a Vice-­ President of the Council of State for Cultural and Socialist Education in the official box at the Opera House for the gala premiere of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ on 23 October and watching those adroit fairies prepare Bottom for his night of love with Titania. B.). ‘très piquant’ said [Ion] This essay is based on an earlier article by the author in Hungarian: Zoltán Imre. Budapest. Imre (*) Eötvös Loránd University. Hungary © The Author(s) 2017 107 C. CHAPTER 7 Theatre. Globalization and the Cold War. This impression was confirmed by their almost ­monosyllabic comments at my reception during the interval. I began to get an uneasy feeling that things were not going well as I observed their consternation and embarrassment at the erotic miming before us.B. Irodalomtörténet 45(95) 1 (2014). Szymanski-Düll (eds. Z.

 Bullard at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).L. and it ‘accreted to itself the polished veneer that reveals and conceals a prestige “event”’. . the East European authorities and audiences had. Zagreb and Warsaw. backed by the so-called Brezhnev Doctrine: reform-communist party officials were removed from office and their reforms were reversed. The article focuses on the RSC’s East European tour and investigates the role theatre and theatre touring played during the Cold War. J.R. the article argues that theatre was inter/ cross-cultural4 even in the harsh political. it travelled nearly the entire world. ideological and social circum- stances of the Cold War. Sofia. the RSC had already completed an American tour. the British Ambassador to Romania. the Eastern European authorities’ (secret) reports and the ongoing correspondence between British officials in East European capitals and London.  Ashe sent his strictly confidential report to the head of the East European and Soviet Department. in 1973. Brook’s Dream transcended borders in a time and a world in which borders were closely watched and controlled. Analysing these perceptions. Within three years. the British officials. Budapest. to hear their ‘suggestions’ for the modification of the ‘phallic Bottom’ episode. but even this faint praise clearly left other thoughts unexpressed. IMRE Blad—a more apposite comment on the scene than perhaps intended. In the early 1970s. London. playing a total of 535 performances in 36 cities. and the following year. Bucharest.108   Z. His report referring to the abovementioned ‘uneasy feel- ing’ and ‘suggestions’ was written a few days after the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) had completed its tour of Romania between 22 and 28 October 1972. Soviet-type restoration took place in the region. and that the visit of the RSC was regarded as a complex sociocultural and political event on both sides of the Wall. […] [O] n the following day my Cultural Attaché and later the manager of the Company were called to a 21/2-hour meeting with ARIA. Reading the critics’ reviews. and the company performed it in Belgrade. but the manager insisted that he had no power to alter Peter Brook’s masterpiece in any way at all and this particular scene in fact remained unaltered during the remainder of the run.2 By that time.1 On 31 October 1972. the article maps the different perceptions that Brook.3 As a result. the Romanian State impresarios. Though Peter Brook’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream was originally premiered on 27 August 1970 at Stratford-­ upon-­Avon. in 1972 it was chosen by the British Council (BC) for an East European tour. they took the production on a world tour. D.

7 The Eastern European tour. In this sense. and of course political achievements. both in the East and the West. its ‘actuality and contemporariness’10. Hal Rogers5 men- tioned in an interview that they received travel subsidies from the BC ‘only for the cities in the Eastern Bloc.8 Critics from different historical circumstances. the British Ambassador in Budapest.P. its Eastern counterpart was seen as a cultural-political mission. London. international talks about normalisation between the two blocs continued. the visit of Brook’s Dream was regarded and utilised as cultural propaganda by means of which the British (and also the West) could demonstrate their cultural.   109 In  Romania. Though the political situation between the blocs was still very fragile. a commercial manager who is an expert on such tours’. Nicolae Ceauşescu introduced his July thesis (1971). Vines’s letter to R. and therefore ‘with the status of [BC] intervention’. Both Western and Eastern governmental support for the arts was at least in part designed as (counter-)propaganda intended for the other side. The tour manager. E. and cultural exchanges played a crucial role. social backgrounds and ideological frameworks praised the production’s ‘supra-national quality’9. it was regarded not only by Vines. were locked in a cultural arms race. about the RSC’s visit to Eastern Europe implicitly confirmed that ‘the Company’s West-European tour will be on a commercial basis on which the Council have no status for intervention’. working closely with their foreign offices. THEATRE. on the one hand.6 While the Western tour was considered a commercial venture. but also by contemporary critics and audiences on both sides of the Wall as ‘a brilliant piece of theatre’. social. Martin. As a result. which aimed to sup- port either bourgeois notions of freedom or a socialist type of reform soci- ety. The RSC’s visit to Eastern Europe in 1972 was also the result of the international cultural-political opening. its ‘timeless space’11. from the 1960s onwards.. The BC’s choice of Brook’s Dream was perfect because. and established a totalitarian regime and his personality cult. however.V. Hungary. we were booked by Jan de Blieck. The Dream—British Dreamers The Eastern European tour of Brook’s production was not innocent of associations with propaganda either. In the West. was strongly supported by the BC (see later in detail).. however. cultural exchanges between eastern socialist and western capitalist states became more frequent. arts councils. At the same time. and its ‘vital . The head of the Cultural Exchange Department at the FCO. PROPAGANDA AND THE COLD WAR: PETER BROOK’S.

and the production emphasised two major themes: ‘love of theatre and love of play’. except the mechanicals.110   Z. proposed a financial . satin costumes of various colours. cultural. Brook’s production con- sciously avoided references to specific historical circumstances and to any concrete political and/or social issues.20 The production seemed to be the materialisation of Brook’s concept of empty space. Hewer. the representative of the British Embassy in Budapest. ‘the production relied not on the scenic tricks of the theatre but on the athletic tricks of the performer’. it was also seen as a perfect advertisement for a country where creation is free.16 The set.R. it was evident that the production attempted to open up possibilities. and sometimes Puck appeared on stilts. One of the most striking features of Brook’s production was the white squash-court set designed by Sally Jacobs. ‘originality and modernity’18.12 Thus Brook’s production represented the specific dreams of the era: modernity. where personal relations are uncontrolled.19 Locating the action in a white ‘nothingness’. since it is always embedded in a network of social. and used juggling and acrobatic tricks seen by Brook and Jacobs in a Chinese circus visiting London. political and other factors that determine inclusions and exclusions’. In a letter sent to Ms Ildikó Gedényi. as Irit Rogoff remarked about the illusion of transparency. and ‘dreamlike magic’. the costumes and the acting style emphasised ‘timelessness’17.14 The players. Moreover. non-­ illusory and at odds with a play traditionally associated with mysteries and illusions. the magic flower was a spinning plate handing to Oberon on a pole. C. and where sex(uality) is openly discussed and exercised. the Hungarian state impresarios. wore colourful. Space. universality and timelessness. Brook doubled certain roles. rendering the financial situation of the Eastern tour less important than that of its Western counterpart. The aims of promoting cultural relations and publicising Western (cul- tural and artistic) achievements through Shakespeare took precedence. a rep- resentative of Interkoncert.13 Jacobs’ set substituted ‘the sentimental fairyland with a vigorous scenography that drew its refer- ence from the world of virtuoso performance’. however. baggy. explicated in his semi- nal 1968 book of that title. It was unconventional.15 As a result.21 As a result. The forest was represented by coiled wires. IMRE sex and sexuality’. the production created only the illusion of an empty space in a period in which space was closely watched and controlled. to advance progress and to ‘cancel any suggestions of the Victorian or balletic traditions’. ‘is never empty. the fairies flew on trapezes. For its contemporaries.

however.26 the BC policy avoided direct politics and directly addressing cultural-political issues. that ‘there is nothing to be gained from trying to push the [Romanian] Council fur- ther than they [Romanian officials] are prepared to go. In an earlier letter. Ashe.22 The visit was thus seen as a ‘real breakthrough’ in cultural and even politi- cal relations. The dissolution of this fine company on 10 June 1972 and the curtailing of the activity of its great director Otomar Krejča—whose Shakespeare produc- tions are among the most remarkable of our time—is a loss to theatre. Besides expressing his intention for his production to be ‘a celebration of theatre: it is a celebration of the creative community of the freed imagination. a loss to freedom. wrote directly to J. the official policy of the British authorities was to try to avoid controversy at any price. a loss to imagination.23 The RSC’s visit to Eastern Europe most of all served as a form of rela- tionship maintenance between Britain and the Eastern Bloc. The British policy was clear.24 As a result. Interkoncert’s acceptance of the Royal Shakespeare Company is a real breakthrough and it is imperative that the deal should be clinched immediately. it came as a shock to BC and FCO members when they discovered Brook’s dedication in the printed programme for the East European tour.L. addressed to the Director of the Drama and Music Department of the BC. an English-language newspaper in Budapest.25 In order to maintain ‘the credit to Britain’. Bullard. PROPAGANDA AND THE COLD WAR: PETER BROOK’S.. As a result. publicly announced that the RSC was going to visit the city in October 1972. London.. However.   111 agreement to the Hungarians. A few days later. The British Ambassador to Romania. but also their Hungarian partners were eager to seize this opportunity. Otherwise we run the risk of bringing about a curtailment rather than an expansion of these exchanges’. THEATRE. Its impor- tance can also be seen in the fact that not only the BC. FCO. the Head of the Eastern European and Soviet Department. London.’ he also dedicated this performance to the memory of the Za Branou Theatre of Prague. not only the British authorities in London. but also the FCO closely followed its progress. Hewer confirmed a more important aim than profit: you may be aware of our strenuous effort to get an English Theatre Company to Hungary and the difficulties which we have had in the past.27 . an article in The Daily News.

Gustav Hušák. mala divadla (small theatres) ‘represented nonconventional aesthetics and political expressions’. even finer distinction between the .29 Performing in small audi- toriums where spectators literally witnessed theatrical creation in progress. ‘Czech off-mainstream theatres assumed a leading role in shaping the political consciousness of their coun- trymen and women’. Brook’s dedica- tion in the programme brochure for the tour was not received with great enthusiasm by the British authorities. It might be possible to draw a distinction between the production and the performances. the Czech off-mainstream theatres were declared to be subver- sive and under the influence of the decadent and bourgeois West. Vines wrote cautiously that we must hope that the management will be able to stick under pressure to the line that the dedication is a personal expression of view by the director of the production. deputies. Martin.34 In view of the political situation in Czechoslovakia. ‘meaning big repertory companies marked by a rather profuse administration of directors. Then he made another. In a letter to the British Ambassador in Budapest. Arthur Miller and Ingmar Bergman protested against the decision. the RSC and Brook.28 These theatres introduced alternatives to an aesthetics rooted in modified socialist realism and the administrative structures of the kamenná divadla (stone theatres). E.32 The Party’s new leader.30 As a result.112   Z. and secretaries’ and ‘Party members installed into controlling positions’. If any copies of this brochure find their way to Eastern Europe. IMRE Divadlo Za Branou (Theatre behind the Gate) was established by Otomar Krejča in 1965 as part of the Czech off-mainstream theatre movement.P.V.31 The banning of Za Bránou and Krejča was part of the Soviet restoration that took place in the early 1970s after the Prague Spring. The ban on cultural life and the dissolution of Divadlo Za Branou. R. and dismissed from public office professional and intellectual elites who had openly expressed disagreement with the political transformation. the Head of the FCO’s Cultural Exchange Department in London. soon became known in the West. arguing that the statement was only Brook’s personal dedication. purged it of its liberal members. Their standpoint was quite clear.35 Vines firstly made a fine distinction between British authorities. and intellectuals like Friedrich Dürrenmatt. however. with the outside cover.33 As part of Hušak’s ‘nor- malisation’. it might be possible to argue that it was only certain performances which were dedicated in this way and that none of those in East Europe were.

be possible to contradict any suggestions that the production as a whole.36 Thus there was a triple denial from him concerning any political involvement of the BC and the FCO. confirmed that ‘it should. in general. In addition to such linguistic distinctions. arguing that only certain performances. of course’.  Le Breton at the British Embassy.38 In this way. that ‘obvi- ously there is a risk that copies might find their way into East Europe and that further publicity to this dedication may affect the official attitude of Hungarian officials to the tour.. the FCO through the BC prevented their company from distributing its own programme in Eastern Europe. was dedicated to the Za Branou Theatre’.39 The British authorities’ fear was. it is also clear that though the management of the RSC expressed their reluctance to withdraw the dedication.. and its performances.   113 production.42 The reason for Vines’ fear was that Brook’s dedication ‘ha[d] already attracted some publicity in the Daily Telegraph. Before the beginning of the tour. Finally. and Vines argued that ‘if they had not given way to him he would have jeopardised the world tour as a whole’. meaning that Eastern European authorities . the British authorities intro- duced preventive actions as well.B. THEATRE. another letter from Vines to John Argles at the BC in London.F.41 Apart from briefing the company and sending the programme without its cover to Eastern Europe. meaning those staged in West European cities. in turn picked up by Radio Free Europe’.40 From his letter. to Cultural Attaches in East Europe to pass to local theatres who will make up their own programmes from the information thus pro- vided’. met the company ‘to brief them on the behaviour in Eastern Europe’. Mr Kirby. the BC sent only ‘the inside of the programme. Budapest. i. The British Council have pointed out to the management that the dedication might well lead to embarrassment and awkward repercussions in East Europe’. John Argles was the controller of the FCO’s Arts Division in London. without the cover and the dedication. clearly and proudly pointed out to Vines that ‘the Royal Shakespeare Company’s programme will not be on sale in Eastern Europe.43 Vines’ preventive actions were guided by the fact that the RSC’s visit to Eastern Europe was under BC sponsorship. and the tour in general. therefore. a member of Vines’ Department.37 Besides briefing the company.e. PROPAGANDA AND THE COLD WAR: PETER BROOK’S. were dedicated to Za Bránou and that the performances in Eastern Europe were not. the British authorities had ‘done what we can to discourage Radio Free Europe making play of this story at least until the tour has cleared Eastern Europe’. the management agreed with him. Finally. as was pointed out by Vines in a let- ter to D. it was Brook who insisted on it. in particular.

L. where the RSC played on 22.44 The cancellation of the tour would also mean that relations between the UK and Eastern European governments would again be fro- zen for a while. and also other HM Missions in the Eastern European countries. and were told that they would be tucked away. pointed out that Forewarned by Derek Ashe’s letter from Bucharest. 23 and 24 November.46 RSC reported a similar case of unreasonable behaviour by the Company: they were handing out copies here. with the programmes there for the taking. I. since they had run out of copies of the programme. ‘the British Council are very concerned lest further publicity to Mr Brook’s comments should lead to Eastern European Governments cancelling the tour. the British Council Representative. the British Embassies in Eastern Europe were also instructed to monitor the visit closely. The Director of the FCO’s East Europe Department in London. The British Ambassador T. Claude Whistler. Bullard of the FCO’s Eastern European and Soviet Department. Martin that.114   Z. IMRE would take Brook’s dedication as the official policy of the BC and thus the UK. but guess that unob- trusive distribution may well have continued. and the Council came across a box of the programme sitting unobtrusively in the wings of the theatre. P. instructed R. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office letter already indicates the line to follow if you are questioned about this’. He told R. In reply I got a message that loyalty to Peter . In addition to these cautious preventive measures. confronted the management with it.45 Indeed reports from the cities of Eastern Europe confirmed that the preventive actions of the BC were not entirely successful.P. to J. that ‘I should only add that we should like to know at once if you or the company are faced with any difficulty or embarrassment which could be attributed to Peter Brook’s dedication. with heavy loss to the British Council’. This turned out to be untrue. Martin in Budapest.H. He was assured that there was no problem. open. The Council heard no more. They took one. I sent a message to the manager of the Company saying that this could only lead to trouble and warning him strongly against such silliness. Williams. spoke earnestly to the management about the importance of sticking to their earlier agreement not to distribute the commemorative programme with its dedication to the suppressed Za Branou Theatre in Prague.  Frank Brenchley’s report from Warsaw.

I cannot therefore say what either Fock or Aczel may privately have . Dodson later pointed out that there were no suggestions that I should occupy any sort of official box and in all the circumstances I decided to take a purely private party to the open- ing night. In his confidential letter. however. is that in spite of the accusation of Radio Free Europe. weakening the Soviet Empire by ideas and image promotion using symbolic artefacts was (thought to be) more effective than fighting for individual cases.   115 Brook made it impossible for him to withhold the programme altogether. D. Or rather. newspapers in the countryside also published lengthy articles on the production. was effective in discouraging Radio Free Europe as they did not broadcast the story during the tour.S.. a report by Marcus Ferrar about Romania’s theatrical troubles mentioned that ‘members of the company did not endear themselves to Rumanian officialdom by handing out leaflets before the first performance saying the show was in memory of a Prague theatre. the Party Secretary for Education and Culture.. In Hungary. but that he would only give them to Romanians who specifically asked for them. Jenő Fock. however. for instance. The Dream—East European Dreamers In Eastern Europe. but so far we have no evidence that ‘they put a quick stop to the distribution’ as neither the reports nor the archival materials mentioned such action. the visit by Brook’s production was considered a com- plex and important. the members of the BC and the representatives of the British Embassies in East European cities did indeed attempt to censor Brook’s dedication. the long-term relationship with these Eastern states was more important than any individual case. For them. György Aczél.47 The FCO. attended the first night of the production. PROPAGANDA AND THE COLD WAR: PETER BROOK’S. though the RSC played in Budapest. which was closed by Czechoslovak authorities last June for political reasons.48 The Romanian authorities might have noticed the programme. THEATRE. however. […] But I have little doubt that the authorities must know what was going on. Dodson. and other leading members of the Political Committee—and the British ambassador. Embarrassed Rumanian officials put a quick stop to the distribution’. having given an official reception for the Company on the previ- ous day.L. What is more interesting. After a few months. Its social event-like character can also be seen in the fact that the cultural leaders of the Hungarian socialist regime—the Prime Minister.

The censors were in constant denial about their own activity. the authorities wanted to censor the ‘Phallic Bottom episode’ at the end of the first act. they placed greater emphasis on pre-performance discussions and preview- ing activities. socialist censorship was a strange exercise of power and negotiation. In the German Democratic Republic (GDR). stated that though the Romanian audiences were enthusiastic about the production. As a result. […] Even though plays and productions were subject to strict pre. as the GDR and the other socialist states were seeking international acceptance. IMRE thought of the production. populist and educative. the GDR’s first constitution still professed the commitment to artistic freedom’.51 Not only East German. Ashe’s letter. censors were more reluctant to ban productions. not as censors. constantly denied their censorship. a “dramaturgical plan”. mostly directors and dramatists were in a peculiar situation: ‘they suffered all the controls of censorship.52 In the 1970s. but censorship was a ‘normal’ feature of the socialist states of Eastern Europe during the Cold War.and post-performance controls. ‘the euphemistic language of GDR censorship presented officials as cultural facilitators and pedagogues. The leaderships of the socialist states were never unified. so different groups were always fighting for power. theatre people. Dramatists. but also other socialist leaders and officials were anxious to preserve the appearance of democracy and civil rights.49 Dodson implicitly referred to Ashe’s previous letter from Bucharest in which Ashe had pointed out that he was invited to the official box of the Romanian Party members. however. and ‘each theatre was required to submit a proposed season of works. as Laura Bradley demon- strated.50 The socialist states. except Romania and Albania. even though they had been filtered through unacknowledged controls’. As a result of this hypocrisy. with none of the securities. [with the directors’ exposés] to a cultural . and that he was thus able to gather the party members’ reactions. Socialist censorship was totalitarian. directors and theatre managers were held personally liable for their productions.116   Z. Censorship was connected to the Direction of State Security and the Secret Police. but pretended to be democratic. Certainly they seemed to be enjoying it and we have heard nothing but praise of it from almost every Hungarian who was able to get a seat. seen at the beginning of the article. Censoring a foreign production seems strange. combin- ing domination by force and cultural hegemony and manifesting itself in its effects on or creation of cultural institutions and artefacts.

referring to ‘Western diplomatic sources’ who said that ‘reports circulating in Bucharest claimed the Soviet chargé d’affaires walked out of the pre- miere[.. Michael Simmons’ article in The Financial Times (12 October 1972) about Pintilie’s production was immediately picked up by Radio Free Europe (RFE). and broadcast the following day: ‘a cultural row with political overtones has blown up between Romania and the Soviet Union over the allegedly “poor taste” of a Bucharest production of […] The Government Inspector’. as ‘censorship had no doctrine. PROPAGANDA AND THE COLD WAR: PETER BROOK’S. and from the 1970s. ‘censorship was respon- sible for safeguarding the ideological purity of public discourse and carry- ing out acts of political cleansing.’57 Its execution always depended on vari- ous internal interests. Liviu Ciulei was also sacked from his post as head of the theatre in which Pintilie’s production was shown. down to the subconscious of the authors. as it was one of the instruments used to consolidate the system and to solve specific problems. but rather to get rid of any alternative to official art. In addition to the production being banned. it also wanted to remain invisible. just like it had no goal of its own.] schocked at its anti-Soviet content’.’ Its main role was ‘to forbid and exclude from the public space anything that might be considered dangerous to the regime or merely incongruous with the official doctrine and with the goals and practices of the communist party. In his four-and-a-half-hour version.59 Apart from the possible Soviet furore. the report also mentioned that ‘Westerners who saw it say the pro- duction could also have been interpreted as a pastiche of President Nicolae Ceauşescu’s much vaunted trips to the countryside to meet the people’..   117 committee for approval. Pintilie omitted the whole second act of the play. the RFE news also stated that Pintilie’s production had been taken off the stage after four performances. as Liviu Maliţa55 has pointed out. In Romania.’56 The execution of this function was not an easy task.’54 In 1972. Its aim was not simply prohibition. and added a hippie-style final act of his own consisting of dancing and sing- ing reminiscent of the musical Hair. It ensured that the party dogmas were faithfully abided by. Ion Pintilie’s production based on Gogol’s The Government Inspector at the Bulandra Theatre was withdrawn after three performances. just a few months before Brook’s production visited the Romanian capital. ‘It wanted to be deeply rooted in the artistic processes.’53 While censorship was present everywhere and aimed to be omnipotent.58 The following day. however. The banning of Pintilie’s production and Ciulei’s sacking immediately hit the Western media.60 . Bucharest. on the international context. inserted dialogues from other texts. THEATRE.

Ion Blad. the Party had hardly abandoned. professionals were to be replaced by agitators. and attacks on non-compliant intellectuals. and as such the supreme arbiter of ideological purity. resolved when. He replied immediately that he was very glad that I had asked him for a frank opinion and said that he would take the opportunity to give me his ‘personal views’.118   Z. Competence and aesthetics were to be replaced by ideology.. Ashe described the farewell party for the RSC on 28 October where he took the chance to meet with Ileasa. He said that Dimitri Popescu. But he then went straight on to make a statement which clearly gave me much more than his own opinion.] to tackle him direct about ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and to ask him to tell me quite frankly what the official reaction here was to it. had been most impressed by the play on its second [night] and tacitly withdrawing their “suggestions” [of censoring the scene]’. Strict ideological conformity in the humanities and social sci- ences was demanded. The Romanian intention of censoring Brook’s production was. ‘ARIA sent us a message saying that Dimitri Popescu. Nicolae Ceauşescu was introducing a Stalinist type of totalitarian model to Romania. In their opinion the production was a brilliant piece of theatre. IMRE At that time.. the President of the Council for Culture and Socialist Education. […] But at the same time it had introduced into Romania an element of Western sexual permissiveness and moral decadence which they found unhealthy and which they did not wish to promote in this country. the official Romanian interpretation did not change. the Director of Foreign relations in the Council of State for Culture and Socialist Education [. in theory. In one of the daily papers. fully bearing out the high reputation which Peter Brook had established in the Shakespearean field. however. the Theses in fact marked a return to the strict guidelines of socialist realism. launching a neo-Stalinist offensive against cultural autonomy. as Ashe reported. the President of the Council. one of his Vice-Presidents and a number of others who had seen the play had dis- cussed it at some length and had arrived at unanimous conclusions about it. Although pre- sented in terms of ‘socialist humanism’.61 Though censorship was not enforced. In the same report.62 The official opinion condemning Western sexual permissiveness and moral decadence was also widely publicised in the Romanian reviews of the production. His July Theses of 1971 heralded the beginning of a ‘cultural revolution’ in Romania. the theatre critic Natalia Stancu . and culture was once again to become an instrument for political-ideological propaganda and hard-line measures. reaffirming an ideological basis for the arts that.

All this has puzzled many of the spectators and armed the general impres- sion’.66 In general. for instance. Frank Brenchley’s direct report from Warsaw to J.   119 complained that though Brook’s production was a long-awaited event after his previous tour of Romania in 1964 with King Lear. though the general reception was much more favourable than that in Romania. and editor-in- chief of the review Teatru. he also mentioned. The British ambassa- dor to Bulgaria.L. 23 and 24 November 1972 were accompanied by a crescendo of acclaim from the public.. Bullard of the Eastern European and Soviet Department at the FCO in London stated that the visit was an ‘unqualified success’ and that the three performances on 22. ‘One said. PROPAGANDA AND THE COLD WAR: PETER BROOK’S. it is without reason licentious and sometimes even pornographic’.64 In other parts of Eastern Europe. THEATRE.63 Her negative comments were repeated by Radu Popescu. critics and officials. though no doubt surprised at some of the explicitly erotic scenes. The warm reception on the first night was succeeded by a stand- ing ovation on the second—which was repeated on the third night with the addition of the singing of the Ste Lat. however. licentiousness and even obscenity which weighed on the spectacle and gave it a shade of excessive naturalism.. wrote after the RSC visited Sofia on 1 and 2 November 1972 that ‘the audience response to the per- formance was enthusiastic and the official reaction was favourable’. quite rightly. one of the most influential Romanian theatre critics of the time.67 In Warsaw. Brenchley .68 The press reviews were all enthusiastic. who wrote that ‘Peter Brook’s show is not only erotic. however. the reception was even better than in either Bucharest or Sofia.65 In his report. the rather more tuneful Polish equivalent of “For he’s a jolly good fellow”. ‘we thus find scenes on the brink of vulgarity. an unusual mark of enthusiasm from a theatre audience. Donald Logan. that the Bottom scene was also a problem for the Bulgarian officials. they enjoyed these too and felt no inhibitions about showing their enjoyment and amusement’. one of those that restores the faith in the sense of theatre and its inexhaustible potentialities”’. ‘the Bulgarian audiences enjoyed the production hugely and. ‘After the first performance here. the authorities also attempted to exercise control over the production. but the matter was not pursued’. “we had an unforgettable night. one Bulgarian official did tell a member of this Embassy that the scene in ques- tion would have to be cut.69 In addition.

The performances were unquestioned box-office successes. London that ‘it is said that there were no more than one hundred tickets on sale to the public for these three performances (the theatre holds 1200). IMRE added that the erotic scenes ‘caused no difficulties for the Polish audi- ences.120   Z.R. there were minor concerns about the openly sexual scenes in Budapest as well. without apparent success. and received an ‘entirely favourable reaction in official and political quarters’. Martin reported that the ‘public interest was very great’. and the particular scene that caused such trouble in Bucharest was greeted with a roar of cheers and laughter’. they asked the Company to adjust it to Eastern European taste. rather strangely.70 From Budapest. Ashe in Bucharest that when the British Council discovered that the touring company had taken on more bawdiness than the original production.V. but they cost a for- tune. E.74 His action was in accordance with the official BC policy stating that ‘the Council should be careful not to present in Romania cultural manifesta- tions which were too avant garde for local official taste’.77 In addition to its direct censorship and control over access. no doubt. I can well believe this’. there had been similar attempts by the BC as well.L. After the reaction of Romanian officials became known in London. however. Donald Logan from Sofia reported to J. appeared in the party newspaper’ and that ‘the sexual imagery and the overtly erotic element in the play were noted by many critics.76 Later he added that ‘almost all the tickets were distributed through Party and Government organizations. in Eastern Europe the visit of a Western company was an economically viable busi- ness as well. but as your letter shows.P. rather surprisingly. brought up as they have been on the hardly less explicit perfor- mances of the Tomaszewski and Grotowski theatres.72 Although Martin was entirely positive about the reception of the play.71 In addi- tion he also noted ‘a long review which. and tickets were also available on the black market. R. and the visit was ‘a popular and artistic success’. the Hungarian socialist regime took the opportunity to instigate a debate . more complex. Bullard. as rewards to the faithful’.73 Besides the East European Party officials’ suggestion of censoring cer- tain scenes. but not in a disapprov- ing manner’. Vines replied to D.75 Besides being considered as a complex sociopolitical event. The issuing of tickets was.


about Hungarian theatre. After the visit, a young Hungarian critic, Tamás
Koltai (in 1973) wrote an article with the title: ‘How Can We Play Theatre
after the Visit of the RSC?’ He praised the RSC’s production and attacked
the Hungarian theatre system. Suddenly a debate on Hungarian theatre
developed, involving major theatre critics, cultural notabilities and the-
atre directors. The cultural administration probably allowed it because
they could utilise it for their own cultural-political aims. By means of this
debate, the regime demonstrated that Hungary was an open society where
public debate was possible. The cultural leaders could use even negative
views of Hungarian theatre to control the system and any positive remarks
to defend the artists and theatre companies under attack. As a result, the
debate proved again that the Hungarian cultural sector in general, and the
theatre sector in particular, were under the strict control of the regime.
The authorities used the debate to advance the official party line in cul-
tural businesses and theatre issues as well.78

The audiences, critics and officials’ different visions confirm that the so-­
called Eastern bloc was not a totally unified sphere; instead it was vertically
and horizontally divided—within the bloc and within the individual states.
Therefore current research on the Cold War should pay more attention
‘to the specific situation in individual countries of the so called “Soviet
bloc”’.79 The reactions to Brook’s production imply that although Eastern
European states followed certain general rules, there were real differences
among them as well.
Brook’s production and other cultural, educational and economic
exchanges also indicate that the two blocs were not entirely blocked off
from one another. The Cold War was also part of a globalised world,
though with certain restrictions. Thus this conflict can be more effectively
imagined as ‘the diversification of power’.80 Though there was a funda-
mental change in the nature of the international system after World War II
because the European world was defined by the two opposing sides, within
this opposition, the international system ‘remained multidimensional’.81
The American historian, John Lewis Gaddis has reminded us that a new
Cold War history should ‘take ideas seriously’.82 When people choose,
‘they have ideas in their minds. But to understand these, we have to take
seriously what they at that time believed’.83 The end of the Cold War hap-
pened not because of military defeat or just because of an economic crash,

122   Z. IMRE

but because ‘there was a collapse of legitimacy’.84 Ideas and what people
thought of themselves, their regimes and the other side of the Wall were
crucial. A touring production was a perfect way of delivering ideas from
one camp to another and undermining official Party views. As a result, cul-
tural exchanges played an important role in spreading ideas, as the collapse
of communism was also the consequence of the contacts and exchanges
between the East and the West.
One of the main objectives of the exchanges was to maintain the rela-
tionship at any cost—even by scarifying and censoring the comments of
one’s own director. In the long run, it was a policy of extensive relaxation
and constant image management. After the entire tour, as a sort of conclu-
sion, Vines of the FCO’s Cultural Exchange Department, in his response
to Donald Logan’s letter from Sofia, wrote that ‘the main thing is that
it was a success and we are now left with the intriguing problem for the
future of finding some manifestation of equal merit and less controversy’.85
The controversy was caused—as we have already seen—by the eroti-
cism of the production, and even Vines, who was responsible for organis-
ing the tour, was not in favour of its touring version. He clearly stated
that ‘while it remains a brilliant piece of theatre, full of new insights into
a too well known play, and will continue to be successful in many parts of
the world, the style has coarsened, introducing the bawdy humour of the
music hall’.86 And for the same reasons, Vines was against the production’s
possible 1973 Moscow tour. He asked J.A. Dobbs in Moscow:

is the DREAM the right prestige production to put us back into cultural
business again in Moscow? The Ministry of Culture would not accept the
production without vetting it first—indeed we know the Soviet Embassy
checked on it when it opened in London—but there is always the risk of
success de scandale and the impact of the production diminished by contro-
versy and puritan reaction. It does not seem to me to be the right manifesta-
tion to put us back again into cultural business in the Soviet Union.87

Brook’s production and its reception also support the view that the Cold
War was as much a connection with similar values as a division. Brook’s
production and its reception also strengthen the argument that the cold
war was as much about similar values as it was about divisions. As the cen-
tral Hungarian news agency MTI announced, ‘with this work Brook could
get nearer to the universal theatrical language than at any time before’.88
Brook’s universal language was an appropriate reaction to and a perfect
metaphor in a rhetorically, politically and physically divided world.


Brook’s Dream seemed to be a universal ‘empty space’ into which
audiences from diverse backgrounds could imagine both their own special
context, and the Other as a similar being, though living in entirely differ-
ent circumstances. Moreover, in the East, the production also offered an
escape from the context of the socialist reality and emphasised that love,
theatre, the body and sexuality are the same on both sides of the Wall. As
one of the reviewers stated: ‘it is the end of the game, of the dream, we
feel sorry that though it was nice, it’s time to shake hands, and thank each
other for the pleasant moments before the cage of everyday life closes on
us again’.89

1. Letter from D.R. Ashe to J.L. Bullard, London, 31 October 1972, 34/129,
The National Archives, London.
2. As part of the same tour, the company also performed the production in
Berlin, Munich, Paris, Venice, Milan, Hamburg, Cologne and Oslo; see
‘Itinerary for the Royal Shakespeare Company’, FCO 34/149, The
National Archives, London.
3. David Selbourne, The Making of a Midsummer Night’s Dream—An Eye-
witness Account of Peter Brook’s Production from First Rehearsal to First
Night (London and New York: Methuen, 1982), 38.
4. See, for example, Patrice Pavis (ed.), The Intercultural Performance Reader
(New York and London: Routledge, 1996); Julie Holledge and Joanne
Tompkins, Women’s Intercultural Performance (London and New  York:
Routledge, 2000); Helen Gilbert and Jacqueline Lo, ‘Toward a Topography
of Cross-cultural Theatre Praxis’, The Drama Review 46.3 (2002), 31–53;
Christopher Balme, Decolonizing the Stage: Theatrical Syncretism and Post-
Colonial Drama (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999) and Christopher
Balme, ‘Selling the Bird: Richard Walton Tully’s The Bird of Paradise and
the Dynamics of Theatrical Commodification’, Theatre Journal 57.1
(2005), 1–20; and Richard Paul Knowles, Theatre and Interculturalism
(London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010).
5. Hal Rogers was Company Manager, House-Father, and Stage Manager for
Brook’s production of the Dream.
6. As quoted in Glenn Loney (ed.), Peter Brook’s Production of William
Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the Royal Shakespeare
Company—Authorized Acting Edition (Stratford-­upon-­Avon: The Royal
Shakespeare Company and The Dramatic Publishing Company, 1974), 99.
7. Letter from E.V.  Vines to R.P.  Martin, Budapest, 4 August 1972, FCO
34/149, The National Archives, London.

124   Z. IMRE

8. Letter from E.V. Vines letter to J.A. Dobbs, Moscow, 13 November 1972,
BW 1/606, The National Archives, London.
9. Ronald Bryden, ‘A Drama Critic Introduces Peter Brook’, in Peter Brook’s
Production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 17.
10. Siegfried Melchinger, ‘Ein Sommernachtstraum’, Theater Heute, 10
October 1970, 8.
11. Péter Molnáar Gál, ‘Szentivánéji álom’, Népszabadság, 19 October 1972, 2.
12. Clive Barnes, ‘A Magical “Midsummer Night’s Dream”’, The New  York
Times, 24 January 1971, 8.
13. Dennis Kennedy, Looking at Shakespeare—A Visual History of Twentieth-
Century Performance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993),
14. Ibid., 184.
15. Jay L.  Halio, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Manchester: Manchester
University Press, 2003), 58.
16. Ibid.
17. Ibid.
18. Barnes, ‘A Magical “Midsummer Night’s Dream”’.
19. Milton Shulman, ‘Peter Brook’s Flying Circus. A Dream of a Show’, The
Evening Standard, 11 June 1971, 4 and László Seregi, ‘Szex és cirkusz’,
Egyetemi Élet, 8 November 1972, 4.
20. And this is striking when we compare it to Robert Lepage’s intercultural
Dream Machine (Royal National Theatre, London, 1992), see Barbara
Hodgdon, ‘Looking for Mr. Shakespeare After “The Revolution”: Robert
Lepage’s Intercultural Dream Machine’, in Shakespeare, Theory, and
Perfomance, ed. James C.  Bulman (London and New  York: Routledge,
1996), 68–91; or Karin Beyer’s European Dream (Düsseldorfer
Schauspielhaus, 1994), see Janelle Reinelt, ‘Performing Europe: Identity
Formation for a “New” Europe’, in Theatre, History, and National
Identities, ed. Helka Mäkinen, Stephen E.  Wilmer and W.B.  Worthen
(Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 2001), 227–256; and Richard Paul
Knowles, ‘From Dream to Machine: Peter Brook, Robert Lepage, and the
Contemporary Shakespearean Director as (Post)Modernist’, Theatre
Journal 2 (1998), e.g.189–206. In these works, the actors’ different cul-
tural, political and ideological backgrounds and their conflicts became the
most important elements.
21. Irit Rogoff, ‘Studying Visual Culture’, in The Visual Culture Reader, ed.
Nicholas Mirzoeff (London and New York: Routledge, 1998), 14–26, 22.
22. Letter from C.R.  Hewerto the Director, Drama and Music Department,
British Council, London, 2 May 1972, FCO 34/149, The National
Archives, London.


23. Letter from C.R. Hewer to the Director, Drama and Music Department,
British Council, London, 5 May 1972, FCO 34/149, The National
Archives, London.
24. Letter from D.R. Asheto J.L. Bullard, London, 31 October 1972, 34/129,
The National Archives, London.
25. It was a difficult business, however. Alec Douglas-Home wrote in a general
report, entitled Cultural Policy Towards Hungary, but distributed among
the British representatives of the region, that ‘we should take care not to
push our ideas too hard for fear of Soviet reaction. Our policy has always
been to make discreet offers of help and leave it to the recipient country to
decide how much they feel they can safely accept. East Europeans are adept
at ­knowing when and how to draw the line, and our experiences with
Hungary confirm this’ (Alec Douglas-Home, Cultural Policy Towards
Hungary, 1 August 1972, FCO 34/129, The National Archives, London).
26. Letter from Donald Logan to J.L. Bullard, London, 15 November 1972,
FCO 34/149, The National Archives, London.
27. Peter Brook’s dedication in the programme of the East European Tour,
Victoria and Albert Museum, Archive and Library Reading Room, Blythe
House, London, Production File: Midsummer Night’s Dream (Brook),
28. Reduta, 1956; Divadlo na Zábrádli, 1959; Č inoherní Klub, 1965, and
29. Olga Chtiguel, ‘Without Theatre, the Czechoslovak Revolution Could Not
Have Been Won’, The Drama Review 34.3 (1990), 88–96, 89.
30. Ibid.
31. Ibid.
32. See William H.  Luers, ‘Czechoslovakia: Road to Revolution’, Foreign
Affairs 69.2 (1990), 77–98, 79.
33. See for example, Kieran Williams, The Prague Spring and its Aftermath—
Czechoslovak Politics 1968–1970 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
1997) and William H.  Luers, ‘Czechoslovakia: Road to Revolution’,
Foreign Affairs 69.2 (1990), 77–98.
34. Jarka Burian, ‘Art and Relevance: The Small Theatres of Prague,
1958–1970’, Educational Theatre Journal 33.3 (1971), 229–257, 246. On
Czech theatres in that period see, for example, Burian, ‘Art and Relevance’
and Dennis C.  Beck, ‘Divadlo Husa na Provázku and the “Absence” of
Czech Community’, Theatre Journal 48.4 (1996), 419–441.
35. Letter from E.V.  Vines to R.P.  Martin, Budapest, 7 August 1972, FCO
34/149, The National Archives, London.
36. Letter from E.V.  Vines to John Argles, London, 2 August 1972, FCO
34/149, The National Archives, London.

126   Z. IMRE

37. Letter from E.V.  Vines to R.P.  Martin, Budapest, 7 August 1972, FCO
34/149, The National Archives, London.
38. Letter from J.D.K.  Argles to E.V.  Vines, London, 4 August 1972, FCO
34/149, The National Archives, London.
39. Ibid.
40. Letter from E.V.  Vines to D.F.B.  Le Breton, Budapest, 9 August 1972,
FCO 34/149, The National Archives, London.
41. Ibid.
42. Ibid. Vines stated to John Argles at the BC in London that ‘I have told Tim
Williams that we have had an informal word with Radio Free Europe about
the background to all this’ (Letter from E.V. Vines to John Argles, London,
2 August 1972, The National Archives, London, FCO 34/149.).
43. Letter from E.V. Vines to D.F.B. Le Breton, Budapest, 9 August 1972. On
2 August 1972, a very brief notice appeared in The Daily Telegraph, entitled
‘Theatrical Gesture’. It referred to the fact that Brook ‘has taken an unusual
step of dedicating the tour to another theatre company. Unhappily the
dedication is to a company which no longer exists. This is the Za Branou
Theatre of Prague which, until the repressions of the Husák regime, had
been recognised not only as Czechoslovakia’s leading theatre but also as a
group of world stature. Alas, after increasing hardships, the theatre was
disbanded by government decree on June 10 this year’ (The Daily Telegraph,
44. Letter from E.V.  Vines to R.P.  Martin, Budapest, 4 August 1972, FCO
34/149, The National Archives, London.
45. Letter from I.H. Williams to R.P. Martin, Budapest, 11 August 1972, FCO
34/149, The National Archives, London.
46. Letter from T.  Frank Brenchley to J.L.  Bullard, London, 1 December
1972, London, FCO 346149, The National Archives.
47. Letter from D.R. Ashe to J.L. Bullard, London, 31 October 1972, 34/129,
The National Archives, London.
48. Marcus Ferrar, ‘Rumania’s Theatrical Troubles’, 15 February 1973, Radio
Free Europe, RL/BA FEB 15 1112/1973, Open Society Archives,
49. Letter from D.S.L. Dodson to J.L. Bullard, London, 14 November 1972,
FCO 34/149, The National Archives, London. Dodson was under the
surveillance of the Hungarian Secret Police, as he was suspected of spying
due to his rank at the British Embassy (Dodson’s file, ABTL 2.2.1.
OP. NYT. III/4. 5. /141). Unfortunately, Dodson’s file was not found.
50. Even in these societies, however, there were various tactics and strategies
used for negotiation between the censors and the censored, and to get past
the censors, such as the technique whereby ‘two or more parallel agencies
could be played against each other’ (Seth Baumrin, ‘Ketmanship in Opole:


Jerzy Grotowski and the Price of Artistic Freedom’, The Drama Review
53.4 (2009), 49–77, 63); ‘ketmanship’, namely ‘the ability of artists and
scientists to deceive the authorities’ (Baumrin, ‘Ketmanship in Opole’, 61);
‘the blind spots of censorship’, where ‘the spaces of official and personal
relationship overlapped’ (Margaret Setje-Eilers, ‘“Wochenend und
Sonnenschein”: In the Blind Spots of Censorship at the GDR’s Cultural
Authorities and the Berliner Ensemble’, Theatre Journal 61.3 (2009),
363–386, 364), and using real and/or false ‘allusions’ (Setje-Eilers,
‘“Wochenend und Sonnenschein”’, 379), and ‘the tactic of the false white
dogs’ (Dennis C. Beck, ‘Divadlo Husa na Provázku and the “Absence” of
Czech Community’, Theatre Journal 48.4 (1996), 419–441, 428).
51. Laura Bradley, ‘GDR Theatre Censorship: A System in Denial’, German
Life and Letters 59.1 (2006), 151–162, 151.
52. Ibid, 158. The Soviet Union was not different in this respect. As Valeria
D. Stelmakh points out, censorship was ‘a social system with powerful con-
trol over information and reading, restricting the public access to the
world’s various cultures’ (Valeria D. Stelmakh, ‘Reading in the Context of
Censorship in the Soviet Union’, Libraries and the Cultural Record 36.1
(2001), 143–151, here 143).
53. Beck, ‘Divadlo Husa na Provázku’, 428.
54. Liviu Maliţa, ‘Ceauşescu színházba megy’, Színház 41.5 (2009), 33–42,
55. Liviu Maliţa, ‘Literature and Red Ideology—Romanian Plays on Religious
Themes in the 1950s and 1960s’, Journal for the Study of Religions and
Ideologies 23.8 (2009), 82–106, 82.
56. Ibid., 85.
57. Ibid.
58. ‘Russians Make Scene Over Gogol in Romania’, 13 October 1972, Radio
Free Europe, 811, F-63, Open Society Archives, Budapest.
59. ‘Romanians Close Down Russian Classic’, 14 October, 1972, Radio Free
Europe, 811, F-64, Open Society Archives, Budapest.
60. Marcus Ferrar, ‘Rumania’s Theatrical Troubles’, 15 February 1973, Radio
Free Europe, RL/BA FEB 15 1112/1973, Open Society Archives,
61. Letter from D.R. Ashe to J.L. Bullard, London, 31 October 1972, 34/129,
The National Archives, London.
62. Ibid.
63. Natalia Stancu, ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’, Scintiea, BW 1/606, The
National Archives, London.
64. Radu Popescu, ‘The Royal Shakespeare Company: The Midsummer
Night’s Dream’, Romania Libera, 20 October 1972, BW 1/606, The
National Archives, London.

128   Z. IMRE

65. Letter from Donald Logan to J.L. Bullard, London, 15 November 1972,
FCO 34/149, The National Archives, London.
66. Ibid.
67. Ibid.
68. Letter from T.  Frank Brenchley’s to J.L.  Bullard, London, 1 December
1972, FCO 346149, The National Archives, London.
69. Ibid.
70. Ibid.
71. Letter from R.P.  Martin to J.D.K.  Argles, London, 28 November 1972,
FCO 34/149, The National Archives, London.
72. Ibid.
73. G. Csapó, ‘A meztelenségről’, Ország Világ, 15 November 1972, 4.
74. Letter from E.V. Vines to D.R. Ashe, Bucharest, 20 November 1972, FCO
34/149, The National Archives, London.
75. Ibid.
76. Letter from Donald Logan toJ.L. Bullard, London, 15 November 1972,
FCO 34/149, The National Archives, London.
77. Ibid.
78. Paranoia, however, worked on both sides of the Wall. Brenchley’s report
from Warsaw shows that what was normally not suspicious could become
so under certain circumstances. ‘Much in evidence behind the scenes was a
couple of young Czechs, a boy and a girl, who appeared to be theatre
enthusiasts and about 16 years old. They had tried to see the production
earlier in the tour, at Budapest, but missed it. They popped up again in
Warsaw, and the company took them under their wing. The Council warned
the Manager against relying on their being merely what they seemed, but it
must be admitted that they really did appear to be the soul of innocence.
The girl spoke freely about her links with the Za Branou theatre in Prague,
and with its director, Otomar Krejča, and about the trials of life in
Czechoslovakia today. Some of us were still, with our suspicious mind, left
with a few lingering doubts, based mainly on the ease with which they
seemed to have been able to cross frontiers’ (Letter from T. Frank Brenchley
to J.L. Bullard, London, 1 December 1972, FCO 346149, The National
Archives, London).
79. Miloš Jůzl, ‘Music and the Totalitarian Regime in Czechoslovakia’,
International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music 1 (1996),
31–51, 31.
80. John Lewis Gaddis, We Now Know—Rethinking Cold War History (Oxford:
Calderon Press, 1997), 283.
81. Ibid., 284.
82. Ibid., 283.
83. Ibid., 287.


84. Ibid., 283.
85. Letter from E.V. Vines to Donald Logan, Budapest, 12 December 1972,
FCO 346149, The National Archives, London.
86. Letter from E.V. Vines to J.A. Dobbs, Moscow, 13 November 1972, BW
1/606, The National Archives, London.
87. Ibid.
88. Magyar Távirati Iroda, ‘Budapesten szerepel a Royal Shakespeare Company’,
Népszava, 17 October 1972, 2; italics: Zoltán Imre.
89. László Seregi, ‘Szex és cirkusz’, Egyetemi Élet, 8 November 1972, 4.


Institutions and Institutional

B. and performers were being denied visas and opportunities to tour This chapter adapts and expands my research published in James Smith. B. Theatre. until their final abolition in 1968. UK © The Author(s) 2017 133 C. CHAPTER 8 MI5 Surveillance of British Cold War Theatre James Smith It is well known that.3 While there were some suspicions that individual careers were hampered by blacklisting.1 However. 2013). decorum … [and] public peace’—2 less often have the covert political manoeuvres of the cultural cold war seemed to play a major role in modern British theatre history. Globalization and the Cold War. DOI 10. an issue most notably manifested in the power of the Lord Chamberlain to read and license every new play script before its performance on the public stage. and has particularly benefited from discussions with participants at the ‘Theatre. dra- matists. for much of the twentieth century. British Writers and MI5 Surveillance.). Balme. that focussed on maintaining ‘good manners. Transnational Theatre Histories. Durham.1007/978-3-319-48084-8_8 . Szymanski-Düll (eds. Globalization and the Cold War’ conference.4 and while there were claims that certain companies. 1930–1960 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. J. Britain’s the- atres were subjected to extensive and intrusive state regulation. Smith (*) Durham University. given the Lord Chamberlain’s very overt and controver- sial censorship presence—with powers.

­composers.8 Furthermore. In monitoring this front. surveillance files were kept on individual dramatists. SMITH the UK. and theatre companies suspected of possessing communist or Soviet links. demonstrating that MI5 and Special Branch operated a quite dis- tinct form of state monitoring in this era. whose efforts were often focussed on the minute details of the play scripts (famously replacing obscenities with less offensive words.9 it still allows us to perceive some of the surveillance maintained on the theatre industry. public denuncia- tions. and the blacklisting of numerous left-wing actors. Although we only have access to a limited selection of files. and direc- tors. with the records of such agencies wholly exempt from public disclosure. founding its own propaganda arms to contest the battle of ideas against the Soviet Union. there was little opportunity to substantiate such claims. increasing scholarly research into the cultural cold war has established that the British government was an active player in this clandestine sphere. However. recent archival releases have shown that Britain’s security and intelligence agencies kept extensive dossiers on individuals and organisations in the cultural world. For one.7 and contributing to CIA-linked ventures such as the Congress for Cultural Freedom and its house magazine. as the British government did not even officially admit to the exis- tence of its intelligence services until after the cold war.6 Even when suspicions of covert government cultural interference were raised in Britain. Encounter. which famously resulted in the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) hearings.10 Informants were recruited in the theatre industry who pro- vided MI5 with reports on domestic and international developments at . or insisting on cuts in order for a play to be licensed).134   J. actors. the theatre was viewed as one of the fronts on which Western and Communist-bloc governments fought to increase their international cultural prestige.5 the cultural climate in the UK seemed to avoid the extent of the anti-communism seen in the USA. writers. and suggest that the theatre was viewed as a site of specific security interest during the cold war. and thus a site for MI5 and other government agencies to monitor in order to gauge the extent to which pro-Soviet or communist-linked individuals and organ- isations were operating and gaining influence. or interpreting the isolated details of a per- formance as it appeared on the stage. several recent developments mean that we are now in a posi- tion to better address the question of how British theatre of the cold war was subjected to security monitoring and interference. directors. Unlike the Lord Chamberlain. Instead. MI5 had little interest in close reading of theatrical texts.

12 Adaptations of works by playwrights such as Chekhov for broadcast on the BBC were scrutinised. Just as important to Theatre Workshop’s reputation was the fact that it conducted numerous successful international tours. and being invited to perform in Moscow with an adaptation of Macbeth in 1957. After 1953.11 and agents were deployed to penetrate industry organisations that were suspected of being communist-­ controlled. Oh What a Lovely War (which was later adapted into the 1969 film.13 Theatre programmes were acquired and mined for information. productions of plays by a new wave of dramatists (such as Shelagh Delaney’s A Taste of Honey and Brendan Behan’s The Hostage and The Quare Fellow). East London. A pioneering com- pany that emerged shortly after the Second World War. this chapter discusses the surveillance MI5 maintained on Theatre Workshop. including some behind the Iron Curtain. particularly when those involved in the production were already suspected of holding pro-Soviet links. but it produced an important range of other work over the early cold war period.16 Theatre Workshop is still perhaps most famous for its 1963 anti-war Pierrot show. two figures who were veterans of the agitprop and experimental left-wing theatre movements of the 1930s. the Theatre Royal in Stratford. further enhancing the company’s prestige. including the development of its own works such as the Ewan MacColl-penned Uranium 235. the company’s perma- nent home. Staff at embas- sies overseas were sent to report on performances by leading Communist-­ sphere companies. . MI5 SURVEILLANCE OF BRITISH COLD WAR THEATRE   135 events such as prestigious theatre festivals. was transformed from an almost derelict building into one of the city’s most important theatrical destinations.14 and British intelligence agencies collaborated with the USA in tracking ‘Unamerican American’ performers who had fallen foul of HUAC and who were now travelling abroad.15 Towards substantiating this broad description. and adaptations of classic plays by Ben Jonson and Shakespeare (to name but a few). and the theatre review pages of national and regional newspapers were read and filed as a matter of routine when discussing left-wing plays. directed by Richard Attenborough). perhaps most notably the British première of Brecht’s Mother Courage and her Children (1955). and over the 1950s and 1960s numerous Theatre Workshop productions transferred to the West End. resulting in it prominently winning inter- national attention and praise at the 1955 Paris Festival with productions of Arden of Faversham and Volpone. performances of seminal works that had as yet found little currency in Britain. Theatre Workshop was founded by Joan Littlewood and Ewan MacColl (born James Miller).

released to the National Archives of the UK in 2010.136   J. Counter to what a theatre histo- rian would perhaps expect to find. Despite achieving an international prestige which eclipsed that of most other the- atrical organisations active in Britain. Theatre Workshop became viewed as a ‘Communist Controlled Theatre Company’ and a site of potential communist influence in British cultural life. The opened section of the file. sud- den bars being placed on their employment with the BBC. Second. as the declassification of their personal MI5 dossiers showed that individual records had been maintained on them since the 1930s. the file illuminates the specific political and security factors that rendered Theatre Workshop an organisation worthy of sustained security intelligence interest. covers three folders with approxi- mately 250 pages in total. conducted alongside various running battles with British officialdom. containing material ranging from 1951 until 1960. Littlewood and MacColl faced a range of activity which made them suspect that they had been marked out for attention by state authorities.18 It therefore presents scholars with one of the most detailed sources currently available showing covert security-intelligence surveillance of Britain’s theatre industry. for MI5.17 Across their careers. and thus presents us with the means of developing an understanding of how this apparatus actually functioned. however. Theatre Workshop’s MI5 file therefore provides a crucial further element to this picture. from the documents available it is evi- dent that the exact political ideology and aesthetic innovation of Theatre Workshop’s plays were of minor interest to the police or intelligence offi- cers and largely passed with little comment or analysis. including direct police harassment of their street performances in the 1930s. and was con- sequently forced to sustain its activity and travel with meagre (and some- times non-­existent) funds. Furthermore. and plain- clothed police seen lurking at the back of the Theatre Royal—suspicions that were indeed correct. and allows a range of insights to be gained into this hitherto little-understood interaction. SMITH Theatre Workshop’s successful activity was. and thus surveillance efforts were dedicated towards substantiating . First and most obviously. the company was no stranger to the interference of government censors. Instead. throughout much of its life Theatre Workshop struggled to gain any meaningful support from governmental funding bodies such as the British Council or Arts Council. being involved in numerous clashes with the Lord Chamberlain. the Theatre Workshop file reveals the raw extent of MI5 surveillance and the range of methods it deployed to monitor this sphere.

rendering it a fundamentally different document to not only those such as a file kept by the Lord Chamberlain. with the clippings entered into the Theatre Workshop file. I will offer a (necessarily) brief discussion of this file in order to address these three areas. In what follows. the volume of material in the file is extensive. derived from freely accessible sources rather than clandestine operations. . Modes of Cold War Theatre Industry Surveillance If Theatre Workshop’s file stands out as one of the most extensive compiled on any left-wing cultural organisation. Such documents were typically gathered by the press section of MI5 dur- ing its routine trawls through the daily newspapers. annotated in order to mark out names and dates of those involved with the company. in raw terms. MI5 had at its command a reasonably comprehensive system mapping the activity of Theatre Workshop and the names of the key individuals involved with it—but it also means that the most ubiquitous forms of intelligence gathered by MI5 on Theatre Workshop were quite public. and cross-refer- ence numbers added to illustrate whether an individual or organisation was already the subject of their own separate MI5 file. did it actually mean for a theatre company if it was the subject of an MI5 file? One obvious but important fact to note at the outset is an absence: nowhere in this extensive file is to be found an actual copy of a play script performed by Theatre Workshop. it is first necessary to understand the categories of material present and how MI5 gathered its information. and far from the intrusive covert surveillance one might initially expect. MI5’s investiga- tions shed new light on how Theatre Workshop’s international activity was implicated in some of the broader manoeuvres of the cultural cold war. Through such a process. Third. What. MI5 SURVEILLANCE OF BRITISH COLD WAR THEATRE   137 these suspected links to the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) or one of the front groups operating in the UK.19 Also notable is that while. The file contains. but also those compiled by many state surveillance agencies that operated abroad. as a way of contributing to a deeper understanding of MI5 surveillance of British theatre during the cold war. as well as copies of the company’s publicity material such as programmes and pamphlets. for example. as MI5 eavesdropped on suspected Soviet front groups as they attempted to organise the company’s Communist-sphere tours. much of the file is far from sensational. scores of clippings of newspaper articles and reviews. in short.

and there is evi- dence to suggest that much of their information on other aspects of the company was derived from informants with quite detailed knowledge of the organisation. SMITH Some of the other material to be found in the file consists of reports written by the provincial police and submitted to MI5 for further inves- tigations to be made. and (on occasion) their sexual liaisons. Such reports provide a ground-level view of indi- vidual performances. previous travel. containing facts such as the venue.22 It also appears that Special Branch detectives attended public meetings involving Theatre Workshop in order to record the proceedings. or mail opened as it came into the address. material concerning Theatre Workshop did pass through other nodes that were subject to such surveillance (such as the offices of the CPGB). leading to numerous copies of intercepted letters and transcripts of recorded conversations finding their way into Theatre Workshop’s file. a source who was ‘new and untried’ but who could reflect ‘general opinion in theatrical circles in the country’. but also details of those people’s addresses. One report. accepting the banality of much of the file. The Theatre Workshop file also demonstrates that MI5 maintained a network of human informants within the British theatre industry. although Theatre Workshop itself never appears to directly have had its phones tapped. issued to MI5 several times a year. in addi- tion to the informants used by Special Branch. the Special Branch of the Metropolitan Police subjected Theatre Workshop to more rigorous investigations. Special Branch’s reports.138   J. for example. but generally show a far-from-sophisticated sur- veillance apparatus in action.23 Furthermore.21 particularly after the company settled at the Theatre Royal. not only listing such things as the plays being performed and the names of those involved in the company. there appear to have been at least three separate individuals providing information to MI5. the cost of admission. the attendance levels. provided a detailed portrait of the organisation. premises bugged. While such sources were not referred to by name in reports. making the exact provenance of the information difficult to assess. and the names of known communists present in the theatre audience. contained earnest information about the colour scheme and inscription  used on Theatre Workshop’s Bedford furniture van—information which perhaps more illu- minates the pedantic nature of the police investigations rather than any revelation with implications for national security. financial circum- stances. other material does indeed suggest a far more intrusive apparatus was in operation. For one. and .20 But. variously described as being a ‘reliable’ source.

The earliest document in the Theatre Workshop file. demonstrates the initial political suspicions the company provoked. Mapping Communist Links If that is the broad methodology of how MI5 surveillance was conducted. financial. MI5 SURVEILLANCE OF BRITISH COLD WAR THEATRE   139 another ‘sub-source’ who was judged to have ‘a wide knowledge of mat- ters theatrical’. the police noted that the group described itself as ‘a self-­ supporting. there was little evident effort deployed towards analysing and censor- ing the content of the actual plays. it raises the question of what actually ‘demanded’ such a level of interest be given to this theatre company—a company that. particularly as the plays touted themselves as being of ‘contemporary significance’ and touched on themes such as ‘the story of the people who throughout the ages have wanted only to live in peace. Theatre Workshop was not of interest because of the dramatic work it produced. Moreover. as stressed above. Tchekov and Lorca’ [sic]. Drawing attention to a performance of Uranium 235 in a local town. but only found that it had been known in . but here it should be noted that they did not appear to be actual members of Theatre Workshop. could barely keep its finances afloat—particularly given. the police evidently remained far from convinced. But. For MI5. despite initially having no adverse records on any of those involved. Therefore it is quite possible that MI5’s informants were well-placed indi- viduals such as theatre critics or industry professionals who were providing a much wider range of information to the intelligence services at this time. with a range of personal. for much of its life. but found themselves forever facing war’. a police report dating from April 1951. and asked ‘to hear if Theatre Workshop is in any way connected with the Communist Party or other organisation of interest’. with these international liaisons evidently further elements of suspicion. independent theatre company’. and organisational factors raising suspicions about whether Theatre Workshop. The details of some of these reports are discussed in more detail below.24 MI5 conducted initial enquiries to trace this hitherto unknown company. too. their information more in the shape of general theatrical gossip rather than specific insider information. the police recorded that the company had recently toured ‘Sweden and Czechoslovakia and pre- sented plays by Moliere. though. was a front being manipulated by com- munist forces. The Chief Constable therefore wrote to MI5 to report these facts. but rather due to the political networks the company was linked to.

with the gossip sent to MI5 particularly focussed on the Paris Festival: At the recent Festival in Paris. given that Littlewood and MacColl (under his original name.27 MI5’s human informants would also relay industry speculation about how Theatre Workshop supported itself. such evidence fitted the overall profile being developed. as the company man- aged the trip despite claiming ‘to have no financial backing whatsoever’. possibly communist.25 However. James Miller) were subsequently identified as the leaders of the company and were ‘known as active Communists … chiefly concerned with producing left-wing plays’.29 But still. sources’. and led MI5 to the belief that Theatre Workshop did not just lean to the left. An officer added ‘I should think there may be some truth in the rumour’. the British Theatre had a much wider representation but this year the British Council was not prepared to help financially and theatre managers decided that little advantage or pres- tige was to be gained by supporting the Paris Festival.28 In this instance.30 . A frequent issue was Theatre Workshop’s precarious financial posi- tion. Thus it was that Theatre Workshop was the only British company appearing at this Festival. as information continued to arrive for MI5’s file. For example. many other facts would fill out these initial suspicions. meaning that ‘its current politics are not known and the extent of its Left Wing leanings some years ago cannot now be accurately assessed’. last year.140   J.26 further interest was mandated in order to assess the extent of those ‘Left Wing leanings’ which Theatre Workshop was suspected to possess. where the money came from is not known although it is believed that a French communist newspaper. Theatre Workshop represented the British Theatre. It is understood that. SMITH the past to be associated with Glasgow Unity Theatre. in July 1953 a Special Branch officer noted that their ‘finances are not in a very stable condition and they are said to be search- ing for fresh capital’ and ‘attendances at their plays have not been large’. possibly ‘L’Humanite’ paid the company’s expenses in Paris. the handling officer added a note of caution: ‘The ref- erence to a French newspaper paying Theatre Workshop’s Paris bills is interesting but may be no more than gossip’. but that it was a communist-controlled organisation operating as an ‘independent’ front. leading the officer to conclude that for Theatre Workshop to have survived ‘up to the present the company must have had financial help from outside. Over the coming years. which sparked concerns amongst police and intelligence officers that it was actually receiving some sort of covert subsidy in order to make it viable.

with the above-mentioned human sources specifically emphasising such East German contacts. For exam- ple on 15 June 1955 the following brief information was gained: ‘The General Manager of Theatre Workshop is Raffles … He is understood to be in touch with Berthold Brecht.32 There was also the issue of Theatre Workshop’s apparent collaboration with organ- isations sympathetic to countries behind the Iron Curtain. who lives in the East Zone of Germany’. MI5 SURVEILLANCE OF BRITISH COLD WAR THEATRE   141 Other instances would see MI5 and police closely monitoring attempts by Theatre Workshop to obtain grants from local councils. information was gained which showed that Theatre Workshop was willing to perform for the British Hungarian Friendship Society to celebrate the ‘10th Anniversary of [the] Liberation of Hungary’. and well-known to the security establishment for being one of the blacklisted Americans) was reported by Special Branch ‘to have described Theatre Workshop as “the most exciting theatre group I have ever seen”’. despite the reams of intelligence gathered on these matters. other more tangen- tial links also came to be seen as part of a pattern of communist inter- ference and control. as further reports elaborated on such links to Brecht and his theatre. as well as fol- lowing media reports on the company’s long-running battle with the Arts Council for funds. If this (ultimately unsubstantiated) pursuit of a money trail provided one of the main areas of interest to security agencies. little in the way of ongoing financial support was ever proven in this file. it was connections to East Germany that appear to have attracted particular attention. Julius Hay’. the German playwright.31 Theatre Workshop’s choice of advertis- ing venues also came under scrutiny: in May 1953 Special Branch noted it was ‘significant’ ‘that Theatre Workshop and Unity Theatre (well-known to Special Branch) are advertised daily in the “Amusement” column of the Daily Worker [the Communist Party newspaper]’.35 For a theatre historian. but for MI5 it was evidently a fact of interest. a ‘reliable’ source pointed to a new development: . nor is there any direct evidence that MI5 intervened with British public bodies in order to bar funding. The fact that so many Theatre Workshop members already had MI5 files and known Party links was obviously a mark of con- cern—but so too were facts such as that Sam Wanamaker (described as ‘an American actor … [and] a communist’.34 However. leaving ‘little doubt that Theatre Workshop has some communist connections’. Later in June 1955. a social comedy by the celebrated Hungarian playwright. However. For example.33 and that the same friendship society was promoting Theatre Workshop’s ‘English Première of the Midwife. such information might be a minor footnote.

there was ‘A Brecht exhibition to be organised by the Theatre Workshop’. much of Theatre Workshop’s reputation in the 1950s stemmed from the accolades it won overseas. Theatre Workshop member Goorney’s account recalled that as ‘the British Council .38 Soviet-front Support? It is very clear that most of the material gathered by MI5 and Special Branch was either banal in its implications or grasping at straws in terms of the conspiracy it constructed. he has now been forbidden the theatre. regarding ‘East German Cultural Activities in UK’. noted that. But it is still evident that MI5 did uncover some material of more obvious plausibility and interest. besides activity such as a Handel festival and ‘an exhibition on hygiene by the Dresden City Health Department’. Having upset the whole company. SMITH It is reported that just recently a German Communist in East Germany was sent over to this country to ‘supervise’ Theatre Workshop’s production of Brecht’s ‘Mother Courage’. As noted above.37 Such a dispute would perhaps indicate that Theatre Workshop was far from an East German proxy. and this is material that sheds considerable new light on Theatre Workshop’s operations.142   J. much too dogmatic. reflecting on the ongoing attempts to gain support to attend the Paris festival in the 1950s. A 21 January 1960 report. The linking of Brecht performances. and hygiene exhi- bitions by Dresden health departments as security issues might seem an incongruous match. Handel festivals. For instance. It appears that Weber’s ‘supervision’ of the Theatre Workshop produc- tion was not welcomed by the company. and accounts of the company at this time constantly stress the difficulty it faced due to its lack of typical forms of funding. with the view of Theatre Workshop as a CPGB-controlled organ wholly implausible. Berlin’]. This man’s name is Carl Weber [a later handwritten note inserts ‘Director. He was much too German. but this was not the end of such allegations and concerns. who is described as a Left-wing impressario who backed the current Orsen Welles show [sic].36 He is at present staying in Hampstead with one Oscar Loewenstein. and even much too Communist for them. Berliner Ensemble Theatre. but this activity was seen by the MI5 source as being coordinated towards a common goal: the East Germans had ‘probably been discouraged from sending officials to the UK and are now trying to work through intermediaries and supporters in the UK’. E. and is writing the management pained and angry letters.

that it was the support of the BYFC that might have been enabling Theatre Workshop’s international travel.42 The result was a radical. where she decided to take a play about the “evil assumption of power” to comment on the immediate politi- cal situation in Russia’.40 Such evidence of support was followed up on 14 June 1955 when the BYFC office received a call from Nixon in Warsaw. in this case) viewed within British government and intelligence circles as an influen- tial communist-affiliated group predominantly concerned with organis- ing pro-Soviet activity and events.39 The transcripts of intercepted phone calls in the file. to Berlin. to MI5 at least. but Malcolm [Nixon] thinks that everything will be all right’—information that again suggested to MI5 that it was BYFC officials who were significant factors in attempting to support these tours.41 The phone-taps also provide significant further information concern- ing the arrangements surrounding Theatre Workshop’s 1957 Moscow tour. add another element to these tours. however. stripped-back version . the tour was organised when Littlewood—at that point on hiatus from the company—accepted ‘an invitation to the World Youth Festival in Moscow. who relayed back that ‘Theatre Workshop will not have to pay for their stay in Warsaw. The actors are restless and soon want to know whether or not they will go to Budapest’—information which suggested. show- ing many of the discussions that were occurring behind the scenes in order to organise Theatre Workshop’s activity. The most significant of such material is that derived from the phone-taps that MI5 maintained on the British Youth Festival Committee (BYFC)— one of the seemingly independent organisations of the era whose pub- licly declared purpose was to organise international festivals and develop cultural understanding. and that the BYFC’s logistical arrangements contributed to significant aspects of Theatre Workshop’s activity. This has not been finally arranged yet. on 12 March 1955 an intercepted phone call recorded an official at the BYFC ‘sooth[ing] Ewan with the news that Nixon [a BYFC official] will have made a decision about the cash by Wednesday. For example. Ewan’s group have been invited to the Paris Festival. and particularly the role certain cultural cold war front groups played in facilitating these events. and a Drama festival at Bideford. In received history. It appears that members of Theatre Workshop were in frequent consultation with officials and promoters from the BYFC. MI5 SURVEILLANCE OF BRITISH COLD WAR THEATRE   143 refused us financial support … Theatre Workshop was the only company in the Festival which had to rely on their own resources and the generosity of the French organisers of the Festival’. but one widely (and more plausibly.

as they are the first country to ask for definite dates and theatres’. On 7 February 1957. and emphasised that he ‘got on well in Russia. as ‘Joan has given up all interest’. He can say: ‘Theatre Workshop is open to accept a limited tour in your country from the period before the end of May till the 2nd week of July.44 Around a week later. the BYFC office continued to explore avenues for promoting further Theatre Workshop activity. but he feels it wouldn’t be accept- able. and a concrete pro- posal. figures. as it varies.144   J. Ballets and orchestras are OK but something depending on dialogue wouldn’t be easy to get over. and in the coming weeks. not to the Ministry of Culture. Detailed discussions ensued about the political ramifications of such a tour: Distant says the money could be raised. material in the MI5 file shows some of the strategic discussions that occurred to ensure this invitation. They have quite a reputation over there. Theatre Workshop will be performing on the Continent in the summer. On 24 January 1957. which played in Moscow in 1957. however. and .43 As is clear. set in modern dress and with supernatural elements pared down. but simply to the appropriate Ministerial Department. Again. expressing that he was ‘worried about the position of Theatre Workshop’. and Distant can raise the que[stion]. Malcolm did indeed call Gerry Raffles about poten- tial Theatre Workshop tours. lead- ing to fears in the BYFC that ‘the whole thing will have to be written off ’. Nixon informed Jack Dribben (an official involved with a separate cultural group concerning British– Chinese relations) ‘he has been having a discussion with Gerry about the Theatre production they are taking to Moscow’. and they would probably do a Shakespeare as well. Malcolm will get Gerry Raffles to come round to Distant with facts. It was a BYFC official who advocated that Goorney approach ‘Joan first’ rather than writing Theatre Workshop off. SMITH of Macbeth. Littlewood did indeed regain interest in Theatre Workshop with the prospect of a Moscow tour. Malcolm reminds him that Uranium 235 has a tremendous political significance. MI5’s tap picked up Howard Goorney calling the BYFC. (for all or part of this time). and provided specific directions to the man- ager as to how the approaches to international governments should be made: He should address it. leading to the question being raised as to whether ‘there is any interest among the Chinese to have Theatre Workshop for a period for a summer season’.

The Soviet Ministry of Culture is interested in inviting Theatre Workshop after the Festival to make a tour. except verbally at this stage. and get them to ring Prague before he leaves. and the extent to which Theatre Workshop’s prominent international activity was shaped and facilitated by such factors. and think there is a very good chance. intelligence agencies. MI5 SURVEILLANCE OF BRITISH COLD WAR THEATRE   145 it is proposed to continue this. Littlewood insisted the play was interpreted as an anti-­ Stalinist allegory by many of those who watched it.46 Clearly. the version of Macbeth offered was far from pro-communist pro- paganda: indeed. who were very interested. Distant had fun with the Czechs this morning. Malcolm says the Arts Theatre is going to Leningrad for a month. while not always successful. The Moscow Arts Theatre wants to put on an Exhibition of Theatre Workshop in the foyer before they go. There is a resident orchestra under the stage. the tap picked up a call from Malcolm to Raffles: [Malcolm said] they have got the Moscow Arts Theatre. there is no indication that Theatre Workshop’s political views were at all altered or controlled by such arrangements. and cultural organisations during the cultural cold war. Distant will come in tomorrow.45 Such approaches. Malcolm gave the Pole. Equally. Malcolm advises not to mention prices. . Danielovitch. and thus the reason for offering you this pos- sibility. He promised Distant would send the technical demands by June 2nd. we will be able to work out the details’. Malcolm will see them in Berlin. The Bulgarian thing is a bit tricky. […] Malcolm wants 5 copies of the letter. for on 16 May. The Company will consist of so-many members. Malcolm suggests Distant come and pick up the theatre plans. it was entirely legal for Theatre Workshop to draw upon its promoters to arrange such tours—one could say that the antip- athy of British funding bodies often left Theatre Workshop with little other choice. and if you will let us know at the soon- est possible time. and he will fill in the appropriate departments. and whatever the suspicions of MI5 regarding the BYFC. as there aren’t many English-speaking people. and the conditions could be made out between us if this offer interests you. also the Polish Ministry of Culture. appeared to gain at least some results. front groups. so the theatre will be vacant. But what these taps do illustrate are some of the broader ­manoeuvres occurring between governments. all the details to take back to Warsaw. The Company will be performing the following plays.

Joan’s Book: Joan . This is the wording of the Theatres Act 1843. SMITH Conclusion While the Theatre Workshop file therefore demonstrates the surprising extent of MI5 and Special Branch surveillance of British cold war the- atre. That is not to say that the cold war itself has been ignored as an area of critical concern: John Elsom. but most of these primarily focus on the archives of the Lord Chamberlain. But as it stands. was barred from working at the BBC in the Second World War.146   J. includes detailed discussion of British topics within a broader survey of theatre of the period. only mentions in passing government security-intelligence surveil- lance as an issue. and the extensive range of British theatre histories specifically dedicated to the ‘post-war’ era demonstrates how the political and cultural contexts of the cold war have been seen as a distinct new climate. Helen Freshwater’s Theatre Censorship in Britain: Silencing. 4. Censure and Suppression (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Joan Littlewood. 2009). 3.47 or if further individual mem- bers of the company (whose files have yet to be opened) were prevented from accessing work with the BBC or other security-overseen institutions. suspicious. a final point perhaps needs to be made about its curiously paradoxical nature. 1992). There have been numerous studies of theatre censorship in Britain. if only implicitly. but largely spectral presence over Britain’s cold war theatre. and in her autobiography would attribute this to the fact that she had been blacklisted (Joan Littlewood. Theatre Workshop’s files suggest that MI5 and Special Branch lurked as a pervasive. 2. despite all the pages of material gathered. Notes 1. for instance. for instance. Indeed. the energy was turned towards compiling further records instead. many questions remain unanswered: future releases may clarify what impact (if any) such records had upon access to British Council or Arts Council funds. It is particularly notable that even one of the most wide-ranging and sophis- ticated of recent studies. That is the fact that. Cold War Theatre (London: Routledge. and the distinct concerns they held about communist penetration. Of course. the sheer size of the file suggests almost the opposite to be true: unable to actually censor left-­ wing cultural output. it is still difficult to point to any direct regulative impact this state surveil- lance had upon Theatre Workshop’s activity.

Who Paid the Piper?: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War (London: Granta. Joan Littlewood (KV 2/2757). 1999). 307–323). Britain. The major British propaganda agency was the Foreign Office’s Information Research Department (see Andrew Defty. and theatre critics such as Kenneth Tynan spoke out in the media when visas for the tours were blocked or delayed (James Smith. the Berliner Ensemble. Historical Journal of Film. MI5 SURVEILLANCE OF BRITISH COLD WAR THEATRE   147 Littlewood’s Peculiar History as She Tells It (London: Minerva. we have access to the files on theatrical figures such as Ewan MacColl (KV 2/2175-2176). and Brendan Behan (KV 2/3181). London) under the KV series was just over 5000—still a minuscule fraction of those MI5 was said to have opened during the twentieth century. 11. MI5’s use of human sources will be discussed later in this chapter. So far. Home Office. and Cabinet debated the wider political ramifications of allowing a state-sponsored East German company access to Britain. 9. . is unknown. 7. 454–472. Sam Wanamaker (KV 2/3106-3107). 10.4 (2006). see Frances Stonor Saunders. and the British Government’. it is obvious that a much broader range of left-wing individuals had specific files dedicated to them (including most others involved in Theatre Workshop). Hanns Eisler (KV 2/2009). ‘The MacDonald Discussion Group: A Communist Conspiracy in Britain’s Cold War Film and Theatre Industry—Or MI5’s Honey-Pot?’. 8. 1995)). 1945–53: The Information Research Department (London: Routledge. It is clear. when officials and ministers from the Foreign Office. New Theatre Quarterly 22. 5. however. As of October 2012. Whether these files will ever be released. but also that MI5 struggled to impose any form of permanent block on their employment. Radio and Television 35. America. Hollywood’s Blacklists: A Political and Cultural History (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. This was the case with the Berliner Ensemble’s tours to Britain in the 1950s and the 1960s. 6. 2004)). 2008).3 (2015). the total number of MI5 files available at the National Archives of Great Britain (which is located in Kew. ‘Brecht. The MI5 files of MacColl and Littlewood reveal that there were indeed nega- tive security assessments made that seriously affected their careers with the BBC. For one of the most prominent accounts. that this is only a small sample of those that existed: from cross-references and annotations present in the released files. or indeed whether they have survived MI5’s purges. and Anti- Communist Propaganda. There is an extensive body of literature dedicated to these topics. but for a readable recent work see Reynold Humphries. I discuss some of the evidence for the British response to this cli- mate in James Smith.

Cooperation and Conflict: GDR Theatre Censorship. Such concern was evident in the file of Wolf Mankowitz. which demonstrates the far more direct involvement of covert state agencies in East Germany. National Archives of Great Britain. One such instance occurred when they were successfully prosecuted for making an unauthorised depiction of Winston Churchill during a 1957 production of Henry Chapman’s You Won’t Always be on Top—a fact evi- dently of interest to policing and intelligence agencies. See. Class Act: The Cultural and Political Life of Ewan MacColl (London: Pluto. Laura Bradley. 17. see Nadine Holdsworth. 2011). 1961–1989 (Oxford: Oxford University Press. 15. where a British diplomat in Berlin was requested to send reports back to London about the content and politics of Brecht’s plays. ‘The MacDonald Discussion Group’. 18. This fact is evident from FO 371/124667 (National Archives of Great Britain. London.  See also Ben Harker. judging by the documents on this case contained within the Theatre Workshop file. 2007). amongst others. Joan Littlewood’s Theatre (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. The amount of information MI5 was able to gather on the group’s activity from an unnamed source strongly suggests that MI5 had managed to recruit one of the group’s organisers as an informant. this history was held strongly against him by MI5. London). but for the most detailed recent study. See KV 2/3385 serial 52a. MI5 and the BBC had their concerns mollified when they agreed that work on a Chekhov play ‘would not be likely to give him any access to classified Government information’. The clearest indication of this practice can be found in the file kept on the ‘MacDonald Discussion Group’. 19.148   J. See Smith. SMITH 12. When Mankowitz was due to be employed by the BBC ‘on the translation and dubbing of a film version of Chekhov’s “The Bear”’. a left-wing study group with links to the British Communist Party. The MI5 files at the National Archives normally have at least a 50-year period of retention. 2010). for example. There has been a growing body of scholarship on Theatre Workshop in recent years. . this was emphasised by the fact that ‘Mankowitz visited Russia last year and was naturally in touch with Soviet officials in connection with his visits and in connection with film matters’. a left-­wing writer who was involved in various cold war cultural exchanges behind the Iron Curtain. for a detailed biography on this key figure. 16. and one that MI5 suspected was a possible vehi- cle for luring members of London’s theatrical and film world into liaison with the Party. 13. National Archives of Great Britain. London). 14. meaning that it is possible that post-­1960 material on Theatre Workshop will be released at a later date. which stated: ‘Mankowitz must be regarded as a risk to security should he have access to classified information’. This surveillance of ‘Unamerican American’ performers is shown in the MI5 files released on Sam Wanamaker and Paul Robeson (KV 2/1829- 1830.

attended by about 140 per- sons … at the Theatre Royal’ (KV 2/3178 serial 31a. 5 April 1955. 15 June 1955. KV 2/3179 serial 73a. KV 2/3178 serial 3a. 7 April 1951. 21. 19 April 1951. Special Branch was the semi-autonomous section of the Metropolitan Police specifically charged with surveillance of political groups and moni- toring radicals. 27 April 1951. London. National Archives of Great Britain. National Archives of Great Britain. National Archives of Great Britain. and political views of the company (see for exam- ple KV 2/3178 serial 26a. 22. Extract from British Hungarian Friendship Society leaflet. a 1 July 1953 Special Branch report carries. KV 2/3179 serial 73a. Extract from Minutes of Executive Committee Meeting of British Hungarian Friendship Society. For instance. London. the information that Isobel Collier was ‘said to be Blanshard’s [another member of Theatre Workshop] mistress’ (KV 2/3178 serial 26a. finances. Special Branch Report. 27. National Archives of Great Britain. 31. MI5 SURVEILLANCE OF BRITISH COLD WAR THEATRE   149 20. Detectives. National Archives of Great Britain. Handwritten comments on ARTS/AS Source Report. National Archives of Great Britain. KV 2/3178 serial 26a. London. Typed comments on ARTS/AS Source Report. National Archives of Great Britain. This last section is damaged. which provides details on ‘a meeting. London. . 23. 33. 28. 20 January 1955. National Archives of Great Britain. Special Branch Report.  Younger to Russell King. KV 2/3179 serial 55a. KV 2/3179 serial 48a. London. London. 34. Manchester City Police Report. 29. 15 June 1955. 30. KV 2/3178 serial 4a. 15 June 1955. 24. 1 July 1953. Special Branch Report. Letter from MI5 to Chief Constable County Durham. often euphemistically refer to having sources of ‘information’ when discussing private aspects like the attendance. KV 2/3178 serial 1a. National Archives of Great Britain. in other reports. KV 2/3179 serial 73a. London. KV 2/3178 serial 21a.A. London. ARTS/AS Source Report. KV 2/3178 serial 26a. London. For monitoring of public meetings see a 1 September 1953 Special Branch report. KV 2/3178 serial 5a. National Archives of Great Britain. National Archives of Great Britain. 32. 1 July 1953. Letter from Chief Constable County Durham to MI5. London. 12 February 1952. rendering the full comment of the assessing officer illegible. 26. National Archives of Great Britain. London). 25. London. London. National Archives of Great Britain. W. London). 8 May 1953. National Archives of Great Britain. London). National Archives of Great Britain. amidst a much wider investigation.

London.2 (2014). 42. KV 2/3180 serial 163a. 45. Nadine Holdsworth. National Archives of Great Britain. Extract from telecheck on BYFC. Joan Littlewood’s Theatre (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 39. 15 February 1957. Weber was still only an assistant director at the Ensemble. 15 June 1955. London. 16 May 1957. SMITH 35. 14 June 1955. 46. KV 2/3179 serial 72a. 40. KV 2/3179 serial 73b. London. 2011). 47. National Archives of Great Britain. Extract from telecheck on BYFC. 7 February 1957. Extract from telecheck on BYFC. 37. KV 2/3179 serial 74a. 153. London. National Archives of Great Britain. National Archives of Great Britain. The Theatre Workshop Story (London: Eyre Methuen. KV 2/3179 serial 109a. 12 March 1955. London. KV 2/3179 serial 53b. Extract from telecheck on BYFC. ‘Punishing the Outsiders: Theatre Workshop and the Arts Council’. National Archives of Great Britain. Extract from telecheck on BYFC. London. Theatre. Extract from F. National Archives of Great Britain. 44. 41. 108. 24 January 1957.150   J. KV 2/3179 serial 117z. KV 2/3179 serial 107z. National Archives of Great Britain. 1981). . 38. 119–130. 21 January 1960. National Archives of Great Britain. 36. London. National Archives of Great Britain. 43. Dance and Performance Training 5. This has continued to be the subject of debate: see. MK/BJS Source Report. Philippa Burt. Extract from telecheck on BYFC. London. Howard Goorney. 23 June 1955. ARTS/AS Source report. London. At this point. for a recent example.4/GDL Source Report. KV 2/3179 serial 108a.

New international relationships were estab- lished and. UNESCO. ‘since wars begin in the minds of men.’2 The ITI was an organisation that supported international cooperation in the field of performing arts. it is in the minds of men that the defences of peace must be constructed’. it seemed to be an organisation H. Balme. The organisation aimed to establish the solidarity of mankind because. Szymanski-Düll (eds. Finland © The Author(s) 2017 151 C. It was founded in the aftermath of the Second World War by 12 countries in Prague in 1948 and one of its objec- tives was to maintain peace: ‘The concept has its basis in the conviction that the artists of the world speak a common language and can serve as valuable agents in obtaining mutual understanding and good will among nations. CHAPTER 9 Creating an International Community during the Cold War Hanna Korsberg After the Second World War. Later that same year 37 countries founded the United Nations Educational. Globalization and the Cold War. Theatre. internationalism and nationalism were ­renegotiated in many countries. The purpose was to maintain international peace and security and develop friendly relations between nations. Helsinki. the United Nations (UN) was founded by 51 countries in 1945. Scientific and Cultural Organisation.1 The founding of the International Theatre Institute (ITI). like the UN. Korsberg (*) University of Helsinki.B.1007/978-3-319-48084-8_9 . was based on the different independent nations cooperating on an inter- national level for mutual benefit. Transnational Theatre Histories.). In particular. for example. B. DOI 10.

culture and the arts played an important role in the battle for ‘hearts and minds’. KORSBERG which non-aligned countries could also join. understood internationalism along the lines of the cosmopolitanism outlined by Kwame Anthony Appiah. As the Cold War was a war fought on battlegrounds of rhetoric. Speeches. that is. For example. Finland slowly returned to the interna- tional community. in order to avoid antagonizing the Soviets. Finland had to refuse the Marshall Plan. the organisation was autonomous. was able to take part in international cooperation. the Foreign Ministry of Finland approached the General Secretary of the UN who set . It was launched by a keynote address by playwright Eugène Ionesco. the internationalism of theatre people across the world was based on mutual understanding and a need for the international exchange of practice and knowledge in theatre. To show how a non-aligned country. in particular. balancing between the two camps. It was very important for the ITI to have members from both camps since. Those cooperating within the framework of the ITI. The concept of internationalism is much debated. the European rebuilding programme initiated by the USA in 1947. I would like to discuss the case of Finland. especially in the 1950s. I will also discuss the attempts to define the theme of the Helsinki congress in 1959. In this article I will discuss how theatre participated in the creation of an international community with members from both camps during the Cold War and. In the early phases of the Cold War the division was mainly political. Europe especially was soon divided between two camps. Unlike the previous congresses. After the Paris Peace Treaty in 1947. and the inter- national contacts were important for the non-aligned countries as well. the Cold War battle was also conducted in the so-called non-aligned countries. the preparations for the Peace Treaty inhibited any attempts by Finland to join the i­nternational commu- nity. in Helsinki there was a discussion about artistic questions in theatre. It was in a very sensitive geopolitical ­position between the two great powers. impres- sions and discourse. In this case. together with Eugène Ionesco’s keynote address. I will look closely at the Eighth Congress of the ITI that was organised in Helsinki in 1959. After World War II.3 Since both blocs fought to increase their influence. Despite these political and cultural attempts to create an international community. newspaper articles and interviews about the ITI congress in 1959. according to its char- ter. are examples of the rhetoric used to link theatre and internation- alism. Right after the war. but also economic. acknowledging a citizen who can see him/herself at home in more than one nation-state or community.152   H.

Milan Bogdanović. one in the Cold War socialist economy of Yugoslavia and two in the militarily neutral Cold War capitalist societies of Switzerland and Finland. The pur- pose of the Institute is to promote international exchange of knowledge and practice in theatre arts. Organising the congress of the ITI on both sides of the Iron Curtain was certainly an opportunity for geographical expansion and for the dissemination of information about the organisation. Zurich. The Hague.5 The paragraph quoted from the charter connects the purpose of the ITI to the purpose of UNESCO. due to the Cold War and the fear of endangering the existing balance of power in the UN.4 I argue that since Finland had to remain outside of many—especially political and eco- nomic—international alliances during the Cold War. ITI congresses were organised in Prague. CREATING AN INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY DURING THE COLD WAR  153 in motion Finland’s application for membership. The Eighth Congress of the ITI During the period between 1948 and 1959. Though Finland was not one of the founding members of the ITI. Finland was not able to join the organisation until 1955. Art and theatre in particular were considered essential to create understanding between nations and thus were consid- ered to play a vital role in the service of peace. stressed the international . I would argue that in hosting congresses the ITI followed the first article of the charter of the organisation: Since theatrical art is a universal expression of manking [sic: mankind]. alternative fields such as culture and theatre in particular opened up new possibilities for interna- tional exchange. which bears the name of International Theatre Institute. Paris. one of them in a later Warsaw Pact state. The Eighth Congress of the ITI opened in Helsinki on 1 June 1959. The latter role was viewed as especially important during the years of the Cold War. However. Some of the venues were in NATO countries. It also became an official member of the ITI in 1950. The President of the ITI. it sent two observers to the first meeting of the organisation in Prague in 1948. and possesses the influence and power to link large groups of the world’s peoples in the service of peace. Oslo. the ITI was one of the very first international organisations Finland could join in the post-war political climate. In fact. an autonomous international organization has been formed. Dubrovnik and Athens.

he argued that the formation of nations and people’s notions of belonging to a nation. his voice.9 In Helsinki. critics and administrators.’ The keynote . KORSBERG importance of the organisation in his opening speech. Theatre makes acquaintances and neighbours. for example. a real International has appeared in the field of dramatic art.7 Bogdanović’s speech can be discussed in terms of Benedict Anderson’s concept of imagined communities. it would certainly decay and diminish. for example. the focus had been only on administrative issues. Anderson used the concept to discuss questions related to nationalism. In Athens two years earlier.8 According to Bogdanović. there had been just 77 delegates from 28 countries. in our days. friends and relatives of people of all colours. all the vis- ible expressions which make the apprehension of all facts possible even for an audience unable to understand the words spoken on the stage. and this was also declared as one objective of the ITI. ­reducing the number of agents between theatre directors and playwrights and help- ing theatre groups to plan international tours. these had been essential questions related to the internationalisation of theatrical art. According to him ‘nothing in fact could exist in the field of international activities that could not prove its necessity and usefulness’. Naturally. newspapers and languages.154   H. artists. for example. his gestures. The subject of the debate was ‘Avant-garde tendencies in the theatre of today. According to Bogdanović: It is almost possible to say that. It was contending with forms of social and political discrimination and with racism. In contrast to the earlier congresses.10 Among the delegates there were theatre directors. If. a total of 108 representatives from 33 countries gathered together. theatre could no more have an international activity.6 He also argued that theatre was becoming an efficient international instrument and that the existence of the ITI demonstrated that. In fact. the language which is the living appearance of man. Earlier. international space is what it really needs. in our days. this was the first congress at which artistic questions were discussed. theatre uses a general language. but they were accom- panied by discussions about theatre as an art form. were shaped by novels. National frontiers are already growing too narrow for it. this represented a significant increase in the number of delegates. In Helsinki. theatre was using a general language and thus creating an international commu- nity. administrative issues were discussed. Theatre is essentially a functional art and its broad nature makes all limitations more and more difficult to support. like. too.

In his opinion. Symbolism and surrealism had also expressed hidden facts. He placed it in opposition to propaganda theatre. an artwork. Avant-garde plays were already read and performed and their authors were known in different countries by the theatre internationalists at the end of the 1950s. I would like to argue that it is possible to draw an analogy between choosing the avant-garde as the subject of the discussions at the ITI con- gress and the use of a novel or newspaper to create a notion of belonging to the same community among the participants. He spoke about the avant-garde in contemporary theatre. Otherwise the . Realism and naturalism had helped to expand the concept of reality and reveal new aspects of it. and writing and his world view. an artwork should be original and evoke an immediate intuition. freedom was essential for the avant-garde. It took an oppositional position towards the establishment. the relationship between dramatic works and their audience. For Ionesco.11 Ionesco also discussed ontological questions of art in his opening speech. According to him. Ionesco’s Avant-garde In Ionesco’s opinion. A talented artist would be able to provide both a deeper and wider intuition than a less talented artist. CREATING AN INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY DURING THE COLD WAR  155 address was given by the playwright Eugène Ionesco. It was theatre for a minority and if it were to become theatre for the majority. the main task of an author was to find the truth and express it in his writings. where the ideology was dominant. It was also unpopular since it was characterised as demanding and difficult to understand. an insight of truth. since realism was no longer capable of expressing the real world. all the artist has to do is to provide an insight of truth. literary theatre. it would no longer be avant-­garde but instead arrière-garde. An authentic truth in theatre. The relationship between the avant-garde and the real world was thus governed by tension. He also thought that playwrights were afraid of humour. According to Ionesco. In Ionesco’s opinion. According to him. the avant-garde was an artistic ­phenomenon and a forerunner of culture.12 For Ionesco. It was a reaction against realism. the avant-garde was a ­contemporary ­phenomenon which could be identified with artistic. the avant-garde was an expression of criticism of the present. The only restrictions Ionesco could accept were the technical limitations of the stage. the avant- garde could be defined in terms of opposition and rupture. will have an effect on the audience. even though humour represented one appearance of freedom.

14 The representatives of the Eastern bloc countries supported socialist realism and the definite truth concept. including political events and ideologies. In his opinion. For similar reasons. Bulgaria (Bojan Danovsky). The representative of the German Democratic Republic (GDR).16 Bojan Danovsky accused Ionesco of denying life and making people mis- erable. According to Ionesco all important changes. Czechoslovakia (Jaroslav Pokorny) and the USSR (A. More than anything. The reactions seemed to follow a political division along the front line of the Cold War. nor a demagogue. the representatives of the Eastern bloc were critical of Samuel Beckett as well. since the strongest criticism came from the representatives of the Eastern bloc: Romania (Aurel Baranga). Ionesco’s plays did not represent the ‘favourite readings of the peasants of Central Europe’. Albakin. Ionesco was character- ised as a ‘chamber philosopher’ whose ideas on ideologies were con- sidered too personal and attached to his own world view. He did not have anything against the debate. Wolfgang Langhoff. namely Federico Garcia Lorca.156   H.17 One of the harshest critics was A. the theatre critic of Pravda. but some of them were very harsh in their criticism of him. Besides. Instead they should adhere to the most important task of an author. Baranga believed that Ionesco had forgotten this in his writings. The artist was not a pedagogue. Most of the participants supported Ionesco. Abalkin). also criticised Ionesco.18 . Ionesco stressed the freedom of the avant-garde theatre from all ideological restraints. Ionesco’s opening speech had turned the whole international congress into a circus. In his reply. which was teaching. a playwright and artistic director of the National Theatre in Bucharest. KORSBERG playwright should be completely free. had started among small minorities. Ionesco argued that all representatives of the avant-­garde belong to a minority. but Ionesco was simply not competent enough to give the keynote address. but reshaped and alive. the intendant of the Deutsches Theater.13 Ionesco’s keynote speech was followed by a heated debate.15 According to Aurel Baranga. According to them. where his critics wanted to place all playwrights. Baranga argued that there were other avant-garde authors who were proclaiming ‘noble and courageous ideas’. Bertolt Brecht and Vladimir Mayakovski. who argued that Ionesco was a clown and could not be taken seriously. separate from the majority. playwrights should not lead the audience into despair and loneliness as Eugène Ionesco and Samuel Beckett were doing in their plays. he thought that realism was not dead.

The avant-garde was not new to the Finnish delegates. CREATING AN INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY DURING THE COLD WAR  157 Albakin’s criticism seemed to be personal. the congress decided not to formulate any closing statements about its nature.22 Despite the three-day-long discussions about the definition of the avant-garde.21 As hosts of the congress. It has been argued that the absurd seemed. Vivica Bandler. The discussions at the Helsinki congress in 1959 do not support this claim unless Europe is understood as Western Europe. The secretary general of the ITI. The very first play that can be categorised as avant-garde (and which later would be known as absurdist drama) produced in Finland was Ionesco’s The Lesson. She also directed the world premiere of The New Tenant at Lilla Teatern in 1955. according to Arnold Aronson. ‘a logical. which Vivica Bandler directed at the Kammarteatern at the begin- ning of 1953. Ionesco also received support from the participants. the state censors had allowed Ionesco’s plays to be performed in theatres. tried to calm the debate by warning the congress representatives not to take themselves too seri- ously—otherwise it would be easy to guess the topic of Ionesco’s next play.23 It seemed to be the only conclusion all the delegates could accept since the opinions were extremely contradictory. the Finnish participants did not see any conflict of interest in supporting the author and encouraging the dispute. Kivimaa was the chairperson of the organis- ing committee of the ITI congress and an active agent in international ­cultural exchange. Bandler in France and Witikka in the UK. Jack Witikka had directed two Samuel Beckett plays by 1959: Waiting for Godot in 1954 and Endgame in 1957. It did not ­follow the state censors’ opinion in the USSR.19 However. He was especially supported by the representatives of the UK (Harold Hobson). both at the Finnish National Theatre during Arvi Kivimaa’s period as the gen- eral director of the theatre. after Soviet Premier Khrushchev’s denouncement of Stalinism in 1956. that is. who was also a friend of Ionesco. the countries that were aligned to the Western camp during the Cold War.20 The rep- resentatives of Finland also supported Ionesco. France (Jean-Jacques Bernard) and Belgium (van Vlanderen). Actually. Witikka and Bandler were among the most interna- tionally oriented theatre directors in Finland in the 1950s. almost inevi- table response to the irrationality of war’24 in Europe in the 1950s. They both had studied abroad. Jean Darcante argued that lively debate was the only closing statement the congress decided to give. . since. In my opinion.

Of particular interest is the large number of articles about Ionesco’s keynote address and the sub- sequent discussion. Altogether there were more than 100 articles about it in different Finnish newspapers published all over the country. it was mentioned how Ionesco’s presentation had divided the participants along the contours of the front line of the Cold War. the conception of art was dominated by an idea of popular nationalism: Finnish art was expected to present w ­ ell-­known topics in a realistic way. he was referring specifically to Western Europe. in 1956. During the following season Ionesco’s The Chairs was per- formed at Intimiteatteri and Rhinoceros was staged at the Finnish National Theatre. A theatre called Taskuteatteri performed The Bald Soprano and The Lesson in Helsinki during the congress. but in the political climate of 1956 this could not be argued overtly. Politically the country could not be aligned and it had to balance between the two blocs. the national nature of Finnish culture had developed with the awareness of belonging to a larger European con- text. The international theatre repre- sentatives wanted to show that Finnish theatre was comparable to European theatre. only individual productions had been reviewed in the newspapers. Almost all the articles also mentioned that the Finnish participants had sup- ported the Western camp.26 The ITI congress increased the aware- ness of Ionesco’s plays and the avant-garde in general among Finnish theatre artists and theatregoers. It was the very first time the avant-garde had been extensively presented to the man on the street.28 This had also affected the reception of ­avant-garde . Earlier. In particular.25 It seems to me. in the field of culture it was possible to lean towards the Western camp. The newspapers provided a lot of information about the ITI for their readers. the congress was also discussed in the public sphere of modern culture. This seemed to be true especially right after the con- gress in summer 1959 and in the following season 1959–60. Ionesco’s keynote and the debate it caused were both summarised in the press. The New Tenant returned to the repertory of the Lilla Teatern where it was seen together with The Lesson and a play by Boris Vian. KORSBERG Performing Politics Between East and West The ITI congress was much discussed in the public sphere of modern politics. however.27 Before the ITI congress. In 1959. The Finnish Theatre Journal in particular wrote very extensively about Ionesco’s keynote address. The articles described how a community of international theatre representatives from 33 coun- tries had gathered together in Helsinki.158   H. This had already been explicitly argued by Arvi Kivimaa some years earlier. According to him.

For example. Sukselainen. He stated that theatre and the network of the ITI were an important element in maintaining old and making new inter- national contacts: We have received great encouragement during the last years from the expe- rience. Minister Hosia also spoke at the opening ceremonies on behalf of the Finnish government. in 1954 the play had been ‘risky experi- mental drama. the importance of the congress can be seen from its use of public discourse. in her review of Rhinoceros. Fagerholm. on the contrary. but in 1960 a theatre in the Jyväskylä municipality. In most of the reviews of the productions of absurdist drama the critics had described the confused silence in the auditorium. K. who was the patron of the congress. The genre had a breakthrough and its plays were per- formed in both small and established theatres. but that there are. The opening ceremonies were attended by several high-ranking politi- cians. and the Minister of Education. CREATING AN INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY DURING THE COLD WAR  159 plays. also staged The Lesson.-A. many possibilities for contacts and mutual understanding. Jyväskylän Huoneteatteri. though she saw Rhinoceros on stage for the first time at the Finnish National Theatre. The Political Importance of the ITI Congress Besides the extensive write-ups devoted to it in the newspapers. Paris and Gothenburg. the Prime Minister. The fact that the VIIIth International Congress of Theatre is organized here is a new proof thereof. at the end of the 1960s when Waiting for Godot returned to the repertory of the Finnish National Theatre it was already considered a modern drama clas- sic. For example. V. Sole Uexküll also discussed the recep- tion the play had received in London.29 Previously. Urho Kekkonen.32 . Heikki Hosia. the Speaker of the House.30 The ITI congress in 1959 brought about a considerable change in attitudes towards absurdist drama in Finland. gained in the main through the International Institute of Theatre. including the President of Finland.J. According to Arvi Kivimaa. that our geographic position and our language do not form a separating wall between us and the principal countries in the field of dramatic art.’31 He was referring to the artistic risk the theatre had taken by staging the play at a time when the avant-garde was relatively new to most theatregoers. Only a couple of professional critics knew the plays in advance and could compare the Finnish productions to the productions they had already seen abroad. all avant-garde plays had been performed at a couple of theatres in Helsinki.

all the attendees seemed to already know Ionesco’s work. the congress was a showcase for the success of Finland’s international activities in attracting representatives of interna- tional theatre from different countries. in relation to off. By hosting the ITI congress in 1959 and performing avant-garde drama. A similar event in the fields of politics or economics might not have been possible in Finland during the 1950s. as Matti Kuusi described the country’s geopolitical position. the congress would not have been possible. Thus Finland as a non-aligned country used the same strategies as countries in the Eastern bloc to ensure international cooperation. The ITI congress thus certainly changed the attitudes towards the the- atre of the absurd in Finland.36 . China and three countries from the Eastern bloc (the GDR. The local organiser of the congress was the Central Association of Finnish Theatre Organizations.and off- off-Broadway artists and productions.160   H. At the time it was called ­avant-­garde and only after Martin Esslin’s The Theatre of the Absurd. the theatre circles made a breakthrough to the national theatre scene and participated in the negotiations of Finland’s position between East and West in ‘No Man’s Land’. which was also the Finnish branch of the ITI. was the term ‘absurd’ adopted. the Ministry of Education paid more than 91 % of the costs. Altogether. KORSBERG The political value of the ITI congress can also be seen in the fact that the state was its major financer.35 Regardless of the disputes at the congress. Despite the conflicting reactions to his speech. without financial support from the state.33 Finnish representatives of international theatre used the ITI congress and the performance of avant- garde plays to strategically align themselves with the Western camp. the discussions con- cerning the avant-­garde. which first appeared as an essay in 1960 and then as a book in 1961. This generous state support and the presence of high-ranking politicians were typical for socialist policy. Romania and the USSR) were also accepted as new members at this time. Ionesco was a good representative of the second-wave modernism that had arisen in theatre and drama after World War II. It has since been recognised that the ITI was an essential element in the growth of experimental theatre in worldwide. and served as publicity for both the political and theatre sectors. attracted a lot of attention among representatives of international theatre all over the world. However.34 In my opinion. four countries wanted to join the ITI in 1959. the ITI was also an important element earlier: in 1959 when Eugène Ionesco was invited as keynote speaker. covering almost all the costs. It was reported that this new element of the congress. For the Finnish government.

6. ‘The Charter of the ITI’. Eugène Ionesco. 3. AD 1485/291. 11 September. 7. Notes 1. Benedict Anderson. The Programme of the Eighth Congress of the ITI 1. on the organisation’s webpage http://www. 1991). accessed 22 October 2014. 13. CREATING AN INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY DURING THE COLD WAR  161 These new members altered the balance of power and gave the Eastern bloc new prominence. ‘Ei suuren yleisön teatteria’ and Ionesco ‘Avant garde on nykyhetken kritiikki’. ITI VIII kongressi H:ki 1959. The ITI congress in Helsinki in 1959 was a moment of convergence between the participants and an important turning point in the mediation of cultural influence. 1959. 25 and 77. Rosamond Gilder. 217–356. The Programme of the Eighth Congress of the ITI. Aamulehti. Aamulehti. 14. ‘Ei suuren yleisön teatteria eikä saisi siksi tullakaan’. ‘Avant garde on nykyhetken kritiikki I–III’. 4.unesco. 11. ‘Avantgardismi kiivaitten hyökkäysten ristitulessa’. ‘The Constitution of UNESCO’. Seppo Hentilä. 5 June 1959. 8. http://www. Kwame Anthony Appiah. 15. The Programme of the Eighth Congress of the ITI. for example.iti-worldwide. ‘From the Continuation War to the Present. Central Association of the Finnish Theatre Organizations. . Since the ITI was operating in connection with UNESCO—this became official in 1962—it was important for the organisa- tion to include countries from both blocs as its members.485 (17 October 1948). A Political History of Finland since 1809. Jukka Nevakivi (London: Hurst & Company. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London and New York: Verso. Teatteri 12. ‘Report of the Eighth Congress of the ITI from the Central Association of the Finnish Theatre Organizations to the Ministry of Education’. 5. 1999).VI Helsinki. Department of State Bulletin 19. ‘Avant garde’. 282–284. unesco/about-us/who-we-are/history/constitution/. The National Archives of Finland. 12. 4 June 1959. 1944–1999’. Osmo Jussila. 217. The objectives of the ITI can be found. in From Grand Duchy to a Modern 488–489. Jukka Nevakivi. Archives of the Ministry of Education. The Finnish Theatre Museum Archives. 13. and Ionesco. accessed 15 March 2016. 2005). The Collection of Albert Saloranta. 10. 2.-7. 9. ‘First Congress of the International Theatre Institute’. Ethics of Identity (Princeton: Princeton University Press.

13 and 15/1959. Kirjoituksia suomalaisesta sivistyneistöstä ja älymystöstä. 2000). ‘Avantgardismista keskusteltiin Realistit vastustavana puolena’. 113. 28. For example. 16. ‘Pravdan kriitikko teilaa Ionescon ja kiittää “Reviisoria”’. 1998). Bruce McConachie. Teatteri 12. Volume III Post-World War II to the 1990s.  Wilmeth and Christopher Bigsby (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Erkki Sevänen. 17. 5 June 1959. 18 October 1960. KORSBERG 15. ‘American Theatre in Context’. 23. Gary Jay Williams and Carol Fisher Sorgenfrei. for its part. Helsingin Sanomat. Helsingin Sanomat. Ibid. 6 June 1959. The public sphere of modern culture. Don B. 5 June 1959. 21. 12 June 1959. 87–162. 1960). They are also at the centre of the public sphere of modern politics. This differentiation was not com- plete and the public sphere remained as an intermediary between the state and civil society. The term ‘public sphere’ (German ‘Öffentlichkeit’) (intermediary and cultural) originates from Jürgen Habermas. ‘ITI:n kongressin jälkikaikuja’. 27. 20. ‘Avantgardismia kymmenissä erilaisissa muodoissa’. 7 June 1959. 18. in Älymystön jäljillä. Sole Uexküll. Lilla Teatern advertised its repertory for the fall of 1960 under the title ‘The Modern Line’. 71. Arnold Aronson. 33–63. 25. Suomen Sosialidemokraatti. Kansan Uutiset. . Hanne Koivisto (Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura. Erkki Sevänen has applied it to Finnish society. Uusi Suomi. Zarrilli. Taide instituutiona ja järjestelmänä. Erkki Sevänen. Teatterin humanismi (Keuruu: Otava. Helsingin Sanomat. 29. 1997). ‘Sarvikuonot valloillaan’. 22. ‘ITI hyväksyi uusia jäseniä’.162   H. 19. Ibid. ed. Pentti Karkama. 1972). The main representatives of this intermediary public sphere include the parliamentary system and the media. literary publishing and the cultural press. 24. Sevänen quotes Habermas. 345. according to whom state and civil society were sepa- rated with the modernisation of society. 341. in The Cambridge History of American Theatre. Ionesco was going to be performed in a revue (Lilla Teatern. Modernin taide- elämän historiallissosiologiset mallit (Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura. Philip B. 5 June 1959. 37 and 49. Theatre Histories: An Introduction (New York and London: Routledge. ‘Ensimmäisen tasavallan poliittinen tilanne ja kirjallisen älymystön toimin- tastrategiat’. ‘Teatterin nuoria tuettava mielipide-eroista huolimatta’. Arvi Kivimaa. has been represented by such things as theatre performances. ed. Helsingin Sanomat. 2006). 26.

http://ilona.tinfo. Toiset pidot Tornissa (Jyväskylä: Gummerus.pdf. accessed 26 September 2014. 1959. Heikki Hosia. Teatterin humanismi (Keuruu: Otava. 32. The ITI’s report on its activities in 1958 and 1959 to UNESCO. ‘Off.’ .. 35. 1954).org/images/0014/001429/142938eb. 220. ‘ITI hyväksyi uusia jäseniä. 31. fi/. ILONA. 13–16.Repo. 2000). CREATING AN INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY DURING THE COLD WAR  163 30. http://unesdoc. 36.and Off-Off Broadway’. The Collection of Albert Saloranta. 193. ed. 33. Aryi Kivimaa. Mel Gussow. 1972). The Finnish Theatre Museum Archives.  Wilmeth and Christopher Bigsby (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ed. ‘Minister of Education Heikki Hosia’s Speech at the Opening Ceremonies of the Eighth Congress of the ITI’.unesco. 1959. accessed 29 October 2014. in The Cambridge History of American Theatre: Volume III: Post-World War II to the 1990s. Eino S. 34. 196–223. a Finnish theatre database of performances. Don B.

‘we can accelerate the formation of a new consciousness. we can shape human actions. though. which can be described as a large factory in the theatre sector’. he told the Leipzig City Council. drawing in millions of workers and housewives. Szymanski-Düll (eds. thoughts. As director of the largest theatre in the two Germanys.4 million viewers a year. Kunakhovich (*) The University of Virginia. Transnational Theatre Histories. ‘You will not achieve success K.). CHAPTER 10 The Cultural Cold War on the Home Front: The Political Role of Theatres in Communist Kraków and Leipzig Kyrill Kunakhovich In June 1962—just months after the construction of the Berlin Wall—the head of the Leipzig City Theatres explained why his work had become more important than ever. B. VA. Karl Kayser (1914–95) oversaw five stages. Charlottesville. and some 1. Kayser insisted. 200 productions. going to the theatre was an essential aspect of economic construction. and feelings’. DOI 10. ‘We are a factory. just like air for breathing’. Globalization and the Cold War.1007/978-3-319-48084-8_10 . ‘Art and culture have to become a vital need. For this process to work. argued Kayser.1 What this factory produced was not pipes or shoes but the New Socialist Man. ‘By means of art and culture. Balme. preparing men to be active members of our soci- ety and patriots of socialism’. In fact. Theatre.B. theatre had to orient itself at a mass audience. USA © The Author(s) 2017 165 C.

4 This chapter examines the impact of such battles by looking at the case of theatre. artists. it was a way to influence society: by appealing to people’s emotions. They gave officials their best opportunity to expose residents to high culture. To trace the changing role of theatre. and the impact this War had on their artistic profile. As a form of live performance.3 By privileging competition abroad. and spread a Marxist worldview. Yet socialist and bourgeois art faced each other every day across the entire Soviet bloc. The biggest battles of the cultural Cold War were fought on the ‘home front’. At the same time. which reinforced capitalist oppression and undermined communist development. Above all. Both Kraków and Leipzig had two Culture Departments. and Leipzig in East Germany. foster patriotism. foreign tours. For government officials. and audiences.2 Karl Kayser’s speech reflected the significance that communist states attached to cultural life. and therefore received the largest subsidies of any cultural institution. KUNAKHOVICH in ­production or fulfil the plan without art and culture!’ he warned the assembled City Council delegates. not political capitals but renowned cul- tural centres. As large public spaces. Numerous studies have explored international festivals. they have tended to overlook cultural confrontations at home. but it has received relatively little attention from scholars of the cultural Cold War. one in the city government . they also represented a potential risk and necessitated close supervision. It focuses on two case studies—Kraków in Poland. and mass media broadcasts aimed at the ‘other side’. art could become both an asset and a threat. The struggle between ‘socialist culture’ and bourgeois influences was at the focus of Soviet bloc cultural policy. Both were cities of roughly similar size. They were also the ‘second cities’ in their respective countries. This essay investigates the role that theatres played in the cultural Cold War. Considering these two cases side by side offers an opportunity to compare how two Soviet bloc states handled Cold War cultural competi- tion. It also allows us to transcend local ­particularities and trace the outlines of a transnational project—the bloc-wide quest for a ‘socialist culture’. Thanks to this power.166   K. with major universities and large working-class populations. they constantly worried about the corrupting impact of ‘bourgeois culture’. I explore the triangular rela- tionship between administrators. theatres lay at the heart of the state’s cul- tural project. however. art was more than a pleasant pastime or an aesthetic experience. Soviet bloc authorities devoted immense time and effort to creating a distinctive ‘socialist culture’ that would raise productivity. art could convey political ideas more effectively than verbal propaganda.

A similar shift took place in Leipzig during phase four. even as city officials made limited efforts to attract factory viewers. THE CULTURAL COLD WAR ON THE HOME FRONT: THE POLITICAL ROLE. In Kraków as in Leipzig. the two theatres radically changed their ways. . To examine what these performances looked like. each lasting six or seven years. and officials all influenced a the- atre’s profile. This paper follows the development of theatre in Kraków and Leipzig from the end of the Second World War to the early 1970s. In Leipzig. Consumerism (1964–70). distributed funding. highlights the constructive role of state officials in cultural life. Both the Stary Teatr and the Schauspielhaus came to play for elite audiences while struggling to secure attendance and funding.5 This chapter. Most studies of culture under communism see the state as a restrictive force. however. and organised attendance.. could create the performances that actually appeared on stage. They began to stage didactic Soviet-bloc productions for an organised worker public. I analyse some of their most significant productions while using a quantitative approach to track the evolution of their repertoires over time. Under the third phase. the programme of didactic theatre only intensified. responding to officials’ demands to create the New Socialist Man. I divide this period into four phases. Finally. and it was the interaction among these three groups that defined communist theatre. They performed for a predominantly middle-class audience. Who sat in the seats had a direct impact on what played on the stage. they also had to pay close attention to box office receipts. the Stary Teatr and the Schauspielhaus markedly diverged. In phase two. local administrators shaped both the art that theatres produced and the audiences that consumed it. artists. and the Schauspielhaus (Theatre House) in Leipzig. I focus on one lead- ing theatre in each city—the Stary Teatr (Old Theatre) in Kraków. Reconstruction (1945–50).. De-Stalinisation (1957–63). in Kraków. both the Stary Teatr and the Schauspielhaus recreated their prewar repertoires. State officials approved theatre repertoires. I rely on newspaper accounts and sociological surveys to reconstruct the demographics of the theatregoing public. Stalinism (1950–56).   167 and the other within the Party hierarchy. During the first phase. Soviet plays gave way to avant-garde Western productions. Theatres had to adjust their productions to viewers’ expectations and education levels. by contrast. capable only of suppressing creativity. Only actors and directors. I use their internal records to investigate how they formulated cultural policy and what they did to implement it on the ground. Audiences. I argue that these transformations were driven primarily by changes in the state’s cultural project.

For all these differences. Theatre returned to Leipzig in September 1945. What they did not do. but in many ways they offered a study in contrast. losing some 4000 buildings and 40 % of its housing stock. […] and it is on this spirit that we want to build [our future].9 Yet works by ­contemporary Western authors remained just . This was a reprisal of a Nazi production from 1943. ‘In our conditions of need. Leipzig was liberated by American forces. we have to learn to live by the spiri- tual and the ethical. local officials promptly rebuilt Leipzig’s ruined Schauspielhaus and took Kraków’s Stary Teatr under municipal control. and German authorities all saw theatre as a way of regenerating society. The Schauspielhaus con- tributed to these efforts by staging works by anti-fascist playwrights such as Bertolt Brecht and Friedrich Wolf. Polish. conversely. In the six sea- sons from 1945 to 1951. it also began to put on plays from the USSR.6 Kraków managed to survive the war nearly unscathed. Leipzig’s socialist mayor wrote in the programme. both the Stary Teatr and the Schauspielhaus continued to operate much as they had before the Second World War. Three months later. and Konstantin Simonov. Soviet. in the first postwar years. main- tained sole authority over administrative affairs. it offered shelter to tens of thousands of Polish refugees. the brand- new Schauspielhaus opened with Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. ‘it is spirit that makes man human. Both cities fell into Moscow’s sphere of influence. Leipzig had been badly bombed during the war. when Georg Büchner’s Woyzeck premiered in the auditorium of the local zoo.7 Just before Christmas. With the encouragement of Soviet occupation authorities. who quickly relinquished control to Soviet troops. the Schauspielhaus premiered 16 Russian or Soviet productions. KUNAKHOVICH I. now more than ever’. Leipzig was subordinated to a military occupation regime. Kraków’s local government. In the early postwar years.168   K. which held sway over the City Council. several plays were recycled from the Nazi era. Reconstruction (1945–50) On 18 January 1945 the Red Army occupied Kraków. postwar authorities sought to overcome Nazi militarism and build a new foundation for German identity. chasing out the last of the Nazi administrators. which were seen as an important tool of denazification. during the first postwar season. including plays by Chekhov. Like all of Germany. Amidst food rationing and electricity shortages. both cities devoted privileged attention to their theatres. was try to influ- ence these theatres’ artistic profile.’8 In stressing spirituality and humanism. Gogol. however.

‘There is a new reality today. American social dramas. a 1937 play by the French existentialist Jean Anouilh.. Under the Weimar Republic. By autumn 1945. In Kraków. and even Traveller without Luggage. there were eight professional theatres operating in the city.16 From 1945 to 1950. THE CULTURAL COLD WAR ON THE HOME FRONT: THE POLITICAL ROLE. no less than it had been before the Second World War.17 Only 16 % of all viewers in this period actually worked in a factory. mostly sponsored by leftist political parties. the end of Nazi occupation sparked a cultural renaissance.18 Theatre in Leipzig remained an elite pursuit.11 City officials forced the theatre to dismiss members of the Nazi party. It reopened in April 1945 under the direction of Jerzy Bujański.14 SED officials praised such measures as a significant achievement. reflecting the diversity of early postwar repertoires. Bujański stressed theatre’s role in postwar renewal.13 To ­promote working-class attendance. and subsidised tickets for ­ordinary workers. A representative of the Socialist Unity Party (SED) explained this policy in early 1947. which had also overseen its predecessor. workers from 50 local factories were invited to opening night.10 These included English ­comedies. ‘When a considerable number of theatregoers come from the ranks of the working class. which accounted for 29 % of Leipzig’s theatre attendance. made sure it balanced the books.B. a random entertain- ment play that could be shown anywhere in the world’. leaving these to the theatre’s director-general. how- ever. When the Schauspielhaus debuted in December 1945. like J. more than a third of all theatregoers came in groups. that is already a significant achievement. by contrast. Soviet works thus shared the stage with new productions from the capital- ist West. an art lover and entrepreneur who ran Kraków’s Concert Bureau in the interwar years. including the Stary Teatr—actually Poland’s oldest stage. the Altes Theater.19 The Stary had closed its doors in 1893. . Priestley’s Ever Since Paradise. but organising worker audiences was in fact nothing new. one quarter of the Schauspielhaus’s audience came as part of an organised group. no matter what appears on stage—even if it is an entertainment play. while the rest—five out of six theatregoers—belonged to the professional class. The Schauspielhaus was administered directly by the Leipzig City Council.. city authorities organised travelling performances and set up a season subscription. with 15 premieres over six years. he argued.20 Like Leipzig officials.12 They rarely intervened in repertoire decisions. when its ensemble moved to the newly built Słowacki Theatre a few blocks away.15 Nazi authorities car- ried on this practice with their programme of Strength through Joy. since 1912.   169 as frequent. such as Mourning Becomes Electra by Eugene O’Neill.

was in line with interwar era. theatre directors argued.27 Unless public subsidies went up. It. Deeming ‘spiritual reconstruction’ too important a task to be left in private hands. when the Słowacki Theatre typically sold just half its tickets. he declared. performed Soviet and Western works in equal proportion: over their first six seasons. . From 1945 to 1950. Another problem was that factory viewers were not always easy to find. Konstantin Simonov. Yet these efforts had a limited effect: in the last quarter of 1945. Priestley. but this was actually less than they had covered in the prewar era.B. City authorities did subsidise 18 % of the Stary’s oper- ating budget for 1947. rela- tively few workers were willing to spend their time and money on high cul- ture.23 This was communism’s main impact on Polish theatre—not promoting Soviet works but making repertoires more Polish.28 This. was that box office receipts were needed to stay in the black. only one in six Stary Teatr tickets was sold at a discount. too. Like Leipzig’s Schauspielhaus. The net result was that Kraków’s theatres often went empty. the Stary Teatr forecast an average attendance rate of 55 per cent. for instance.170   K. but gave both theatres considerable autonomy over rep- ertoire choices. when just 28 % of the Słowacki’s repertoire consisted of Polish productions. the Stary Teatr put on J. having undergone a fundamental ideological transformation from theater-lackey of cheap public tastes to advocate for social and ethical values. both Kraków’s Stary Teatr and Leipzig’s Schauspielhaus closely resembled their prewar predecessors: they put on profitable plays for a self-selecting audience.25 Part of the issue. the Stary and the Słowacki staged 16 plays from the Soviet bloc and 17 by authors living in the capitalist West.21 Kraków’s socialist-controlled City Council agreed with this sentiment all too much. 63 % of all plays at the Stary and the Słowacki were Polish—a sharp rise from the 1934/5 season. city funds paid for a full third of the Słowacki Theatre’s total costs. is now known as the architect of citizens’ spiritual reconstruction’.22 As in Germany.29 In the first postwar years. however.26 Over the 1928/9 season. it took the Stary Teatr under municipal control in May 1946. in 1947.24 Like their counterparts in Leipzig. and Jean Anouilh. as theatre directors pointed out. the bulk of the repertoire was devoted to national theatre. too. As long as theatre attendance remained voluntary. they simply could not afford to offer too many discount tickets. City officials administered the Stary jointly with the Słowacki. Part of the rationale for taking over the Stary Teatr was to ‘bring the- atre closer to the world of labour’. Kraków officials offered reduced prices for workers and put on special performances for factory groups. as the governor of Kraków Province put it in 1946. KUNAKHOVICH and theater.


II. Stalinism (1950–56)
In Poland as in the Soviet Zone of Germany, the end of the 1940s marked
the start of a new era. In December 1948, Poland’s socialist and com-
munist parties merged into the Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR),
which maintained a near monopoly on political life. Nine months later,
SED leaders proclaimed the creation of an autonomous East German
state, the German Democratic Republic (GDR). Both countries carried
out administrative reforms designed to centralise power and eliminate
local self-rule. They also adopted new economic plans that stressed the
triad of ­nationalisation, industrialisation, and collectivisation. All these
measures aimed to advance the ‘building of socialism’, and culture, too,
was enlisted in the effort. ‘Art is a precise weapon of ideological struggle,
a way of shaping man’, Poland’s Culture Minister declared in 1952: ‘we
measure art by its effectiveness, by its ability to create a new, socialist soci-
ety’.30 Such statements subordinated artistic matters to political ends, but
they also reaffirmed art’s power and significance. As a transformative social
force, art had to be carefully controlled. This attitude conditioned cultural
policy in Kraków and Leipzig, redefining the meaning of theatre.
What affected theatres most of all was administrative centralisation. In
early 1950, Leipzig’s Schauspielhaus was incorporated into the Leipzig
City Theatres (Städtische Theater Leipzig, or STL), a conglomerate that
included an opera house, an operetta, two theatres, and a children’s stage.
All five stages were overseen by one director-general, who reported to the
Leipzig City Council; they also came under the supervision of the State
Committee for Cultural Affairs in Berlin. Set up in 1951, the Committee
not only vetted repertoires but issued programmatic guidelines for art. It
played a key role in the so-called ‘formalism campaign’, which condemned
Western ‘decadence’, promoted Socialist Realism, and criticised m ­ odernists
like Brecht. All these prescriptions were incorporated into the repertoires
of the Leipzig Schauspielhaus and its sister stage, the Kammerspiele.
From 1951 to 1953, the two theatres premiered just one work by a ­living
Western author—Bill Gates’ The Earth Remains, a social drama about
Australian farmers. By contrast, they staged 11 productions by playwrights
from the Soviet bloc, including works by Maksim Gorki and Vsevolod
Ivanov. Leipzig theatre was cut off from the contemporary West and firmly
integrated into the Soviet cultural sphere. Its most prominent productions,
though, were new works by ideologically committed East German authors.
Such plays addressed pressing social issues like gender equality, socialist


morality, and the legacy of the Second World War. In 1953/4, they made
up nearly half the repertoire, helping the Schauspielhaus keep up with
current events.
Theatre’s new repertoire reflected its new role in East German society. As
Leipzig officials pointed out, the main goal of theatre was not to entertain
viewers but to educate them. ‘[Art] should express the new social relations
of the GDR; help workers march towards peace, progressive development,
and German unity; and give them enthusiasm, courage, and optimistic con-
fidence in this struggle’, Leipzig’s City Council declared in 1950.31 To be
effective, however, theatre productions had to be easy to understand. The
Schauspielhaus expressly rejected avant-garde methods and creative inter-
pretations, choosing to focus on ‘the poet’s word’.32 Playbills helped drive
the message home, linking the action on stage to contemporary affairs.
A programme for Molière’s The Imaginary Invalid (1673) included an
article on medical advances in the GDR; the booklet for Friedrich Schiller’s
Intrigue and Love (1784) carried an attack on West German militarism.33
In a 1950 production of Sophocles’ Antigone, actors directly encouraged
viewers to vote in the upcoming elections, blurring the line between art
and life. In 1950s Leipzig, theatre was politics by other means.
The trouble with this kind of didactic theatre was that hardly anyone
wanted to see it.34 The STL’s attendance rate plummeted from 89 % dur-
ing the 1947/8 season to 58 % in 1950/1.35 As city authorities lamented,
the most ‘valuable’ productions were also the most unpopular; Antigone
played to empty seats, while romantic comedies like Dario Niccodemi’s
Dawn, Day, Night usually sold out.36 To overcome this problem, Leipzig
officials started forcing factories to purchase season tickets. By law, East
German trade unions had to devote 15 % of member dues to ‘cultural
activities’ like theatre visits.37 The STL offered them packages that ­covered
ten visits a year, spread across its five stages. Factories then distributed
these to their workers, sometimes as a reward for good performance and
sometimes as a form of discipline. From the officials’ perspective, this
arrangement killed two birds with one stone. It liberated theatres from
box office constraints, enabling them to stage ideological productions;
and it brought these productions to millions of workers, who were meant
to learn and profit from the theatre. The number of working-class the-
atregoers rose throughout the 1950s, as a result of a concerted effort
by theatre staff and city officials. Organised groups made up just 7 % of
all viewers in 1950 but more than half the audience by 1956.38 Leipzig
theatre became a fundamentally different institution than it had been after


the Second World War, or in the half-century before that. By decoupling
repertoires from profitability, Leipzig officials turned theatre into a school
for socialism.
A similar transformation began in Kraków in 1949, when both the
Stary Teatr and the Słowacki were subordinated directly to the Ministry
of Culture in Warsaw. From then on, it was the Ministry rather than the
city that allocated funds and approved repertoires. It also set attendance
targets for each theatre, forcing them to cultivate new viewers. After aver-
aging 55 % attendance in 1947, the Stary Teatr was ordered to reach 82
% in 1949.39 As in Leipzig, Kraków theatres turned to local factories for
help; they organised buses to bring workers to the theatre, and went on
the road themselves to play in warehouses and meeting halls. By 1952,
four out of five theatregoers came as part of an organised group.40 This
new audience forced the Stary to alter its artistic profile. Over its first five
postwar seasons, the theatre recruited viewers with novelty and variety,
averaging 13 premieres a year. After 1950, however, it performed the same
few productions for as many people as possible; from 1950 to 1956, the
Stary Teatr staged only six new plays per season. Many artists bemoaned
this shift as a cultural stagnation, but what it really showed was theatre’s
new function. As one official explained in 1953, ‘theatre is a serious mat-
ter, and its repertoire is nothing but a means of educating the masses’.41
To accomplish this task, the Stary Teatr began putting on a differ-
ent kind of plays. In April 1949, Polish authorities declared Socialist
Realism to be the binding ‘method’ for all theatre productions.42 The
Stary Teatr responded with plays like The Tractor and the Girl by Tadeusz
Kwiatkowski and Aleksandr Maliszewski’s Yesterday and the Day Before—
the heroic story of Warsaw’s postwar reconstruction. As in Leipzig, new
Western productions practically disappeared. In the six seasons from 1949
to 1955, the Stary Teatr put on just one play by an author living in the
West: Thirty Pieces of Silver by the American communist Howard Fast, an
account of the McCarthy-era witch hunts. Meanwhile, works from the
Soviet bloc made up a quarter of all productions over the same time frame.
They included Stonecutter Karhan’s Brigade by the Czechoslovak play-
wright Vašek Kána, a depiction of socialism in the factory that became one
of the bloc’s most widely performed plays. Such works perfectly reflected
the PZPR’s vision for theatre: ‘to show the truth of our new times and
new people, the truth of acute class conflict, the truth of the great idea
of building socialism in Poland’.43 This vision guided the Stary Teatr after
1949, but seven years later it vanished almost overnight.


III. De-Stalinisation (1957–63)
One of the main turning points in Soviet bloc culture took place in
Moscow, during the Twentieth Congress of the Soviet Communist
Party. On 25 February 1956 Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev delivered
his ‘Secret Speech’, formally entitled ‘On the Cult of Personality and
Its Consequences’. In explicitly criticising Joseph Stalin, the speech cast
doubt on the whole trajectory of communist development. Countries
across the Soviet bloc were faced with a common dilemma: how to save
communism while admitting that much had been wrong? This shared
challenge elicited very different responses in Poland and the GDR. Polish
Prime Minister Bolesław Bierut could not overcome the shock and died in
a Moscow hospital two weeks later. For the PZPR, a crisis of faith turned
into a succession crisis; to preserve its grip on power, the Party carried
out major reforms and installed the popular Władysław Gomułka as Party
leader. In East Germany, by contrast, long-time SED head Walter Ulbricht
sought to minimise the impact of Khrushchev’s speech. He purged politi-
cal opponents, expanded the Secret Police, and renewed calls for ‘socialist
construction’. These opposing reactions produced divergent outcomes in
Kraków and Leipzig. After a decade of following the same trajectory, the
Stary Teatr and the Schauspielhaus began to go their separate ways.
In the aftermath of a popular uprising in June 1953, East Germany’s
cultural scene had experienced a kind of thaw. The unpopular State
Committee for Cultural Affairs was replaced by a Ministry of Culture,
which cultivated better relationships with artists. Theatre directors
gained more leeway to choose their own repertoires, and the Leipzig
Schauspielhaus responded by putting on more Western productions.44
Between 1954 and 1957, the STL staged works by contemporary French
writers Jean Paul Sartre, Jean Anouilh, and André Birabeau. In the wake of
Khrushchev’s ‘Secret Speech’, it even premiered two plays that dealt with
the Cult of Personality.45 Such ‘revisionism’ was precisely what Ulbricht
was afraid of, and it drove the Leipzig City Council to appoint a new
director-general—Karl Kayser, who remained in this post until the fall
of the Berlin Wall. Born in Leipzig to a Socialist Party organiser father,
Kayser was deeply committed to the communist cause. ‘I believed in the
Party, I received it from my mother’s milk’,46 he told the last session of the
SED Central Committee in November 1989. As an accomplished actor
and director, Kayser was well equipped to carry out the Party’s cultural
program. A series of conferences held in the later 1950s laid out Ulbricht’s


goals for East German culture: art was meant to improve productivity,
teach socialism, and unify society.47 These notions were not new, but their
implementation would be unprecedented. Under Kayser’s leadership, the
STL really did become ‘a large factory in the theatre sector’.
Kayser’s first step was to cleanse the repertoire of any suspect works.
‘Quality in art is an ideological question’, he announced in a 1961 edito-
rial; ‘all of our productions must be feats for socialism’.48 Kayser avoided
plays from the capitalist West, seeing them as a ‘covert manoeuvre […] to
liquidate our way [of life]’.49 What he advocated instead were works about
East German society—many of them commissioned from the half-dozen
dramatists on staff. Such productions were intended for a working-class
audience, and often dealt explicitly with factory life. One play—1963’s
Millionenschmidt—was actually written by a construction worker, Horst
Kleineidam, who based it on the experiences of his own brigade.50 This
work proved particularly unpopular with viewers, but for Kayser, that was
precisely the point. ‘Awakening new needs, teaching people to think and
act in a Party-minded way, developing new humanist feelings—these are
the tasks of theatre’, he wrote in his first Leipzig programme.51 To secure
attendance, Kayser’s staff made more than 2000 factory visits a year,
and achieved impressive results.52 In 1961, the STL sold some 93,000
season tickets for a workforce of 308,000; every performance was filled
beyond 95 % of capacity, and three-fourths of all viewers came in groups.53
Kayser’s efforts showed that socialist theatre could be commercially suc-
cessful. Leipzig boasted more theatregoers per capita than any city in the
two Germanys while exposing them to ideological productions.54
Poland also felt the signs of a cultural ‘thaw’ after Stalin’s death. In
June 1954, the Stary Teatr regained autonomy from the Słowacki, though
it remained subordinated to the Ministry of Culture. The next season,
it went on tour to Paris and performed a contemporary French play for
the first time in seven years.55 The real change, though, came only after
Khrushchev’s ‘Secret Speech’. Amid popular protests, the PZPR’s author-
ity on the ground practically evaporated. In Kraków, a self-proclaimed
Student Revolutionary Committee took power in mid-October 1956,
running its own militia and even setting up a housing commission.56
Gomułka’s accession helped restore order, but the new regime still had
to distance itself from the Stalinist era. At a cultural congress in 1958,
the Secretary of the Central Committee—Jerzy Morawski—condemned
Stalinism’s ‘imposition of a normative aesthetic and a certain doctrinar-
ism in artistic affairs’.57 From then on, he insisted, cultural policy would


revolve around the needs of the audience. ‘People have diverse ­preferences
and tastes—[differences] in their psychological structure, in what pro-
duces rest and relaxation’, Morawski argued; ‘based on a more realistic
assessment of the situation, we will carry out a policy of cultural choice—a
policy of such promotion [of culture], which will better satisfy the differ-
ent needs of the masses’.58 More choice for consumers also meant more
autonomy for cultural producers. Since art was a matter of personal taste,
it did not have to be ‘directly educational or socially useful’, as Morawski
noted.59 Both artists and audiences thus acquired new freedoms, trans-
forming the nature of theatre in Kraków.
Most immediately, the Stary Teatr gained the right to set its own rep-
ertoire. The Culture Ministry’s oversight ended in 1958, leaving the the-
atre under city administration.60 In practice, though, the director-general
simply picked his own productions—and after years of prohibitions, these
were predominantly Western.61 The Stary Teatr turned to American works
like Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire and Eugene O’Neill’s A
Long Day’s Journey into Night. It devoted even more attention to French
theatre, putting on avant-garde plays by Eugène Ionesco, Albert Camus,
and Jean Giraudoux. From 1957 to 1963, the theatre averaged four con-
temporary Western productions per year—more than all Polish and Soviet
bloc plays put together. This repertoire allowed actors and directors to
reconnect with Western trends, but it was not particularly popular among
viewers. In Kraków as a whole, per capita attendance fell by a quarter over
the same time frame.62 Part of the issue was that organised audiences disap-
peared entirely; having embraced the principle of cultural choice, city offi-
cials stopped bussing workers from the factories. By 1958, one study found,
the average Kraków worker went to the theatre just once in five years.63
Theatre turned into an elite space for educated viewers, but there were sim-
ply not enough of them to fill the seats. In 1953, one play’s attendance rate
of 64 % had been described by Party officials as a ‘catastrophe’; eight years
later, the Stary Teatr’s main stage averaged 62 % attendance.64 As it turned
out, freedom of choice was a double-edged sword. The Stary could put on
ambitious productions but it could not compel viewers to come.

IV. Consumerism (1964–70)
In the early 1960s, Leipzig’s Schauspielhaus and Kraków’s Stary Teatr
presented two very different models of theatre. One put on Soviet bloc
plays for millions of factory workers; the other performed Western works


in front of a shrinking intelligentsia audience. By the end of the decade,
however, the two theatres had again started to look alike, reconciled by
a shared vision of art as consumption. Consumption became a major
emphasis across the Soviet bloc during the 1960s: both Ulbricht and
Gomułka toned down rhetoric of struggle and asceticism while ramping
up production of household appliances. Increasingly, they spoke of satisfy-
ing society rather than transforming it, and their notions of culture came
to reflect this evolution. At a cultural congress in 1964, East Germany’s
Culture Minister announced that culture ‘belongs to the domain of social
consumption, […] bringing people together for many encounters and
[…] merry hours’.65 Members of the Polish Central Committee ­likewise
referred to culture as ‘a consumer good […] which serves to satisfy peo-
ple’s needs’.66 Far from being a tool of social engineering, culture became
synonymous with leisure, entertainment, and individual choice. In Poland,
as we have seen, this change happened quite abruptly in 1956. For the
GDR, however, it was a much more gradual process, which reoriented
Leipzig’s Schauspielhaus over the course of the 1960s.
Just two years after Karl Kayser called them a ‘theatre factory’, the
Leipzig City Theatres struck a new chord. ‘Some years ago, we used to
evaluate each work by asking, “Will it give the public sufficient answers
to its problems?”’, the Theatres’ chief dramatist wrote in 1965; ‘now, we
have to esteem the viewer [more] highly, […] and ask, “Will the theatre
raise questions that he doesn’t know?”’67 The new approach transformed
STL repertoires, making them more diverse and less didactic. In the five
seasons from 1959 to 1964, the STL put on 15 plays from the Soviet Bloc
and six by contemporary Western authors. Over the following five seasons,
this proportion was reversed, with 14 works by writers living in the West
and only five by playwrights from the East. The biggest shift, though, was
in the kind of plays the STL performed. Productions about workers and
factories gave way to family dramas and youth comedies. One example was
1969’s In Matters of Adam and Eve by the young East German author
Rudi Strahl, a light-hearted look at the challenges of married life. What
such plays presented were not role models but relatable characters that
could help viewers with their everyday problems. As the STL’s chief dra-
matist explained, ‘theatre cannot give the answer, but can only develop
viewers’ enjoyment, encouraging reflection and spiritual self-help’.68
In keeping with this attitude, the STL placed less emphasis on organis-
ing factory viewers. Season-ticket holders made up 70 % of the audience
in 1964 but just 52 % five years later.69 The very notion of a season ticket

75 Many plays focused on contemporary social issues like generational change and national identity. they had far less reason to invest. he aimed to find works that spoke to contemporary audiences. told the story of an old servant who turned his master’s abandoned palace into a museum to ‘old Poland’. two stages required special approval from the fire mar- shal just to open for the 1970/1 season. Officials spent heavily on art when they saw it as a way of building socialism. which could be found in three of four GDR households. plunging the theatres into financial trouble. ‘it is precisely this dialogue. Plays by Anouilh. when workers received special discounts but were not compelled to show up en masse. and Ionesco retained pride of place.71 From 1965 to 1975. often using elements of satire and the grotesque to make veiled political allusions. along with new works by Edward Albee and Peter Schaffer. This was a logical consequence of the SED’s consumerist attitude to culture.70 In many ways. but it also undermined the theatre’s long-term prospects.76 . the theatre performed just one Soviet bloc play per year. ‘This is a play about our own consciousness. they did not provide for new construction. though. that gives a theatre its reason to be’. one critic observed. Sartre. the STL began to sell packages that covered just three to four shows and allowed subscribers to choose the ones they wanted.74 Cultural con- sumerism made Leipzig’s Schauspielhaus more diverse and popular with elite viewers. KUNAKHOVICH changed as well: from 1968. thoughts. funding for cultural infrastructure was 17 times higher between 1956 and 1962 than in the subsequent six years. ‘The Stary Teatr’s ambition is to […] carry on a dialogue with its viewer’. In Kraków. once they came to view it as a leisure-time activity. ambitions. By the late 1960s. In Leipzig District as a whole.73 While state subsidies covered the theatres’ operational costs. attendance at the STL declined by a full quarter. The Match in the Palace by the 33-year-­ old Jarosław Abramow. Meanwhile. the Stary Teatr largely maintained the repertoire it had adopted in 1956. Overall. mostly as a way to appease city officials. he wrote in a 1965 programme. about the difficulties of fitting a ­collective term—Poland—to our private aspirations. leaving existing buildings to decay. [and] dreams’. workers had many more options for spending their free time—notably television. contemporary Western productions made up a third of all premieres over the 1960s. One major production. As the Stary’s director-­ general explained. this meant a return to pre-1950 practices.72 The STL was forced to cut a sixth of its staff and put off neces- sary renovations. however. the mutual influence of the viewer on the theatre and of the theatre on the viewer.178   K.

the Stary Teatr had in fact become old. we have simply been commercialized’. and beloved composers’. all its acclaimed produc- tions unfolded in decrepit. ‘economic rigour has fundamentally overshadowed artistic criteria’. the theatre put on variety shows like 1969’s Fair of Songs. *** The main trends of the 1960s only intensified in the next two decades. Under renowned directors like Andrzej Wajda. the STL began to stage controversial works by younger playwrights like Volker Braun and Ulrich Plenzdorf. theatre staff played an active part in popular protests in 1989. popular. forcing officials to shut down the Schauspielhaus’s sister stage.84 In Kraków as in Leipzig.80 Yet economic rigour and artistic freedom were two sides of the same coin. To make ends meet.82 Though Karl Kayser remained in charge. encouraging actors and directors to move beyond realism and develop ‘individual styles’. the STL had just half as many viewers as in 1964.83 Meanwhile.. Kraków’s Stary Theatre gained international fame in the early 1970s for new ­interpretations of Polish classics.. which featured ‘well known.81 Material conditions also worsened. by 1989. Kraków’s theatre attendance per capita fell by 40 % over the 1960s. state control had insulated the Stary Teatr from fi ­ nancial concerns. city authori- ties complained in 1984. popular. communist theatre ultimately accelerated their demise. As theatre administrators discovered. total theatre attendance continued to decline. As Poland’s economy deteriorated. but after 1956 one set of pressures gave way to another. THE CULTURAL COLD WAR ON THE HOME FRONT: THE POLITICAL ROLE. In Leipzig. ‘As a theatre. Designed to support East European regimes. the Kammerspiele. and complained about them bitterly. Under Stalinism. but they were unable to attract big crowds. officials reported that just 14 out of 252 theatre stages in Kraków Province were in working order. and beloved actors singing songs by well known.78 True to its name. ‘There are almost no plays that don’t touch on contemporary issues in a tendentious way’.79 The director-general viewed such pro- ductions as a regrettable necessity. the Stary Teatr grew increasingly political.77 By the early 1970s. independence from the state brought dependence on the market. he lamented in 1971.   179 Such productions proved popular with both viewers and critics. dilapidated surroundings. producing the same problems as in Leipzig. The director-general himself called for an ‘aesthetic openness’. in 1978. . the ensemble toured Europe with productions of works by Adam Mickiewicz and Stanisław Wyspiański.

‘Anything that does not help us. By putting on too many Western plays. but their role was far more than restrictive: they bussed millions of work- ers to the theatre. To be sure. this is the notion that guided theatre for most of the postwar period. however. Both the Stary Teatr and the Schauspielhaus came to sell seats to elite viewers by promising personal sat- isfaction. aimed to please viewers. The notion of the theatregoer as a willing consumer is so ingrained today that it is usually taken for granted. Karl Kayser explained in 1958. Theatre stopped trying to satisfy popular tastes and set out to transform them instead. and commis- sioned hundreds of new plays. didactic theatre defined itself as the polar opposite of theatre in the West: it was not individualist. KUNAKHOVICH Both Leipzig’s Schauspielhaus and Kraków’s Stary Teatr changed enormously over the communist era. wilful consumption gave way to enforced reception. State offi- cials continued to censor repertoires. convincing them to keep buying tickets. domestic performances actually con- structed it at home. officials sought to expose residents to ‘beneficial’ socialist plays and insulate them from ‘pernicious’ Western influences.180   K. however. is the brief phase of didactic theatre. By regulating what theatres put on. invested heavily in theatre infrastructure. communist theatres themselves adopted all these traits. teach- ing Marxist values and promoting a patriotic worldview. Some productions were meant to entertain. All of them. Didactic theatre was a direct outgrowth of the cultural Cold War. or patients to be cured. What Soviet bloc officials set up was an alternative model of theatre. A single stage could reach thousands of viewers each day. This made theatre into an important Cold War weapon: while foreign tours legitimated com- munism in the eyes of the world. others to shock or to spur reflection.85 For this reason. commercial. What stands out. Yet their social function was not fundamentally different in 1989 than it had been in 1945: each theatre sought to attract viewers by staging popular plays. Even under communism. though. The impetus for didactic theatre came from state officials. These officials banned certain plays and censored others. with a unique relationship to its viewers and its repertoire. During this time. Yet theatres also carried a potential risk. hurts us’. who believed that art would help build a new socialist society. theatres treated viewers as students to be taught. major differences from the West remained. Once the didactic phase came to an end. encourage working-class ­attendance. or classist. which lasted about six years in Kraków (1950 to 1956) and roughly twice as long in Leipzig (1950 to the early 1960s). . communist theatres could end up benefiting the other side.

Massenmedien im Kalten Krieg. Greg Castillo has also used the phrase ‘Cold War on the Home Front’. 1998). and Thomas Lindenberger (ed. though. Links. StVuR(1) 230. Attention to popular preferences thus undermined the distinctiveness of communist theatre. Cooperation . 4. Cold War on the Home Front: The Soft Power of M ­ idcentury Design (Minneapolis. In one key way. David Caute. 1945–1960 (London: Routledge. 5. studies on particular periods include Barbara Fijalkowska. On theatre policy more specifically. NE: University of Nebraska Press. Bilder. Cultural Exchange and the Cold War: Raising the Iron Curtain (University Park. The Powers of Speech: The Politics of Culture in the GDR (Lincoln. It also complicated efforts to define a socialist dramaturgy: as Western plays became more acceptable. KY: University of Kentucky Press. 3. Stadtarchiv Leipzig. Między wspólpracą a oporem: Tworcy kultury wobec systemu politycznego PRL (1975–1980) (Warsaw: TRIO. Notes 1. Arch Puddington. 2003). 2010). MN: University of Minnesota Press. 1995). 2. See Greg Castillo. which many viewers requested. PA: Pennsylvania State University Press. Kayser’s speech at the 5. Well before the end of the Cold War.   181 and subsidise productions.). Tagung der Stadtverordnetenversammlung. Akteure. See. communist theatres began to operate on the same premise as capitalist ones: they treated the viewer as a consumer.. The Dancer Defects: The Struggle for Cultural Supremacy during the Cold War (Oxford: Oxford University Press. 296. and put on plays that audiences wanted to see. ‘socialist culture’ had ceased to offer a comprehensive alternative. Laura Bradley. General studies of cultural policy in the GDR include Manfred Jäger. The Cultural Cold War in Western Europe. Ibid. and David Bathrick. Spielräume und Grenzen: Studien zum DDR-Theater (Berlin: Ch. albeit in a different context: his book explores the Cold War competition over domestic spaces and interior design. 2004). 1945–1990 (Cologne: Edition Deutschland Archiv. see Petra Stuber.. 2005). 2000). and Andrzej Krajewski. new socialist drama increasingly came to look like them. There is no equivalent overview of Polish cultural policy. 1985).. Broadcasting Freedom: The Cold War Triumph of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (Lexington. 2005). Resonanzen (Cologne: Böhlau. THE CULTURAL COLD WAR ON THE HOME FRONT: THE POLITICAL ROLE. Polityka i twórcy (1948–1959) (Warsaw: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe. This opened the door to Western works. 7 June 1962. 2004). for example. 285. Yale Richmond. 1995). Giles Scott-Smith and Hans Krabbendam (eds). Kultur und Politik in der DDR.

2007). Ibid. For the purposes of this paper. from 1924/5 to 1931/2. 14 December 1945. 13. 75. ‘Zum Beginn!’. Painting Kraków Red: Politics and Culture in Postwar Poland. 201. 14. 1939–1989: Spheres of Captivity and Freedom (Westport. 83. 21. Rückblick auf die Spielzeit. 2003). 1996). 16. 1957–2007 (Berlin: Theater der Zeit. 6. Erich Zeigner. IV/5/01/051/9. 2010). 19. Tätigskeitsbericht 1945 des Volksbildungsamtes. They are compiled from Leipzig theatre programmes. Theater in der Übergangsgesellschaft: Schauspiel Leipzig. 11. PhD dissertation (Stanford University. ANK.zur Kulturpolitik: Städtische Kulturpolitik in Deutschland und Frankreich 1918–1939 (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner. On theatre administration before the Second World War. As quoted in Laurie Koloski. see Thomas Höpel. Ibid. “Die Kunst dem Volke”: Städtische Kulturpolitik in Leipzig und Lyon 1945–1989 (Leipzig: Leipziger Universitätsverlag. 237–244. 23. Stadtarchiv Leipzig. Von der Kunst.182   K. . Stadtarchiv Leipzig. Kr5862. 18. SStAL. Theaterprogramm für Sommernachtstraum. Leipzig. CT: Greenwood Press. The Programmhefte Collection of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Leipzig. 10. 20. 4. 1945–1950. or one who had died less than ten years before. Leipzig repertoires are compiled from Wolfgang Engel and Erika Stephan (eds). 8. 17. 15 October 1950. Thomas Höpel. Die Nacht. Dezember 1943 (Gudenberg-Gleichen: Wartberg Verlag. 2011). Birgit Horn-Kolditz. 2007). a contemporary author is defined as one living at the time of a play’s premiere in Kraków or Leipzig. ANK. 9. in the Programmhefte Collection of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Leipzig. These statistics cover eight seasons. Wykaz teatrów na terenie miasta Krakowa. Manfred Pauli. chapter 1. Hermann Ley speaking on 4 January 1947. and Kazimierz Braun. 12. 1998). See Organizacja opery w sezonie 1934/5. 15. 1 November 1945. als der Feuertod vom Himmel stürzte. Urza ̨d Wojewódzki 3846. 2004). Kultur im Dienst des Volkes. Theaterimperium an der Pleisse: Studien über Leipziger Theater zu DDR-Zeiten (Schkeuditz: Schkeuditzer Buchverlag. 34. StVuR(1) 7973. SED Stadtleitung. 1961–1989 (Oxford: Oxford University Press. 7. Wochenend-­Kulturtagung der SED. KUNAKHOVICH and Conflict: GDR Theater Censorship. StVuR(1) 7972. A History of Polish Theater.

2955. 24. Spielräume und Grenzen: Studien zum DDR-Theater (Berlin: Ch. Premieres at the Słowacki Theatre are compiled in Diana Poskuta- Włodek. Arbeitsplan des III. Sprawozdanie Teatru Miejskiego za rok 1928/9. ANK. 1101. On the concept of didactic theatre. 23.-12. ANK. 148. ‘Die Leipziger Bühnen und ihre neueste Entwicklung: 1950–1956’. Plan Miejskiego Teatru Starego na rok 1947. 35. Theatre programmes available in the Programmhefte Collection of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Leipzig. Urza ̨d Wojewódzki 3802. see Petra Stuber. 36. Day. Links. Repertoires for the Stary Teatr are available on the theatre’s website: http://stary. Plan Miejskiego Teatru Starego na rok 1947. for Dawn. 38. StVuR(1) 8228. Bezirkstag und Rat des Bezirkes Leipzig. Teatr Miejski 28.php?url=page/archiwum.3. it was 85 %. 33. Stadtarchiv Leipzig. 37. StVuR(1) 2140. The attendance rate for Antigone was 45 %. 34. 588. 25. Quartals des Amtes für Kunst und Kunstpflege. 148. 2007). 24. Sprawozdanie z posiedzenia odbytego z inicjatywy Województwa w dniu 28. 26. Ferdinand May. 4. Interwar repertoires are compiled from programmes in Teatr Miejski 22. 25. 27. 30. Arbeiter im ‚Arbeiterstaat‘ DDR: Deutsche Traditionen. ANK. . und IV.1945. 1993). Sprawozdanie z działalności Państwowych Teatrów Dramatycznych w Krakowie. 1956). 26–31. 30. Stadtarchiv Leipzig. in Leipziger Bühnen: Tradition und neues Werden. Urza ̨d Wojewódzki 3846. 289. 173–191. StVuR(1) 8228. ANK. Christoph Klessmann. 25. Bericht über die Spielzeit 1951/2 der Städtischen Theater Leipzig. Sprawozdanie Teatru Starego za okres 10. Einige statistische Zahlen über die Entwicklung auf dem Gebiet der Kultur. ANK. Teatr Miejski 28. Juliusza Słowackiego w Krakowie. SStAL. sowjetisches Modell.   183 22. Urza ̨d Wojewódzki 3846. ANK. THE CULTURAL COLD WAR ON THE HOME FRONT: THE POLITICAL ROLE. 1893–1993 (Cracow: ARTA. 6 April 1957.. 29. 645.. 28. Bericht über die Spielzeit 1951/2 der Städtischen Theater Leipzig.46. 32. Komitet Wojewódzki PZPR w Krakowie 210. Co dzień powtarza sie gra… Teatr im. 1998). Karl Kayser (Berlin: Henschelverlag. Urza ̨d Wojewódzki 3802. ANK. Stadtarchiv Leipzig. westdeutsches Magnetfeld (1945 bis 1971) (Bonn: Dietz. Sprawozdanie Teatru Miejskiego za rok 1928/9. 31. ANK. ed. 1109. Night. accessed 15 March 2016.

Sprawozdanie z działalności Państwowych Teatrów Dramatycznych w Krakowie. 619. 1998). Juliusza Słowackiego w Krakowie. ANK. 3 and Städtisches Theater Leipzig. 51. Stückanalyse zu dem Schauspiel “Millionenschmidt” von H. 1401. 11 December 1961.10. Wolfgang Engel and Erika Stephan (Berlin: Theater der Zeit.  Kleineidam (Leipzig: Zentralhaus für Kulturarbeit. Bericht von Karl Kayser zu Paul Fröhlich. Co dzień powtarza sie gra… Teatr im. SStAL Leipzig. 53. Urza ̨d Wojewódzki 3846. 178. Städtische Theater Leipzig. Quoted in Thomas Irmer. KUNAKHOVICH 39. Komitet Wojewódzki PZPR w Krakowie 210. 1993). 44. 1993). in the Programmhefte Collection of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Leipzig. SED Bezirksleitung. ANK. 1963). These were John Millington Synge’s play The Playboy of the Western World and Nazim Hikmet’s Was There an Ivan Ivanovich? (translated by Alfred Kurella as Who is Meier?). Statistisches Jahrbuch der Stadt Leipzig 14 (1962). the Fifth Party Congress in July 1958. 76–83. Links. 46. ‘Ein letzter Kayser: Theater in Leipzig zwischen 1957 und 1989’. 427. 194. 5 March 1949. Komitet Wojewódzki PZPR w Krakowie 210.12. SStAL. in Theater in der Übergangsgesellschaft: Schauspiel Leipzig.3. 55.1959. Neues Deutschland. 52.6. Stadtarchiv Leipzig. 48. Sprawozdanie z działalności Państwowych Teatrów Dramatycznych w Krakowie. ANK. Bericht der Parteileitung. StVuR(1) 255. and the First Bitterfeld Conference in March 1959. Spielräume und Grenzen: Studien zum DDR-Theater (Berlin: Ch. Tagung der Stadtverordnetenversammlung.1965. ANK. 83. Komitet Wojewódzki PZPR w Krakowie 210. Karl Kayser ‘Qualität in der Kunst—eine ideologische Frage’. 17. ed. StVuR(1) 569. 13. Diana Poskuta-Włodek. Vorschau der Spielzeit 1958/9. Vorschau der Spielzeit 1958/9. 1893–1993 (Cracow: ARTA.184   K. 2007). Co dzień powtarza sie gra… Teatr im. 50. 49. Juliusza Słowackiego w Krakowie. Sitzung der Ständigen Kulturkommission.1966. The play was commissioned by the STL. 56. 54. ANK. 42. 1957–2007. These included the SED’s Cultural Conference in October 1957. 43. 41. 617. Sprawodzanie Dyrekcji Państwowych Teatrów Dramatycznych o realizacji planu na rok 1953. 25. in the Programmhefte Collection of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Leipzig. Petra Stuber.1966. 45. 45. SED Bezirksleitung IV/A/2/9/359. 185. Diana Poskuta-Włodek. IV/A/2/9/2/366/226. Stadt Leipzig. 12. and 7. and Plan Państwowego Teatru Słowackiego. Christoph Hamm. 1893–1993 (Cracow: ARTA. 47. 5. Plan Miejskiego Starego Teatru na rok 1947. 40. Stadtarchiv Leipzig. Urza ̨d Wojewódzki 3802. .

Protokoll der von der Ideologischen Kommission beim Politbüro des ZK der SED und dem Ministerium für Kultur am 24. 72. Komitet Wojewódzki PZPR w Krakowie 1358. 71. Dzieje Krakowa: Kraków w latach 1945–1989 (Cracow: Wydawnictwo Literackie. 53. 1961. 281–313. Komitet Miejski PZPR w Krakowie 25.1956. Herausgegeben aus Anlass des 800jährigen Bestehens der Stadt Leipzig. Sprawozdanie z działalności Państwowych Teatrów Dramatycznych w Krakowie. ANK. in the Programmhefte collection of the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek Leipzig. 70. 178. ‘Antworten stellen Fragen’.. Ibid. Metzler. Stefan Żółkiewski et  al. SED Bezirksleitung. IV/C/2/ 9/2/686/42. The handover took place on 1 October 1958. 87. Statistisches Jahrbuch der Stadt Leipzig 18 (1966). Ibid. Dziennik Urzędowy Rady Narodowej w m. Statistisches Jahrbuch der Stadt Leipzig 17 and 22 (1965 and 1970). 593. 2004). SStAL. 64. (Warsaw: Ksia ̨zka i Wiedza. ANK. Kurt Hickethier (Stuttgart: J. 67. THE CULTURAL COLD WAR ON THE HOME FRONT: THE POLITICAL ROLE.   185 56. in O upowszechnienie kultury i oświaty. ed. 65. 1965).4 (1969). 18–19 grudnia 1958r. 58. 66. ‘Zwischen Mauerbau und VIII Parteitag—Das Fernsehen in der DDR von 1961 bis 1971’. in Geschichte des deutschen Fernsehens. Prezydium Miejskiej Rady Narodowej w Krakowie (1951–1960) 2575. Stadt Leipzig. 69. 88–89. 10–12.12. Materiały krajowej narady działaczy kulturalno-oświatowych w dn. 68. 18. 59. Hans-Michael Richter.. Jerzy Morawski. in Leipziger Theater 1965.. Vorschau zur Saison 1968/9. Ibid.. ed. ANK. und 25. Rada Narodowa w m. 1959. Andrzej Chwalba. Wojewódzki Urza ̨d Statystyczny w Krakowie. 55. 62. Krakowie. Peter Hoff. Zweite Bitterfelder Konferenz 1964. Walter Bankel and Stephan Stompor (Leipzig: EA Seemann. Stadt Leipzig. 38–40. 285. ANK. and Środowisko Teatralne. O problemach upowszechnienia kultury w miejsce Krakowie. 1959). 1964). 11. and ‘Entwicklung im Zeitraum 1965–1975’.. 65. Krakowie. . Komitet Wojewódzki PZPR w Krakowie 210. Kultura i Społeczeństwo 9. 57. 1998). 108. 61. Rocznik statystyczny miasta Krakowa (1965). 3–4. 63. 27 June 1960. Hans Bentzien. 297. Protokol scenograficzny obrad Sejmiku Kulturalnego w Krakowie. April im Kulturpalast des Elektrochemischen Kombinats Bitterfeld abgehaltenen Konferenz ([East] Berlin: Dietz. ‘Problemy przewidywania przyszłości a model kultury’.B. 60.

Analyse der materiell-­technischen Basis der Kultureinrichtungen des Bezirkes Leipzig. 190. Kr 08/324/1/171. Jan Paweł Gawlik. Spielzeit 1958/9. 75.21975. 18 October 1971. Maksymilian Szoc. 107. 85. SStAL. 80. Baza materialna kultury w regionie krakowskim i stopień jej wykorzystania. Rat des Bezirkes der Stadt Leipzig. 190. 78. 17. 98–99. Zum Spielplan der STL. Kayser as quoted in ibid. Komitet Wojewódzki PZPR w Krakowie 1330. 98. 74. SED Stadtleitung. 82. 83. 14. and ‘Bericht des Mitarbeiters für Kultur’. 81. Sprawa obiektowa ‘Arlekin’. in ‘Protokoły narad aktywu partyjnego’. Stefan Treugutt as quoted online: http://filmpolski. Kulturinformation und -dokumentation 38. 84. Manfred Pauli. ‘Nie-Boska 1965’. Dariusz Domański (Cracow: Ati. 4 December 1970. Rocznik statystyczny miasta Krakowa (1961 and 1970). nr 236 (1969). IPN. . php/521601. 101–106. 77. in Taki nam się snuje dramat… Stary Teatr 1945–1995. Stadtarchiv Leipzig. Album wspomnień. StVuR(1) 18228. KUNAKHOVICH 73. Wojewódzki Urza ̨d Statystyczny w Krakowie. IV/B/5/1/215. 1997). SED   K. IV/B/2/9/2/593. Zygmunt Hübner. 2004). 79. Theaterimperium an der Pleisse: Studien über Leipziger Theater zu DDR-Zeiten (Schkeuditz: Schkeuditzer Buchverlag. Stadtarchiv Leipzig. Stadtarchiv Leipzig. Problemenkatalog der Städtischen Theater Leipzig. ‘Piosenka nie zasta ̨pi teatru’. StVuR(1) 17277. Echo Krakowa. ANK. ANK. SStAL. 76. 97. accessed 15 March 2016. Komitet Wojewódzki PZPR w Krakowie 1353. ed.

PART III Acting. Artists and Art Between the Battlefronts .

B. CHAPTER 11 Years of Compromise and Political Servility—Kantor and Grotowski during the Cold War Karolina Prykowska Michalak When analysing the achievements of Polish theatre artists of the Cold War period who were known to the global public it is impossible not to men- tion the two most important directors of those times—Tadeusz Kantor and Jerzy Grotowski.P. nor were they actively engaged in politics in the most prolific period of their creativity. Michalak University of Lodz.2 However. Balme.1 The facts and events described in this paper serve primarily to show the changing circumstances in which Grotowski and Kantor were working and due to which they achieved success on a global scale during the Cold War.1007/978-3-319-48084-8_11 . Poland © The Author(s) 2017 189 C.). It is not the aim of this paper to compare and evaluate the artistic biographies or creative achievements of the two directors. DOI 10. Szymanski-Düll (eds. in an attempt to present the political and social background of the development of Polish the- atre art. Disputes and controversies regarding the supposed artistic competition between them are beyond the scope of this study. Theatre. Globalization and the Cold War. Lodz. which in the said period achieved a supranational or even global K. Transnational Theatre Histories. It should be stressed that they were not involved in what would now be perceived as political theatre. B.

Since. The doctrine of Socialist Realism in Polish art was approved during the unification con- gress of the Polish Worker’s Party (PPR—Polska Partia Robotnicza) and the Polish Socialist Party (PPS—Polska Partia Socialistyczna) in December 1948. yielded the larg- est number of victims and resulted in severe moral loss. In the following years. two such events will be considered: the congress of playwrights. theatre people and theatre critics that took place in June 1949 in Obory near Warsaw. the process of implementation of Socialist Realism was preceded by a series of congresses for individual artistic cir- cles. the main stream of the paper’s narrative will focus on historical facts that illuminate the relationships of the two artists with the communist authorities. by changing relations between artists and politics as well as a changing global perception of those relations. Employing such principles. Therefore. in Nieborów in February 1949. From today’s perspective it is interesting to present the manifold relations between theatre and the waves of the communist regime. it follows a chronological order. and a meeting of artists work- ing in the fine arts. The participants of the congress in Obory offered general support for the idea. the principles for developing socialist culture in Poland were set out as the Party3 aimed to make art a tool of propa- ganda that would help to create a new socialist reality. as has already been said. Stalinism—Socialist Realism (1949–55) The period of Stalinism was exceptionally difficult. consequently. the narrative of this paper is not compar- ative. was not possible without making the artists aware of their objectives. a standard practice of such meetings. but the declarations of support were not really reflected in actual artistic activities.P. Key administrative changes that were . MICHALAK s­ tatus. and to pay particular attention to the diverse attitudes to the regime—not only the compromise and servility indicated in the title of this paper. but also specific strategies of ‘taming’ the authorities and using the ‘system’ to secure the best conditions for creative work. especially as it is crucial to illustrate that the Cold War in Poland (1949–90) can be divided into several phases characterised by various degrees of governmental interference in art and. This paper does not make clear judgements about Kantor’s and Grotowski’s attitudes to the com- munist authorities because such judgements would have to include a num- ber of factors which this study can only mention in passing.190   K. however.4 For the purposes of this paper.

Very quickly. Amongst the theatre artists invited to take part in the congress there was no one willing to oppose Sokorski and consciously criticise all forms of intervention by the authorities in artistic creativity.’7 Still. The ministry. He also thought about organising a congress of artists working in the fine arts to pro- mote modern art and he wrote to the minister of culture about this. an attitude that could have become a manifesto in a strictly political sense. for example.5 the dominating event of the congress in Obory was the speech of Włodzimierz Sokorski. were introduced without any consultation. therefore. however. as soon as historical circumstances changed. as initially planned. As he said. in contrast. he believed. Polish art freed itself from its limita- tions. Neither the congress in Nieborów nor the meeting in Obory. so his art (mainly painting in that period) was not directly involved in fighting the regime. however. the deputy minister of culture. At the meeting in Nieborów.”’. It was not. had very specific guidelines for the implementation of the principles of Socialist Realism. As Święcicki writes. including Tadeusz Kantor. Kantor and other Kraków artists.. but also towards his own life. offered any clear solutions or decisions concerning the future of Polish art. . Kantor is definitely to be credited for this. but imposed by the government. in which he pre- sented the authorities’ expectations of the artists. Kantor protested against restricting the development of Polish art (he had in mind mainly avant-garde and abstract art) which. participated in sev- eral discussions on the future direction of Polish art. In the end. According to specialist literature. the participants.6 Later on. ‘It undoubtedly affected its [socialist realism’s] superficial reception and artistic weakness.  191 important for theatrical circles. Kantor was never a member of the opposition. YEARS OF COMPROMISE AND POLITICAL SERVILITY—KANTOR.. The published statements of Tadeusz Kantor defending an artist’s individuality and supporting elitism in arts education (which was very much against the idea of the public nature of education promoted by the state) illustrate his attitude towards commu- nist rule. willingly accepted. the aesthetics of Socialist Realism was not. such as the nationalisation of theatres and imposing central supervision of the state and the Party over the reper- toire. ‘a real artist observes with dislike and disgust how freedom and independence of art is being stifled by the yoke of “state prestige. such as Maria Jaremianka. should develop alongside European art. it must be stressed that Kantor’s defence of Polish art against Socialist Realism stemmed from his strong conviction that an avant-garde artist does not follow rules. criticised any attempts to impose restrictions on art.

In the following years. Tadeusz Kantor. he was awarded the Gold Cross of Merit in 1954 and the Medal of the 10th Anniversary of People’s Poland in 1955. the future author of The Dead Class also designed decorations for the metropolitan May Day marches. a Chilean propo- nent of the USSR mission. for example. Teatr Stary and Juliusz Słowacki Theatre. the Team under Kantor’s supervision showed the stage installation Generał Walter. At that time. In June 1949.9 With the Working- class Team Kantor would put on the plays of communist playwrights. the political aspect of avant-garde art was seen mainly in its incompatibility with the official policy laid down by the authorities (seen. was performed in the courtyard of Pod Baranami. where he had already worked in 1947. Artists who failed to comply with the official policy were withdrawn from pub- lic spheres. Justifying these activities. In recognition of these and other achievements. He was also awarded a d ­ istinction from the Committee of State Awards for his stage design work. Kantor also presented General Świerczewski in a gouache entitled The Legend of General Walter (1950). The following year. The Party refused to accept anything that did not conform to the accepted canon. where he ran a theatre course and supervised a Working-class Team. for example. therefore. a colonel in the Red Army. commemorating General Karol Świerczewski.192   K. in theatre repertoires). He accepted all these state awards. but from 1 September 1950 was employed as a full-time stage designer in Kraków’s State Dramatic Theatres (Państwowe Teatry Dramatyczne). MICHALAK In the 1950s and 1960s. Let the Lumberjack Wake Up by Pablo Neruda. lost his position as professor at the Fine Arts School (Wyższa Szkoła Sztuk Plastycznych) in Kraków. he later explained that he had been doing them out of an irresistible desire to influence a mass audience. which were often openly propagandist. for example. Kantor. . following his public speeches defending the freedom of art in 1950. located in Palace under the Rams (Pałac pod Baranami). but instead used a method that was very often employed by the Party and was meant to encourage people’s cooperation: harassment and persecution were followed by a pardon. Kantor was also employed as an instructor for a community-­centre reciting group at the Regional Cultural Centre of Trade Unions (Wojewódzki Dom Kultury Zwia ̨zków Zawodowych). Sokorski did not rescind the decision to fire Kantor.P. lost his professorship.8 Struggling to retain his only source of income he appealed to the dep- uty minister Sokorski himself.

among oth- ers. It should be stressed that in the Stalinist period the terror tactics directed at any refusal to cooperate with the authorities. […] For me and for those few who ‘refused’.. were particularly severe. YEARS OF COMPROMISE AND POLITICAL SERVILITY—KANTOR. Yet. critically assessed the art and ideology of the 1949–55 period. was practically cut off from the dynamically developing international modern art during the Stalinist period. Julian Przyboś and Antoni Słonimski. we simply defended our personal honesty. able to assess events that affected the most delicate and deepest layers of an artist’s condi- tion and of artistic creativity. or opposition towards such cooperation.12 The concept of a ‘thaw’. in the Stalinist period he did not present his paintings at state exhibitions. It was unquestion- ably the most difficult period as far as the international activities of Polish artists were concerned. Jan Kott. or awareness. referring to the mitigation of the communist regime..11 The radical character of the period of Socialist Realism left its mark on the biographies of many artists. a critique of . You can call it defending the freedom of thought and imagination.  193 Kantor’s biographers and experts on his work justify these cases of cooperation with the communist authorities in economic terms: Kantor was obliged to perform commissioned professional work in order to earn the money to support himself. Moreover.10 which is another example of Kantor’s uncompromising attitude to his creative style. Still. To avoid big words. and at the congress of the Polish Theatre and Film Artists Association (SPATiF—Stowarzyszenie Polskich Artystów Teatru i Filmu) there was a heated discussion about the need to reform the politics of culture. He himself wrote: To describe that period a historian must be highly sensitive. The 60s: Gomułka’s Reign (1956–70) The year 1955 brought hope that the conditions for developing art would improve. Tadeusz Kantor. or non-conformism. it was not to last long and a lot of artists quickly managed to erase the restrictions that had inhibited their work. those projects did not involve any artistic compromises. for example. as is often stressed. was taken from Ilya Ehrenburg’s novel The Thaw (1954). During the spring session of the Art Council (Rada Kultury) there were voices advocating the need to re-evaluate the concept of Socialist Realism. it was a hard time.

a witness to such events and co-creator of the Theatre of 13 Rows. Władysław Gomułka.16 As Kantor’s importance in artistic circles increased and his interna- tional status developed. according to a report by an SB17 officer. the tyranny constantly had to noisily prove its right to exist. it was ashamed of itself. the decade was hardly idyllic. One can- not ignore such events as the attack of the Warsaw Pact13 troops on Czechoslovakia. Still. the state of real socialism and limited independence. hosted great culture of global significance. that Cricot 2 and the Theatre of 13 Rows were created. and then by using geopolitics. In November 1955. or were interpreted. During the thaw many artistic initiatives could be realised. captain Janiga. the House of Artists (Dom Plastyków) in Kraków hosted an exhi- bition of modern art. it would not have been possible during the total Stalinist tyranny. he was obliged to provide assistance to the SB in matters of interest to the authorities (specifically regarding Polish art- ists who had emigrated). Paradoxically. Apart from some moments of crisis when it tried to treat itself very seriously. ‘he was registered as operational contact “k.15 At the same time. as evidence of oppositional activity or the authorities’ restrictive policies. […] Of course. Kant” and. was appointed. many artists of that period used the above-mentioned ‘holes’ in the autocracy and had their own specific strategies for exploiting the system to preserve as much of their artistic creation as possible. cold raison d’état without a vision of a bright future. the time of strict political cen- sorship. Political changes were initiated in 1956. a wave of students’ strikes in 1968 and the anti-Semitic campaign. depending on the situation. the security services began to take an interest in him. Ludwik. remem- bering those times said: The fact is that the Polish People’s Republic.o. MICHALAK Stalin’s regime.P. When he was given a passport in 1961. There are many legends and anecdotes about how cleverly the authorities were outwitted. Cricot 2 theatre was created as a joint artistic enterprise under the auspices of the Group. These stories were sometimes used as publicity in international relations.’18 Monitoring foreign influences on all kinds . it was at that time. an event that is considered to mark the beginning of an association called II Kraków Group (II Grupa Krakowska). first by claiming its role in rebuilding the country after the war.14 Characteristically. but after 1956 in Poland the autocracy was permeable and sick.194   K. when the new First Secretary of the PZPR (Polish United Workers’ Party).

after graduating from the drama school in Kraków. including artistic activities. but also shared with him his personal dilemma regarding cooperation with the authorities in return for mate- rial prosperity. It should be stressed that Grotowski had learned how to flatter the authorities and exploit the system’s naivety many years before. and although he still remained a member of PZPR he was never personally active again. Grotowski’s long-time theatre partner.  195 of ­activities. Ludwik Flaszen. including a fail in diction. He spent one year in Moscow studying under the supervision of Yuri Zavadsky. was one of the basic tasks of the secret ­services. He recalls that […] he saw that moment as a scene of Christ’s temptation by Satan. or ZMS) established in 1957. which automatically made Grotowski leave the ZMS.. who not only taught the Polish student the art of theatre directing.’20 This clearly illustrates the absurdities that gov- erned the communist system. This incident is often quoted in studies about Grotowski. however.’21 Having returned to Poland from Moscow. Grotowski. how- ever. radically leftist intelligentsia. only à rebours.. YEARS OF COMPROMISE AND POLITICAL SERVILITY—KANTOR. According to Slowiak and Cuesta. This faction. was quickly dissolved. Grotowski became involved in promoting pluralist factions in youth movements. At that moment his political activism ended. he scored high grades from an essay How can theatre contribute to the development of socialism in Poland? and thanks to that he was conditionally admitted to the acting programme.22 publicly criticised Stalinism and was one of the founders of the Political Centre of the Academic Left of the Union of Socialist Youth (Polityczny Ośrodek Lewicy Akademickiej. Grotowski received a presti- gious scholarship from the Moscow drama school GITIS19 and set off on a trip to India. a group of young. later proved to be an outstanding student and was awarded the GITIS scholarship. from 1956 onwards. Grotowski in 1950 ‘during entrance exams got […] very poor grades in practical tests. Kosiński in his Przewodnik writes: . and he kept asking himself the question […] whether he could have endured in Poland without those words. Around the same time. Zavadsky regretted the fact that he had yielded to the sys- tem and warned Grotowski against such decisions. which is why practically every Pole going abroad was forced to contact the SB. recalls that in 1955. Jerzy Grotowski began his artistic career. Eugenio Barba in his Land of Ashes and Diamonds writes as follows: ‘Forty years later in Holstebro Grotowski refers to that incident as a turning point in his life. Luckily. during entrance exams to the Kraków drama school.

the Theatre Prepared Workers’ Oratory. it was not obliged to conform to the canon. in Kędzierzyn. a Theatre Gala took place at the Culture Centre of the ‘Azoty’ Chemical Industries Plant (Zakładowy Dom Kultury Zakładów Przemysłu Chemicznego ‘Azoty’). the authorities kept remind- ing the theatre management about their obligations towards People’s Poland. during the last meeting with a Polish audience in Wrocław.P. for example. which was still controlled as it was partly subsided by the city council.’25 . It was organ- ised by the Theatre of 13 Rows. As it was not a municipal repertoire theatre. ran the Theatre of 13 Rows in Opole. a show staged as part of the Journalistic Platform initiative for the twentieth anniversary of the forma- tion of the Polish Worker’s Party (Polska Partia Robotnicza). In addition to a dance party. it is ‘the most glaring of the artistic compromises into which the Theatre of 13 Rows was forced. For this reason. which evidently clashed with the political doctrine advocat- ing popularisation of art. Such activ- ities were very simple and they were presented during workers’ rallies. young people attacked Grotowski. Their theatre was to assume the status of a ‘“professional experimental theatre” whose aim was to work towards the creation of a new form of theatrical arts in line with the views of its artistic direc- tor. the programme included Jerzy Grotowski’s lecture and two productions—“Mystery Bouffe” and the famous “Shakuntalā”.196   K. organising lectures and readings to prove the social value of the theatre or establishing the so-called ‘Journalistic Platform’ that gathered documents. he said: We could have done nothing and lost our one and only chance. together with Ludwik Flaszen. These obligations were usually met in a rather symbolic way. MICHALAK When many years later. As I remember. According to the Grotowski Institute in Wrocław. such as by creating the Friends of the Theatre Society (Koło Przyjaciół Teatru 13 Rzędów). accusing him of having run an official theatre in a totalitarian country his response was very sober. or we could try to do as much as possible in the existing circumstances. on 3 March 1997. The element of experimentation indicated that the theatre was unique and elitist. literary texts and audio-visual materials.’24 Establishing an experimental theatre. In 1962. and Flaszen and Grotowski managed to negotiate special conditions with the culture department. the regional committee of the Union of Socialist Youth (ZMS) and the Workers’ Council. In April 1961. was a national precedent.23 From 1959 Jerzy Grotowski.

the authorities were very critical towards his art. where the Laboratory Theatre performed Doctor Faustus for them.28 It should be noted that the theatre’s management con- stantly had to struggle with the ministry of culture to obtain funds that would make further work possible.30 Grotowski as the head of the theatre dealt with all formal issues related to its functioning. in awarding Grotowski ‘a distinction for his cultural and educational activities among young workers’ in 196126 or in supporting his international trips. Dariusz Kosiński recalls one of ‘the most spectacular legends comprising the history of the Laboratory Theatre’. Primary Party Organisations (Podstawowe Organizacje Partyjne..31 the so-called ‘Łódź excursion’ that took place in June 1963. the so-called POP) had operated in theatres since the 1950s. YEARS OF COMPROMISE AND POLITICAL SERVILITY—KANTOR. this was manifested. Summing up the Opole period of the theatre’s activity. At the same time as the theatre was performing in Łódź. provoked the animosity of the local authorities and of the ministry of culture. Various endeavours29 that were some- times interpreted as servility towards the authorities could be understood as attempts to preserve Grotowski’s team. Grotowski was forced to move the theatre to Wrocław. mainly because it was barely understood by the majority of the rather primitive party dignitaries. which meant it was inevitably anchored in various state struc- tures. however. PZPR). As Kosiński writes. This crazy excursion resulted in the Laboratory Theatre being invited to take part in the subsequent seasons . Encouraged by Eugenio Barba. however. On the surface.27 In fact. and on 1 February 1951 an act was passed automatically including the directors and artistic directors of all state theatres in the Central Committee of the Party (Komitet Centralny. it was friendly towards the experimental theatre. as well as the increasing popularity and success of his productions. members of the congress travelled to Łódź.. The mid-1960s witnessed the beginning of the increased interest of foreign artists and theatre specialists in Grotowski’s productions and his techniques of working with actors. for example. the Tenth Congress of the International Theatre Institute was held in Warsaw. including various party structures. In the end.  197 Here the ambivalence that characterised the strategies of the commu- nist government is worth noting. this performance was called ‘the most important production of an avant-garde theatre in the world. it must be stressed that the Theatre of 13 Rows—and later the Laboratory Theatre—was an institutional theatre that was supervised by the state. but the elusive and experimental qual- ity of his work.

the theatre group and Grotowski came to the USA in 1969. who issued a letter to the Department of State protesting against such practices.’34 In the 1970s Jerzy Grotowski and Tadeusz Kantor quite regularly and actively participated in international artistic life. Only after an invitation from Jean-Louis Barrault. the USA refused to grant visas to the Laboratory Theatre members as part of the sanctions against countries that had participated in the invasion.33 In the end.’32 Until 1966. Grotowksi used his international fame and position in the theatre world to negotiate with the authorities. the ministry of culture would not allow the theatre company to go to Paris and take part in this international festival. MICHALAK of Théâtre des Nations in Paris. The policy of international trips was strictly monitored and art was censored because dependency on Moscow . for example. director of the Théâtre des Nations at the time. where a world audience could watch The Constant Prince. was the com- pany allowed to go to Paris. On numerous occasions. however. after the troops of the Warsaw Pact invaded Czechoslovakia. “Kultura” in Paris. for example. The 1970s Analysing the phenomenon of the long-term influence of the West European avant-garde on Polish culture (until 1975).198   K. Grotowski was barely involved in any political confrontation. however. and their teams would travel on tours to both Western Europe and the USA. when. art historians stress that in the Gierek era (the 1970s) the Polish government accepted the aforementioned propaganda strategy of presenting a slightly different image of a communist country in the West. This decision was criticised in artistic circles. especially playing on the Polish government’s concern about its positive image abroad after the events of 1968 and the end of Gomułka’s era. was an element of state propaganda during the Cold War. One of the few such cases took place in 1968. They would receive grants and scholarships. Modern art was one of the elements of that strategy as it was supposed to ‘make Western public opin- ion believe that the Polish regime is quite liberal. in opinion forming.  This does not mean. Showing the human face of communism.P. through the development of avant-garde art. that they were independent from the government. As far as limitations directly related to the Cold War were concerned. Allowing Polish artists to travel abroad was an attempt to reduce the importance of such emigration elites as.

the performance of Cricot 2 in Kraków was dismissed by the Polish press in a short report. Italian critics said that The Water Hen was the most inspiring event of the festival. a certain degree of ambivalence of the authorities towards. The ministry instead offered to send Grotowski’s Laboratory Theatre. often interpreted in the West as an example of the harassment of artists behind the Iron Curtain. Richard Demarko. replied to Demarko that neither Kantor’s theatre nor Cricot 2 theatre existed in any official registers. In the same month the rector of Kraków Academy of Fine Arts fired Kantor from his position as professor. the theatre company went on tour in Italy. In the end. a state theatre and an official representative of Polish theatrical art. the organ- iser of the Edinburgh festival. The Italian press highly praised the Polish production. Sipario. strongly stressing that his theatre had never officially been part of the Polish People’s Republic’s international cultural exchange. which resulted in various state persecutions. In contrast. What is more. and that Cricot 2 had never been an official or institutional theatre. Kantor repeatedly mentions this in interviews and debates.  199 still had to be taken into consideration. In the same year Cricot 2 was invited by the Roman Museum of Modern Art to take part in the theatre festival Premino Roma in Rome. the culture department of the city of Kraków reduced the subsidy for the Kraków Group which was financing Kantor’s team. even though it was known all over Europe. The 1969 marks the beginning of Kantor’s world fame. For this reason. such as the low budget of the Kraków culture department. immediately after the team returned from Italy. The ministry. The instability of Cricot 2’s formal status. devoted a long section to Kantor. and a theatre magazine. outside of the official international exchange. and covered all expenses. Afterwards... for example. One of the most famous incidents of the early 1970s is worth mentioning. Kantor’s theatre can be observed. was a result of quite day-to-day considerations. wrote an official letter to the Polish min- istry of culture inviting Cricot 2 to the festival. in moments of financial crisis. and generally the theatre never received a lot of official press. The Polish embassy in Rome also spoke positively about the event. Kantor often . In fact. justifying the decision by citing a lack of prior consent for the excessive costs of the team’s trip to Italy. completely ignoring the existence of a non-institutional theatre (which was therefore beyond the control of censorship and the authorities). YEARS OF COMPROMISE AND POLITICAL SERVILITY—KANTOR. Demarko invited Kantor’s theatre privately. In this period there were many similar incidents of friction between Kantor and the communist authorities.

not only was a refusal to join the boycott seen as wrong. for example. expected to be arrested when martial law was declared. Most artists shared the ideals of the Solidarity movement. His requests were not acknowledged. as his biographers stress.200   K. MICHALAK personally motioned for his theatre to be recognised and subsidised by the state authorities. the fact that Grotowski’s theatre could have been seen as the state’s ally in the conflict with the Catholic Church. thus obtaining funds that others (not only in Poland) could only dream of. voice or talent be used for propagandist purposes and to justify violence. The fact is that Grotowski had been a member of the Party the whole time. Kosiński notes. It should be remembered that in 1967 Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński condemned the Laboratory Theatre’s production Apocalypsis cum figuris as ‘one of the works that deprave the Polish nation and corrupt its ethical frame in the same way as alcohol- ism.’36 Another indication of the servile character of Grotowski’s actions in the 1970s is the fact that he kept his distance from the events of June 1980 and the establishment of Solidarity (Solidarność). or radio programmes and radio plays.P. face. however. Writing about the compromise between Grotowski and the govern- ment in the 1970s. and Kantor’s theatre never received any subsidies. however. ‘A col- laborator is a person who agrees that his/her name. a collaborator is a person who appears in or makes TV productions and films.’35 Enumerating the qualities of Grotowski’s activity that could be seen as advantageous by the authorities. but it was also extremely important that one supported the protesting actors or identified with them. A few weeks after martial law was introduced actors began boycotting radio and television. In our circles. The 1980s: The Solidarity Period The beginning of the 1980s in Poland—with the introduction of martial law on 13 December 1981—was a breakthrough moment in the Cold War for many theatre artists and audiences. and belonged to the Solidarity of stage and screen actors. […] I think that Grotowski was aware of it and played his game with cold calcula- tion. He spent the first month of martial .’37 As it later turned out. Jerzy Grotowski. never mentions this.38 Kosiński. perhaps believing it to be a reference employed by Slowiak and Cuesta to create a particular image of Grotowski. According to the announce- ment of the independent association of stage and screen artists. Kosiński states: ‘it seems that Grotowski’s […] activi- ties were in many ways quite convenient […] for the Party.

41 By then Kantor was immensely successful and to secure his future career he decided that he was above all artistic boycotts. During the festival there were nine performances of Kantor’s . Wielopole in Teatro Regionale Toscano in Florence.. Another unfortunate step that Kantor made was his lack of support for the actors’ boycott. Political asylum was granted to a long-term member of the Party. It was […] a tactical decision but from the Polish perspective it was rather grotesque. In 1980 Kantor also decided to present his performance in the show- room of the Gdańsk Shipyard.. Moreover. Grotowski went to Holstebro in Denmark. The performance later went on a world tour. a decision that many still hold against him. Kantor was probably also fully aware of what he was doing when in 1984 he supported the opposition by performing at the peak of the Cold War in Los Angeles at a festival organised just before the Olympic Games.39 Kosiński believes that Grotowski’s decision to apply for the status of a political immigrant in the USA in July 1983 (after martial law was lifted) was quite unfortunate. In addition to Wielopole.  201 law in Wrocław. The objective of the Theatre was to take the greatest Polish productions to the four corners of the country. and in August 1982 he emigrated from Poland for good.40 In 1980 Kantor’s theatre premiered Wielopole. The audience became so agitated that some people tried to stop the performance. This is one of the reasons why he joined the touring Theatre of the Republic (Teatr Rzeczpospolitej) created by the communist authorities following the actors’ boycott. which proved to be a spectacular disas- ter. and which had been boycotted by the USSR and satellite countries. As he claims. where in the home of his theatre he organised workshops for students who received the Ministry of Culture and Art scholarships (sic!). In the opinion of artistic circles. which could be jeopardised if his passport was withheld. who never openly spoke against communism. YEARS OF COMPROMISE AND POLITICAL SERVILITY—KANTOR. with support from abroad. during martial law he accepted the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta.42 he was primar- ily concerned with his international career. The Dead Class was revived especially for the ­occasion. taking into consideration the fact that Grotowski had rather ami- able relations with the authorities and his work had been state funded for many years. and who was on the whole loyal to the government. showering abuse on the director and actors for degrading sacred national issues. The following month.

Thanks to the compromises and servility mentioned in the title of the paper. the congress of playwrights. American journalists wanted to make his performances part of a political discourse. For instance. dwie wizje’. theatre people and theatre critics in Obory in June 1949.grotowski. For those interested in this aspect see Krzysztof Pleśniarowicz. In the years 1956–57 Grotowski was a member of a faction that was in opposition to the Polish Youth Association (Zwia ̨zek Młodzieży Polskiej— ZMP—a communist organisation active in 1948–57. my duty is not to make political declarations but to knock out holes in a wall. I found such a wall in Poland. it was still possible to develop the most important Western artistic trends of the twentieth century in Polish theatre. 144–156. said something very similar: ‘I work hard not to make empty speeches but to increase the scope of liberties that I believe in. This paper has tried to show that the activities of the artists discussed were based on a specific ability to cooperate with the regime. supervised by the Party and whose purpose was the political and ideological education of young Poles). but at the very beginning at a press conference Kantor firmly stated that he was interested neither in politics nor in sport. Translated by Magdalena Cieślak Notes 1. ‘Kantor i Grotowski: dwa teatry. http:// www. The question of whether the artistic creativity of Grotowski and Kantor should be assessed in aesthetic or moral terms is. The Party is to be understood as the Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR). a problem for another maglem-wiecznoscia and Zbigniew Osiński. the Congress of the Trade Union of Polish Writers (Zwia ̨zek Zawodowy Literatów Polskich) in Szczecin in January 1949. MICHALAK shows. Dialog 12 (1996). 4. the Congress of the Association .202   K.P. but in my opinion an art- ist needs a wall in front of him to bang his head against that wall. however. 2. 3. It was at this time that he gave his famous explanation for why he continued to remain in Poland: ‘I know the situation of many painters and writers who emigrated from Poland to live and work abroad.’43 It is symptomatic that in 1985 Grotowski.’44 Making artistically independent theatre in communist Poland may seem an unprecedented situation. and Kantor’s speeches accompanying those shows became quite famous. ‘Kantor— Grotowski: między maglem a wiecznościa ̨’. who emigrated in 1982. Performer 2 (2009). the congress of architects in Warsaw in June 1949.

pl. Dekada Literacka 6 (2006). Historia w teatrze Tadeusza Kantora. 283.. Eugenio Barba. As quoted in Święcicki. See Małgorzata Jarmułowicz. where his stage designs were shown. the Kraków Group (Grupa Krakowska) also used to orga- nise experiments of this kind. 161. 5. 7. 12.Trzewik_Montaigne_a. Układ Warszawski—The Warsaw Treaty Organisation of Friendship. established in the 1950s. Klaudiusz Święcicki. 9. until they were merged into The Academy of Fine Arts. in 1950 and 1952. 18. Marta Fik. SB—Służba Bezpieczeństwa—Security Service of the Ministry of Home Affairs.  203 of Polish Artists and Designers (Zwia ̨zek Polskich Artystów Plastyków) in Katowice in April 1949. Cricot 2 did not become a theatre under Kantor’s sole supervision until the early 1960s. kronika lat 1944–1981 (Warsaw: Niezależna Oficyna Wydawnicza. As quoted in Tadeusz Sobolewski. ‘“Linia Podziału” Tadeusza Kantora—wielość interpre- tacji’. all quotations from Polish sources were translated by Magdalena Cieślak. 27–28. and Mutual Assistance (1955–91). As quoted in Pleś Historia w teatrze Tadeusza Kantora (Poznan: Wydawnictwo Poznańskie. It was a student artistic society whose members practised modern art corresponding to current European trends. . Except for two exhibitions. 15. 2003). 14. 19.7448369. James Slowiak and Jairo Cuesta.. 11. 2001).dekadaliteracka. transl. 8. It was the tradition of that society to which the Kraków Group II. Cooperation. Sezony błędów i wypaczeń. 17 January 2010. Gazeta Wyborcza. http://www. ‘Kantor—Grotowski’.html 15. YEARS OF COMPROMISE AND POLITICAL SERVILITY—KANTOR. The Russian University of Theatre Arts. 2010).12729 1. 21. Jerzy Grotowski. referred. Up to 1950 there were two art schools in Kraków. 16. Kultura polska po Jałcie. the conference of composers in Łagów in August 1949. 10. 1991). In 1930–37 there was a Kraków Group at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. ‘Trzewik Montaigne’a’. http://wyborcza. Ziemia popiołu i diamentów. Before the war. Monika Gurgul (Wroclaw: Ośrodek Badań Twórczości Jerzego Grotowskiego i Poszukiwań Teatralno-Kulturowych. socrealizm w dramacie i teatrze polskim (Gdansk: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Gdańskiego. the congress of filmmakers in Wisła in November 1949. Unless otherwise indi- cated. 182. Anna Baranowa. 6. 2007). Koryna Dylewska (Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego. transl. 20. 13.

48). According to Grotowski’s later interpretation. 2009). Ludwik Flaszen recalls an event related to anti-Semitic propaganda in 1968. Walter Kerr and Jerome Robbins) who objected to the . 52. 28. this act served as a means of protecting against the dissolu- tion of the Theatre. 23. a state that nurtured him. Jerzego Grotowskiego. Ibid. Ryszard Cieślak. and for talking about how poor his theatre was. 27. Grotowski.P. 30. Ibid. 33. Jarmułowicz. Sezony błędów i wypaczeń. he was doing it in the terrible revi- sionist West Germany!’ (Sobolewski. The New York Times published a letter of protest by the leading representatives of American theatre (such as Arthur Miller. MICHALAK 22. ‘Kalendarium życia i działalności twórczej Jerzego Grotowskiego’ (2012) Instytut Im. 24. 31. working on the principle that the company could be dissolved but its Primary Party Organisation could not’ (‘Kalendarium życia i działalności twórczej Jerzego Grotowskiego’).204   K. Kosiński. 32. In the same year. and a member of PZPR since 1956 (Dariusz Kosiński. 29. 51. which is a very accurate illustration of the specific logic of the com- munist government: ‘[Grotowski] was attacked in People’s Tribune (Trybuna Ludu) for not doing the right job for the People’s Poland. And to make matters worse. Andrzej Bielski. Ibid. In 1962 Jerzy Grotowski was an official member of the Polish representa- tion at the international seminar of experimental theatres organised as part of the Eighth World Festival of Youth and Students in Helsinki. Grotowski. He had been a member of the Polish Youth Association (ZMP) since 1949. Ibid.. 26. 25. 169. Edward Albee.grotowski. clearly complaining that he did not have sufficient means to run the Laboratory Theatre. As the timeline of Jerzy Grotowski’s creative work created by the Grotowski Institute in Wrocław states. he visited the People’s Republic of China as an official delegate of the Ministry of Culture and Arts’ team for theatre matters (‘Kalendarium życia i działalności twórczej Jerzego Grotowskiego’). 169. on 19 June 1964 ‘The daily newspaper Trybuna Opolska announces on its front page that five of the Laboratory Theatre’s actors—Rena Mirecka. ‘Trzewik Montaigne’a’. Przewodnik (Wroclaw: Ośrodek Badań Twórczości Jerzego Grotowskiego i Poszukiwań Teatralno-Kulturowych. On 18 September 1968. accessed 15 March 2016. http://www.. Antoni Jahołkowski and Zygmunt Molik—have joined the Polish United Workers Party and become members of the Primary Party Organisation at the House of Creative Associations in kalendaria/jerzy-grotowski.

42. transl. Święcicki. 40. dzieje. As quoted in ibid. 39. . Kosiński. Slowiak and Cuesta. YEARS OF COMPROMISE AND POLITICAL SERVILITY—KANTOR. 2003). Baranowa.  205 decision of the American authorities (‘Kalendarium życia i działalności twórczej Jerzego Grotowskiego’). 63. 43. Ibid. Didaskalia 39 (2000). Agata Zbieg. 231–232.. Jerzy Grotowski. Grotowski. 36. Krzysztof Miklaszewski. Grotowski. Kantor od kuchni (Wydawnictwo ksia ̨żkowe “Twój styl”. ‘Tu es le fils de quelqu’un’. http://dzieje. 11–15. Flaszen. L. Jerzy Grotowski.. 38. 35. 37. Historia w teatrze Tadeusza 44. 34. 296. 41. ‘“Linia Podziału” Tadeusza Kantora’.. 302. ‘Mija 30 lat od aktorskiego bojkotu radia i tv w stanie wojennym’.pl/kultura-i-sztuka/mija-­30-­lat-od- aktorskiego-bojkotu-radia-i-tv-w-stanie-wojennym. accessed 8 August 2012. 230. here 11. ‘Kalendarium życia i działalności twórczej Jerzego Grotowskiego’. Kosiński. 297.

not a Soviet satellite. Theatre. Asia and so on. Globalization and the Cold War. In 1969. directed by Lucian Pintilie. Balme. which presented Carnival Scenes by the nineteenth-century Romanian writer Ion Luca Caragiale. of which the 1969 festival is but one example. UK © The Author(s) 2017 207 C.1007/978-3-319-48084-8_12 . I show that Romanian theatres’ tours in the West. I focus on the 1969 Paris tour as an example of the ambassadorial work that theatre performed for the nation. the West. B. DOI 10.). reflected the com- munist regime’s ambitions to project onto the world stage an image of an independent nation. before and shortly after he shifted to an Asian-style isolated dictatorship in 1971.B. Szeman (*) University of Roehampton. in conjunction with other arts. during the first decade of Nicolae Ceauşescu’s tenure as president. CHAPTER 12 ‘A Memorable French-Romanian Evening’: Nationalism and the Cold War at the Theatre of Nations Festival Ioana Szeman Setting the Scene: ‘A Memorable French-Romanian Evening’? In this paper I focus on the 1969 tour to the Theatre of Nations Paris fes- tival by the Bulandra Theatre from Bucharest. as part of numerous cultural exchanges between Romania and countries in the Eastern bloc. following Nicolae Ceauşescu’s condemnation of I. Transnational Theatre Histories. Szymanski-Düll (eds. London.

‘the transnational is located in the local’1 as much as in movement and it could be said that theatre productions in 1960s’ Romania reflected a transnational aspect of theatre. I argue that. accord- ing to the Romanian side. Romania enjoyed a positive image in the West. which would create a ‘wonderful French-Romanian’ evening. including the absence of basic factual data on theatre history in that period. a shared directors’ theatre culture in continental Europe. while Romanian officials declined and instead suggested Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard or Diderot’s Rameau’s Nephew. it is possible to come to a sound explanation for this clash. corroborating my own research at the National Archives and the Ministry of Culture Archives with research in the Securitate archives. that is. However.2 This vision never materialised and Victims of Duty was not sent to Paris. in addition to the already agreed-upon production of Caragiale’s Carnival Scenes. that. the regime showed a chilling cynicism as it used cultural events and figures as instruments to fabricate a positive world image for itself. Félix Giacomoni. This chapter uses previously unexamined archival documents related to the Theatre of Nations Festivals of 1969 and 1968—the latter was cancelled due to the occupation of the Odeon Theatre. The French organisers wished to include in the festival a production of Victims of Duty by Romanian-born French playwright Eugène Ionesco. Archival documents discovered in the Ministry of Culture archives show a sustained correspondence between the French and Romanian sides in 1968 and 1969. due to ‘technical and internal reasons’. due to its policy of non-alignment with the Soviet Union.3 Archival documents reveal more questions than answers with regard to the Romanian officials’ persistent refusal.208   I. the Bulandra Theatre could send to Paris a combination of Victims of Duty and excerpts from Rameau’s Nephew. The quote in the title of this chapter reflects the hope of the general administrator of the Theatre of Nations. through a compromise on both sides. SZEMAN the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. during the May 1968 protests. My analysis of . with the choice of productions for the Bulandra tour as a particular area of disagreement. Romanian theatre tours under commu- nism have not received critical attention. and archival work on this period in Romanian history is still fraught with numerous logistical and cul- tural difficulties. despite the relative loosening of the system of surveillance that would become a lot more repressive in the years to come. turning into an isolated cult of person- ality-style dictatorship. According to Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih. even in this period of supposed cultural openness. The state supported these tours and exercised ideological control. the festival venue.

he eased press censorship and ended Romania’s active participation in the Warsaw Pact (though Romania formally remained a member). even though he was a prominent director who was highly active in the International Theatre Institute (ITI). Directors like Pintilie and Ciulei built their careers by defying. Following his public condemnation of the invasion of Czechoslovakia. this interna- tional visibility made him a desirable choice for the festival. who is by and large forgotten today. challenging the authority of the Soviet Union. the French president Charles de Gaulle visited Bucharest. Ceauşescu gained popularity. David Esrig. due to his independent for- eign policy. both of whom had a fraught relationship with the regime. Nationalist Communism. In the 1960s. including the officials in the State Committee for Arts and Culture (SCAC) that sup- ported the tour. and Crin Teodorescu. and Lucian Pintilie. Theatre and the Cold War After acceding to power in 1965. Archival documents about the 1969 tour reveal the haunting absence of Crin Teodorescu. who fled Romania in 1970. was received by Ceauşescu. In May 1968.  209 the negotiations between the French and Romanian sides. while he pursued an open policy towards the USA and Western Europe. director of Carnival Scenes. based on projected benefit to the regime.4 and two other directors. pushing and negotiat- ing boundaries with a regime that continued to capitalise on their work abroad even after they were later banned in Romania. and in July the same year U Thant. director of Victims of Duty. ‘A MEMORABLE FRENCH-ROMANIAN EVENING. focusing on the Bulandra Theatre. internally and internationally. the UN secretary general. shows the high stakes these cultural exchanges had gained and the calculated nature of officials’ decisions. Nicolae Ceauşescu became a popular figure in Romania and in the Western World. Liviu Ciulei. Romania was the first communist country to recognise West Germany. The cultural figures involved in this episode include Eugène Ionesco. for Rameau’s Nephew. managing director of the Bulandra Theatre. and then analyse closely the archival documents about the tours.. who died in suspicious circumstances in 1970. Pintilie’s work at the Bulandra included Carnival Scenes and The Cherry Orchard and he was already known to Western audiences for his film work. including his prize at Cannes in 1967 for Sunday at 6 o’clock. I start with an overview of the first years of Ceauşescu’s regime and the changes in the theatre landscape in that period. Richard Nixon’s visit to Bucharest in August 1969 shows the .. the first to join the International Monetary Fund and the first to receive a US president.

The works of Romanian directors shown abroad reflected a ‘directors’ theatre’7 culture in Romania. .5 The 1969 tour precedes these developments and belongs to the tail end of a period of opening and relative relaxation of the communist regime. in pursuit of absolute inde- pendence and the right to do anything in the country. Ceauşescu’s 1971 visit to North Korea. his image in the West deteriorated to the creation of that large universal coalition against him. and some saw the possibility of dismantling the Soviet empire through these national developments. Following from Romania’s foreign policy. SZEMAN ­prestige Ceauşescu enjoyed and the good diplomatic relations between the two countries.210   I. from their inception. Certain authors. which marked a shift in his leadership to a personality cult modelled on those of North Korea and China. a tradition that the Theatre of Nations festival fol- lowed. including Ionesco. Even though communist propaganda inverted the associations of the West with capitalism as a negative force. in the late 1960s the country had cultural agreements and exchanges with numerous countries. China and Vietnam spurred on the ‘cultural revolution’ and his ‘July theses’. a production of Rhinoceros toured to Paris in 1966 specifi- cally in connection with the regime’s plans to turn Ionesco into an ally. both socialist and non-socialist. which were to culminate with Romania gaining the most favoured nation status in 1975. while also supporting the experimental and the new.6 I posit that a directors’ theatre culture. the nation itself was based on Western ideals of a bound identity. joined the list of authors allowed to be staged after a period of strict Socialist Realism in the 1950s. But as he advanced in a direction contrary to human rights regulations. shared in Romania and across the West. national theatres were. Romania and Yugoslavia were the only East European countries that entered into trade agreements with the European Economic Community before the fall of the Communist bloc. In 1971 Romania became a member of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT). as an exponent of a nationalist communism of Tito’s type. While the prominent role of the director was a common feature of theatre cultures across Europe and the USA. facilitated the positive reception of Romanian theatres’ inter- national tours. According to historian Serban Papacostea: Ceauşescu was well received and for a long time he benefited from the advantage created by his attitude in 1968. supposed (at least in theory) to reflect and promote specific national identities.

as he argued against naturalism and bourgeois theatre using Artaud. The Anatomy of a Postponed Departure: Theatre of Nations. Set up in 1954.10 Ciulei’s 1956 manifesto The Theatricalisation of Theatre Painting spoke against the stifling naturalism that came out of the doctrine of Socialist Realism in Romanian theatre. who was sacked following the events of May 1968. From 1965 the festival was led by Jean-Louis Barrault. Before opening. and sought an equal focus on classics and openness to new . each production was subject to two viewings. First Attempt The Theatre of Nations Festival. such as those intellectuals who openly opposed offi- cial propaganda. one internal to the theatre and the other an ideological viewing by a special committee. in her magisterial work on cultural politics and nation- alism in communist Romania. was a site of confluence of theatre worlds otherwise separated by the Cold War. theories of ritual and references to Brecht. all other artists created via state support and had to learn to compromise and find less overt methods of expression. ‘A MEMORABLE FRENCH-ROMANIAN EVENING. the control and censorship exercised over it could be eschewed to a certain extent during actual performances.8 Katherine Verdery.11 Crin Teodorescu signalled a direction in Romanian theatre that is largely forgotten today. a process critics have called the ‘retheatricalisation of theatre’. for example. argues that intellectuals had to compete for resources in a period when the state was the sole supporter of the arts and they had to engage with the nationalist rhetoric the state promoted.. While many Western critics read the work of Pintilie at the Theatre of Nations as clas- sical. this work was in fact a process of negotiating with the regime away from Socialist Realism. following the previous decade of staunch Socialist Realism. In Barrault’s vision. certain topics and authors were not acceptable. the Theatre of Nations festival was supported by the French Ministry of Cultural Affairs and hosted by the Odeon Theatre. the ‘remagicisation’ of theatre. The repertory of each theatre was closely scrutinised and even in the period of thaw- ing in the 1960s..9 With very few exceptions. also known as the Theatre of France. at which 23 countries from both sides of the Iron Curtain were represented.  211 In Romania theatre was seen as an instrument in the service of party propaganda. For these reasons. associated with the ITI. and was considered less powerful than film. the Theatre of Nations Festival emanated a spirit of enlightened universality. 1968.

the countries of the East. Documents show that Romania’s candidacy for the festival through Beligan came too late. it is necessary that comrade Beligan attend the meeting of the Theatre of Nations Cartel with this assignment. and the country was accepted through Pintilie’s personal contacts with the festival directorate. as I show below.14 A letter dated 2 March 1968 to Lucian Pintilie from the general administrator of . The correspondence related to the festival confirms that the communist regime considered theatre a powerful ambassador for Romania. was at the time director of the Bucharest National Theatre. In order to register our country for 1968. if only one production was to tour.212   I.13 Romanian actor Radu Beligan. we propose to participate in the 1968 festival in Paris (our country was present in 1956 with the National I.L. Barrault set up the Centre for Intercultural Theatre studies where Peter Brook worked. young companies were able to express themselves freely.’12 However. Romania was invited to attend the 1968 Theatre of Nations festival with one production. As Jean Darcante. in making ideological decisions about the tour and in financially supporting it. without commercial or political concerns. We want to specify that the participation at the Theatre of Nations means all the costs in lei and foreign currency related to transportation and subsistence are incurred by the participating theatre. and the chosen theatre was the Bulandra. the Romanian tour was subsidised by the state. and the interference of the political was highly present. Caragiale Theatre and in the 1965 season with the Comedy Theatre). SZEMAN influences and directions in and outside the West. A letter to SCAC from Ciulei shows the manager’s anxiety over the large number of performances of one production. Carnival Scenes and The Cherry Orchard. the Theatre of Nations is the theatre of freedom—thanks to it. the Third World. and our country’s achievements in the field of theatre. and his preference for two productions. Archival documents evidence the role of the SCAC. secretary general of the ITI explains: ‘For theatre people in the world. with Carnival Scenes. Taking into account the visibility the Theatre of Nations affords. especially the External Relations Department. and president of the Romanian ITI branch. including in the choice of production. assigned the role of missionary on behalf of the Bulandra. he requested that five perfor- mances be reduced to three. The Romanians were invited for one production. and five performances. a member of the Cartel of the Theatre of Nations.

in which he warned that the festival could not continue in those circumstances. Because Romania had applied too late and its acceptance was due to a participant withdrawing.  213 the Theatre of Nations. and to the National Student Union. among whom. In a letter dated 17 May 1968. Soviet. A note dated 27 March 1968 to the External Relations Department of SCAC solicits approval for an additional sum of 52. the site of the Theatre of Nations festival. in a rushed tone. Florea recommended that it accept the terms and conditions of the French side. a note by Vasile Florea to the State Committee for Arts and Culture informed the institution that the reason given by the Theatre of Nations for accepting only one production from the Bulandra was that the festival invited productions based on plays from the national literature of each participating theatre.18 Darcante enclosed copies of his letters to the Minister of Cultural Affairs. and because the occupation did not target the Theatre of Nations he urged the authorities to find a solution to allow the companies about to arrive (Tunisian. that there was no time for further negotiations. that is the Bulandra Theatre’s participation with Carnival Scenes by I. but recommends. had been occupied by protesters. the Secretary General of the ITI Jean Darcante informed Ciulei that on the night of 15–16 May the Odeon Theatre.. excluding transport. ‘A MEMORABLE FRENCH-ROMANIAN EVENING. with the exception of Judith Malina. The Municipal Theatre of Tunis . Lebel.15 Despite Ciulei’s request. had a profit of 3000 francs. Italian. It is known that the occupation was not stopped immediately and ended with the sacking of Jean-Louis Barrault. and publicity materials had already been ordered. but who were ‘specialists in the art of happening’. Darcante had issued a statement on French radio to underline the fact that the ITI did not wish to com- ment on or be involved in the events.L. emphasised that in the discus- sion with Pintilie that led to the Bulandra Theatre being invited.J. Romanian and Danish) to perform at the festival. he suggests. Julian Beck and J. accommodation and stipends for cast and staff. Félix Giacomoni.405 francs for accommodation and transportation in France. were very few theatre people. The note deems justified Ciulei’s doubts over five performances with the same production.17 The note men- tions that the Comedy Theatre. on its 1965 tour. André Malraux.700 lei was approved for the expenses and public- ity related to the tour. Caragiale. given the response of the French counterpart. to go ahead with the plan.. only one production had been agreed upon. Giacomoni added. and asked both sides to take a stand. as the festival was due to start in April.16 The sum of 41. given the ‘importance of [our] presence in an international competi- tion’.

he asked whether the Romanian party would file for any damages. includ- ing Ionesco’s Victims of Duty. The Cherry Orchard. directed by Crin Teodorescu. directed by Pintilie and A Streetcar Named Desire directed by Ciulei. .214   I. Jean Darcante. as well as Romanian intellectual émigrés. but this pro- posal was not approved. Theatre of Nations 1969. Félix Giacomoni. travelled to Bucharest in January 1969 to watch the performances of Carnival Scenes and Rameau’s Nephew and during this visit also watched other performances scheduled at the Bulandra. He mentioned that. It also planned on using the Romanian Embassy in Paris and its connections to mobilise theatre specialists and reviewers. only for advance payments made to hotels to be reimbursed. The External Relations Department of SCAC accepted the invitation and set out a plan to support and publicise the tour. he had proposed to the Executive Council of the Theatre of Nations to move the festival to another European capital. had sent a telegram to the theatre. as set out by the Minister of Cultural Affairs in France.19 The SCAC decided not to file for damages from the ITI or the Theatre of Nations. and. In a letter dated 25 June and addressed to Beligan and Ciulei. and had been informed of the disturbances just before boarding the plane to Paris. Second Attempt The Bulandra Theatre was invited to the 1969 festival. which reprised the format of the cancelled 1968 one.20 Giacomoni informed Florea that his recommendations were based on the new fes- tival guidelines. SZEMAN was due to ­perform Murad III by Habib Boulares on the evening of 16 May. General Manager of the Theatre of Nations after Barrault’s sacking. he highly recommended that Ionesco’s play be included in the tour. to support the presence of the Bulandra Theatre at the festival. Darcante expressed his regrets that the Romanian company had been unable to participate in the festival. After the visit. including sending materials to specialised media outlets in France. Exchanges between the French and Romanian officials show the Romanian side attempting to divert French interest away from this production. in addition to the materials requested by the Theatre of Nations. it planned to send a brochure in French for audience and critics alike. Vasile Florea discusses the details of his encoun- ter with Giacomoni during the latter’s visit to Bucharest. Finally. in the name of the ITI. prior to Giacomoni’s visit. as well as sets of photos from the production and headshots of the actors. In a note to SCAC. giving his recommendation for Victims of Duty.

Finally. ‘A MEMORABLE FRENCH-ROMANIAN EVENING. due to its rather slow rhythm and changes to the original text.  215 According to Giacomoni. he thought that the Bulandra staging would not meet with success among French audiences. and therefore Victims of Duty would not be favoured by the French press. Victims of Duty would be more suitable than either the Diderot or Chekhov play. Additionally. Giacomoni suggested that Ionesco’s presence at the performances and press events would greatly add to the interest in the Bulandra tour. while in The Cherry Orchard there were two or three older actors. so Florea’s explanation did not make a lot of sense. Florea invoked the specific features of the Bulandra company. Florea continues in the note that his response to Giacomoni was to point out that Ionesco was a French playwright. ‘both of good quality’—one more traditional.21 Giacomoni suggested a compromise: one show with The Victims of Duty and excerpts from Rameau’s Nephew. Giacomoni suggested that the French press showed limited nationalism and did not favour the staging of French authors by foreign companies. two teams. the problem. Florea states that he replied that Ionesco was not the issue. he explained that the previous year the Theatre of Nations Cartel had rejected The Cherry Orchard outright from the festival because Barrault was due to stage the same play. To explain his reservations about Rameau’s Nephew. the other consisting of the younger generation. and as proof he reminded Giacomoni that Ionesco’s plays were staged in Romania. Giacomoni specified that Ionesco was a French-Romanian playwright and the play had been staged a lot in France. other consider- ations. Giacomoni advised that The Cherry Orchard would find it hard to compete with another Chekhov production by the National Czech Theatre under the direction of Krejca. It should be said that Rameau’s Nephew included two actors from the younger generation. Florea added that it would be ‘an act of injustice’ to the ‘traditional team’ to deprive them of the chance to present ‘the fruits of a lifetime of labor on an international platform’. and the Theatre of Nations . caused the Romanian officials’ ret- icence.. Florea asked Giacomoni if he would use his connections to help organise a tour of the company to other cities. the festival was supposed to entertain and com- edies were favoured over other plays. Florea reports that Giacomoni asked him what ‘their’ problem with Ionesco was. claimed Florea. As Rameau’s Nephew had been staged in France in that period. according to Giacomoni’s logic.. ‘internal and technical reasons’. given all these factors. Giacomoni stressed that. was that both the Caragiale and Ionesco productions fea- tured the younger generation. with two generations of artists. and one actress married to the Minister of External Affairs.

Alluding to the ‘technical difficulties’ invoked by the Romanians. that the ITI and Giacomoni were keen on this play and that even the Romanian Embassy considered it a good choice. Giacomoni sent a letter to the Bulandra Theatre.’23 He added that Mr Ionesco was fully behind the inclusion of his play at the festival. As I show later. should have a discussion with the theatre staff about reprising a play by E. and that the production choice depended on many factors. including the quality of the staging. but Florea’s note may have reminded the SCAC official of the real conflict at the theatre. this conflict was invoked by Florea merely as a pretext. He writes to his subordinates that they should follow up and inform Giacomoni. SZEMAN official set out the conditions for his assistance: the performances had to be first presented at the festival and the chosen productions had to make him believe in the success of the tour. that the Romanians still had three plays on offer. Giacomoni expressed his hope that technical difficulties would not pre- vent the pairing of Victims of Duty with Rameau’s Nephew. a piece unre- lated to those discussed here. and the French Foreign Ministry favoured his production choices. via Gheorghiu. The Cherry Orchard and possibly The Three Penny Opera.216   I. In a letter dated April 1969. and so on. Macovei writes by hand that Ionesco should be informed. He specified that Darcante of the ITI. that ‘one hopes he would not be under the impression that Romanian theatres can only tour with his plays’. writes to Dumitru Popescu—one of the highest names in culture at the time. Al. who had been assigned by Securitate to meet and win over Eugène Ionesco in France. which would constitute a ‘wonderful example of a French-Romanian evening.24 However. and reiterated their openness to the idea of a com- bined Victims of Duty/Rameau’s Nephew performance. Gheorghiu. Oproiu. in addi- tion to Carnival Scenes: Rameau’s Nephew. and these factors can only be appreciated by those in charge of the .22 Upon his return to Paris.25 A handwritten note by Pompiliu Macovei26 on this letter betrays the official’s irritation with Ionesco and the French officials’ insistence on Victims of Duty. Maxim Crişan. thanking them for the reception and alluding to the long friend- ship between the two nations that his visit reminded him of. nick- named Dumnezeu (God) and a close ally of Ceauşescu—to report that Ionesco was surprised about the dropping of his play from the festival pro- gramme. of the acting. ‘in a more moderately worded phrasing’. the idea of the ‘French-Romanian evening’ did not impress the Romanian officials: a handwritten note on the SCAC correspondence suggests that the Bulandra deputy director.

30 I suggest that the 1969 Theatre of Nations festival caught the Romanian authorities in an ‘Ionesco-indifferent’ mood. Ionesco was abandoned altogether and was not considered a national cultural asset by the regime. who.  217 theatre. had not spoken out against the regime and had been courted through a variety of messen- gers. at the time. Ionesco was no longer a priority for the regime. there are no documents related to Eugène Ionesco in the Securitate archives for the period 1967–77. during the previous few years there were concerted efforts by the Securitate to court Ionesco and persuade him to visit the country. all of which were unsuccessful. despite his fame. Florea states that Ionesco had already been informed by Bulandra deputy director Maxim Crişan during his visit to Paris ahead of the Theatre of Nations festival that the play had not been included in the tour because of internal and techni- cal reasons. At any rate.. Florea concludes that Gheorghiu could explain the above to Ionesco as a personal favour if he so wishes. that is. side by side with a play by national icon Caragiale. The lack of interest in Victims of Duty could have been caused by something Ionesco said at the time. because the concerted efforts had not borne fruit and he did not respond as expected. In fact. Ionesco’s name on a production that represented Romania in France. The regime reacted swiftly to changes in the tone of the personalities it tried to win over. ‘A MEMORABLE FRENCH-ROMANIAN EVENING. and any existing documents were probably destroyed because they did not present ‘operational interest’. including Gheorghiu and Beligan. would never have been to the regime’s liking.29 The year 1969 is the tail end of the short period when Ionesco’s plays were produced in Romania during communism: indeed. One can also say with no reserve that the internal reasons invoked by Romanian officials. Most likely. alludes to the Bucharest National Theatre’s Paris tour with Rhinoceros in 1966.28 There are several hypotheses one can advance to explain the Romanian authorities’ reactions outlined above. How else to describe the sarcastic tone of Pompiliu Macovei’s handwritten note on Al. it appears that. informed the cultural relations section at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that there was no need to give any explanation to Ionesco. the last production of an Ionesco play was staged in 1969. From this angle. from the External Relations Department at SCAC. ‘one hopes he would not be under the impres- sion that Romanian theatres can only tour with his plays’. even the staging of Ionesco’s plays in Romania was a political move to win over the famous author. According to Liviu Ţăranu. though. . Gheorghiu’s letter to Dumitru Popescu? His line..27 Vasile Florea. However. since his play had never been named as a possibility for the festival.

Two other productions directed by Crin Teodorescu toured internationally in 1969. with two characters played by young actors. almost entirely forgotten today due to his early death in 1970. Teodorescu attended the 1969 ITI Congress in Budapest and in his report to the Romanian journal Theatre he included the point he him- self raised during the congress. as is Teodorescu’s work. Teodorescu died in suspicious circumstances in 1970. He was found dead at home by his sis- ter and the police called his death a ‘crime of passion’. this episode reveals a completely forgotten director. Rahova. which was not the norm among other companies at that year’s festival. L’Aurore. he did time in the prisons of Vacaresti. Although these clashes were real and later contributed to the sacking of Ciulei. Conclusion Romanian officials deemed the Bulandra Theatre’s participation at the Theatre of Nations festival with Carnival Scenes a success. The four per- formances by the Bulandra received positive reviews in Le Monde. arguing for a less heavy-handed selection process for the Theatre of Nations festival and for less state interference in the matter. the regime’s harsh stance against homosexuality persisted.32 Crin Teodorescu was condemned to five  years in prison for homosexuality in 1959. Jilava and White Gate until 1963.218   I. the staging of his plays in this short period of ‘freedom’ did not make it any less difficult to defend the productions during their run. The production . the explanation does not make sense if one examines the cast of the productions under negotiation. Even though The Cherry Orchard did include three older actors and one who was married to a highly ranked politician.33 These details are largely unknown in Romania. and the produc- tion received generally favourable reviews in the French press. and were smoke in the eyes of the French. Despite the supposed liberalism of the beginning of Ceauşescu’s reign. were a coded way to refer to ideological clashes within the company. archival documents point to the importance of his work. Even if he was not the reason for the decision not to send Victims of Duty on tour.  Munteanu. According to Neculai C. As Nicolae Mandea argues in a discussion about Ionesco’s legacy in Romania. it was second choice to Rameau’s Nephew.31 Just as Ionesco was buried and was virtually unknown to the majority of Romanians in 1989. France-Soir and Juvenal and the French public broadcasting organisation (ORTF) dedicated three programmes to the Bulandra tour. Crin Teodorescu. SZEMAN the clashes between older and newer generations at the Bulandra Theatre.

add- ing that if the ‘Theatre of Nations is satisfied at present to be the meeting ground of a few “classical” European theatres... 2. as an author of Ionesco’s reputation and international appeal. Bucharest. Félix Giacomoni’s letter to the Bulandra Theatre. SCAC). their work would be read from the angle of anti-totalitarianism. The Romanian authorities’ handling of this tour reflects the unprec- edented and literal instrumentalisation of culture in the service of power. and whom the French were willing to ‘share’. as the repression of the regime became known. 23 January 1969. 24 January 1969. in L’Humanité the reviewer comments that despite the ‘pleasant fête’. largely due to the inaccessibility of his plays to non-Romanian-speaking audiences. Françoise Lionnet and Shu-mei Shih (eds). The Archives of the Ministry of Culture. and. partly Romanian. ‘A MEMORABLE FRENCH-ROMANIAN EVENING. the performance did nothing to ‘add to our knowledge of contemporary European theatre’. […] it will soon lose its sig- nificance’.  219 of Caragiale’s play was read by the French press as a vaudeville and farce. Minor Transnationalism (Durham: Duke University Press. In the years to come. which was also due to the general lack of knowledge about the repression and control of the Ceauşescu regime.34 The press reflected a widespread feeling that the festival was in danger of becoming safe and had stopped pushing boundaries with the struc- tural changes following the events of 1968. The commonalities in theatre culture across the Iron Curtain facilitated the positive reception of Romanian productions. Yet an analysis of the Bulandra’s participation shows that the Bucharest theatre could have answered these critics with Victims of Duty by Ionesco. 2005). While the reviewers for Le Monde and L’Aurore noted the quali- ties of the staging and acting. . note to Pompiliu Macovei (President of the External Relations Department. Vasile Florea. The Archives of the Ministry of Culture. 5. Bucharest. 3. a production of a contemporary play that challenged naturalism and experimented with Artaud’s legacy. as happened when critics likened Caragiale to Labiche and Feydeau. Notes 1. despite the fact that his work would not have been read as a lesser ver- sion of a French playwright. is denied his ‘Romanian-ness’. The mystification of national history and patrimony that would become a hallmark of the regime in later years was already visible here. as well as the similarities between Caragiale and more famous French authors like Feydeau and Labiche. Pintilie and Ciulei would build their careers in the West.

The Archives of the Ministry of Culture. Letter from Félix Giacomoni to Lucian Pintilie. following Ceauşescu’s cultural revolution of 1971. 1968. The Archives of the Ministry of Culture. 1920–1960 (Cluj: Eikon. Letter from L. Magazin istoric 11. http://destinatii. The Archives of the Ministry of Culture. . when. Vasile Florea. Letter from Jean Darcante to Liviu Ciulei. 19. Bucharest. Bucharest. Miruna Runcan. 2006). 1991). ‘Contribuţii la o biografie: Eugen Ionescu în dosarele Securităti̧ i’. accessed 19 August 2013. Letter from the ITI secretary general Jean Darcante. Liviu Ţăranu. 1988). 10. The Archives of the Ministry of Culture. he was sacked after the banning of Pintilie’s production of Gogol’s The Inspector General. Bucharest. Letter from Jean Darcante to Radu Beligan and Liviu Ciulei.  Ciulei to SCAC. SZEMAN 4.liternet. Note from the External Relations Department (Romania) regarding the Session of the Theatre of Nations Cartel. Viaţa teatrală în şi după communism (Cluj: Efes. Note to the External Relations Department. This was one of the most public and aggressive bannings. 2003).220   I. 7. 15. 2 March 1968. 16. Scenele teatrului românesc 1945–2004 (Bucharest: Unitext.html. note to SCAC. 25 June 1968. The Archives of the Ministry of Culture. 18. 11. May 1968. Bucharest. David Bradby and David Williams.513 (December 2009). and Marian Popescu. Martin’s Press. ‘Contribuţii la o biografie: Eugen Ionescu în dosarele Securităti̧ i’. The Archives of the Ministry of Culture. VII/Totalitarismul şi istoriografia română’.ro/articol/157/ Dennis-Deletant/Scoala-de-Vara-Sighet-ed-VII-Occidentul-si-disidenta- din-Romania-sub-regimul-lui-Ceausescu. Liviu Maliţa (ed. 17. ed. 6 February 1968. (my translation). Liviu Ţăranu.). Bucharest. SCAC. Bucharest. Directors’ Theatre (London: St. 13. which put an end to the previous decade’s relative freedom. (my translation). 12. Teatralizarea şi Reteatralizarea în Romania. He rejected the hollowness of this naturalism and argued for a reality conveyed through poetic-dramatic images in stage design. [no date]. (my translation). National Ideology under Socialism: Identity and Cultural Politics in Ceausescu’s Romania (Berkeley: UC Press. 15–19. Bucharest. Serban Papacostea. Katherine Verdery. Magazin istoric 12. Bucharest. 27 March 1968. Ciulei was artistic director of the Bulandra Theatre from 1963 to 1972. 17 May 1968. ‘Şcoala de Vară Sighet. announced in the national newspaper Scînteia. The Archives of the Ministry of Culture. 2004). 8. 1968. 9. 5.512 (November 2009). 43–48. 14. 6. The Archives of the Ministry of Culture.

10 May 2007. ‘Round Table with Anca Maniutiu. ed. 23 January 1969. Doina Modola. Bucharest. The Archives of the Ministry of Culture. 31. (my translation). Ibid. 24. Note from Vasile Florea to the Cultural Relations Direction of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. 10.14 (1969). Liviu Maliţa and Victor Cubleşan (Cluj-Napoca: Casa Căr ţii de ştiinţă.. A handwritten note on an official memo dated 10 April 1969 suggests D. Ţăranu. Bucharest. 26. 30. The Archives of the Ministry of Culture. ‘Contribuţii la o biografie’. Bucharest. Letter from Al. ‘Teatrul de azi. 22. SCAC). 25. 28. Note from Vasile Florea to Pompiliu Macovei (President of the External Relations Department. Ibid.. 24 January 1969. 23.  221 20. 68. 15–19 and 43–48. The Archives of the Ministry of Culture. Ibid. 64–69. Popescu passed the letter on to Macovei. Bucharest. 10 April 1969. ‘A MEMORABLE FRENCH-ROMANIAN EVENING. April 1969. 27. 21. in Ionesco dupa/après Ionesco. Philippe Madral. Handwritten note by Pompiliu Macovei on memo to SCAC. The Archives of the Ministry of Culture. 2000). April 1969. ‘Elita gay din Romania in puscariile comuniste’. L’Humanité. ‘“Scènes de carnaval” de Cargiale au Théâtre des Nations’. Gheorghiu to Dumitru Popescu. Ibid. Crin Teodorescu. Bucharest. May 1969. 32. Letter from Félix Giacomoni to the Bulandra Theatre. Teatrul 7.. The Archives of the Ministry of Culture. . Cotidianul. încotro? Însemnări de la cel de-al XIII- lea Congres al Institutului Internaţional de Teatru’. 33. Alexandra Olivotto. 29. Nicolae Mandea and Miruna Runcan’. 34. 19.

Bangor University. which it lambasts as yet another product of the ‘American way of life’. DOI 10. it arranges for the students to attend a performance of Brecht’s Little Mahagonny. Transnational Theatre Histories. B. This article explores the reception of the plays and the life of Bertolt Brecht in Greece in the 1970s. Theatre. Szymanski-Düll (eds.). The left-wing-controlled admin- istrative council of a high school in the eastern part of the city decides not to organise the annual student dance at a discotheque. Globalization and the Cold War. Papadogiannis (*) Modern and Contemporary History. By contrast. Bangor. I am interested in explor- ing interconnections between these two trends. his work became immensely popular in Greece. Balme. Thus. 1976. I will examine the ways in which young left-wingers of different stripes approached Brecht and I N. the country witnessed growing left-wing youth politicisation.1007/978-3-319-48084-8_13 . UK © The Author(s) 2017 223 C. at the same time. During this decade. Bertolt Brecht was a reference point for young left-wingers in Greece. A wave of intensifying youth politicisation has been shaking the foundations of youth leisure.B. CHAPTER 13 An Eastern Bloc Cultural Figure? Brecht’s Reception by Young Left-wingers in Greece in the 1970s Nikolaos Papadogiannis Introduction Thessaloniki. While political fever was running high in the 1970s.

does not provide an adequate explanation of the development of youth identities in Greece in the 1970s. the argu- ment of ‘cultural Americanisation’. according to expert in Theatre Studies Christopher B. putting forth the compelling argument that the collapse of the Soviet bloc may be attributed to the superior achievements of its opponents in economy.5 This contribution concurs with ‘postpositivist’ approaches to theatre history. but to present a ­‘plurality of histories’. examination of the reception of Brecht’s work in post-World War II Greece further illuminates the cultural dimension of the Cold War. increasingly addressed theatre. while groups of young Communists and Socialists were an avid and demanding audi- ence of his plays.2 Moreover.1 While I acknowledge that American popular culture was a core component of diverse youth identities. Therefore. there is a growing body of scholarly works that deals with culture as a Cold War battleground. PAPADOGIANNIS will analyse whether and to what extent his life and work functioned as a means of praising the cultural politics of Eastern bloc countries. As the British historian. technology. According to the most nuanced version of this argument. Nevertheless.224   N. not only in Greece. I aim to help refine the argument of ‘cultural Americanisation’. which played a major role in the shaping of a significant proportion of the politicised youth in post-dicta- torship Greece. Brecht’s ­audience in post-dictatorship Greece was not made up only of young people. this article particularly wishes to help fill a lacuna. . no longer seek to reconstruct ‘ideologically “neutral” chro- nologies’.3 In general. in which theatre played an important role. I intend to illuminate the diverse reception of the Brechtian plays by people of varying political persuasions. as shown below in detail.6 In this vein. Balme. The latter. left-wing youth cultural associations figured promi- nently in the spread of his work in Greece during the 1970s.4 Such research has. the forging of youth identities in Europe in the postwar decades was facilitated by the selective reception of American cultural products. playwright and journalist David Caute argues. Cold War cultural confrontations. which is predomi- nant in the historiography of youth. occurred on a global level. in recent times. the Cold War did not solely comprise a ‘traditional political-military con- frontation’. it actually obscures the importance of cultural transfers from Western Europe. namely that transfers from the Eastern bloc to the West and their impact on young people living in the latter have so far remained largely unexplored. but also in culture. The British scholar goes further. In exploring the relationship between Brecht’s work and left-wing youth politics. but also from the USSR. but also an ‘ideological and cultural one’. even in a nuanced version.

which embraced political pluralism and modelled itself mainly on the Italian Communist Party. Censorship was relaxed and martial law was removed in most regions of the country. Progressive Pupils’ Unionist Movement) and AASPE (Antifasistiki Antiimperialistiki Spoudastiki Parataxi Elladas. It lasted. There was in fact an increase in the number of radical students during this time. which had already resumed in 1943. until 1949. As described by Greek political scientists. after an attempt to destabilise the government of the Republic of Cyprus. anti-communism was delegitimised and no longer functioned as the official ideology. even during the years in which the centre-­right New Democracy Party formed the government (1974 to 1981). the dictatorship introduced the experiment of so-called ‘controlled liber- alisation’. in the early 1970s and until late 1973. the regime was a ‘weak’ democracy. Although some rules of parliamentary democracy were followed in the period from 1949 to 1967. ending with the crushing defeat of the Left. which triggered the Turkish invasion in July 1974 and the partition of the island. with intermissions. since it did not manage to attract significant support in Greek society. the Socialist Youth of PASOK (Panellinio Sosialistiko Kinima. the militaristic regime faltered and failed in this effort. and the Maoist student groups PPSP (Proodeytiki Panspoudastiki Syndikalistiki Parataxi. which occurred in Athens and Thessaloniki in 1973. Anti-fascist Anti-imperialist Student . Communist parties and youth organisations were legalised in 1974. but not for long: it collapsed in summer 1974. Subsequently. After the restoration of democracy. Nevertheless. 1940s–70s Post-Second World War politics in Greece bore the imprint of the Civil War... anti-communism became the official ideology of the Greek state. during which the status of the advocates of the Left deteriorated.8 The most important left-wing youth groups in this period were the pro-Soviet Communist KNE (Kommounistiki Neolaia Elladas. The dictatorship survived. Panhellenic Socialist Movement).7 It was followed by the imposition of a militaristic regime from 1967 to 1974. These left-leaning students challenged the regime and were the driving force in the most important uprisings against the dictatorship.  225 The Political Condition in Greece. the persecution of leftists by the state was system- atic. However. AN EASTERN BLOC CULTURAL FIGURE? BRECHT’S RECEPTION BY YOUNG. Communist Youth of Greece). the Eurocommunist RF (Rigas Feraios). The Communist Party of Greece (KKE) was outlawed in 1947.

12 . both Brecht’s theoretical work and his plays would remain largely unknown to the Greek public until his death in 1956. The Art Theatre had been established in 1942 and aimed to introduce contemporary foreign and Greek theatre trends to audiences in Athens. After 1978. this issue had actually been addressed by the late 1950s. Epitheorisi Technis also hosted discussions on the relationship of Brecht with socialist realism. Epitheorisi Technis.1). mainly students. but instead the industri- alised ‘North’ with the dependent ‘South’. The rhetoric of the Socialist party PASOK and its youth group was based on dependency theories that did not juxta- pose the ‘Socialist’ with the ‘Capitalist’ bloc. the author maintained that Brecht’s theatrical methodology was indelibly linked with socialist realism. helped spread his plays. A left-wing magazine. PAPADOGIANNIS Movement of Greece). It would not actu- ally become an important political force until the early-to-­mid-1980s (Table 13.226   N. Epitheorisi Technis published the Caucasian Chalk Circle. which was also published in Epitheorisi Technis in 1959.11 In Greece. resulting in the formation of a fluid network of autonomous left- wingers. as shown in the table below. who named themselves ‘Choros’ (Space). trans- lated into Greek by Asteris Stagos. In 1956. originally authored by Thomas Walter. the first reference to the Brechtian oeuvre appears in Greece as early as 1931. Karolos Koun’s Art Theatre in Athens performed the same play in 1957. the centre-right youth organisation failed to garner any significant support during this period. both knowledge of them and the plays themselves.10 Subsequently. placing Greece in the latter. Some of the major contributors to the magazine claimed that left-wing intellectu- als should not be instructed by the Party to advocate a particular dogma. It published articles about literature and culture in general and was independent of the apparatus of the clandestine Communist Party of Greece. In an article written by the Italian Marxist theorist Galvano della Volpe. By contrast. in the translated History of German Literature.9 However. The Brechtian Oeuvre: Point of Entry and Subsequent Dissemination in Greece According to data reproduced by the renowned writer Petros Markaris. all left-wing youth organisations became increasingly splin- tered. especially in the universities. The influence of the Communist and the Socialist youth groups extended mainly to the urban centres.

AN EASTERN BLOC CULTURAL FIGURE? BRECHT’S RECEPTION BY YOUNG. ed.1 13.3 32. but were not part of it.4 27. I have included some student groups that were collabo- rating with it..3 8.743 49.4 (affiliated to the centre-­right New Democracy) AASPE (Maoist) 3. the reception of Brecht’s plays in Greece.9 PPSP (Maoist) 2.9 10. it should be noted that some of its members did not take part in student elections.460 39.2 11.383 47. 2002). DAP-NDFK was established as a united group in 1976.6 31. as the theatre expert Platon Mavromoustakos argues.5 5. and those who have adopted a ‘depoliticised’ approach to Brecht.9 10. In the percentage of DA-DE.656 50.4 5. Ioannis K. Hassiotis and Dimitris Aravantinos (Thessaloniki: Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.3 to the KNE) DA-DE (affiliated 19. the only cause of reflection and debate around the Brechtian oeuvre in Greece.’ in 75 chronia:To Panepistimio tis Thessalonikis stin avgi tou neou aiona.1 Turnout (in 23.9 21. 1974–81. Concerning the preceding two years.1 to RF) Groups linked 7.2 25.1 10..6 2. neglecting to a lesser or greater extent his experimentation in the field of theatre.1 21. The percentage of the votes harvested by small centrist or left-­ leaning Christian groups is not mentioned.05 11.863 45.2 to the Youth of PASOK) PSK (affiliated 20 23. in percentages 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 PASP (affiliated 24.2 27.4 with Choros DAP-NDFK 16.8 17.6 26.5 8.916 number of voters) Percentage of votes received by each of the student groups mentioned and voter turnout in the student elections in the period 1974–81.7 4.7 26.6 5.  227 Table 13.3 18.2 16.3 11.3 30. ‘To Metapoliteytiko foititiko kai syndikalistiko kinima.2 31. In the case of Choros.9 5.513 50. based on data from: Dimi tris Aravantinos. however.2 17. The table was prepared by the author. From the mid-1950s to the present.6 4. its percentage refers to student groups leaning toward or aligned with the centre-right New Democracy. Moreover. which I have cross-checked with the data offered by the student groups contesting those elections This was certainly not. 465-560. Throughout the examined period all student groups largely agreed on the published results.690 47.6 27.7 7.4 12. has largely polarised: there is an evident tension between those who stress his militancy.8 25.7 5 4 3.6 26.8 3.2 1.1  The results of student elections in Greece.13 The latter pay only perfunctory attention to his political activity and instead focus on his .

which. Dimitris Asimakoulas. who were living in West Germany at that time and were influenced by the ideas of the New Left. however. After the relaxation of censor- ship. downplaying his militancy and the Communist ideas he was attracted by as well as the ‘inapplicable’. Brecht was greatly appreciated by these publishers and by dissident students. a signifi- cant increase compared to the 11 professional productions of his work in the period from 1957 to 1971.14 Markaris suggests that some of those who lam- basted Brecht’s militancy also detested his theoretical work on theatre. ‘with 19 translations in 1970 alone. many of which had been founded by young left-wingers. who published texts about the Brechtian oeuvre. while from 1974 to 1977 there were 11 productions. Greece produced more Brecht translations than either all of the Eastern Bloc countries or all Western countries did together in their peak years. theatre methodology that Brecht endorsed. for whom he func- tioned as an important reference point.18 These translations were often undertaken by left-leaning publishers.16 Brecht’s Theatre and Life as a Battleground in the 1970s Brecht’s work did not become immensely popular in Greece until the 1970s. As Patterson has asserted.21 . may have in fact helped to bring this ‘Brecht boom’ to Greece. various publishing houses.20 occurred in West Germany in the late 1960s: Brecht was propelled into the limelight by student protestors. according to Michael Schneider. According to the translation stud- ies expert. as they maintained. wished to provoke reflection on political and social issues and encourage criticism of the dictatorial regime.15 Their stance was not peculiar to Greece. 15 in 1962 and 17 in 1968 respectively’.19 The spectacular increase in the popularity of his plays in Greece largely coincided with the ‘Brecht boom’.228   N. PAPADOGIANNIS t­ heatrical innovations. He ­singles out the distinguished actors and directors Dimitris Myrat and Alexis Minotis. translations of Brecht’s plays also proliferated after 1970. ‘the Western approach to Brecht has generally consisted of a grudging acknowl- edgement that he is a fine playwright in spite of his Marxist beliefs’. It suffices to mention that in the period from 1971 to 1974 eight productions of Brecht’s plays by professional companies were performed in Greece. Asimakoulas suggests that various Greek left-­wingers. Both tried to approach Brecht solely as a ‘great author’. According to Asimakoulas.17 In addition.

AN EASTERN BLOC CULTURAL FIGURE? BRECHT’S RECEPTION BY YOUNG. In this vein. they were certainly an integral piece of this puzzle. such as the Theatre Section of the University of Athens. which they tried to associate with the diverse models of cultural politics that they endorsed.26 In contrast to what Mavromoustakos argues. especially those established by young left-­wingers.23 Not only were they avid watchers of theatre performances. continued to play a major role in the politicisation of theatre. as shown in the vignette at the beginning of this article. the Maoists. The Brechtian oeuvre attracted the attention of the Greek Left in the mid-to-late 1970s as well. as Mavromoustakos claims. It was not unusual for left-wing-controlled high-school student unions to arrange for their members to attend performances of his plays. the Theatre Section of the University of Athens performed The Caucasian Chalk Circle in Athens in May 1975. Young left-wingers.25 Brecht’s plays were certainly appreciated by young Greek left-wingers of all stripes in the mid-1970s. to put it another way. which . While it would be dif- ficult to determine whether young left-wingers functioned as the driving force or a stepping stone in this process. and the theatre group of the Cultural Youth Association in Skouzes per- formed the Fear and Misery of the Third Reich in 1977–78. also followed suit. the cultural patterns promoted.24 Amateur theatre groups. by the ‘imperialist centres’.. whose circulation was now permitted. since they were no longer censored or thrown into jail because of their ideological orientation. as in the preceding years. but whose activity had been limited until the collapse of the militaristic regime. Thus. Numerous performances of his plays were staged by left-wing or left-leaning companies during this period. as they claimed. For instance. they embraced a bipolar model. They actually displayed a serious interest in Brechtian theatre concepts. A significant proportion of left-wing youth. tried to discern ­‘progressive’ cultural products as opposed to the ‘American Way of Life’ or.  229 In general. such as The Respectable Wedding by the Popular Experimental Theatre in 1976. young Communists and Socialists did not construe Bertolt Brecht merely as a militant. Socialist and Communist newspapers and magazines. they were also involved in amateur theatre groups. but this intimate link between poli- tics and theatre emerged in full force after the collapse of the dictator- ship.. regularly published reviews of plays and interviews with newly formed theatre companies.22 Politicised troupes and their audiences were able to express their views in total freedom. and the Socialists. especially the pro-­Soviet Communists. which had been founded in 1969. theatre was affected by politicisation throughout the 1970s.

Brecht wanted the audience to reflect critically on their actions.27 Young Greek left-wingers particularly debated the Brechtian Verfremdungseffekt. their meaning is to an extent arbitrary. To be best positioned to capture this complex character of his work. the RF newspaper. which also included young radical left-wing actors and which had engaged with Brecht’s understanding of performance already since the early 1970s.32 Young Eurocommunists took a similar stance. but we do agree with his method- ology’.30 The Verfremdungseffekt was not conceptualised in only one way by young left-wingers in Greece during the 1970s. breaking the illusion that the spectators are invisible. Thus. had been translated into Greek.31 The Free Theatre troupe. He tried to achieve this by employing various techniques. PAPADOGIANNIS the Greek Left had already introduced in the late 1950s. Barthes appears to claim that Brecht does not opt for ‘vindicating a particular position’ and does not wish to ‘agitate’ through his plays. the troupe argued that Brecht did not teach ‘ex cathedra […]. as such.230   N. He wants the spectator to get involved in the dialectical development of a performance […]. especially towards the end of the decade. was one of the prominent advocates of the open- ended approach. The scenery was also meant to challenge rather than reproduce the ‘fic- tive’ qualities of theatre. the publications of the Eurocommunists and the autonomous left-wingers demonstrated mounting criticism of such classifications. since they arose in particular settings. the newspaper of the Youth of PASOK. By the 1970s only a few of the theoretical works authored by Brecht. such as the Short Organum for the Theatre. RF members concurred with Barthes that they should resort to semiotics.28 through which the playwright wanted to achieve the estrangement of the audience from what the latter regarded as familiar. the ensuing heated debate amongst them revolved around two approaches: an ‘open-ended’ and a ‘didactic’ one. We do not necessarily agree with the solutions he gave. they were influenced by translations of Roland Barthes’ writings on Brecht’s plays. By contrast. In an interview with Agonistis. how- ever.33 They would repeat such arguments in Thourios ­throughout the 1970s: Brecht was singled out as authoring work which was conducive to left-wing politicisation. an approach that stresses that signs do not reflect a ‘reality’ existing outside them and. but which did not comprise . Broadly speaking. In one such text. young Greek left-wingers assessed the Brechtian oeuvre mainly on the basis of the theoretical contributions of Western European and Soviet scholars. such as the actors directly addressing the audience and. thus.29 Rather than identifying with the characters of his plays. As manifested in Thourios.

38 The latter point also attested. whose meaning they presented as fixed. published an interview with the chief editor of Literaturnaja Gazeta. which had hitherto appeared to be ‘the natural course of things’ to the spectators. which circulated in pub- lications of the USSR at that time. Texts published by the pro- Soviet group lauded Brecht for his militancy. as a means of achieving a specific aim: it helped demystify capitalist relations of production. In a biography of the German playwright. libraries. They were mostly interested in the political messages they could distil from his plays. Young pro-Soviet Communists opted for a ‘didactic’ conceptualisation of Brecht’s work. this ‘open-ended’ approach was not met with unanimous approval by all young left-wingers. sus- taining numerous museums.36 Publications by the KNE further stressed what they viewed as the anti-capitalist orientation of the Brechtian oeuvre in reviews of Brecht’s plays. He was also described there as having contributed to the education of the workers and peasants in the German Democratic Republic by cofounding the Berliner Ensemble. to the significance assigned by the socialist European countries to ‘culture’. presented ‘reality’ clearly and displayed efficacy in strength- ening the Communist movement through his work. which would prevent left-­wingers from becoming ‘passive’ recipients of dictates. but in a very specific way. Still. they embraced a particular conceptualisation of culture vis-à-vis politics. the official newspaper of the pro-Soviet Communist youth. which were performed onstage in Greece at that time. This was actually an oft- repeated argument in the texts of this group: the socialist European state was depicted as very well-organised. concert halls and other spaces where . Odigitis..34 Like the Free Theatre. a Soviet newspaper dedicated to cultural issues.. they asserted that the importance of Brecht’s theatre lay in cultivating insightful observers who take nothing for granted.35 The young pro-Soviet Communists identified with the description of the German playwright as a ‘socialist realist’. Thus. providing patronage to ‘culture’. according to the KNE. ‘change’ would then appear possible to them. In putting forth this argument. but also as a figure in the socialist struggle. factories or the problems of the peasants’. They stressed that the Verfremdungseffekt made the audience critically reflect on the plays. Brecht was listed among the advocates of socialist realism. such as The Respectable Wedding. according to the editor. designating the former as a means of self-reflection and even self-criticism. he was portrayed as having been a ‘committed anti-­fascist’ and an ‘active militant’ since his youth.  231 just a bunch of ‘simplistic verses’ that ‘referred to strikes. AN EASTERN BLOC CULTURAL FIGURE? BRECHT’S RECEPTION BY YOUNG.37 KNE members did not approach Brecht solely as a theatre practitioner. who.

Basantis in particular and young autonomous left-wingers in general construed it as a source of reflection and self-criticism.39 Indeed. in which he argued that the ‘dialectical theatre’ comprised stylistic experimentations that fundamentally deviated from socialist realism. One such left-winger.40 Nevertheless. The East German authorities had often placed restrictions on him and his work in the early 1950s. PAPADOGIANNIS people could familiarise themselves with various genres of art. Brecht’s musical drama entitled Das Verhör des Lukullus (1938–39/1940) was banned in East Germany after only one performance. had been expo- nentially influential amongst left-wingers in Greece and in Europe in gen- eral since the 1950s.232   N. a development which he appreciated. Brecht’s plays were prone to receiving negative criticism from the regime for being akin to ‘formalism’. Diamantis Basantis. who wrote various articles about cultural issues in the mid-to-late 1970s. performance of the play was soon banned.42 Instead of trying to employ culture as a means of lending support to the ideological prerogatives of another Cold War camp. according to Basantis. put forth a narra- tive. marked by the highpoint of the ‘Stanislavsky wave’ in East Germany. limiting the significance of the Soviet-­backed socialist realist performances.41 which had been anathema to the cultural politics of Eastern European countries and the USSR since the late 1940s. Towards the end of the 1970s. This groundbreaking theatre style. some elements of Greek left-wing youth in the late 1970s emphasised such tensions and made no reference at all to the collaboration between Brecht and the authorities of the German Democratic Republic: these were autonomous young left-wingers. however. Brecht’s relations with the East German regime were much more complex than they appeared in the biographies of him that were published in Odigitis. the Berliner Ensemble benefited from r­ emarkable subsidies from the East German state from 1953 onwards. at least from the static way in which it was being reproduced in the USSR. who participated in Choros. By contrast. It has been suggested that during those years. the Cold War was intensifying on the diplomatic and military level. According to Caute. Brecht’s Die Tage der Kommune (The Days of the Commune). was met with hostility by high-ranking officials in the German Democratic Republic. as Caute argues. this was particularly apparent in the Soviet . after the East Berlin uprising had been quelled. which had been written in Zürich in 1948–49. They did not view Bertolt Brecht as a quintessential cultural figure of the Eastern bloc and did not link his work with the cultural politics of those regimes. Similarly.

the question of whether culture should serve as a Cold War battlefield triggered debates among Greek left-wingers of all ages. and those who view him solely as a left-wing militant author: As this article shows. construing them. I intend to complement the argument put forth by Mavromoustakos. those put on by the National Theatre. especially in Epitheorisi Technis. according to Mavromoustakos. AN EASTERN BLOC CULTURAL FIGURE? BRECHT’S RECEPTION BY YOUNG. in diverse ways.. In any case. By contrast. the interest of various segments of the Greek public in Brecht’s plays gradually waned. as a response to the Soviet RSD-10 Pioneer ballistic missiles. stationed in Eastern Europe and the USSR.43 Nevertheless.46 To appropriate a term introduced by Werner Mittenzwei. there have been some performances of Brechtian plays. emerged more strongly: a number of left-wingers became explicitly unwilling to approach culture in a way that would vin- dicate the cultural politics of the USSR. concentrating on his theatre methodology. A trend that had first tentatively appeared in the late 1950s. primarily in West Germany. the KNE.47 Conclusion This article aims to stress the significance of transnational flows across the Cold War divide and within Western Europe in the circulation and recep- tion of Brecht’s plays by young Greek left-wingers in the 1970s. the 1980s in Greece ushered in a period of ‘Brecht-Müdigkeit’ (Brecht-weariness). an expert in theatre and lit- erature. namely that the reception of Brecht is polarised between those favouring a depoliti- cised version.. the Berliner Ensemble also staged performances for the first time in Greece. both as performers and as viewers.45 In general. until the fall of the Eastern Bloc. for instance. Even though the growing interest in Brecht’s work witnessed in Greece in that decade was not limited to young Socialists and Communists. since the 1980s. young left-wingers of differing orientation transcended such a dichotomy and looked for links between his work and collective action in Greece in the 1970s. to the immense popularity of Brechtian plays in the country at that time. which was founded in 1930 and has subsequently become one of the most well-­ established theatre companies in Greece. Transnational flows .44 In 1981.  233 invasion of Afghanistan in 1979 and in the USA’s decision in the early 1980s to deploy MGM-31 Pershing as well as cruise missiles in Western Europe. young left- wingers contributed significantly. however. ­however. theatre continued to serve as a powerful Cold War weapon for the most popular Communist youth organisation.

Rock and Rebels. Thus. Notes 1. 2001). 2000). beyond Europe would contribute to a more nuanced analysis of the cultural dimensions of the Cold War. PAPADOGIANNIS of ideas were crucial to the forging of the cultural orientation of Greek left-wing youth. Before closing. in The Miracle Years. Some left-wing youth organisations refrained from interpreting culture as a means of vin- dicating a specific Cold War bloc. not only in the field of theatre. A study of these youth groups shows that the paradigm of Americanisation fails to reflect the shaping of youth identities in Europe in the 1960s and the 1970s in all its complexity. Axel Schildt and Detlef Siegfried (New York and Oxford: Berghahn Books. . “Americanization” and the Irresistible Rise of Popular Culture’. David Caute. Moreover. 82–105. 526–553. and Uta Poiger. 2003). 1–16. Cold War and American Culture in a Divided Germany (Berkeley. young Communists and Socialists looked to Western European and Soviet scholars and publications. a com- parative and transfer history of the reception of the Brechtian oeuvre across and. in Between Marx and Coca-Cola: Youth Cultures in Changing European Societies. Los Angeles and London: University of California Press. A Cultural History of West Germany. 2. Rob Kroes. ed. 1949–68. NJ: Princeton University Press. even. 2006). ed. ‘American Mass Culture and European Youth Culture’. ‘Establishing Cultural Democracy: Youth. 1960–1980. Hanna Schissler (Princeton. I demonstrate that Greek left-wing youth witnessed a growing diversification from the late 1970s onwards in the ways in which it positioned culture vis-à-vis the Cold War. The Dancer Defects: The Struggle for Cultural Supremacy dur- ing the Cold War (Oxford: Oxford University Press.234   N.3 (2016). Jazz. Kaspar Maase. 3. Nevertheless. I would like to stress again that the proliferation of translations of Brecht’s plays in Greece in the early 1970s might be linked to the ‘Brecht boom’ in West Germany in the late 1960s. a remarkable proportion of Communist youth in Greece in the 1970s conceptualised the work and life of Brecht as a Cold War weapon. see also Nikolaos Papadogiannis. In their c­ onceptualisation of the Brechtian oeuvre. In particular. ‘Political Travel Across the “Iron Curtain” and Communist Youth Identities in West Germany and Greece in the 1970s and 1980s’. he functioned for the pro-­Soviet Communist youth as yet another example of the enduring superiority of the Eastern bloc over the ‘West’. 23. 428–450. On this issue. in European Review of History—Revue européenne d’histoire.

2015). see Yale Ferguson and Rey Koslowski. A History of the Berliner Ensemble (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Illias Nikolakopoulos. 113. O Brecht kai o dialektikos logos (Athens: Ithaki. Frances C. 2003). 1998). Socialist realism was pervasive in the literature produced by Greek Communist authors. 186. without. however. 10. AN EASTERN BLOC CULTURAL FIGURE? BRECHT’S RECEPTION BY YOUNG. 407–420. For example David Barnett. Theatre Journal 61. The dominance of socialist realism among the Greek Left decreased from the 1950s onwards. Statheri Dimokratia Simademeni apo ti Metapolemiki Istoria (Athens: Themelio. 2013). 1947–1962 (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press. 12. I kachektiki dimokratia: kommata kai ekloges. for instance. 85. 5. reviewers in Communist magazines and newspapers in Greece had demanded since 1934. 1994). McConachie. Karali. Odd Arne Westad (London and New York: Routledge. Saunders. that genuinely revolutionary authors conform to its principles. 149–179. 1999). Karali. International Relations Theory. when the First All-Union Congress of Soviet Writers adopted socialist realism as the approved style for Soviet authors. Charlotte M. for instance Naima Prevots.3 (October 2009). explicitly argues that Brecht should not be seen as fully subscribing to socialist realism. politiki kai logotechnia sto periodiko Epitheorisi Technis (Athens: Ellinika Grammata. in Reviewing the Cold War: Approaches. Dance for Export. Besides Caute’s work. 85. ‘Culture. Petros Markaris. ed. Christopher B. and Cold War History’.  235 4. Mia imitelis Anoixi. The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Studies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2015). This is still a contentious point amongst Greek left-wing intellectuals. 2001). Reinhold Wagnleitner. totally falling into oblivion. Cold War Theatre (Abingdon: Routledge.  Canning. 1974–1990. Yannis Voulgaris. I Ellada tis Metapolitefsis. 1946–67 (Athens: Patakis. John Elsom.. Theory. Mia imitelis Anoixi …: ideologia. since he never depicted this style as the highest form of artistic expression (ibid). 2008). 7. 11. Coca-colonization and the Cold War: The Cultural Mission of the United States in Austria after the Second World War (Chapel Hill and London: The University of North Carolina Press. 9. Who Paid the Piper?: The CIA and the Cultural Cold War (London: Granta Books. Cultural Diplomacy and the Cold War (Middletown: Wesleyan University Press. In addition. ‘“In the Interest of the State”: A Cold War National Theatre for the United States’. Aimilia Karali. Bruce A.  Balme. 25–141.. Interpretations. For a comprehensive lit- erature review of the ways in which scholars have linked the Cold War with culture. 1982). 6. 2005). see. 8. . American Theater in the Culture of the Cold War: Producing and Contesting Containment. 2002).

14. Peter Thomson and Glendyr Sacks (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.’. 15. Stage of Emergency: Theater and Public Performance under the Greek Military Dictatorship of 1967-1974 (Oxford: Oxford University Press. influenced by the KNE. 139. 2015). expert in Greek Studies. 18 August 1978. ed. Michael Schneider. here 27. 273–287. 12 and the latter in ‘Provlimata Erasitechnikon Thiason’. In addition. a more inclusive approach to his work is necessary.. Mavromoustakos. 121. here 239. 26. 1994). 239 and 240–244. 119–123. Michael Patterson. 2006). see also Nikolaos Papadogiannis. O Brecht kai o dialektikos logos. 19. in The Cambridge Companion to Brecht. 18.. Militant Around the Clock?: Left-Wing Youth Politics. 22. Oxford: Berghahn Books. Schediasmata Anagnosis (Athens: Kastaniotis. ‘Brecht’s legacy’. and the ‘Long 1960s’ in Greece (New York. Odigitis. Mavromoustakos suggests that Brecht’s endeavours in politics and theatre were both important and linked with each other. Dimitris Asimakoulas. 24. Ibid. for example. Cultural Politics. 23. agreed to attend a performance of Little Mahagonny. Platon Mavromoustakos. ‘Brecht became the most popu- lar foreign playwright in Greece during the junta years [1967-1974]. Platon Mavromoustakos. To theatro stin Ellada 1940–2000. 16. See. ‘Framing Brecht and the Greek Student Movement (1972–1973)’. 2005). Petros Markaris. 2013). Oxford: Berghahn Books. The pupils. Children of the Dictatorship: Student Resistance. Literaturmagazin 10: Vorbilder (1979). Schediasmata Anagnosis. 260. PAPADOGIANNIS 13. 17. 2014). 239. Thourios. Zur ästhe- tischen Emanzipation von einem Klassiker’. thus. a high school pupil affiliated with the pro-Soviet Communist youth organisation in the mid-1970s. here 276. 14. 6 January 1977. See: Gonda van Steen. . Mia episkopisi (Athens: Kastaniotis. 25. For the relationship between dissident students and theatre in the final years of the dictatorship.236   N. 21. according to Gonda van Steen. For the politicisation of theatre in post- 1974 Greece. 17. 1974–1981 (New York. Overall. the agreement between the pupils of the Eighth Male High School of Thessaloniki and the ‘Theatre of Thessaloniki’. Meta 52. 233–247. 20. ‘Framing Brecht’. 25–66. 131–136. ‘Bertolt Brecht—Ein abgebrochener Riese. 21 May 1975. see Kostis Kornetis. Asimakoulas. ‘Ti einai to Laiko Peiramatiko Theatro’. The former event was mentioned in ‘To theatriko tmima tou Panepistimiou’.. Odigitis. Leisure and Sexuality in Post-Dictatorship Greece. Lofos Skouze is a district of Athens. 72–87. I found this document in the personal collection of Nikos Samanidis.2 (2009).

11 January 1975. ‘To Eleythero Theatro kai o Tychodioktis tou Mih. ‘Key Words in Brecht’s Theory and Practice of Theatre’. 33. 39. The term has been translated in English as ‘alienation effect’. Odigitis. ‘Bertolt Brecht. ‘Neoi diskoi’. Ti simainei?’... as employed by Brecht. ‘O anthropos pou paraxeneyotan…’. K. such as in Theatro (1975). which first appeared in 1978 and was produced by a group of young Maoists. 28 March 1978. see Papadogiannis. See. ‘Technes-Grammata-Zoi’. The text was originally published by Barthes in 1956. 1–15 January 1975. 2. Stage of Emergency. . 35. but resumed it again in 1973. 1979. Theatro ceased publication in 1967. Agonistis. Odigitis. here 191–195 and Patrice Pavis. To avoid confusion. Panspoudastiki. 287–289. 3 February 1977. for instance. 27 August 1975. Thourios.. in The Cambridge Companion to Brecht. an article published in the newspaper of the university students aligned with the KNE: ‘Ti einai apostasiopoiisi’. ‘Sosialistikos realismos. the journal published a translation of his ‘Writing the Truth: Five Difficulties’ (1935). On Free Theatre and Brecht in the early 1970s. Odigitis. 1994). while assessing the Brechtian oeuvre. 62–73). In particular. Peter Thomson and Glendyr Sacks (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1979. see Markaris. 31. 16 October 1974. ‘O Brecht kai to “Berliner Ensemble”’. For the translation of the Short Organum. Nikos Lagadinos. Roland Barthes. 11. Translations of theoretical texts written by Brecht also appeared in the journal Theatro. ‘distancing effect’ or ‘estrangement effect’. as they argued. 185–200. Thourios. 12. 29. Terms. Concepts. 34. 1998). 14 and V. 7–19 and Proodeytikos Kinimatografos. they largely refrained from elaborating on the Verfremdungseffekt. best captured his Marxist-Leninist orientation (see Proodeytikos Kinimatografos. Thus. Peter Brooker. it was entitled ‘Les tâches de la critique brechtienne’. 32. Instead. the journal Proodeytikos Kinimatografos (Progressive Cinema). 13 37. 23 December 1976. 13. 38. AN EASTERN BLOC CULTURAL FIGURE? BRECHT’S RECEPTION BY YOUNG. Hourmouzi’. ed. 30. and Analysis (Toronto: University of Toronto Press. a small proportion of left-wing youth downplayed the impor- tance of the Verfremdungseffekt. Militant around the Clock? 28. 89. 19. which. see: van Steen. Oi Gamoi ton Mikroaston’. Dictionary of the Theatre. 12. 9 December 1976. 2. claimed that the aforementioned technique was nothing more than a component of Brecht’s dramatic theory. ‘Ta kathikonta tis brechtikis kritikis’. O Brecht. I use the original German term. 36. However. Thourios. Odigitis. For a detailed analysis of the cultural politics of left-wing youth groups in Greece in the mid-to-late 1970s.  237 27. 3 April 1975.

in The Cold War: The Essential Readings. 1977). 41. Mavromoustakos. The Modern Restoration: Re-Thinking German Literary History 1930–1960 (Berlin and New  York: Walter de Gruyter.238   N. Parker. 2001). ‘The Failure of the Détente of the 1970s’. 45. Klaus Larres and Anne Lane (Oxford: Blackwell. 285. 125. 42. PAPADOGIANNIS 40. 43. see NT-Archive: Wer war Brecht? (Berlin: Aufbau. Garthoff. 46. not because of the style of his plays. The Dancer Defects. 2004). accessed 15 March 2016. 280–281 and Caute. The Dancer Defects. for instance Raymond L. Werner Mittenzwei. Davies and Philpotts. but mostly because of the fact that Brecht kept him- self at a relative distance from the country’s regime: he never became a member of the ruling party of the German Democratic Republic and he acquired Austrian citizenship (Parker. The Modern Restoration. ‘“I avli ton thavmaton”: apoichoi kai prominymata mias epochis’. Peter Davies and Matthew Philpotts. 59–61. . Stephen Parker. 282). 159–180. May 1979. 292. 44. Diamantis Basantis. ed. Various programmes of performances of Brechtian plays staged by the company in the 1980s and the 1990s are available in the digital archive of the National Theatre. 100. see. Caute.nt-­archive. For the intensifying Cold War tensions in the late 1970s and early 1980s. 47. Davies and Philpotts argue that the East German authorities developed a complex relationship with Brecht. Schediasmata Anagnosis. Agonas gia tin Kommounistiki Ananeosi. Ibid.

DOI 10. 230 from the ‘Chief of Administration of the Soviet Military Administration of Thuringia’ commanded the foundation of the Deutsches Theaterinstitut (DTI. CHAPTER 14 Acting on the Cold War: Imperialist Strategies. Theatre. the goals were to reorganise German cultural life and to enrich it with international works. however. Globalization and the Cold War.2). order no.1 and 14. Germany © The Author(s) 2017 239 C.1007/978-3-319-48084-8_14 . After Nazi Germany had capitulated in May 1945. and American—followed the common goals that had eventually been agreed upon at the Potsdam Conference in the sum- mer of 1945: to democratise. 14. It bore the programmatic subtitle ‘Institute for the Methodological Renewal of German Theatre’ and was obviously consid- ered a matter for the political leader (see Figs. demilitarise. Klöck (*) Hochschule für Musik und Theater “Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy”. and Brecht in German Actor Training after 1945 Anja Klöck On 28 October 1947. In the field of German culture.B. differed depending on the cultural and A.1 The DTI was to be established in Weimar in the Soviet occupation zone of post-war Germany. and decentralise Germany. Szymanski-Düll (eds. Leipzig. German Theatre Institute) in the name of ‘Marshall of the Soviet Union Sokolovsky’. Stanislavsky. Soviet. French. Transnational Theatre Histories. denazify.). The measures taken in order to achieve these objectives. each military adminis- tration—British. B. Balme.

II. 14.3.1  Order no. KLÖCK Fig. HMT Leipzig Archive . 230 of the Chief of Administration of the Soviet Military Administration of Thuringia of 28 October 1947. C. 3. T 302/1.240   A.

.   241 Fig. T 302/1.2  German translation of order no. ACTING ON THE COLD WAR: IMPERIALIST STRATEGIES. HMT Leipzig Archive . 3.. STANISLAVSKY.2. II. C. 230 of the Chief of Administration of the Soviet Military Administration of Thuringia of 28 October 1947). 14.

the founding moment of the DTI is deeply grounded in Cold War rhetoric and in strategies of transmitting ideology via artistic-aesthetic practices. In the 1947/48 season. about 45 of which were actually produced by 1949.4 And in the French occupation zone. when the Cold War first appeared as a discur- sive concept with which to frame.8 One of these schools was the above-mentioned DTI. Theatre was recognised as a major culture-transmitting institution by all military administrations.5 In the field of post- war German theatre. and control world politics in terms of a competitive and antagonistic relationship between the USA und the USSR.2 In the British occupation zone. It is no coincidence that it was officially launched by a Soviet military officer in 1947. French. officially named a ‘Cold War’ in the context of the failed attempts at bringing the latest nuclear war technology under international control in 1947. hence. .6 Within this field of conflicting forces trying to condition the post-war anti-fascist or post-fascist democratic German citizen. 21 French theatre compa- nies were contracted between August 1945 and December 1946 to tour the French occupied territories. a number never reached before or since.3 The American Military Administration issued 64 contemporary US plays for translation.242   A. for example. the ‘Theatre and Music Section’ began as early as summer 1945 to select British plays for German stages. KLÖCK political self-understanding of each victor nation. and Groupe de théâtre antique de la Sorbonne. the division of German territories into four occu- pation zones and Berlin sectors in 1945 promoted the transnational transfer of American. actor training pro- grammes became a site par excellence where larger Cold War rhetoric intersected with local artistic practices. British. These strategies of transmitting culture transnationally were at the same time locally specific in their actualisation and bound to a conflict of global dimensions: the intensification of the East/West conflict between the two superpowers USA and USSR. founded in the Soviet zone in 1947. The actor moved into the centre of aesthetic discourse as an idealised model human being for a cultural iden- tity yet to come or as the keeper and transmitter of modes of being from a more distant past.7 This increased attention to acting is reflected in the large number of acting schools that were licensed by the various Military Administrations of Germany in the immediate post-war years. among them productions by Charles Dullin and Louis Jouvet and ensembles such as Comédie-Française. and Soviet cultural products and achievements. print. there were 81 old and newly opened public the- atres in the Soviet occupation zone. name. and distribution in German. As is the case with most public acting schools founded under military administration in Germany. Compagnie Noël Vincent.

A ‘Methodological Renewal of German Theatre’ under Soviet Occupation (1945–49) The ‘methodological renewal of German theatre’ at the yet-to-be-founded DTI was already being prepared in Moscow in 1944. radio.. Among those invited was Maxim Vallentin. German communist emigrants were tasked by the Stalinist regime with preparing the anti-fascist renewal of German culture after the anticipated end of the Second World War. STANISLAVSKY.11 In his 1944 position paper on theatre. is placed into the service not . literature.10 who would later become head of the acting department at the DTI in Weimar. as a citizen and conscious vehicle of progress. This transfer set standards for actor training in the GDR that had far-reaching implications beyond the immediate post-war years. On 25 September 1944 at Hotel Lux. I would like to show how processes of institutionalisation of actor training in post-war Germany participated in these global processes. While the world was still at war. On the basis of these insights. as a teacher of the people with the pedagogical means of art. conflicting with national and local policies and producing at times irreconcilable inconsistencies between transnational representation and national practices. In so doing. ACTING ON THE COLD WAR: IMPERIALIST STRATEGIES. plays. to gather and work out strategies in the fields of film. and key artists were constructed and treated as trans- national export goods and as vehicles for demonstrating ideological supe- riority and alliances during the Cold War.   243 Recent studies on Cold War culture have shown how theatre and dance productions. and theatre. I will focus on the founding moment of the DTI and its exemplary position within a general transnational transfer of cultural products and ‘achievements’ from the Soviet Union to East Germany. Situating the discourse on acting within the larger. global East/West conflict may help to explain the prob- lematic status of Bertolt Brecht in East German official cultural politics in the early 1950s and—following the international success of Brecht’s Berliner Ensemble—the struggle of party officials to resolve the apparent contradiction between Stanislavsky’s and Brecht’s approaches to acting in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Moscow.. a meeting took place in the room of Wilhelm Pieck.9 These strategies more often than not developed their own dynamics.’12 Stanislavsky. Vallentin stresses the importance of ‘Stanislavsky’s Method’ and demands ‘educating the actor as a socially responsible human being. an authority on actor training who most acting schools in post-war Germany will draw upon. later President of the GDR.

15 However. as I will show. space. This Stalinist appropriation of Stanislavsky’s writings in terms of a ‘method’ and of the actor as a ‘conscious vehicle of progress’ will also govern. the actor should serve society by realistically imitating and better- ing it on stage. To these ‘truths’ Vallentin adds a third pillar. He or she is expected to craft according to observations of everyday life from a working-class perspective. and the ‘truth of the stage’ (the truthful playing with props.16 The apotheosis of realism and the repudiation of avant-garde practices in German acting and actor training was a ‘transzonal’ phenomenon. resulting in a horizon- tal alignment of his or her sense experience and a dissociation from the German historical avant-garde before 1933. which is supposed to be ‘truthful’ to itself). a course book published to accompany the Weimar programme by Vallentin’s colleague Ottofritz Gaillard in 1946. as already indicated by Vallentin’s 1944 paper. and partners in a fictive theatrical situation). the Weimar programme aimed at humanis- ing society with the help of a newly trained actor. On a discursive level. Vallentin assumes two pillars of ‘Stanislavsky’s Method’: the ‘truth of sensation’ (that is the actor’s experi- encing with his or her senses. it offered a very specific reading of Stanislavsky’s concepts in terms of a Soviet cultural programme in line with the parameters of socialist realism: Russia very decidedly disavowed the ‘Proletkult’ and an intellectual direc- tor’s theatre. Not unlike the schools in the other occupation zones. in summer 1945. mean- ing that acting schools in the other occupation zones were also leaning towards different forms of realism (such as psychological realism or magi- cal realism). After the end of the war. This turn toward realism was partly conditioned by the canon . the specific appropriation of Stanislavsky sketched out in Vallentin’s 1944 position paper was put into practice and further developed into a ‘method’. The human realism of Stanislavsky was acknowledged as a great cultural achievement of bourgeois theatre and the theatre of the Soviet Union has tied in with its progressive traditions.244   A. This is circumstantiated not only by archival documents but also by Das deutsche Stanislawski-Buch (The German Stanislavsky Book). the ‘societal truth’. the mission statement and curriculum at the DTI. Vallentin saw to the reopen- ing on new terms of the acting class at the existing State Music Academy in Weimar.13 In his introduction to the book. KLÖCK only of artistic but also of public instruction and of progress.14 According to The German Stanislavsky Book.

a medium of knowing right from wrong.. British. acting method comes as ‘a great cul- tural achievement’ and as the very climax of this new ideological narrative. but the German Theatre Institute) extends the truth claims of its theatre education and particularly of its actor train- ing beyond the borders of the Soviet occupation zone to all of post- war Germany. at times experimental dynamics of modernist. It also explains why the education of ‘new’ actors was viewed as a key issue in post-war German culture. that is to the theatres in the areas under British.   245 of contemporary plays licensed for translation and production particularly by the American. This partly explains why expressionism—having entered the established German theatres way before 1933—was not considered a possible starting point from which to launch a renewal of German culture after 1945. the burden of proof in actor training is shifted toward a more distant modernist authority: to Stanislavsky. transnational quest for truth. But it was much more fundamentally driven by a general.18 In 1948 the curriculum . and American occupation. a mode of presenting ‘truth’ and true values on stage. and Soviet military administrations. French. Within the epistemological category of realism. With formalist artistic tradi- tions rendered taboo by the Soviet administration. realism can be regarded as an epistemological rather than an aesthetic category..17 These ideological parameters crystallise most obviously around the foundation of the DTI in 1947. Upon completion of their studies each class of acting students was supposed to form a theatre ensemble headed by their main teacher. STANISLAVSKY. avant-garde forms are irreconcilable with this ‘truth claim’ of realism. which is not at all an intrinsic part of Stanislavsky’s own writings. In the case of Vallentin’s and Gaillard’s discourse on acting in 1946. ACTING ON THE COLD WAR: IMPERIALIST STRATEGIES. In this context. to be precise. Thus Stanislavsky is simultaneously turned to as an authority from the past and reconstructed as a modernist tradition in such a way that the new. that is contemporary. At the same time. the apotheosis of socialist realism in the Soviet zone underscores the modernist model of innovation and techni- cal progress. These ‘professionally qualified ensembles’ (a term taken from a 1948 prospectus) were meant to settle permanently in other German cities in a potentially united Germany. the actor becomes a medium of truth. was neither called the Weimar Theatre Institute nor the Stanislavsky Institute. the ‘truth claim’ of realism is posited against Russian avant-garde forms of theatre subsumed under the term ‘Proletkult’ (proletarskaya kul- tura: constructivism and Russian futurism). of transmitting ‘correct’ cultural values and ‘correct’ ways of behaviour. The title of the Weimar institute (which. The open. that is.

20 We find here. located in the American zone. In Munich. the ‘meth- odological renewal of German theatre’ propagated by the subtitle of this institution was to be systematically achieved. in a nutshell. It becomes a medium of expanding a socialist view of the world in the con- text of the rising East/West conflict after the Second World War. with which to politically educate the spectator. –– a competitive relationship between East and West. By means of this imperialist strategy. and particularly after 1947. Whereas Stanislavsky emphasises a focus on the acting ensemble in order to break with the star system in Russian theatre of the end of the nineteenth century. KLÖCK entailed eight semesters of study with a consecutive four-year contract binding graduates to such an ensemble on leaving the school. In this memorandum he cautions the political officials about the DTI in the Soviet zone: No doubt: under a correct assessment of the social function of theatre. ensemble acting at the DTI is viewed as a ‘pedagogical means of art’.246   A. which. There is only one way of holding one’s ground against this: establishing a public theatre school providing an ­education that is commensurate with occidental and Christian man and a system at least matching up with the one of Stanislavsky. the basic argumentative pattern grounded in Cold War rhetoric that will continue in the Western perception of East German theatre until 1989 and beyond: –– a fear of transnational (here: transzonal) communist expansion by means of theatre. Gebhart was a friend of the late Otto Falckenberg. Hans Gebhart wrote a memorandum to the Bavarian State Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs early in 1949. No doubt either that in Weimar high quality and sys- tematic artistic work is being accomplished. .19 Acting on the Cold War: Transzonal Interactions This did not go unnoticed in the Western occupation zones. long-time artistic direc- tor of the Münchner Kammerspiele. thereby legitimising itself to push into the vacuum of Western theatre. in the expected expansion are meant to occupy the Western theatres. the work of this theatre institute amounts to the formation of politically tuned actor-units. The DTI’s mission of educating autarkic acting ensembles constitutes a very specific rereading of Stanislavsky’s concept of an ensemble. to invoke Vallentin once again.

The only ensemble that ever left the school in the way envisioned in the 1948 prospectus was the Junges Ensemble (young ensemble) under the direction of Maxim Vallentin. Over the course of this con- flict. –– and the perceived high effort and quality of East German artistic endeavours.22 After 1951. In the case of the DTI. Such direct transzonal interaction of acting schools was still possible at that time. FRG. it may be noticed in the change of attitude toward ‘acting schools in the West’ as indicated in the above- mentioned note from autumn 1949. the situation had changed: Armin- Gerd Kuckhoff. However. in the East) may be regarded as symptomatic of the intensified East/West conflict at this time. GDR. progress. It also had consequences for the overall self-definition of this institution: the imperialist pan-German strategy of educating ‘professionally qualified ensembles’ for a poten- tially united Germany was abandoned.21 This fear of being discredited by their Western colleagues has to be seen in the light of global Cold War politics and the change of attitude of the Soviet political leaders towards Germany in 1949. and sys- tematic modernisation grounded in this competitive relationship. STANISLAVSKY. ACTING ON THE COLD WAR: IMPERIALIST STRATEGIES. and [that] they could discredit the DTI by using its name for commercial purposes’. in the West and the German Democratic Republic. a delegation from the Falckenberg School in Munich (compare endnote 8) visited the Weimar programme early in 1949 to gain an insight into the work that was being done there. acting schools in the West might be try- ing to gain a lead over other acting schools. graduates of the acting department were no longer bound by an ensemble contract.   247 –– the striving for one’s own technical advancement. It is certainly no coincidence that. they were supposed to put their efforts into establishing a national GDR theatre system.. Instead. warns Otto Lang from the acting department in an internal note: ‘by collaborating with the DTI. cultural strategies changed to favour segregating rather than inte- grating East and West German occupation zones geopolitically. head of the theatre studies department at the DTI. by the autumn of the same year.. The formation of two separate German states in the autumn of 1949 (the Federal Republic of Germany. . This change in cultural politics also trickled down to the institutions of actor training. following Gebhart’s memoran- dum.

he stresses the innovative aspect of Stanislavskian actor training: We welcome that some friends have set themselves the task. During the month of German-Soviet friendship. Markov’s visit to the DTI gives expression to the. ‘formalism’.25 .248   A. of educating actors of a new type.24 Within a rhetoric of modernisation (‘actors of a new type’). and ‘cosmopolitism’ in Russian culture. realism and transna- tional (meaning Soviet-German) socialist politics is further exemplified in a speech by Walter Ulbricht.23 solidifying an ideology of modernism in the field of acting as a transformation of Stanislavsky’s poetics into a ‘system’ of tried and true techniques that participated in the overall ‘modernisation’ of East German post-war society. The transnational reverberation of this change of Soviet politics within the DTI is indicated by a visit from an acting teacher from the Moscow GITIS in 1950. by then. It also pays homage to the formalism debate in Russia. which aimed to increase worker productivity (through an over-fulfilment of their planned workload) and to demonstrate the superiority of the socialist economic system. economic and cultural efforts initially focused on internal processes in order to give East German society a head start over the West and to prove its systemic superiority. KLÖCK Stanislavsky Institutionalised: The DTI Around 1950 After the formation of two separate German states. This interlock- ing of an ideology of modernisation. Secretary General of the Central Committee of the SED (Socialist Unity Party of East Germany). following the methods of the great Soviet artistic director and pedagogue Stanislavsky. this explicit political apotheosis of Stanislavsky’s approach to acting pays tribute not only to the ‘friends’ at the Weimar acting programme. In his 1950-speech at the Third Convention of SED. solidi- fied competitive and antagonistic relationship between two economic-­ ideological systems: consumer capitalism and Stalinist socialism. These workers were part of the Stakhanov movement. and I am thinking here particularly of the so-called second ‘Zhdanovshchina’ passed in 1948 in order to fight ‘objectivism’. the theatre director and acting teacher Pavel Aleksandrovich Markov visited Germany together with several other artists and scholars and several Stakhanov work- ers. Stanislavsky. Markov lectured on topics such as ‘The Soviet Theatre and Stanislavsky’ and ‘The Soviet Theatre and its Fight Against Formalism’.

which operated from 1951 until 1953. Although Brecht evaded these aims. and his theatre always seemed to be on the verge of being dismissed as formalist. in public discourse the self-proclaimed advocates of Stanislavsky continu- ously tried to play his theatre of Verfremdung off against a Stanislavskian theatre of empathy. Bertolt Brecht and the Stanislavsky Dogma The desire of some party officials to stage a public confrontation between Brecht and other members of the Berliner Ensemble (BE) on the one hand. ACTING ON THE COLD WAR: IMPERIALIST STRATEGIES. during his lifetime.27 This antagonism ironically also entered the anti-­ Brecht discourse in West Germany during the FRG’s Brecht boycott in response to his apparent loyalty to the SED regime after the East German uprising of June 1953. the SED leadership could not tolerate such inconsistencies between the theory and practice of cultural politics. It is also clear that. the doctrine of socialist realism and the fight against ‘formalism’.   249 By the time that Bertolt Brecht first visited East Berlin in October 1948 and even more so by the time he moved there in 1949. is epitomised in the Stanislavsky Conference in April 1953. the ‘Stanislavsky dogma’. Several members of the Berliner Ensemble had been invited to this conference. It is obvious that. and Helene Weigel was asked to present a position statement on Stanislavsky in relation to the work of the BE. with the international suc- cess of the Berliner Ensemble from 1954 onwards. seen as including the traditions of the German historical avant-garde. were already part of the cultural politics of the SED and had been institution- alised in East German departments of actor training.26 A recent study of the collection of archival docu- ments pertaining to this State Commission suggests that the aim of the Stanislavsky Conference was twofold: (1) to either eliminate Brecht or to commit him to socialist realism and (2) to explain and establish the Soviet interpretation of the ‘Stanislavsky method’ as the sole binding working method for all theatres in the GDR. STANISLAVSKY.. In the GDR. in the long run. It does not come as a surprise that.. Brecht—in terms of his plays and his theoretical writings for the theatre—was an untouched and untouchable subject in East German state programmes of actor training. the antagonism of Brecht and Stanislavsky governed most of the polemical reviews of Brecht’s produc- tions during his lifetime. Brecht could no longer . The conference was organised by the Staatliche Kommission für Kunstangelegenheiten der DDR (State Commission on Artistic Affairs of the GDR). and representatives of the so-called ‘Stanislavsky method’ and of socialist realism on the other.

from within an institution of actor training: this time from the State Acting Academy of East Berlin (established out of the Acting School of the Deutsches Theater in 1951). Heinz was mostly associated with Stanislavsky and realistic acting32 but he had also met Brecht. from 1959 onwards. It criticises the single focus on ‘the Stanislavsky system’ stemming from the founding years of the DTI as ‘too one-sided’ and calls for an integration of ‘the experience and insights of Bertolt Brecht and others […]’. He had moved to East Berlin in 1956 in order to work at the Deutsches Theater after his workers’ theatre in Vienna. no longer aimed at excluding modernity but rather considered its inclusion in the history of socialist art.30 Previously. In Leipzig. The inconsistencies between transnational representation and national prac- tices needed to be reconciled much like the never officially sanctioned confrontation of Brecht and Stanislavsky in the early 1950s. At this historical moment. the SED leadership. were expected to work toward a socialist German national theatre. The head of the institution. had a problem: the apparent opposition of Stanislavsky and Brecht produced by the discourses of the early 1950s. needed to be reconciled. the Berliner Ensemble had had its international breakthrough and the DTI had been relocated from Weimar to Leipzig and restructured as a Theaterhochschule (University of Theatre). and by the co-existence of Stanislavsky-based actor training institutions vis-à-vis the institution of the Berliner Ensemble. one of the major arguments against Brecht’s theatre that demanded its repres- sion had been that it belonged to ‘bourgeois modernity’. however. public explanation. Hence the incipient cultural political debate on socialist German national theatre differed from the for- malism debate one decade earlier: it was less polarising.28 In April 1959. like acting teachers. Brecht had died. KLÖCK be left out of the relatively young history of German socialist theatre.31 The antagonism of Brecht and Stanislavsky’s approaches needed to be resolved and Brecht’s theatre model was in need of an official. at the so-called Bitterfeld Conference. was actor-director Wolfgang Heinz. had been closed down. Given the importance ascribed to the ‘new type of actor’ to be educated in the East German acting schools. which socialism had already overcome. theatre scholars and practitioners. the Neues Theater in der Scala. it is not surprising that this reconciliation was launched.250   A. The debate in the late 1950s. a draft of a ‘Programme of a Socialist Reform of the Theaterhochschule’ was circulated internally at the end of 1958.33 With this trajectory . and staged and acted in productions of Brecht’s plays. bound to con- sensus.29 By that time Stalin had died and been denounced. once again. the SED lead- ership was calling for a ‘new Socialist national culture’. In this context.

The passage closes with the prescriptive statement: ‘The laws we are accepting for us today are those of socialist realisms’. In 1961. first of all. ‘Theoretical and Practical Classes’. In the West he is often completely mis- understood and sometimes with us as well. it is impossible to understand him..   251 and as head of the State Acting Academy. Heinz became an early key fig- ure within the Brecht–Stanislavsky reconciliation process in East Germany. His concern as a poet was the statement. while supposedly Stanislavskian and Brechtian concepts continue to be negotiated throughout most of this text.’35 Heinz attributes the perceived differences to ‘misunderstandings’: […] [A]pproaching Brecht via form. Heinz discur- sively creates an opening for Brecht to finally and officially enter East German actor training. the scenic arrangement does not just entail mov- ing naturally in a realistic environment. at a meeting of all acting teachers of the GDR. the relationship of Stanislavsky’s and Brecht’s approaches to acting was discussed. which had resulted from the controversies and formalismdebates of the early 1950s. ACTING ON THE COLD WAR: IMPERIALIST STRATEGIES. In July. ‘Demands on Actor Training’. STANISLAVSKY. the periodical Theater der Zeit published a version of the paper presented by Heinz entitled ‘Principles of Training Young Actors’.37 . relationships among people and in space are in themselves artistic means of expression. Meaning. I myself have witnessed proofs of a misunderstood Brecht at our Berlin acting school.34 It is struc- tured into five consecutive paragraphs bearing the following subheadings: ‘Stanislavsky and Brecht’.36 Within the set parameters (Stanislavsky. but that the scenic arrangement must at the same time and in every single moment be an expression of the actual dramatic or rather dramaturgical function of the human beings on stage. It then seems to move on to other issues of actor training. The paper opens with the ideologically most pressing question of how to reconcile the apparent opposition of Stanislavsky and Brecht in East German actor training. makes it clear that any official discussion of Brecht had to be and would be grounded in the already established standards of socialist realism. we will see that there are really not as many differences as many people seem to find. The introductory passage of the article. In the passage ‘Demands on Actor Training’ he calls for an acting teacher who will explain in rehearsals that in the theatre.. ‘The Youthfulness of the Actor’ and ‘Against Private Lessons’. and the following discussion of ‘Stanislavsky and Brecht’ leaves no doubt that both Stanislavsky and Brecht would (be made to) fit these standards as well as be reconciled: ‘Advancing to the heart of the systems of these two great masters of the theatre. socialist realism).

Situated in the context outlined above. the idea of an affective natural- ness based on the seemingly unfiltered and immediate representation of an affect was never officially called into question by the teachers at the DTI or at the Theaterhochschule until the late 1950s.252   A. KLÖCK This focus on the actor’s expression in terms of an analysis of social ­relationships and in terms of dramaturgy is new to officially published GDR acting discourse at this time. but possibly also merely a shrug. because: . It is different from the ‘societal truth’ invoked by Maxim Vallentin in 1946.39 It culminates in a sequence at the State Acting Academy in East Berlin.38 What Heinz meant by ‘correct acting’ and what it was set up against (in terms of ‘incorrect acting’) is exemplified by a documentary broadcast on GDR television in December 1961. Eventually Heinz. intervenes and explains why an actor should NOT identify with the char- acter he or she is playing: If as a painter. During the rehearsal a dis- pute rises over how to play Kramer: as someone feeling self-pity. namely to act well and to act correctly’. in terms of an integration and explanation of his theatre practice in and as a socialist national theatre that was superior to the theatre of West Germany. fighting against the conditions causing his misery. Methodologically. Heinz adds to this approach the conscious shaping of an affect by the actor based on his or her rational analysis of social conditions. ‘To Act Correctly’ after the Construction of the Wall in 1961 In the article from July 1961. In 1961. or as a battlesome man. who has been watching silently. Vallentin constructed this third aspect of Stanislavskian acting in order to modernise Stanislavsky and to orient the acting students in Weimar towards socialist realism and a ‘true’ portrayal of working-class people. As such it set the tone for the rise of the scholarly and artistic reception of Brecht’s writings in the GDR in the 1960s. Heinz pinpoints two ‘demands on our con- temporary actor training […]. this might trigger in the onlooker a strong feeling of trepidation. steering toward suicide. you paint a picture on the topic ‘the misery of oppressed people’ and you show miserable figures in a horrible milieu in which they have to live until the end of their days. it may be regarded as an officially sanctioned response to the political task of dissolving the apparent contradiction between Stanislavsky and Brecht in the early 1950s. showing students rehearsing a scene from Gerhart Hauptmann’s Michael Kramer.

STANISLAVSKY. this time ‘correct acting’ is also set up geopolitically in order to demonstrate the superiority of East German theatre over theatre in West Germany. ACTING ON THE COLD WAR: IMPERIALIST STRATEGIES. Here. remains the authority.   253 what shall be done about it? And religion has done much to make people say: this is wanted by God and cannot be changed.42 And Heinz answers the students: Let’s put it this way: we are trying to do theatre more correctly and some- times we succeed. We however.43 . our theatre. Brecht’s Verfremdung was a dramaturgical means of pointing the audience to contradictions and poor conditions in contemporary society (an effect not compatible with the idealised representation of reality in socialist real- ism. whatever the theme. They were wide- spread in medial discourse. while Brecht himself is never men- tioned. The dramaturgy of the rehearsal scene and Heinz’s explanation of ‘correct acting’ are examples of a general tendency in official East German discourse to integrate Brecht’s concept of an actor’s non-identification into socialist realism at the end of the 1950s. While Stanislavsky. a student asks whether ‘we alone are making art and are acting correctly’.. here. Heinz explains ‘correct acting’ by drawing on the former’s concept of Verfremdung (exemplified in the field of painting). And that’s why art. it is shifted from the level of dramaturgy and dramatic writing to the level of acting method and actor training. and in West Germany for instance: that we are approaching act- ing from different preconditions?’41 We. Following Heinz’s explanation. This shift allows for a domestication of Brecht’s concept of Verfremdung within socialist realism. Thus we can sort the accidental from the substantial. that is reality the regular- ity of which we grasp with the help of materialist dialectics. Realism demands this. however. and another student gets to the heart of the matter. too: that a perspective is provided with the representation of contemporary conditions. asking: ‘Isn’t this the difference between our theatre with us.40 Without mentioning Brecht. rooted in the Cold War rhetoric of the imme- diate post-war years. who is cited in the opening of the film sequence. Because we are reflecting reality. However. know that it is changeable. the difference from West Germany: demarcations of this kind were quite common before and after the construction of the Wall on 13 August 1961. and not wanted by party officials). Brecht’s dramaturgy of making expe- riential social contradictions and misconditions is introduced and at the same time reduced to an actor’s contradictory construction and presenta- tion of his or her dramatic character within the epistemological category of socialist realism. must always be an appeal..

The subjectivation of the actor in actor training programmes is. The final part of the documentary. there seems to be a consensus on how socialist theatre might be done and taught. and the institutionalisation of actor training in Germany after 1945. in the context of the East/ West conflict. so are the viewers in front of their televisions. Much as the acting students are sup- posed to learn something. KLÖCK Unlike the article in the periodical from July. much as in the post-war discourses. in the discourses on acting in post-World War II Germany. particularly from a Stalinist Soviet Union to the Soviet occupation zone and to East Germany. showcasing the artistic achievements of Wolfgang Heinz in terms of a socialist German national theatre. discursively constructing a border between East and West in the cultural sphere. the actor/the actress appears as an idealised medium of ‘truth’ for the (re)building of a German democratic society. I hope to have shown how. With all these insights. stages an attempt at closing the ensuing debates: at least at the State Acting Academy in Berlin. It serves as a subject-model for the East German spectators in front of their televisions. They are included in the ‘we’ Heinz frequently employs in his speech. it is important to remember that this is a ‘filmic construction’ of a rehearsal situation and that Heinz is talking not only to students but also to an East German television audience. Brecht. It also shows that. collectivised as a model for society—however. Furthermore.254   A. It stages the ideological and methodological superiority of East German acting and actor training. for East German society exclu- sively. acting and actor training are interlocked with medial dis- courses that attempted to nationalise ideals of personhood. the film from December 1961 draws up boundaries between East German theatre and theatre in West Germany. and concepts of the self and of the other. . this ‘we’ excludes those possible spectators on the other side of the Wall in the West. Looking at the Cold War rhetoric and strategies associated with Stanislavsky. The filmic construction of ‘correct acting’ in the 1961 documentary exemplifies the desire of the SED leadership for a dissolution of the appar- ent antagonism between Stanislavsky and Brecht of the early 1950s. This antagonism had emerged in the context of post-war strategies of trans- mitting culture transnationally to occupied Germany. this time. I would like to suggest that historical research on acting in terms of cultural transmission may provide new insights into East/West German cultural history and contribute to global theatre histories in a way that an exclusive focus on acting as communication or performance cannot.

ACTING ON THE COLD WAR: IMPERIALIST STRATEGIES. Gabriele Clemens.  Canning. Among these schools were.und kalte Ost-Schauspieler? Diskurse. later transferred to a separate institution called the Max Reinhardt School. 5. He was persecuted by the fascists due to his communist theatre group ‘Das rote Sprachrohr’ (the red mega- phone). 1994). CT: Wesleyan University Press. 60–65. Heiße West. 10. 730–740. Zur Theaterpolitik der amerikanischen Besatzungsbehörden (Frankfurt on the Main: Lang. 2007). Order no. Studien zum DDR-Theater (Berlin: Links. 230 of the SMA-Thuringia. Theater der Zeit Recherchen 62 (Berlin: Theater der Zeit. 407–420. Theater in Deutschland nach 1945. for example: the Otto-Falckenberg-­School in the American Zone in Munich (opened in 1946  in conjunction with the Münchner Kammerspiele Theater and named after the theatre’s former artistic director Otto Falckenberg in 1948). 8. Anja Klöck. 9. 1998). Geschichte(n) zur Schauspielausbildung in Deutschland nach 1945. Dance for Export. 3. Theatre Journal 63. Britische Kulturpolitik in Deutschland 1945–1949 (Stuttgart: Steiner. Wiegand Lange. Geschichte eines radikalen Zeitalters (Munich: Beck. 12. 6. 28 October 1947 (original in Russian. He emigrated to Prague in 1933 and to the Soviet Union in 1935. Praxen. 1998). T 302. 290–291. 1997). Erziehung und Kulturmission. II. 11–15. the acting class at the Saarbruck Conservatory in the French protectorate Saarland (founded in 1947 after the model of the Paris Conservatoire de musique). 3.   255 Notes 1. HMT Leipzig Archive. 103. STANISLAVSKY. Andrea Schiller.1 (October 2009). Stefan Zauner. 11. 2008). Kalter Krieg 1947–1991. 2000). 60–61. and the school associated with the Deutsches Theater in the Soviet sector in Berlin (reopened in 1946 and later transferred to a separate institution today known as Staatliche Hochschule für Schauspielkunst ‘Ernst Busch’). Spielräume und Grenzen.. and Naima Prevots.. Bernd Stöver. . 7. ‘“In the Interest of the State”: A Cold War National Theatre for the United States’. and today known as the acting programme at the University of the Arts in Berlin). 4. See Charlotte M. Petra Stuber. Maxim Vallentin (1904–1987) had worked with Max Reinhardt and Leopold Jessner in Germany in the 1920s. the Hannover Acting School in the British occupation zone (founded by Hans-Günther von Klöden in 1945 and later institutionalised as the present-day University of Music and Theatre Hannover). with German translation). Frankreichs Bildungspolitik in Deutschland 1945–1949 (Munich: Oldenbourg. the Hebbel Theatre School in the American Sector in Berlin (opened in 1946 at the Hebbel Theatre. Die Theaterentwicklung in der sowjetischen Besatzungszone (SBZ) 1945 bis 1949 (Frankfurt on the Main: Lang. 1980). 2. C. Cultural Diplomacy and the Cold War (Middleton.

7–11. Friedemann Kreuder. 13. settling there perma- nently as the Maxim Gorki Theatre.256   A. ‘Gedanken zu einer Theaterschule’. 16. Fredric Jameson. ‘Deutsches Theater-Institut Weimar Schloss-Belvedere. Vallentin in ibid. 20. 24. Institut zur meth- odischen Erneuerung des deutschen Theaters. ed. Institutsordnung (Wintersemester 1948)’.  Kuckhoff (Berlin: Verlag Kultur und Fortschritt. Zhdanow had announced the doctrine of socialist realism in 1934 (Jiri Smrz. ‘Symphonic Marxism: . Das deutsche Stanislawski-Buch. 4. 2010). HMT Leipzig Archive. unpublished manu- script. 5–21. 21. here 10. 23. Gaillard. IX. T302/5. here 261. All translations into English are my own. Das Schauspielinstitut ‚Hans Otto‘ in Leipzig. 2. Gegenwart. KLÖCK 12. The ‘Zhdanovshchina’ was named after Andrei Alexandrovich Zhdanov. Vergangenheit. ed. [no date]. 25. 17. 1946). 10. Hans Gebhart. Armin-G. who were sent to US institutions for a ‘methodological reorientation’. 15. 1. 19. C. in Theaterhistoriographie. Ibid. Das deutsche Stanislawski-Buch: Lehrbuch der Schauspielkunst nach dem Stanislawski-System (Berlin: Aufbau-­Verlag. 235–257. 2002). Der Kampf des sowjetischen Theaters für eine realistische Kunst. Ottofritz Gaillard. Lehrplan und Methode. 1951). MK 50662. 22. Stefan Hulfeld and Andreas Kotte (Tuebingen: Francke. 257–261. in Spielräume und Grenzen. Maxim Vallentin. 19. p. ‘Einleitende Bemerkungen zur Ausarbeitung von Richtlinien (Theater) (1944)’. ed. Essay on the Ontology of the Present (New York: Verso. in Auftrag. ‘Im eigenen Auftrag’. Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv. See Anja Klöck. could be more effectively staged in Germany.. 172. Gerhardt Neubauer. which is still one of the leading public theatres in Berlin today. The Junges Ensemble went to Berlin (East) in 1951. 18. 9. 2007). mostly in the genre of American psychological realism. ‘Historiographie der Körper(ver)formungen: Institutionen. (Körper)Politik und Schauspielkunst in Deutschland nach 1945’. Zukunft (Leipzig: Hochschule für Musik und Theater ‚Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’. a Russian politician and close acquaintance of Stalin. The reorientation of acting teachers in the American occupation zone. may be regarded as yet another imperialist strategy of Cold War culture. Kontinuitäten und Brüche in Diskurs und Praxis. A Singular Modernity. Studien zum DDR-Theater. Aufnahmebedingungen. 14. Studiengebühren.. The ‘antiquated methods’ of German acting teachers were meant to be trans- formed into the more advanced techniques taught at US institutions so that the plays licensed by the American Military Administration. Pavel Markow. 2000). Petra Stuber (Berlin: Links.

Fernsehdoku­ mentationen zur Schauspielausbildung in BRD und DDR’. (Bielefeld: Transcript. timecode 38:00:00–38:13:17. 35. Evelyn Deutsch-Schreiner. timecode 38:18:00–38:42:13. Zur Kulturpolitik im österreichischen Parteien. Theater in der DDR. Ibid. Das Künstlerportrait—Wolfgang Heinz.. 30. 33. 38.. Stuber... 28. 62. Denken. 61. Dagmar Buchbinder.. 37. ACTING ON THE COLD WAR: IMPERIALIST STRATEGIES. Die gegenseitige Darstellung von BRD und DDR im Dokumentarfilm (Constance: UVK. Theater im Wiederaufbau. 27. Ibid. .173. 2001). Theater der Zeit. 41. 31. 40–48. Handeln. and Joachim Fiebach. Traute Schölling. Matthias Steinle. ‘Gesichtspunkte für die Nachwuchsausbildung’. Kämpfen (Berlin: Henschelverlag. 61. Ibid. in ‚Die Eroberung der Kultur beginnt!‘ Die Staatliche Kommission für Kunstangelegenheiten der DDR (1951–1953) und die Kulturpolitik der SED. ‘Entwurf zum Programm zur sozialistischen Umgestaltung der Theaterhochschule’. Studien des Forschungsverbundes SED-Staat an der Freien Universität Berlin. 32. television premiere on 26 December 1961 on channel 1 of the DFF. 29. ‘Die Staatliche Kommission für Kunstangelegenheiten (1951–1953)—eine Kulturbehörde “neuen Typus”’. T65. Ibid. Spielräume und Grenzen. 11–63. 34. Ibid. 25. Chronik und Positionen. 2001). accessed 27 April 2012.discourses. 1994). Renate Waack. 148–181.). Vom Feindbild zum Fremdbild. 39. Deutscher Fernsehfunk (DFF) 1961. 43. Das Künstlerportrait—Wolfgang Heinz.und Verbändestaat (Vienna: Sonderzahl. 36. 4. For a more detailed discussion of this documentary film see Anja Klöck. Wolfgang Heinz. 1958. V. 26. 45’00”.   257 Sovietizing Pre-revolutionary Russian Music Under Stalin’. Discourses in Music 4.html. Christa Hasche. 2003).. ed. timecode 36:52:00-37:54:06. ed. here 135. STANISLAVSKY. Wolfgang Heinz. Ibid. 9–276. in Theater und Subjektkonstitution. 40.3 (Summer 2003). 1980). Friedemann Kreuder et al. http://www. In September of 1947 he responded to the Truman doctrine (of March 1947) with a speech to the members of the Comintern. 477–490. Mit einem Essay von Ralph Hammerthaler (Berlin: Henschel. 2012). ‘Subjektmodellierung und Subjektrepräsentation. 7 July 1961. I would like to extend my gratitude to Peter Kupke for sharing his insights into these times in a conversation in April 2011. 61–63. 192–200.. Das Künstlerportrait—Wolfgang Heinz. Jochen Staadt (Frankfurt on the Main: Peter Lang. HMT Leipzig Archive. 42.

and as the aesthetic debates of the nineteenth century had centred on and around the national schools of opera. one had to travel to respec- tive locations. B. As is widely known.B. two stage directors and companies established themselves as the flagships of their profession in East and West Germany respectively: Wieland Wagner in Bayreuth and Walter Felsenstein in East Berlin. and Felsenstein’s productions were sometimes televised. Stauss (*) Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität. Wagner also directed in other German cities. Germany © The Author(s) 2017 259 C. CHAPTER 15 Checkpoint Music Drama Sebastian Stauss When opera and music drama are discussed in a political context. he was occasionally a guest director and he went S. Szymanski-Düll (eds. The two cities in which the two directors were based must be mentioned. especially in the so-called ‘Winter Bayreuth’ of Stuttgart. again sharply shift into focus. when seeking a thor- ough understanding of the style of each director. which have marked these genres from their beginnings. Balme.). so too during the Cold War the internationally standardized repertoire was occasionally turned into a means of diplomacy. Globalization and the Cold War. soon after Second World War. DOI 10. as it is significant that. Theatre. Transnational Theatre Histories. of course their representational aspects. especially when the two political systems on either side of the Iron Curtain sought a display of operatic culture to fit the contemporary requirements. Munich.1007/978-3-319-48084-8_15 .

Götz Friedrich had already conjured up the storm some days before the first night of Tannhäuser when he spoke of his intentions and his view of the Bayreuth Festival. […] and if I have understood correctly what Wolfgang Wagner is planning after Wieland’s death: in my eyes Bayreuth isn’t to be considered a place of cultish reverence. in an interview given to Hessian Radio: If I have understood Wieland Wagner correctly in what he was wishing and working for. saw. it is well known that stage directors from the GDR were sought after in the West from the early 1970s onwards. not welcomed by some parts of the audi- ence or by some journalists. on the one hand. the capital of Bavaria. such adaptations led to heated reactions from the audience. which could be adapted to. The biggest provoca- tion of this particular staging seems to have been its ending. Leipzig and even Athens. On the other hand. will be examined more closely below. the com- pany of the Bavarian State Opera not only touring to London or New York. for example. One generation later. 40 years later. Probably the most prominent events were the debuts of Götz Friedrich and Harry Kupfer at the Bayreuth Festival in 1972 and 1978 respectively. However.1 That connections like these (as well as the short-term engagement of conductor Rudolf Kempe from Dresden as the State Opera’s general music director from 1952 to 1954). who came onto the stage and proclaimed the redemption of the protagonist. were. to exemplify how these productions were received. Interestingly enough. however. but also to East Berlin. STAUSS on tour with his ensemble throughout Europe once in a while.260   S. Below I will focus on some examples. for me it is a workshop. both Friedrich and Kupfer were considered the successors of Walter Felsenstein and his approach to realistic music theatre. between 1953 and 1966. In terms of their directing style. the situation changed considerably—as guest performances by stage directors from the East became more com- mon in West Germany. in the American zone of occupation. if not fully integrated into the doctrine of Socialist Realism by the authorities. in which it was apparently (judging from the costumes and a saluting gesture omitted in the following revivals) a chorus of working-class people from a socialist country. . but they were primarily associated with Bayreuth and East Berlin. mostly but by no means only from Munich’s operatic history. instead of the group of younger pilgrims returning from an audi- ence with the Pope in Rome. In the case of Friedrich’s production of Tannhäuser in Bayreuth. which are hard to understand from our point of view. as it may be for others.

directors from the East made appearances. […] The paradox of course was that Friedrich. Gioacchino Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia (The Barber of Seville). seemed to both demonstrate the . To Munich’s opera-goers. Whatever difficulties had had to be overcome on the first arrival of one of Felsenstein’s proté- gés in Bayreuth. CHECKPOINT MUSIC DRAMA   261 Bayreuth is one of the few workshops of a new way of dealing with opera. Even if he (like most artists) had to face objections to his aesthetic course from critics and some of his audience. who at that time held the position of Intendant at the Berliner Ensemble (as her mentor. especially after the basic treaty between the two German Republics in 1972. At the Bavarian State Opera of Munich. Throughout his career as a direc- tor and after it. trying to make a new start with the form of opera—it is a similar workshop to Berlin’s Komische Oper in the GDR. When Ruth Berghaus (1927–96). and until his death in 2000. fled from the East soon after this Bayreuth debut.2 As Frederic Spotts has pointed out. freshly reflecting and rethinking the traditions. other productions directed by both Friedrich and his peer Harry Kupfer were less fiercely contested and were criticized more reluctantly. newly staged by Berghaus on 26 November 1974. as Intendant of West Berlin’s Deutsche Oper. made her directing debut in Munich. he clung to the concept of opera as an art of the ensem- ble. in the years that followed. the reception of this Tannhäuser ended in a double bind equal to the personal situation Friedrich had found himself in long before the curtain had risen: Friedrich was denounced as a dangerous red who was a threat to the Federal Republic and who should be sent back to East Germany. which. the putative Communist propagandist. it would be too easy to say that he was ‘won over’ by the West. had done before her). who had been born in Naumburg (Saxony-Anhalt) in 1930 and began his career as Felsenstein’s assistant at the Komische Oper. Here too. did not result in a truce for the theatre. the stage was set for a clash of cultures. Some accused him of turning the opera into a Communist attack on Nazism. how- ever. after he had become a Western citizen his directing style did not test the spectators’ tolerance as it had before. the situation appears to have been rather different.3 Friedrich. had spent his career contending with the ideological oppression of the East German Communist regime. however. Bertolt Brecht. others of using it to celebrate the inevitable triumph of the poor over the rich.

The controversy of the production can be seen as twofold. however. And finally.1). but what lay beneath was the issue of opera as an art form of the ensemble or as star theatre. even turning tumultuous when the barber answered: ‘auf dem Balkon da?’ (on the balcony over there?). which only gradually subsided (Fig. Curiously enough. which meant precisely outlining both the big and small form. At first glance it was about comedy of characters versus comedy of types. blend- ing several metaphors for materialism. In the recitative after his famous aria the laughter. The international development was already under way: moving away from the theatre of the ensemble and towards a marketable production with singers contracted ad hoc […] Ruth Berghaus played the card of interaction. the singer of the title role. As soon as the curtain opened for the first act. when Rosina delivers her first lines not from a window but from an opening positioned in one of the brick torso’s breasts. the audience’s animosity was roused by a female torso made of bricks that filled the stage to its full height—a strong image. 15.4 . It is possible to gain an impression of what happened on the first night of this production with the aid of photographs depicting Andreas Reinhardt’s stage design. STAUSS theatrical aesthetics of East Berlin as the capital of the GDR and challenge the West German audience in its accustomed views. it did not erupt during the first appearances. a great expert in music theatre between the Eastern and Western borders of Europe. seclusion and gender gaps. there was another cue (‘Euch fiel der Käse gleich auf die Macaroni’— the cheese fell straight on your macaroni) prompting laughter and protest (instigated by the colloquial meaning for ‘Käse’ as ‘nonsense’). things changed considerably after the protagonist entered the stage. and the original radio recording by the Bavarian Broadcast Corporation. delivered these lines in a rather mocking tone which made it even easier for the hecklers to join in (during the preparations for the first night.262   S. Or. the well-known (West-)German baritone Hermann Prey. booing and heckling of large parts of the audience for some moments threatened to bring the performance to a halt: as soon as the Count of Almaviva explained that it was right here that the object of his desire (Rosina) was to be found. Prey had already pointed out that he and Berghaus did not share the same opinion of Rossini’s work). there was another uproar. says: The discussion dealt with a contemporary and substantial element of the development of theatre. the first loud reaction—laughter—came from the auditorium. as Sigrid Neef. Although the atmosphere in the audience was heated. Just a few lines later.

15. CHECKPOINT MUSIC DRAMA   263 Fig. at the State Opera Unter den Linden in Berlin another production of the . one can confirm Neef’s judgement with the help of a few observations. 1974. Bayerische Staatsoper. Photo: Sabine Toepffer Almost four decades later.1  Rosina’s first appearance in Act I of Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia. On the other hand. Berghaus’s production of Rossini’s Barber did not remain in the repertoire of the Bavarian State Opera for very long and was superseded by a production that fitted the requirements of internationalism as sketched by Neef. On the one hand.

  Moreover. referring to the Komische Oper and the theatrical foundations of the GDR as a whole? If so. more than implies the social criti- cism which the Bavarian critic considered to be a typically socialist idea: there is no doubt that it is the Count’s aristocratic position that saves him from getting arrested at the end of Act I. For instance. K. but otherwise similar in its handling of movement and drawing of the char- acters. However. left the reader in no doubt as to why he considered Berghaus’s staging to be pretentious and inappropriate when he referred to the first finale. by introducing the ‘GDR trademark’. And this review was not the only one to take such an approach. this could be counted among a critic’s minor failures.5 This statement is paradoxical in more than one way.H. but Pierre Beaumarchais’s original drama. albeit with a different stage design (by Achim Freyer. this particular opera production is made into a political issue. the critic of the Süddeutsche Zeitung. the form and genre of the opera itself were sometimes used as bogus arguments for detecting the director’s way of thinking. in which ‘acidic social criticism made in the GDR seemed to be adding to the director’s lack of humour and corroding the harmless picture of a funny finale buffo which one usually has in mind’. one comes to conclusions that differ slightly from Neef ’s judgement. . Ruppel. In measuring the director’s style against operatic conventions. upon which the libretto of Rossini’s Barber is based. the reviewer obviously has not taken into account the musically repetitive structure of the finale in question.264   S. in criticis- ing Berghaus’s almost mechanistic choreographing of the scenes. Is this a sign that the ensemble culture of the Berlin State Opera was more intact than that of Munich. comparable to the structures Götz Friedrich hinted at. As such. the competition between the two systems. Reading some of the reviews of the new production in 1974. another artist originating from Brecht’s Berliner Ensemble). he even goes as far as to deny her highly analytical approach towards the opera. STAUSS very same opera with Berghaus as the stage director (after its premiere in 1968) would become a trump card of the company’s repertoire and remain so for more than 30 years. the ‘Western’ star system and the alternative model consist- ing of local celebrities in the East. whose review was later also printed in a revised version in the monthly Opernwelt. the crucial factor is that. The harmlessness of the opera buffa is invoked. is no different to the usual fan discus- sions and conflicts between adherents of the contending opera houses. The critics dealt with the production more as a political and ideological mat- ter.

and non-­professional critics reported on the national (West German) and international operatic scene from the 1960s to the 1990s. The chief editor of the magazine (Hans Huber). a magazine based in Munich. since Wolfgang Rennert. four per- formances of the Munich Barber’s first run were reviewed by four different writers. semi. What follows. in the eyes of the Western observers. however. rhetorically ‘narrowed down to an individual polemic’7: first the terms of the critique of materialism and capitalism are introduced to establish the writer alongside the artist and his message. but. it becomes clear that this was merely a strategy of superimposing the critic’s insights onto the reading of the staging. not to mention singers such as Atlantov and conductors such as Rostropovich…8 . frequently conducts at the State Opera Unter den Linden. for instance. is his objection to the limitations of Berghaus’s skills in realizing her concept and the use of the wrong cast of singers in the wrong place. So what we are deal- ing with here is basically a double-voiced discourse. the work of directors from communist and socialist countries may simply reflect the overall impossibility of turning their ideals into reality. a theory with no chance of fulfilment in practice. we’d be very keen to move further to the East. but the arguments each of them employs against Berghaus as one of the GDR’s leading cultural representatives. in which a staff of professional. Thus. but it is the historical perspective that counts here). CHECKPOINT MUSIC DRAMA   265 Of particular relevance in this context is Oper und Konzert.’6 It is obvious that the writer of this review wants to show that he is fully capable of understanding the critique of capitalism intended by the stage director (of course the production cannot be reduced to this. as the text continues. the brother of our artistic direc- tor. It is precisely the strength of ‘Eastern’ theatre that is targeted: the ensemble structure. What is of interest is not so much their continuously negative recep- tion of Berghaus’s interpretation. It is insinuated that either the star quality of the Western standard is not reconcilable with the methods of rehearsing behind the Iron Curtain or that the aspired-to high standard of working with a theatre ensemble in the East may itself be part of a communist doctrine. In the January 1975 edition. In one of the other reviews this unsatisfactory constellation is even traced back to political reasons: Although one may welcome the Bavarian State Opera nurturing its East-­ West contacts. conceded that one could see in the protagonist of Rossini’s opera (especially since it is based on the revolutionary play by Beaumarchais) a ‘coldly calculating pimp who is only motivated by money especially when he is repeatedly talking as well as singing of it. Russian masterworks remain to be discovered by the State Opera […].

by the Russian director Dmitri Tcherniakov. are photographs of a clear-cut visual concept. who had also stud- ied composition and conducting. During Günther Rennert’s tenure as Intendant of the State Opera from 1967 to 1976. paradigmatic. born in 1917. the only sources to which we can refer today. arranged one above the . apart from the reviews. Not so the second. Again. Again.9 The first of the two. in its way. half a year before Ruth Berghaus’s Munich debut. two directors with a background in the Prague surrealist movement were chosen for a total of seven opera productions. It is even suggested that the Berlin State Opera has become a kind of ‘checkpoint’. inter- estingly. who was a guest director in Munich from the late 1960s on: Václav Kašlík. from the early 1950s until the end of his life in 1989. The stage was elaborately arranged. this was of the type that is nowadays efficiently used. with different levels of realistic tableaux juxtaposed and set alongside each other. STAUSS In this case the argument of the reviewer. including movie screens and monitors. the relationship between the GDR and the Federal Republic. for instance. but mostly not for the standard repertoire. It appears to be a question of: you see what you want to see—and yet you don’t like seeing it. the scheduling in Munich is. It is important to stress that the chasm between the attempts of theatre professionals to integrate Eastern aesthetics into the programming of the West and their reception wasn’t limited to the innerd- eutsche Beziehung. again had the ‘advantage’ of having emigrated from Czechoslovakia as early as the 1950s. is something of a paradox: the writer pretends that he and the rest of the opera audience in the West have been eagerly awaiting the chance to be exposed to Eastern aesthetics. espe- cially for Zimmermann’s Soldaten. ‘The stage was full of big surfaces and areas for the actors. which featured multi-level stage. The case of Ruth Berghaus in Munich was neither the first nor the last staging of a repertoire piece that was closely examined and dissected by its opponents in the West. worked at the Prague National Theatre. unfortunately.266   S. despite his casual and lightly arrogant tone. toler- ance soon runs out. In the 1960s he started directing operas for film and television and was also responsible for the first Munich performance of Zimmermann’s contemporary opera Die Soldaten on 23 March 1969 and a new production of Verdi’s La forza del destino on 2 February 1974. founded the Grand Opera of 5 May in Prague in 1945 and. Bohumil Herlischka. with Günther Rennert’s brother Wolfgang conducting in exchange for Ruth Berghaus directing in Munich. But when it comes to compet- ing for supremacy in strategically conceived dramaturgical matters.

One critic went as far as to make the diagnosis that Kašlík had laid open his ‘anti-clerical complex’ especially in the scenes with the appearances of the monk. It helped the weaknesses of the score and evened out its strengths. Whereas Ruth Berghaus was later accused of having tech- nically failed in developing and negotiating the ideological principles that formed the basis for her interpretation of the piece she directed. the intense abundance of images sometimes just looked luxuri- ously anti-militaristic. Suspiciously enough. Kašlík and Svoboda were confronted with the reproach that they had undermined the text’s fatalism by introducing reasons and consequences within the dramatic action that weren’t originally intended in that way. Again. among other nasty deeds. the target-oriented pic- tures as a whole produced a causal link that is not provided by the text as Zimmermann has arranged it and is not composed by his music. Fra Melitone. it is directed at the continuity of pictures introduced by the directing team and which were presumably at odds with the composer’s intentions: ‘However. again one can find reviews of this production which merely outline a concept which is apparently deemed inadequate because of the presumed ideological background of its inventor. one serious point of criticism is not long in coming. The stage designer Josef Svoboda and the director Václav Kašlík had prepared everything most skilfully. no objections should be made to Kaiser’s opinion of the evening’s drawbacks. just a few lines above.12 Many reports on Kašlík’s productions are sceptical and dwell on the director’s ability to work out a plausible dra- maturgy. as the reviewer’s task consists in naming the pros and cons of a performance. who. inconsistent as they are. even have a hint of cynicism about them when it comes to the so-called ‘luxurious anti-militarism’. Diversely varying projections and short films could be watched— this was exemplary and fascinating—though almost barely comprehensible in the simultaneity of the actions that nevertheless took place just as they had obviously been planned. Absurdly enough.’10 Although Joachim Kaiser’s review of the Soldaten in the Süddeutsche Zeitung gives the impression of unqualified praise in its opening paragraphs. In the production of the Romantic opera La forza del destino.’11 These sentences. the critic tends towards contradiction in stating that for the composer ‘the misery and rape of an incautious girl is basically equivalent to Hiroshima (to which such an act of violence leads)’. . he gives no example from the performance of the high and low points of the score. For that reason. Instead. staged by Kašlík in 1974. CHECKPOINT MUSIC DRAMA   267 other. some critics spotted an abuse of the clerics depicted in the opera—readily (and prematurely) expected from a director based in an atheist state.

but threatens with violence the injured who are assembled and pleading in front of him. in terms of the views it expresses. has established itself as well-founded. is a review printed in the Trybuna Ludu on 20 May 1988. in the libretto itself and in the scene described (Act IV. which reads thus: ‘[…] The performance of the complete cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen in Warsaw’s Teatr Wielki in its origi- nal language and with the participation of great artists from the Federal Republic of Germany has to be acknowledged as an outstanding event. . On behalf of ‘lib- eral’ and ‘left intellectual’ theatre professionals of the West. critical of the church though it may be. Once again the Wagnerian repertoire was the repertoire of choice. so to speak. As one last example.13 What goes unmentioned in this report is that. This time. and have been taken up again on countless occasions. in each and every respect. especially in terms of a higher power controlling the events. In the spring of 1988 the Teatr Wielki started a production of the tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen with the leading team headed by the conductor Robert Satanowski and the director and intendant August Everding (1928–99). the character of Melitone shows no signs of mercy and patience. Of far greater significance. STAUSS struck poor women with the ladle that he was supposed to use to feed them and tore away the crutches of a beggar.14 Tracing the performance history of Verdi’s piece in the past 40  years. The director in this context became a trespasser on demand.268   S. most of the surviving photographs and reports show little more than faithfulness to the composer’s original intentions from an aesthetic perspective. However. Its rejection within the staging of 1974 could be perceived as a stratagem pattern—on each side of the board. Of course these stereotypes are old. directors from the Soviet satellite states (at least those geographically closest to the West) were obviously welcome to visualize thoughts on operatic scores that had been made a taboo in a conservative Western society. one may conclude that this interpretation. What makes them interesting in this case is that some critics hint at their auto-stereotypes of watch- ing something (together with the audience) that is forbidden. Scene 1). there are other reviews (like the one by Karl Schumann in the Süddeutsche Zeitung) that praise the Goyescas-like imag- ery here and the suspension of audience identification with any concept or character in the piece. looking in the opposite direction provides an insight into how a West German director was received in the Polish capital when the Warsaw Pact was relaxed after perestroika.

if you discover it and then you start shouting on an operatic stage: ‘Come here! Do it!’. One could conclude—although this interpretation might be seen as too consolatory—that despite all the restrictions. then you are in an unexpected field of tension. which would have been unthinkable 40 years ago. CHECKPOINT MUSIC DRAMA   269 It was justified that the Ambassador of the Federal Republic. the operatic form and its exploration by directors crossing the borders between the East and West went far beyond a merely representative level of cultural diplomacy. said in his speech after the Rheingold première that this event. Of course. according to which all opera performances mentioned so far had operated. opens a new chapter in the reception of Wagner in Poland. Franz- Joachim Schoeller. One should refrain from making this about the issue of freedom: the code. was maintained here. making Wagner’s music at that time was very exciting. Directing at the Teatr Wielki meant avoiding the slightest provocation. but also the limitations and ongoing progress within the actual sites of theatri- cal production—symbolically redefining the concepts of ‘producing’ in a much wider sense of the word. […] The relationship with France isn’t that strong anymore. And when the 45th anniversary of the ghetto is taking place at that time—whatever that means.’15 In an interview conducted by Alexander Kluge and televised shortly after the premiere of the second part of the Ring. too—in the sense that the directors from the ‘other’ side of the Iron Curtain were entrusted with a task whose end result would. in the worst case. . the word ‘anniversary’ shouldn’t be used in that context—when it is commemorated. But apart from that. perhaps even in the cultural relationship of the two countries. August Everding described his personal experiences in Warsaw as follows: As a German you come to this city with different feelings than if you go to New York. you get afraid of doing so for what the German language might sound like.16 It is noticeable that Everding. The double-voiced perception and reception made it possible to question not only the ideological boundaries separating the two political systems. too. tried to express his personal views in a diplomatic vein. I worked there in the same way as I do in every other opera house in the world […]. Showing the forbidden here was not an option because of the historical circumstances. would be attributed to the political system represented by the director. Still. the one with the Federal Republic is much stronger and therein lies a big opportunity that we have and that we should not let pass by.

3. Eine persönliche Musikgeschichte vom 18. Gespräche und Bilder (Hamburg: Rotbuch. Günther Rennert. 9.). 27–28. 4 February 1974. Michael Holquist (Austin and London: University of Texas Press. 15. Oper und Konzert. 28 November 1974. 1994).). Johanna Eggert (ed. 12 (Munich: Hanuschik.270   S. All translations from the English are mine unless otherwise acknowledged. 378. 1995). 7. 325. Mein Leben mit der Oper (Munich: R. Arnold Hanuschik (ed. Regisseur und Intendant (Anif and Salzburg: Ursula Müller Speiser. Alexander Kluge. Das geliebte Haus. 191. K. Schumann. Hanuschik (ed. Joachim Kaiser. Rudolf Hartmann. ‘Die doppelte Macht des Schicksals’. 11. 15. K. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart—Zweiter Band (Munich: Paul List. Ibid. 9. ‘Opera: Nibelungi w Warszawie’.. 4. 1975). Michail M.H. 1989). Piper & Co. ‘Die Buffa als Dressurnummer’. 10. . Oper und Konzert 13. 5. 380. 1975). 279–280. 1974). Bayreuth—A History of the Wagner Festival (New Haven and London: Yale University Press. Erlebte Musik.  Bakhtin. Kanski. Das Theater der Ruth Berghaus (Berlin: Henschel. Süddeutsche Zeitung. 439–446.. 259.  Ruppel. 20. It might be noted that Schoeller (whose first names are also given as Franz-Jochen) was forced into early retirement in 1989 after the spread of rumours that he had been involved in illicit arms-trafficking. Andreas Backöfer. 16. Hanuschik. 1994). 2001). 381. 14. 15. The Dialogic Imagination. STAUSS Notes 1. Frederic Spotts. August Everding. Götz Friedrich—Musiktheater (Berlin: Bostelmann & Siebenhaar. Trybuna ludu.). 6. 14. Ibid. Der Mann der 1000 Opern. J. 1989). 13 (Munich: Hanuschik. 12. ed.. Anfang heißt Ende und Ende ist Neubeginn. 67. 13. Sigrid Neef. 20 May 1988. 2. Four Essays. Oper und Konzert. 1981). 8. Süddeutsche Zeitung. 4.

PART IV Postcolonial Perspectives .

Globalization and the Cold War.B. B. Bayreuth. Transnational Theatre Histories. Thanks to Mussie Tesfagiorgis and Tekeste Yonas for translations and transcripts. film. the DAAD and the Cusanuswerk. Balme. Matzke (*) University of Bayreuth. sports. Beyene Haile and Esayas Tseggai. DOI 10. and The British Council in Asmara under its then director Negusse Araya. 1970s to Early 1990s Christine Matzke Preliminaries: Cold War and Cultural Histories The Cold War period has recently become a contested terrain.1007/978-3-319-48084-8_16 . theatre. Asmara. C. CHAPTER 16 Whose Side Are You On? Cold War Trajectories in Eritrean Drama Practice.). as well as the administrative support of The Bureau of Cultural Affairs in the Ministry of Education. Germany © The Author(s) 2017 273 C. Boon for spending time discussing earlier drafts. anthropology and so on) have discovered the period The author gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of the AHRB. and to Tanja R. to the reading room staff at the Research and Documentation Centre. I would like to dedicate this chapter to the memory of two notable Eritrean writers and theatre artists who passed away at the time of writing in 2012. Müller and Richard P. Theatre. Szymanski-Düll (eds. popular culture. especially since cultural studies scholars from various disciplines (literature. particularly Solomon Tsehaye.

MATZKE as a productive framework for their own research. with origins.1 This has led some histori- ans to worry that by applying the idea of ‘Cold War’ ‘to all sorts of historical phenomena beyond warfare and diplomacy […] there potentially emerges a lack of analytical and conceptual precision. in turn. “Cold War” risks becoming a means of academic self-promotion.’2 In fact. now started to support . if any.4 Nehring himself has no qualms about borrowing from the theatre world and compares the Cold War to ‘a classic drama in three acts. form of alliance-switching when the Soviet Union stopped providing aid to Somalia during the 1977–78 Ogaden War in order to support her adver- sary. in one way or another. Influences were by proxy. a middle period of crisis and relaxation (détente). approaching certain cultural phenomena—such as the emergence of ‘revolutionary culture’ in the Eritrean war of independence—from the vantage point of international Cold War dynamics can provide more nuanced insights into developments that until now have predominantly been looked at in terms of national theatre history and local cultural policies.’5 While he does not go beyond the figura- tive usage of these terms (and certainly does not specify which normative. and endings in the 1980s and the early 1990s. I strongly object to the idea of what might be seen as a mere scholastic publicity stunt. Introduction: Cold War and the Horn of Africa Looking for key moments which affected the Horn of Africa during the Cold War one cannot but notice a particularly volatile. Indeed.’3 While we are all.274   C. drama theory he has in mind). a closer look at certain happenings during the so-called ‘middle period’ of the Cold War can help us under- stand which effects international political dynamics had on drama practice in the Eritrean war of independence. rather than through the direct export of artistic programmes by the Cold War super- powers—the Soviet Union and the USA—in marked contrast to many other of their economic and military interventions in the postcolonial world in their struggle for global domination. a cheap advertising gimmick without any intellectual content. From 1953 until the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie in 1974 and the subsequent establishment of military rule in 1977. History and the study of cultural practices—be they performative. not to say ‘dramatic’. Holger Nehring goes as far as to claim that ‘[a]pproached in this way. Ethiopia. of neces- sity engaged in academic self-promotion. Ethiopia had been backed by the USA which. literary or otherwise— can complement each other without breaking into each other’s preserves.

What reads like a clear-cut switch to keep an assumed political balance was in fact a highly complicated process of ideological consolidation and political compromise. Eritrea had been federated with Ethiopia as a self-governing entity in 1952 as the result of a UN resolution.. While the civilian population was menaced by a violent political campaign known as the ‘Red Terror’. he was able to attract Soviet attention while US support gradually petered out. Soviet and American rivalry was somehow mirrored in the long-standing enmity between Christian- ruled Ethiopia and Muslim Somalia. culminating in the Ogaden War (the Ogaden being a territory in south-eastern Ethiopia largely inhabited by ethnic Somalis). The promised self-rule. was quickly undermined by the Ethiopian crown. on the other hand.10 Alliance with the Soviets translated into massive military and economic assistance with far- reaching consequences for anybody contesting the Derg’s authority.   275 Somalia. not only for the Cold War superpowers. to be kept open at all possible costs7. but also to establish itself as a veritable global force. International interests in the region had many motivations. two armed liberation movements in Eritrea—the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) and the later dominant Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF)— had been fighting a war of independence since 1961. the group of soldiers which had ini- tially ousted Haile Selassie went through a merciless formation process until Mengistu Haile-Mariam emerged as the elected chairman of the Coordinating Committee of the Armed Forces. however. Ethiopia and Somalia became the geographical matrix where regional and intercontinental rivalries were acted out. but also the countries on the ground. For the next ten years Mengistu became Ethiopia’s de facto military dictator. WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON? COLD WAR TRAJECTORIES IN ERITREAN DRAMA. strove for greater influence on the African continent not only to make socialism the leading international system. better known as the Derg.8 The USSR. the Horn moreover linked Africa to the Indian Ocean area and was of utmost strategic importance in the USA-led effort to ‘contain’ the spread of communism.11 Ethiopia also fought ‘hot’ wars against opponents with ideologies similar to her own. A former Italian colony.12 . Apart from the conflict with Somalia. While the USA and the USSR were the global players in this contest.6 Indeed. By adopt- ing socialism and centralism as the Derg’s political ideology..9 From the beginning of the Ethiopian Revolution in 1974 to the full establishment of military rule in 1977. For the West. the Red Sea was the main route for the oil supply from the Middle East. and by moving closer to a Soviet understanding of ‘scientific socialism’. By 1962 the takeover was complete and Eritrea turned into an ordinary Ethiopian province.

First I will focus on the devel- opment of the idea of ‘revolutionary culture’ in the EPLF. Secondly I will look at some—for the time— extraordinarily lavish productions of ‘world theatre’ staged by an elite group of liberation fighters in the EPLF Central Hospital in Orota which seemed to contradict ideas of ‘revolutionary culture’. which only emerged after their political adversary. had also proclaimed a ‘revolution’. political agitprop and traditional dances.276   C. songs. exemplified by two seemingly incon- gruous developments in the area of drama. one of the major writers and cul- tural thinkers in the EPLF. contradictions and ambiguities emerging from this radical switch. nation-building and social engineering. Culture was an indispensable tool for political education. I am particularly interested in the tensions. the Orota group devoted a huge pro- portion of resources and energy to mounting plays from an international repertoire. Ethiopia. While.16 .15 Cold War and EPLF Cultural Practices in the 1970s Many contributions to this volume will demonstrate how theatrical traffic between countries and regions furthered their interconnection and. particularly through Western influences on local urban performance forms and theatri- cal traffic from the Eritrean capital to other parts of Ethiopia and Sudan. but instead with an opponent theoretically belonging to the same ideological camp. ulti- mately. Both Ethiopians and Eritreans saw culture as a ‘weapon’ in the fight for a better society—and as a means of sociopolitical control. the areas in which the liberation movements operated. This will be exemplified by a drama critique developed in the early 1980s by Alemseged Tesfai. While other cul- tural troupes mounted variety shows comprising music. the transnationalization and globalization of theatre during the Cold War.14 In this chapter I will look at some of the effects the ideological changeover in Ethiopia had on theatre practice and cultural policies in the Eritrean ‘field’. Two alternative versions of socialism thus co-existed uneasily side by side in what was officially still one nation-space. MATZKE Both Eritrean liberation movements were considered to have strong Marxist-Leninist leanings. this also happened in war-torn Eritrea. to an extent.13 With the rise of the Derg regime they found themselves no longer confronted with a ‘feudal imperialist’. and—to return to Nehring once again—an essential element of (ideological) warfare. though the EPLF actually followed Maoist military strategies.

with Italy. both liberation fronts were forced to abandon most of the liberated t­ erritories. as in ‘traffic of ideas’. Hedareb and Kunama) or they had been exposed to urban performance forms. Tigre. these commu- nities were based in the West. no attempt was made to send troupes to countries belonging to the Eastern bloc or aligned African nations with the aim of connecting with other socialist terrains. People with prior theatre experience had either excelled in the long-established performing arts of any of the nine ethnolinguistic communities in Eritrea (Tigrinya. This had enor- mous consequences not only for the strategic modus operandi of the EPLF. Eritrea’s isolation was compounded by the fact that in 1978 the EPLF was forced into a strategic retreat into the inaccessible mountains of Sahel..   277 the situation was slightly different in areas where the liberation movements operated. When the Derg had taken power. Afar. when EPLF cultural troupes were sent to various Eritrea Festivals abroad to reach and raise funds among the Eritrean diaspora.’18 The new leadership continued the policies of Haile Selassie’s imperial regime as regards both Eritrea (which was to be maintained as part of Ethiopia) and Somalia.19 now backed by Cuban advisors and massive Soviet military assistance including Russian pilots and MIG fighter planes. serving as the festival’s cultural centre. Here. the former colonial ‘motherland’. Theatrical traffic in physical form only took place in the final phases of the liberation war. but also for the running of cultural activities. While the ELF was harder hit and eventually ceased to operate as a fighting force in Eritrea. Rasheida.20 the EPLF managed an orderly strategic withdrawal into the mountainous northern highlands in Sahel. let alone any form of theatrical training. much of the cultural traffic was imagined rather than physical.. WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON? COLD WAR TRAJECTORIES IN ERITREAN DRAMA. largely in the Eritrean capital Asmara. and none of these countries sent companies to the liberated areas in Eritrea. Concepts and books were floating around. it is necessary to look at specific local manifestations of performance practice and socialist ideological formations in order to trace the theatrical traffic and links between Eritrea and other regions in both East and West. Nara. As the liberation fronts were relatively isolated internationally. The same can be said of artists outside the Iron Curtain. Without exception. Bilen.17 To my knowledge. there had initially been hopes that ‘the new regime would accept Eritrean independence and negotiate a peace set- tlement. In 1977 the Eritrean resis- tance controlled most of the Eritrean countryside and a number of towns. They were mistaken. For one. but from mid-1978 to 1979 it suffered a succession of five brutal offensives by the Derg. The retreat called for a reconsideration of . Saho. but there was no direct exchange with artists from other (socialist) countries.

‘Revolutionary Culture’ was therefore multilayered and home grown. and by American music broadcast from Kagnew station. Ideological guidelines. neo-naturalistic plays and buffoonery as known through Charlie Chaplin and the famous Neapolitan comedian Totò. then a senior cultural officer. explained: The EPLF knew that the struggle against Ethiopia would be very long because the Russians supported [the Ethiopians]. and African theories of decolonization. in every fighting force. . and it had to be realistic in a representational sense. but there was no signifi- cant foreign support for the Eritrean cause […] So the EPLF thought that cultural activities. ‘revolutionary culture’ was influenced by relatively gen- eral ideas about Socialist Realism in the communist world (the exact sources of which I have yet to establish). cultural preservation. sprouted. whatever. The new thinking in the EPLF was also stimulated by other African independence movements.278   C. and it was certainly not imported. Many were rooted in urban performative practices of Eritrea and Ethiopia which were more influenced by the West rather than the Eastern bloc. it had to be typical of their lives. the Asmara-based US ‘lis- tening post’. MATZKE military tactics and organizational structures.21 Solomon Tsehaye. as a painter. in the 1950s and ’60s).22 Culture also began to be more aggressively promoted as ‘revolutionary cul- ture’ in the field.25 theatrical sources and individual theatre experiences in the EPLF were eclec- tic. it was certainly a watershed since the existing central cultural troupe (CCT) was temporarily disbanded and cultural activities encouraged on all levels of the organization. as a sculptor. theatre performances. in every platoon. revitalisation of our cultural values were important to strengthen the Eritrean people’s endeavour to achieve freedom. regardless of their quality and depth.23 Embracing all art forms practised in the liberation struggle. It is one of life’s ironies that the idea of ‘revolutionary cul- ture’ only emerged when the EPLF found itself confronted with an adversary also proclaiming a ‘revolution’. cultural activities were encouraged. (Modern Eritrean forms had been particularly inspired by Italian and British performance cultures—variety shows. and boost the morale of the people. as a singer. In this climate of crisis it was hoped that ‘revolutionary culture’ would further the national project more efficiently than previous cultural work. Guidelines were sent out that every person who can contribute to the arts and culture should get involved: as a writer. So. So theatre groups. as an actor.24 Above all. culture had to be relevant to and supportive of the liberation movement. For culture in general. by lavish Orthodox Church aesthetics and lengthy Ethiopian dramas. The entertainment aspect was also taken into consideration.

Anqetsi (Meningitis. Specialization was now greatly encouraged. the CCT was revived in 1981 and the Division of Culture split into two separate subdivisions: the Music Section and the Section of Literature and Drama. Its Development. known under the code name Arag.27 The new base where he and other cultural officers were to take up their work was located in the inaccessible highlands in northern Sahel. Molière.30 Between 1982 and 1984. though he had virtually no theatre experience... The new CCT had to complement the existing entertainment groups and function as the official cultural representative of the EPLF. Until then Alemseged. Focusing on the develop- ment of written drama. 1984). While most continued their work until de facto independence.  In 1981 he was appointed to advance drama. all underground to protect the fighters from Ethiopian air raids.31 He also produced the first two full-­ length studies on Eritrean literature and theatre r­espectively.26 whose work was an ama- teurish ad hoc affair. dancers and writers. performed in 1983). space and resources to develop their talents. A permanent. had worked in the educational sector of the EPLF. 1983) and Eti Kale’ Kwinat (The Other War. subterranean base was built which featured offices. This was also the case with the Orota troupe which will be dealt with in the final part of this chapter. Alemseged wrote and directed three plays—Le’ul (written in 1982. as was the study of different cultural disciplines. This led to an upsurge of cultural activities on different levels.32 . shelters. and had thus to include the best singers. it was under the premise of ‘a higher level of thinking and organisation’28 than its predecessors. Ibsen and Gogol—but also covered selected African plays and theories. above all the writings of Ngugi wa Thiong’o. cultural ventures were decentralized and performance groups established in virtually all sectors and departments. and partially translating.   279 ‘Revolutionary Culture’ after the Strategic Retreat At first. Literature. with Drama being directed by Alemseged Tesfai. from the so-called ‘recreational groups’. galleries and a rehearsal hall. military and non-­ military alike. the few books available on literature and theatre arts. WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON? COLD WAR TRAJECTORIES IN ERITREAN DRAMA. and Its Role in Revolution (1982) and Drama ([1983]). The choice was limited and mostly related to European drama—Shakespeare. a qualified lawyer who had abandoned his doc- toral studies in the USA to join the liberation struggle. Alemseged29 spent his days reading. to groups at Brigade or Army Division level which were given more time. When the CCT was reconstituted.

illusionistic mode.280   C. mostly tragedies. MATZKE Alemseged Tesfai’s Critique of Drama In the virtual absence of contemporaneous critical discourses on theatre in the war of independence and a larger body of creative writing. and was often the only form of theatre audiences recognized as ‘drama’. At times plays were too long and too didactic to be enjoyable. dramas were produced in neo-naturalistic.36 Though Alemseged believed in the creative potential of ‘the people’. According to Alemseged. Non-figurative art works were rejected for being incapable of projecting the Front’s revolutionary agenda. While I cannot necessarily confirm the first couple of phases for lack of dated material. Criticism of cultural works was tentative and sporadic. Now and then plays were so crude that performances were effectively counterproductive to the objectives of the EPLF. representational acting was aspired to. phase two continued from 1980 to 1983 and was characterized by ‘message-carrying comical sketches and short. he soon realised that without clear guidance the project of ‘revolutionary culture’ would fail. for the simple reason that ideas of avant-garde theatre had not reached the liberation movement.34 At the time of writing. mainly for fear that it would discourage budding. though presentational performance (with its focus on display rather than verisimilitude) often made up for lack of means to produce a ‘life-like’ portrayal on stage. was clearly influenced by his own theatre work. Alemseged observes that . a third stage was said to be underway on which the author did not yet feel ready to comment but which.33 I will utilize Alemseged Tesfai’s insightful drama critique of 1983 to highlight some of the limitations of scripted drama work in the field. drama in the EPLF had passed through two distinct stages by 1983. remained very popular in the field. The reason behind the desire to improve the standard of dramatic performances appears to have been a general discontent with the quality of theatre. on the other hand. it can be safely assumed that from the mid-1980s drama by individually recognized playwrights was steadily on the rise. Phase one covered the period from 1979 to the early 1980s in which ‘long serious dramas. serious symbolic [mean- ing: allegorical] dramas’. while orthodox Christian symbolism was abolished because of its link to religious dogma- tism and the old feudal order. Equally uncommon was experimental drama- tization of whichever kind. in retrospect. but inexpert. ‘Abstract’ scenery was unheard of in the field.35 As much as possible. and some short educational comic sketches’ were performed. Combatants got bored and started to dub drama ‘political education’. Overacted slapstick and buffoonery. artists.

In plays against feudalism women are beaten just to make people laugh. as were overacted stock characters. there has to be an accompanying message telling that such practices as beating women should be abolished. directors and actors’. problematic to con- front rural spectators with images of stupid fellow peasants as opposed to ‘learned (urban) intellectuals’. due to the genre’s popularity it had to be taken as seriously as the production of full-length plays: ‘It may be asked here.. Alemseged explains. Alemseged concedes that ‘comedies are captivating.’ Otherwise our laughter will be at the expense of the oppressed and will be counterpro- ductive to the objectives of revolutionary culture.   281 in non-scripted pieces actors often lost a sense of direction in terms of plot. it was immensely successful.’41 . not because of the logical development of the drama. The ignorant old peasant.. it is. it views comical sketches more critically than literature or drama. If women are to be slapped on stage. WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON? COLD WAR TRAJECTORIES IN ERITREAN DRAMA. The spectator should say: ‘We cannot help laughing. Then there was the tendency to overload the plays thematically.38 As an educational concept. Mounting comedies was not a laughing matter. barista. constituted a typical ‘traditional’ image. ‘it cannot hold all of its aspects. as was the greedy licentious barmaid. on the other hand. character building or overall meaning of the play. Sometimes the audience demands an encore of such things.’39 Time and again. In fact.’37 Stereotypes were also a problem for non-scripted and early scripted works. jokes and prov- erbs exist which belittle women [or] cheapen the relationship between hus- band and wife. This is true whether it is done on purpose or inadvertently. The bespectacled. such things should not be encouraged through crude drama. not derision. ‘Although drama is a reflection of real- ity’. of course. In our and many other societies. as entertainment. these attitudes were utilized to engender laughter among the spectators. however. resulting in ‘muddled’ messages or incoherent ‘rambling’ on stage. “Is revolutionary culture also interested in comedy?” Yes. if it makes people laugh. for example. Alemseged feared that such tendencies would hamper ‘the development of writers. […]. Even if it makes people laugh. but the matter is burning in our hearts. Laughter should be a form of objection. but the harmful views they covertly slip in are not easily overcome. for mirth was believed to be the ultimate mea- sure for the success of a show: Actors go to great lengths to use abusive language for comic effect.40 Indeed. serious-­looking bearded young man reading a newspaper—a representation of the ‘learned revolu- tionary’—was just one example of modern typecasting. It was. it was certainly dubious.

No matter how much the ‘masses’ were invoked in the struggle. Rooted in the ancient practice of withholding one’s deeper thoughts and feelings. Plays that could potentially criticize the official view of things had to be curbed and contained. but were part of the larger make-up of EPLF cultural work after the strategic retreat. MATZKE On closer scrutiny.282   C. To my knowledge. drama in Eritrea was. the ‘people’. This violates one of the basic principles of socialist reality [realism]. and has continued to be. ‘Symbolic drama’ had always been appreciated in Eritrea for carrying clandestine meanings. often in hyperbolic exalta- tions of Eritrean strength and ethics. it was the result of ‘a protracted military struggle and a defence against Ethiopian […] infiltration. Similar to the premises of the Division of Culture in Arag. the reason behind his concern was not only limited to the typecasting of women or other characters. It also complied with the ‘culture of secrecy’ cultivated in the field.’42 Allegorical plays. theatre never criticized the elite sector of the EPLF. Rather. As meaning is indistinct. so it seems. par- ticularly allegorical plays. and much drama was characterized by a benevolent top-down approach to enlighten the semi- literate ‘masses’.44 Theatre at the ‘White House’: Lavishness and Little Luxuries Earlier on I referred to ‘recreational’ and higher-level cultural troupes which were not associated with the CCT. One such group emerged among medical and pharmaceutical staff in the Central Hospital. operating theatres and pharmaceutical manufacturing plants were situated underground . not of. there will be no limit for symbolic drama [that is allegorical plays]. however. If unsophisticated plays can look as if carrying a political message. the majority of the wards. […] It is for such views that symbolic drama should not be mounted too frequently. campaign theatre and other straightforward realistic plays. it was connected to the unpredictable nature of certain dramatic forms. in an area code-named Orota. would have been an ideal theatrical medium had they not been open to a multiplicity of interpretations.43 These ideas illuminate why modes and forms in Eritrean fighter theatre have continued to be inclined towards farcical sketches. a theatre for. moral fables. without engaging them in a participatory way. similar to double entendre in local orature. different interpretations are encouraged which will serve different interests.

were the forms of entertainment that emerged.   283 due to recurring air bombardment. the Orota White House . confirmed the remarkable richness of Orota performance culture. however.. Doctors and pharmacists had trained abroad. Their daily schedule was more predictable than for hospital workers. which we needed to manufacture infusions and all these things. the pharmacy became known as a cultural centre in the area.’46 Despite the apparent levelling of all fighters in the liberation movement. I remember if peo- ple wanted to be entertained at the time. there were so many pharmacists who had done their first part of uni- versity education. including the plays of Anton Chekhov and the poetry of Vladimir Mayakowski. Unlike its counterpart in international politics. it is perhaps not sur- prising that theatre also played a major role in Orota. because of our work. it was also the result of a few individuals.47 While the American White House had long abandoned Ethiopia and Eritrea. WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON? COLD WAR TRAJECTORIES IN ERITREAN DRAMA. Soon. Unusual. They had read books. a concept of ‘elite’ thus clearly existed in the field. Bernardo’s col- league. We had water.. and spread over some seven kilometres in the valley. not the pharmacy. Among them was the pharmacist Bernardo Kifleyesus. And since we worked with drugs—and drugs are poison- ous—we used to wash ourselves every day after work. they were better than other groups. they went to the pharmacy as their local recreation centre.45 Given that health issues featured in a number of educational plays staged by cultural troupes at all levels of the EPLF. Kidane explained: ‘As it happened. and many had come to appreciate for- eign performance cultures. and most of them had above-average education. soft water. Columbia. ‘People considered us unique because of the nature of our work’. above all the mounting of international literary drama—from Egypt. This development was partly due to the settled exis- tence of hospital and pharmacy staff and the relatively superior facilities at their disposal. here prominently expressed in the idea of education. People called us the ‘White House’. a group of liberation fighters simply created their own. who had studied for a Master’s degree in the Soviet Union and had taken a liking to Russian literature and theatre. especially among the pharmaceutical staff. Russia and England (particularly Shakespeare)—to expose audiences to performance cultures other than their own. Most people had finished secondary school. however. Kidane Woldeyesus. Bernardo Kifleyesus recalled.

it became evident that audiences demanded topics other than those related to the war. elaborate props and s­cenery had been ­abandoned to concentrate on the actors’ physical expressivity. especially costume and stage design. they were not linked to the new con- cept of ‘revolutionary culture’. secondly the playlets easily catered to audiences with a liking for comical plays. largely donated by foreign visi- tors and Eritreans abroad. Short Russian farces. it stood for efficiency. In contrast. Shakespeare was only mounted on special occasions and usually took months to rehearse. The Proposal and The Bear. For one. they had no intention of cultivating a ‘poor theatre’ such as proposed by Grotowski or as seen in Black South African ­protest theatre under apartheid. the majority were far removed from the daily concerns of health workers and combatants in the field. In an almost holistic approach to healing—though this concept was never broached—the White House not only provided medicines. and were appreciated for their engrossing storytelling qualities and their delightful dramatization. perform- ers paid loving attention to detail. Bernardo and others enjoyed and were familiar with Chekhov’s farces.49 The reasons for choosing Chekhov were rather pragmatic.) Continuing. On the contrary. Bernardo Kifleyesus recounted that they wanted people to ‘relax’ and therefore avoided showing ‘bad situations’. Some plays were clearly linked to the liberation war. Later. MATZKE was known for cleanliness and white lab coats. respectability and enjoyment. nor to any ideological. simple settings and miniature casts these texts allowed for small-scale productions in the cafeteria in between larger shows. but also a space for leisure activities and pleasant distraction.48 Interestingly enough. (In both cases.284   C. metaphorically. This does not mean that smaller productions were less carefully set up than bigger shows. Eritreans would simply help themselves. While a number of plays continued to revolve around current political issues. This accounts for the relatively wide thematic range of productions. and finally they were ideal for theatre work under material and time constraints. The Central Hospital owned a sizeable library with books and some films as part of its underground facilities. others deliberately shunned such topics. If foreign aid was withdrawn. not abandoning the tradition of ornate Orthodox Church . Mise en scène became almost an obsession for the Orota group. With short scripts. ‘Socialist Realist’ reworkings of Chekhov as seen elsewhere in the communist world. no matter the length of the production. became very popular in the mid-1980s. Despite the abjectly poor conditions under which they worked. especially Chekhov’s early one-act vaudevilles.

. Smirnov.. found himself in charge of the Chekhov plays. dyed frilly mourning clothes for the widow. Bernardo went on in a way that revealed the unusual mixture of inexperience and technology that became characteristic of the Orota theatre tradition. ‘A colleague was very artistic and drew a landscape on a transparency that we then projected onto a screen made from an old white bed sheet. Yet the success of the shows forces a reconsideration of perspective. Indeed. While the conditions in which . it was initially surprising that there was not a similar reappraisal of imported theatrical traditions. Popova first resists and then succumbs to the advances of the landowner. as a former resident of the USSR. Bernardo Kifleyesus. ideas of ‘elite’ and ‘luxury’ existed in the field. this appears to have been the core enjoyment of the play—forging an imaginary link between nineteenth-­century Russian feudalism and the feudal conditions of imperial Ethiopia. Bernardo cut a tail- coat for the servant. Given the radical rethinking that was going on in the liberation movement. while Luka’s head was covered with cotton wool to indicate his advancing years. For The Bear.   285 aesthetics common to Eritrean highland culture—the home of many the- atre enthusiasts in the field—visual aspects of staging remained central to the Orota productions. His trademark was a rather ostentatious moustache. and. They also indicate that despite an ideology to the contrary. enjoying the projected lavishness of the shows in times of extreme scarcity. Luka (his very own role) and. breeches and laced sandals decorated with pom-poms. we would project horses onto the screen. the Orota group devoted a huge proportion of resources and energy to mounting plays from an international repertoire. Popova.’50 Considering the dire conditions under which they worked. Stage properties consisted of simple plastic chairs covered with cloths. Based on mem- ory and pictures in an encyclopaedia. above all. Sporting a waistcoat with three medals on his chest. and that fighters were unwilling to have themselves totally streamlined in the name of a programmatic ‘revolutionary culture’. ‘It was also the first time that we used a projector’. WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON? COLD WAR TRAJECTORIES IN ERITREAN DRAMA. And when Popova and Smirnov talked about horses. The lit- eralness and ingenuity the Orota group brought to the shows were an attempt to maintain a link with the perceived traditions of international theatre cultures and the world at large. he fashioned elaborate costumes imitating what he believed to be nineteenth-century ‘Russian’ styles and taught actors how to play ‘pompous feudalists’. with the help of expired battery carbon and brown juice extracted from acacia trees. he was a very impressive suitor indeed. and demonstrated the fighters’ resourcefulness and creativity.

4. often contradictory mix of Eastern. Eastern and Postcolonial Perspectives (New York: Routledge. Holger Nehring. 2012). ‘What was the Cold War?’. http:// etheses. Nehring. 5.h-net.527 (2012).ac. but spoke of Eritrea’s relative interna- tional isolation at the time. 920–949. 2. which did not necessarily indicate a transnationalization of theatre.51 (1997). English Historical Review 127. Eastern and Postcolonial Perspectives. and while these. posted on H-Net Africa. Western and African theatre traditions. 3. Notes 1. and Robert Edelman. Jane Plastow. 2010). Drawing on an eclectic. Cold War Literature: Writing the Global Conflict (New York: Routledge. The Other Cold War (New York: Columbia University Press. Andrew Hammond (ed. ‘CFP: Global History of Sport in the Cold War’.uk/796/. above all.whiterose. 221–230.). For examples see Paul Warwick. ‘aligned’ and ‘non-aligned’ countries. En-gendering Theatre in Eritrea: The Roles and Representations of Women in the Performing Arts (University of Leeds. is structured like a theatre history. ed. accessed 15 March 2016. ‘Contested Nationalisms and Socialisms: The Role of Theatre in Seeking Liberation for and between Ethiopia and Eritrea’. Global Cold War Literature: Western. 925. Even Plastow (2012). educative and entertaining. . Heonik Kwon. ‘What was the Cold War?’.). were determined to dif- ferent degrees by international Cold War dynamics. and. in turn. drama practice in the EPLF seems to have transcended the familiar Cold War dichotomies of ‘East’ and ‘West’. September. For an excellent detailed analysis see Odd Arne Westad. http:// www.286   C. New Theatre Quarterly 13. Andrew Hammond (New York: Routledge. conservative and forward-­thinking. which gives an excellent overview of Ethiopian and Eritrea theatre during the period of the Cold War. and Christine Matzke. MATZKE post-1978 theatre emerged were undoubtedly linked to the region’s political happenings. accessed 15 March 2016. in Global Cold War Literature: Western. ‘communist’ and ‘capitalist’. See Andrew Hammond (ed. 6. 2012). 113–127. The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 924. 2005). truly Eritrean. artists and critical thinkers in the EPLF created a theatre which was both conventional and revolutionary. 2006). 2003). ‘Theatre and the Eritrean Struggle for Freedom: The Cultural Troupes of the People’s Liberation Front’.

Donna R. not the Derg. had served as a spy and ‘listening post’ (Michela Wrong. From Guerrillas to Government: The Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (Oxford: James Currey. Poems.   287 7. A very short EPLF playlet from the 1980s entitled ‘The Derg and the Soviet Union’ beautifully illustrates how drama was being utilized for political purposes. especially regarding Soviet support. Jimmy Carter and the Horn of Africa: Cold War Policy in Ethiopia and Somalia (Jefferson. . mimeograph. 2007). 144–145. Westad. Tekeste Negash. Peter Schwab. 2001). The Global Cold War. 7–8. Kagnew would also become a major influence on urban Eritrean performance practice. The Ethiopian Revolution: War in the Horn of Africa (New Haven: Yale University Press. Nehring. From Guerrillas to Government. 2005). 2009). The Ethiopian Revolution 1974–1991: From a Monarchical Autocracy to a Military Oligarchy (London: Kegan Paul International. a Marxist-Leninist organization in opposi- tion to the Derg) and the Eritrean liberation fighters. 1997). In the sketch.306 (1978). NC: McFarland & Co. 233. African Affairs 77. It is also a particularly good example of how competing socialisms and ensuing rivalries were dealt with. particularly through music pro- grammes. Pool. ‘Cold War on the Horn of Africa’. the Russians con- clude that it is the separatists who are the truly progressive forces. 41–42. 13. ‘What was the Cold War?’.WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON? COLD WAR TRAJECTORIES IN ERITREAN DRAMA. Eritrea and Ethiopia: The Federal Experience (New Brunswick. Andargachew Tiruneh. 8. 36–67. 12). Gebru Tareke... 9. The base was closed down by the Carter administration in 1977. 939. NJ: Transaction Publishers. 199–202. translation by Tekeste Yonas. Westad.. I Didn’t Do It For You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation (London: Fourth Estate. ‘Cold War on the Horn of Africa’. 2001). David Pool. 2005). Teferra Haile-­Selassie. 11. The Global Cold War. Mengistu immediately breaks off relations (EPLF ‘[Short Dramas. 143–144. (Please note that sources originally published in Tigrinya are quoted in the English translation available to the author. 1979). Jackson. 208–214. 10. A History of Modern Ethiopia 1855–1991 (Oxford: James Currey. The Ethiopian Revolution 1974–1987: A Transformation from an Aristocratic to a Totalitarian Autocracy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. an American military base in the Eritrean capital of Asmara. 14. Brigade 31. Revolutionary Songs]’. 201) from which to track broadcasts and military communications from the communist world (Schwab. in the struggle against the EPRP (The Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party. Since 1953 Kagnew Station. 1993). Bahru Zewde. Mengistu welcomes his Russian comrades who want to know what happened to all the weaponry they supplied to Ethiopia. 257 and the following. 12. 279. When they are told that most got lost in the Ogaden War. 6–20.

Agostino Tabacco. 19. 75–77). In a strictly linguistic sense. NJ: Red Sea Press. It should be noted that between 1972–74 and 1978–81 both liberation movements were also engaged in a civil war which immensely weakened the ELF as an active fighting force (Iyob.) 15. the ELF was virtually powerless in Eritrea. or as provided by my mother-­tongue-­speaker colleagues. 1995).). 17. 186 (2007). The Eritrean Struggle for Independence). Most of my material was collected between September 1999 and September 2000 when.2. 249–276. I spent one year researching theatre arts. Mahber Teyatr Asmera (Ma. smaller bands had gone as far as Kassella in Sudan (Abubakar Ashakih. ‘“Life in the Camp of the Enemy”: Alemseged Tesfai’s Theatre of War’ in Ernest N. Bologna: Testimonianze di lotta degli eritrei esuli in Europa (n. 2008). the majority of fighters having fled to Sudan to seek refuge in the . ‘Shakespeare and Surgery in the Eritrean Liberation Struggle: Performance Culture in Orota’. 2008). 62–81). Gift of Incense: A Story of Love and Revolution in Ethiopia (Trenton.1 (2004). 15–32. 16. and Judith Ashakih. Nationalism. 18. or The Asmara Theatre Association).A. ‘The Asmara Theatre Association. in African Theatre 7: Companies. when I visited the country at least once a year for a minimum period of three weeks but up to two months. not only toured Eritrea. notably the capital Addis Ababa in the mid- 1960s (Christine Matzke.288   C. this does not do justice to the intricacies of the Tigrinya language. Parts of my findings have already been published in Christine Matzke. Emenyonu (ed. Resistance. but it seems more reader-friendly. James Gibbs (Oxford: James Currey. Earlier on. Christine Matzke. Journal of Eritrean Studies: Research Journal of the Colleges of Arts and Social Sciences (Asmara) 3. 2001). This paper is based on long-term research in Eritrea between 1999 and 2010. Eritrea’s most famous theatre association. Cahiers d’Études africaines 47. MATZKE Tigrinya-language words are given in a simplified transliteration most com- monly used in English-language publications. Ruth Iyob. 2005). Te.: Punto Rosso Edizioni. By the early 1980s. Asmara. Abbebe Kifleyesus. ‘Folk-Fairs and Festivals: Cultural Conservation and National Identity Formation in Eritrea’. African Literature Today 26: War in African Literature Today (Oxford: James Currey. in collaboration with Nicoletta Poidimani. but also other Ethiopian towns. 26–40. 20. ‘Cold War on the Horn of Africa’. ed.p. hosted by the Eritrean Ministry of Education and the British Council. 130 and 174. The Eritrean Struggle for Independence: Domination. 1961–1974: Mahber Teyatr Asmera’. 1941–1993 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 15. Schwab.

I have not done field work in Ethiopia. Perhaps it is not surprising that a lot of EPLF agitprop and educational playlets performed at the time were very similar in content and tenor to what the Derg regime mounted.: EPLF). 4 August 2000. but I can confirm this tendency from the little material I gathered on urban drama in Asmara under the Derg. In a recent article she writes ‘since everyone knew these plays were put on under duress no-one blamed the play-makers unduly’ (Plastow. Solomon Tsehaye. Ministry of Education)’. In his groundbreaking study of Tigrinya literature.. Alemseged Tesfai is also said to talk about select examples of ‘Soviet as well as Chinese. Asmara.p. For the first and second central cultural troupe see Matzke. En-­gendering Theatre in Eritrea. It should be noted that Plastow has different findings to my own. Economic. ‘Contested Nationalisms and Socialisms’.WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON? COLD WAR TRAJECTORIES IN ERITREAN DRAMA. My plan to do further research into the matter in summer 2012 had to be abandoned due to my inability to obtain a visa and ill health.. Korean and Vietnamese literatures’. 1979. Though a crucial moment in the history of the liberation struggle. 121). 135–136). Judging from interviews with eyewitnesses it was evident that some artists still felt they were stigmatized for having ‘betrayed’ the nation (Matzke. 22. Its Development and Its Role in Revolution (1982) in which the ‘main tenets of socialist realism in literature’ and ‘Lenin’s idea on the non-bourgeois notion of “socialist humanism”’ are mentioned. 157–172. It is also apparent from Ethiopian ‘revolutionary’ song texts available to me (see Aleme Eshete. 2010) (1st ed. Songs of the Ethiopian Revolution (Addis Ababa: Ministry of Culture. En-gendering Theatre in Eritrea. 21. with no titles provided (Ghirmai Negash. (Trenton. Ghirmai Negash gives an outline of Alemseged Tesfai’s research paper on Literature.   289 Arab and Western diaspora. Political and Military Base (n. ‘Recorded Interview in English with Solomon Tsehaye (Head of Cultural Affairs Bureau. Theatre in urban Eritrea under the Derg regime is a sensitive issue which requires further investigation. Membership was by force. 113). When the Derg introduced kebeles—so-called ‘urban dwellers asso- ciations’ which controlled every Eritrean and Ethiopian neighbourhood— each of them was required to set up a kinet (or ‘culture’) group to produce pro-Ethiopian propaganda and educational plays. Eritrea. NJ: Africa World Press. as was attendance at their shows. 180). 1979) and various EPLF songs I gathered myself. also in Eritrea (see EPLF. Creating a Popular. 24. 23. interviewer/transcript: Christine Matzke. 1999). 2nd ed. It should however be pointed out that researching policymaking at a higher level has always been extremely difficult in Eritrea as many sources . when local urban theatre associations disbanded. the civil war goes beyond the scope of this chapter. A History of Tigrinya Literature in Eritrea: The Oral and the Written 1890–1991.

while reading a draft chapter of my PhD. transl. it can be assumed that Alemseged had access to his earlier theoretical works. 2nd ed. Drama. Jomo Kenyatta and W. Porter (Stanford. Solomon Tsehaye. mimeograph. Drama. A History of Tigrinya Literature in Eritrea: The Oral and the Written 1890–1991. Ghirmai Negash also mentions other (Pan-)Africanist and anti-colonial thinkers who Alemseged discusses in Literature.) 25. 54–60. They were to inform and pave the way for them. 26. ‘A World of Prettiness: Socialist Realism and Its Aesthetic Categories’. 1999). Eritrea. 2002). (Trenton. C. Samson Gebregzhier and Alemseged Tesfai. Emmanuel K. The Other War also in Alemseged Tesfai. Ministry of Education)’.3 (1995): 687–714. ‘Recorded Interview in English with Solomon Tsehaye (Head of Cultural Affairs Bureau. such as Kwame Nkrumah. ‘Alemseged Tesfai: A Playwright in Service to Eritrean Liberation’. NJ: Africa World Press. ‘The Other War’. Socialist Realism: An Impossible Aesthetic. Martin Banham. 2012). Until the turn of the millennium the manuscript of Anqetsi was considered lost in the field.p. Le’ul and The Other War have been published in an English translation (Alemseged Tesfai. Akyeampong and Henry Louis Gates Jr. 4 August 2000. in Dictionary of African Biography. MATZKE are inaccessible or even classified. 179–181). [1983]). Tekeste Yonas (n. As Ngugi’s classic Decolonising the Mind was first published in 1986. 2nd ed. 261–301). For further biographical details see Jane Plastow. transl. 139–216. Alemseged Tesfai (Asmara: Red Sea Press. Two Weeks in the Trenches: Reminiscences of Childhood and War in Eritrea.: EPLF. James Gibbs and Femi Osofisan (Oxford: James Currey. Christine Matzke. Contemporary African Plays (London: Methuen. 1997). interviewer/transcript: Christine Matzke. Alemseged Tesfai. 161–162. in Martin Banham and Jane Plastow (eds). Vol I: Abach-Brand. Paul Warwick. ed. the second being the forename of the father rather than a ‘surname’ as in western usage.B. 2010) (1st ed. For a detailed analysis of the emergence and the aesthetics of Socialist Realism see (Régine Robin. CA: Stanford University Press. however.290   C. 1999). 30. Homecoming (1972) and the first edition of Writers in Politics (1981. 1992). 59–60. The South Atlantic Quarterly 94. ‘Alemseged Tesfai’. Questioning the play- . (New York: Oxford University Press. 29. 28. ‘[…] guidelines were not in any way decisive regarding the content and presentation of artistic works. ed. 1999). transl. Solomon Tsehaye was convinced that I had somehow unearthed the play. In January 2003.’ Alemseged Tesfai. Asmara. 9–74 and esp. Eritreans are usually addressed by their first name.  Du Bois (Ghirmai Negash. 31. Leonid Heller. three years after Barrel of a Pen (1983).E. 27. in African Theatre in Development. transl.

in which he tried to realize his own critical sugges- tions. some providing a mere plot summary. 1979). Brigade 31.. unpublished MA dissertation (University of Leeds. Martin Rohmer. Drama. he alluded to the complexities of armed conflict rather than reducing them to a one-dimensional hagiography of the battlefield. The Theatre Experience in Eritrea. prior to Alemseged’s theatrical master- piece. Focusing on civilian. 13. 179–181. unpublished MA dissertation (University of Leeds. or words were imbued with atypical meanings. 36. 35. Note that this quotation was cited slightly dif- ferently in Christine Matzke. Poems. 41. 178). due to a mistake in translation. It should be noted. 30. 32. The author himself is unable to remember the exact date. Revolutionary Songs]’. The Other War. 44. avoided rigid polarizations. Alemseged Tesfai. Misgun Zerai Asghedom. 34. Drama. Ibid. ‘“Life in the Camp of the Enemy”’. Hence theatrical terms were sometimes confused.   291 wright confirmed the find. Alemseged Tesfai. Alemseged Tesfai. just one floor below Alemseged’s office. It should be noted that neither theatre practi- tioners nor spectators were particularly familiar with the standardized the- atre jargon on which EPLF drama work ostensibly drew. 2nd ed. however. 39. Solomon Tsehaye however insists that the study was written in 1983. 95. A History of Tigrinya Literature in Eritrea: The Oral and the Written 1890–1991. From Guerrillas to Government. 211. others being fully scripted (see EPLF ‘[Short Dramas. NJ: Africa World Press. Solomon’s argument seems convincing. Drama. 38. Alemseged Tesfai. . Altogether I was able to trace 16 scripts from the field. Theatre and Performance in Zimbabwe (Bayreuth: Eckhard Breitinger. The publication of Drama is dated ‘1986 (?)’ on the Tigrinya manuscript. Renamed as Tsälot Nedhmet Hezbi Ertrea (Pray for the Safety of the Eritrean People) by an apparently unknown author. especially since Alemseged had already been moved to a different department in 1986. Drama. 33.. 42. 1999). 2002). Theatre during the Long Struggle for Eritrean Independence. Pool. (see Ghirmai Negash.WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON? COLD WAR TRAJECTORIES IN ERITREAN DRAMA. 2010) (1st ed. 20. mimeograph. 40. rather than combatant life. 37. that despite adhering to the tenets of ‘revo- lutionary culture’ Alemseged wrote plays which. 43. Esayas Tseggai Tesfazghi. 2001). Ibid. translation by Tekeste Yonas. the play had been in the Asmara Research and Documentation Centre (RDC) all along. (Trenton. 1999). on the whole.

Kidane Woldeyesus. The Chekhov Theatre: A Century of the Plays in Performance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. interviewer/transcript: Christine Matzke. James Firebrace with Stuart Holland. 1991). Ghirmai Negash notes that as early as 1958 parts of a Chekhov ‘play’. Asmara. Development and Liberation in Eritrea (Trenton. 2010) (1st ed. 47. Bernardo Kifleyesus. were published in a collection of literary miscellanies from all over the world by the Tigrinya linguist Tuquabo Aressi under the title Sweeter than Honey. NJ: Red Sea Press. Robert Leach and Victor Borosvky. 1929–1953’. 2nd ed. Ministry of Health)’. ‘Recorded Interview in English with Kidane Woldeyesus’. interviewer/transcript: Christine Matzke. in an adapted translation (Ghirmai Negash. Asmara. ‘Recorded Interview in English with Bernardo Kifleyesus (Head of Drug Unit. MATZKE 45. ‘The Theatre and Socialist Realism. (Trenton. Tuquabo is said to have published Chameleon later in full. Bernardo Kifleyesus. 1999). NJ: Red Sea Press. 104–114. ed. 325–357. which easily lends itself to a stage adaptation. 49. ‘Recorded Interview in English with Bernardo Kifleyesus (Head of Drug Unit. 26 September 2000. interviewer/transcript: Christine Matzke. . 26 September 2000. Jean Benedetti (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Laurence Senelick. Asmara. 1997). 141). Inna Solovyova.292   C. and sketches by Nikolai Gogol. Other Russian works mounted in the field were Chekhov’s short story ‘Chameleon’ (1884). 1985). Roy Pateman. 50. 148–164. A History of Tigrinya Literature in Eritrea: The Oral and the Written 1890–1991. 46. NJ: Africa World Press. 1998). Eritrea. Chameleon. Eritrea. 1999). Never Kneel Down: Drought. Eritrea: Revolution at Dusk (Trenton. Ministry of Health)’. Robert Papstein. 221–223. in A History of Russian Theatre. transl. 48. Eritrea: Even the Stones are Burning (Trenton. 27 September 2000. Eritrea. NJ: Red Sea Press.

1007/978-3-319-48084-8_17 . Transnational Theatre Histories. Balme. After the performance.1 The play deals with the Portuguese dictatorship’s rule over Angola and Mozambique. set designer and the author were invited by the theatre company to a late dinner at one of Stockholm’s most luxurious restaurants. was held in Stockholm. a new play by the highly acclaimed playwright Peter Weiss. the ensemble. Scalateatern. Why was this radical theatre piece. which was written in German. Globalization and the Cold War. celebrities and politicians. Outside the theatre students were giv- ing out leaflets in support of the liberation movement in Vietnam.).B. Theatre. CHAPTER 17 ‘How close is Angola to us?’ Peter Weiss’s Play Song of the Lusitanian Bogeyman in the Shadow of the Cold War Rikard Hoogland In January 1967. was a commercial enterprise which usually staged comedies and musicals. at the dress rehearsal. the stalls had been filled with theatre critics from the ‘world press’. produced in Sweden? How was it received in the two German states and in Sweden? Were the reviews of the production coloured by the ongoing Cold War? R. Szymanski-Düll (eds. The auditorium was filled with the theatre’s normal premiere audience: a mixture of busi- nessmen. director. Stickholm. The day before. B. Hoogland (*) Stockholm University. The theatre. Sweden © The Author(s) 2017 293 C. the world premiere of Song of the Lusitanian Bogeyman. DOI 10.

which played a significant role in the 1970s.6 This could be compared with the situation in West Germany. They state that Sweden was drawn into the Cold War because of its geographical position. the play was produced during a time when there was growing concern about the situ- ation in the Third World. but the reviewers are based in the home fronts of the Cold War. and.2 As Patrick Major and Rana Mitter point out.  However.294   R. they emphasise the importance of studying the home fronts. HOOGLAND Sweden occupied a special position during the Cold War. but even in the West ‘pub- lishers and public taste imposed a less formal censorship’. politics. Is their reaction to these statements an expression of ‘otherness’? One of the main sources for this article is theatre reviews. Thus Sweden’s neutrality was more rhetorical than real. Was Sweden’s neutrality reflected in the reviews? What is clear is that the reviews by the Swedish critics reflect a wider range of views and opinions than those by critics from West and East Germany. it proclaimed itself neutral (as it had been during the Second World War) and tried to establish good relationships with both the capitalist West and the Communist East. cultural. and how the opposing system’s ‘otherness’ is underlined. As they state: ‘Cultures often defined themselves by what they are not. Sweden identified with the West’s views on ideology. ideological and political thinking shaped living conditions during the Cold War.4 Could the reviews written in West Germany also be seen as propaganda statements in the Cold War? Reviews written by Swedish critics are of particular interest. especially in the case of the journalists on both sides of the German border. where the solidarity move- ment was a part of the radical student uprising. East Germany was known for being controlled by censorship. a lot of Cold War research has focused on the USA. mentality and culture. in spite of its declared neutrality. especially with regard to the uprisings in former colonies.5 On the other hand. New research has revealed that Sweden collaborated with the USA and NATO in order to secure the nation’s independence with regard to the Warsaw Pact.’3 One of the questions that has to be investigated is the way in which critics react to radical political statements. although it still did not accept East Germany an inde- pendent state. As a group of Swedish researchers has pointed out. . The historian Kjell Östberg states that the solidarity movement in Sweden in the 1960s was not directly connected to left-wing political movements.

It was followed by the World Theatre project that should have consisted of nine short plays. Weiss explained his choice: The main reason was that Allan Edwall wanted to build a new theatre. Suhrkamp. a theatre with an ensem- ble. As Yannick Müllender has pointed out. sometimes refers to it as part of the Divina Commedia project. a the- atre concerned with our time and. which gives the ideal circumstances for producing the play. who at that time managed four theatres in Stockholm and one in Paris. One of his first decisions was to produce a new play by Peter Weiss in combination with Weiss’s Night with Guests. had. The friendship between the writer and the actor was one of the reasons why Weiss decided to produce his new play (at that time often referred to as The Angola Play or The Song about Salazar) in Stockholm.9 The solution was a young director.8 However. several of which could have been presented on the same evening.10 Weiss. Scalateatern. which Weiss had abandoned when he started to write the play. Etienne Glaser. When the first appointed director pulled out. Sandrews. who worked together with Weiss (more or less) as co-director during the three- month rehearsal period. And here is an ensemble that works actively and creatively with the play’s material. made directly after the dress rehearsal.7 In a radio interview. most importantly. Sandrews engaged the Finno-Swedish director. however. In a letter to the manager of Sandrews. Lusitanian Bogeyman was never considered to be part of the original Divina Commedia project. Vivica Bandler. problems arose regarding the choice of director and there were conflicts with the copyright holders. In ‘this case I can’t take any risks. ‘HOW CLOSE IS ANGOLA TO US?’ PETER WEISS’S PLAY SONG.. . including Konrad Swinarski. Why did Peter Weiss make such an effort to super- vise the production? One of the reasons was that it was a part of his ongoing project to find new forms of writing and producing political theatre. who had directed the world premiere of Marat/Sade. Weiss had lived in Stockholm since 1939 and obtained Swedish citizenship but returned to writing in his mother tongue. German.’ He proposed several other direc- tors.   295 The Production and Suhrkamp The theatre and cinema company.. engaged the actor and playwright Allan Edwall as artistic manager for one of their the- atres in Stockholm. he argues that she lacked the creative ability to find new stage forms. Edwall proclaimed that he wanted to produce theatre which concerned itself with issues of the day. Weiss would not accept the choice. despite what has been stated in earlier research. in 1966.

13 The reply. Sandrews wrote directly to Siegfried Unseld at Suhrkamp requesting the right to produce The Song about Salazar. HOOGLAND In an interview in the main Swedish newspaper. as yet.11 As Rainer Gerlach has discovered. Dagens Nyheter. and described the ensemble as a group of talented and enthu- siastic young people.17 On 8 March 1966. repetitions and its use of rough con- trasts.19 Why did Suhrkamp act in the way they did? One reason could be that they felt that the more left-wing direction of his plays was no longer profit- able for the publishing company and therefore tried to get Weiss to return to the form of Marat/Sade.15 but again he received a negative response. tried to prevent the production of the play.296   R. there was an intense correspondence between Weiss and Karlheinz Braun at Suhrkamp. but more of an ‘essay made as a dialog’. In February 1966. Weiss answered that they first had to complete their work on creating a new acting style. Why was Suhrkamp so against the production? During this period. the publishing company. dated 26 March. informing them that Peter Weiss had given them the right to be the first company to produce the play. Peter Weiss was asked why there were. But we are sure that you will understand that the author does not want any part of his play to be produced as long as it is not completely finished and as long as the opening night in the original language has not taken place. Unseld recommended that the play should be put aside and not be produced. Beside the financial factor. Braun was opposed to any production of the play because he felt that it was not a drama.16 Two weeks later Sandrews sent another letter to Suhrkamp. arguing for the importance of a premiere in Stockholm. Suhrkamp.18 In a subsequent letter. was discouraging: We are sorry that our information will disappoint you. He also told Suhrkamp that he had decided to produce the play with Sandrews. Weiss wrote directly to Siegfried Unseld explaining his plans.14 Sandrews wrote a second time.12 It is interesting to compare the letters between Suhrkamp and the theatre company with Gerlach’s findings. no plans for a production in Germany. Weiss complained that Braun and Unseld had only made negative comments about the play. Unseld returned the script com- plaining about Marxist formulations. signed by Helene Ritzerfeld. it was clearly a . The script would also have to be changed for productions in West Germany because it had a close relationship with Portugal that had to be stressed on stage. per- haps possible as a radio drama.

Weiss had not only had his plays produced in West German but also cooperated with theatres in both German states. the building of the home front. He found the text banal and . Weiss was problematic for the publisher because he placed himself within the concept of Swedish neutrality.. Weiss had to find a new base for his more political playwriting. ‘HOW CLOSE IS ANGOLA TO US?’ PETER WEISS’S PLAY SONG. The reviews of the performance in the Swedish newspapers can be divided into three types: positive. the home front needed to be kept intact. There was. theatre critic of the conservative Svenska Dagbladet. but Weiss writes in the Notebooks that he and Brook were no longer walking side by side. Per Erik Wahlund.20 He opened up other frontiers and also pointed out West Germany’s responsibility in conflicts between the First and the Third World. He also wanted to link Weiss to East Germany.1). 17. the play developed into a two-acter. Were the two German states—for different reasons—not possible as venues for the first produc- tion? Did Weiss need a culture that not was so restricted by the Cold War situation? His two previous main plays had been a success with Peter Brook as director. but Weiss did not stand on the West German side in the Cold War either: he did not really choose a position. and negative because of the play’s political tendencies (Fig. no place for such a view during the Cold War.. One could ask whether there were perhaps other reasons behind the decision to let the play be produced in Sweden. however. negative because the aesthetic aspect concealed the important political message. The Reception of the Play in Sweden During the rehearsal period. opens with a contradictory description of the performance: If […] Peter Weiss were to write a little hate cabaret about the greatest point of shame in central Europe—the Berlin wall—and Madame Palmsteirna were to construct a ramshackle ruin made of sheet metal that visually repre- sented socialism—would the couple be so naive as to think that they would get a visa for East Germany?21 Wahlund emphasised that he considered the situation between the two polit- ical systems in Europe to be more important than the situation in Africa. He ended up having a lot of problems with East Germany after the play Trotsky in Exile and was forbidden entry to the country. and was subtitled ‘a musical’.   297 question of politics: part of the political Cold War.

17. comes an hon- est acknowledgement about the artistic quality […]. The problem with the production.’24 .298   R. stunning that the satire was so extremely current. They have strived after immediacy and reached something like falseness. This was a way of saying that the production did not really introduce any new stage forms. however.’22 Wahlund also found it important to clarify that the performance was inspired by Bertolt Brecht’s didactic plays from the 1930s. Strindberg and Brecht: ‘Peter Weiss’s play is an argument in the debate about our relationship to the Third World. Mark Twain. and Allan Edwall in Song of the Lusitanian Bogeyman.’23 Olof Lagercrantz.1  Yvonne Lundeqvist. It was. Musikverket weak. who was one of the editors-in-chief of Dagens Nyheter. Voltaire. Sandrews. Eriksson in Dagens Nyheter was of the opposite opinion. HOOGLAND Fig. wrote an article criticising Eriksson’s opinion. Nils Eklund. was that the message was ­hidden in its aesthetic form: ‘They have strived after simplicity and reached artificiality. but he felt that it functioned on stage: ‘From an opposite position of Swedish cultural life than the one that Peter Weiss stands for. Göran O. He found that the text could be a base for a real political performance. that it was so up-to-date. for me. Isa Quensel. Monica Nielsen. Photo: Sven-Åke Persson. He found that Weiss followed the satirical tradition of Aristophanes. Björn Gustafson. It is an argument from the left.

West Germany There was tremendous interest in the production in West Germany. ‘HOW CLOSE IS ANGOLA TO US?’ PETER WEISS’S PLAY SONG.26 The main topic for Swedish theatre critics was whether the play was politi- cal enough. and the oppressed and powerless the white. The production was also invited to the Münchner Kammerspiele. The interest in the production also led to an invitation to Experimenta II in Frankfurt am Main under Peter Iden’s artistic leader- ship. This is clear evidence that the neutral position of Sweden was the basis for more open-­ minded thinking. but most of the Swedish critics did not act as soldiers in the Cold War. It is important to point out. however. Berliner Festtage (in East Germany) and The Belgrade International . is a much more efficient tool for get- ting people’s attention than political language. the individual. Plays like The Investigation and Bogeyman often give a more accurate and forceful picture of reality than a complete composition of facts. Some of the reviews also referred to other political theatre groups which produced more direct and outspoken performances. A reality in black and white. who later became Prime Minister in 1969. also attended a performance and during the organised debate he commented on the play ‘as an audience member’: Political theatre.27 Sweden was connected to the value systems in the western hemisphere. […] Political theatre takes a grip of politics’ main object.   299 The Cultural Minister. Concern about solidarity with the Third World was still in its infancy. situation after situation highlight the theme. that the left-wing political uprising had not yet started in Sweden.25 One of the more favourable reviews of the production was published in a daily newspaper in Gothenburg: Verse after verse. such as Bogeyman. Only one claimed that the issue of colonial oppression in Africa was of less importance than the situation in Europe. or if its aesthetic form obscured the message. where the white is the black in the picture as it has to be in order to make an effect. The bleak reality in one of the last domains of colonial power.. It seems that all the main newspapers had a representative at the dress rehearsal.. Several crit- ics pointed out that the play had more potential than the production achieved. Olof Palme.

On the day of the first performance. Luft was impressed by the production and the actors and concluded that it was an important European production.28 Experimenta was in some ways overshadowed by the political situation both nationally and globally. But it was important for him to point out that he did not share Peter Weiss’s viewpoint.300   R. It would then have been possible to compare two examples of contemporary political theatre. which had a fine instinct for agitprop theatre car- ried out with flair. Günther Rühle was more criti- cal and compared the political situation in Sweden and West Germany: . however. but only the tour to Frankfurt actually took place. in Die Welt. Friedrich Luft. when there are so many terrible things going on next door. Benno Ohnesorg was killed by a policeman in the riots dur- ing the rally against the visiting Shah of Iran. but he began by questioning why Weiss has chosen to write about the situation in Angola at all: Is there not enough irritating material closer to home? Why not a play about the Berlin Wall? Why so much passion from the poet about the Angolan revolt in 1961? Why not for the East German workers on 17 June 1953? Why so far away. the production of US was can- celled at a later stage. One critic described how people brought radio receivers to the per- formances in order to be kept informed of events. The choice of Experimenta was probably both an economic and an ideological decision.30 Luft explained that the reason was that Weiss had converted to Marxism and therefore sought the worst examples of the West.29 The killing of Ohnesorg is seen as one of the main reasons for the explosive growth of the left-wing political movement in West Germany. wrote that the production was well worth seeing. HOOGLAND Theatre Festival. pro- duced at the Royal Shakespeare Company in London. and did the play script and the staging of The Lusitanian Bogeyman introduce any new forms of political theatre? In the newspapers there were almost daily reports about the situation at the bor- der. should be a part of the festival. US. The second political situation was the escalating conflict and the outbreak of the Six Day War in the Middle East. There were two main questions on the agenda for the West German theatre critics: was colonial power in Angola a topic that should be pre- sented to an audience. the escape attempts from and the oppression in East Germany. It was also planned that Peter Brook’s Vietnam play. In the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

a country that has the same political opinion about Portugal and Angola as Sweden. ‘even though he wrote the original version of the text in German.. in the play. too. two quite different reviews were pub- lished: one in relation to the premiere and one when the play was shown at Experimenta II. therefore.’31 He found that Weiss’s choice of topic could be explained by Weiss’s base in Sweden. What a Lovely War and Peter Brook’s US. He means us. They find that the latter two examples make much better use of the political material and include the audience more clearly. explains NATO’s role as a supporter of the dic- tatorship. after the Swedish experience. if not a theatre in East Germany. he is going to edit the text for the German stage. Bogeyman was the opening performance .’32 He points to different examples in the text and the performance that illuminate the economic and political cooperation between Germany and the Portuguese dictatorship in Africa. the critic. But is there any place at all for this genre in our institutionalised theatre?33 Both Rühle and Wallbrecht compare Weiss’s play with Joan Littlewood’s Oh. Portugal was an ally of NATO and West Germany and it. When Weiss. published a review of the guest performance at Experimenta II. does not seem to have been possible to criticise it from a West German perspective. Erich Lissner. Rhodesia. Vietnam upset the Swedes (a great deal more than the deaths at the much nearer to home Berlin Wall).   301 ‘Weiss sails in the Swedish Wind: Angola. In the Frankfurter Rundschau. Rühle asks what about the Warsaw Pact and the uprising in Hungary in 1956? In the Süddeutsche Zeitung.34 Graffenberger places Sweden in the same political system as East Germany. In the same newspaper. ‘How close is Angola to us?’ This was answered in the article: Sorry to say but Angola is situated too far away from us in order for it to be a base for a really explosive political revue.. Günter Graffenberger wrote from Stockholm that the issue of the oppression of the Angolans was central in Sweden but not in West Germany: He [Weiss] says that. ‘HOW CLOSE IS ANGOLA TO US?’ PETER WEISS’S PLAY SONG. But who in Germany can passionately produce a play about a forgotten war in Angola. Ferdinand Wallbrecht wrote a review with the headline. The home front has one antagonist and that is the Warsaw Pact.


at the festival (and was also transmitted on television). Lissner starts by
saying that the festival could not have begun better and refers to the critics
who complained that Weiss did not write about the Berlin Wall:

In the end it is the choice of every author to take his material from wherever
he chooses, provided the spectator, thus, understands why the example is
chosen—then Luanda in Angola is, therefore, no further away than Berlin
or Budapest.35

Lissner is an exception and—as far as I am aware—was the only critic in
a daily West German newspaper who dared to question the rhetoric of
the Cold War. Henning Rischbieter also went his own way. In the major
West German theatre journal, Theater Heute, he wrote a four-page analy-
sis of the play and its context. A long interview with Peter Weiss was also
published in the same volume, and the text of the play was printed in the
following issue.
Rischbieter points out that there is no interest in German provincial-
ism. Weiss is an international author and not a German: ‘Angola is as
close as the Berlin Wall for him—or perhaps even closer because guilt and
suffering in Africa is more clearly divided.’36 Rischbieter found the perfor-
mance a little too traditional because the group often showed everything
in the form of a unity instead of showing a montage. In his book about
Weiss from 1967, he repeats the criticism from the review and also finds
that the same is valid for the West Berlin production at Schaubühne am
Halleschen Ufer.37

East Germany
Neues Deutschland, the main morning paper of the SED, the governing
Communist party in East Germany, published a review of the production
in Stockholm. Rainer Kerndl wrote that Weiss had used Marxist principles
in constructing the play and that it clarified the connection between the
monopoly companies of West Germany and the USA and colonial poli-
tics.38 For the reviewer from East Germany it was clear that one of the play’s
main topics was how West Germany supported Portugal’s oppression of
people in Africa. Kerndl found that all the fragments joined together to
form a whole; it was not just a revue made up of various numbers. He
also stressed that the production had a new form of theatrical expression,
much sharper and more direct than previous forms.


In the East German theatre journal, Theater der Zeit, the review was
written by Verner Arpe who lived in Sweden. He found that the play
showed a kaleidoscopic interplay between oppressed and oppressor. Arpe
linked the production to Brecht/Weill’s Three Penny Opera and said that
the use of music was not dominant. ‘And over everything was the spirit of
the poet Brecht. And that was a good thing.’39
In Theater der Zeit, the Stockholm production was praised as being a
master example of how a production of the Bogeyman should be done. In
fact, the two following German productions did indeed use the original
music from the Stockholm production. When the play was produced at
Schaubühne am Halleschen Ufer, directed by Karl Payala, the reviewer,
Gebhardt, pointed out that the audience focused on every occasion where
West German economic interests supported Portuguese oppression. The
review ended with the hope that the play would soon be produced in East
When, at last, an East German production was staged at Volkstheater
Rostock, Gebhardt wrote that this production engaged the audience much
more politically than the production in West Berlin. He compared the use
of music in the two productions and wrote that ‘the West Berlin produc-
tion had a commercial jazz style of a culinary character. In the Rostock
production the music fulfilled its dramaturgical function,’40 a reference to
what Brecht called ‘culinary theatre’.
I have not found any records of other East German productions, prob-
ably because the style conflicted with the dominant psychological realism
on the East German stage. But the reviews from the Stockholm produc-
tion and the following productions emphasise the critique of c­ apitalism
in the play and West Germany’s support of dictatorships. The East
German reviews are also more concerned with the collective process of
the productions.

The West German newspaper critics criticised Weiss for writing a play
about a situation in Africa instead of writing about the inner German con-
flict. They did not accept his Marxist view of society; they seem to find him
blind to the oppression and dictatorships in Eastern Europe. One critic
also wrote that it was possible for the play to function in both Sweden and
East Germany, and thus linked the values of the two countries. Most of the
West German critics placed themselves on the side of the home front in


the Cold War, and that didn’t give much room for an interest in conflicts
other than the Berlin Wall. It is also interesting how the publishing com-
pany Suhrkamp strongly worked against Peter Weiss’s wishes, even giving
false explanations to try to put a stop to the Swedish production.
Theater Heute’s coverage of the production was, however, quite dif-
ferent and Rischbieter’s criticism was that the aesthetic element of the
production risked obscuring the political questions it sought to address.
This links him to the majority of the Swedish reviewers, who wanted a
more direct and raw production of the play. In Sweden, it was clear that
solidarity with the freedom movements in the Third World had started to
grow. The East German critics used the play to attack the capitalist world
and specifically West Germany; but they didn’t succeed in getting the play
produced all over East Germany.
This strongly political play is clearly evaluated through the prism of the
Cold War. The strongest example of this is that of the West German critics,
who had to admit that the Swedish production had a high artistic quality, but
needed to criticise the production for political reasons. They used the play to
point out the importance of not neglecting the conflict with East Germany,
and in that way they strengthened the West German home front. Sweden
was then given as a warning example of a country that was so far away
from the frontiers of the Cold War that it could almost be confused with
the Communist front. For most of them, it was also important to say that
the form wasn’t new because it reused aesthetics from the 1930s. However,
when the East German critics linked the production to Bertolt Brecht and
Erwin Piscator it was a compliment used to emphasise the production’s the-
atrical value. The play was never a huge success, even if it was produced later
on in both East and West Germany. Has the critical assessment of the play in
the context of West Germany shaped our view of the play? During his work
on the production at Scalateatern, Weiss formulated Fourteen Propositions for
a Documentary Theatre. This work, which was primarily based on his work
with the actors and the text in Stockholm, is now considered to be one of the
key texts about documentary material in the theatre.41

1. The German title is Gesang vom Lusitanischen Popanz and the Swedish
Sången om Skråpuken.
2. Mikael Holmström, Den dolda alliansen. Sveriges hemliga NATO-­
förbindelser (Stockholm: Atlantis, 2011).


3. Patrick Major and Rana Mitter, ‘East is East and West is West? Toward a
Comparative Socio-cultural History of the Cold War’, in Across the Blocs:
Cold War and Social History, ed. Patrick Major and Rana Mitter (London:
Frank Cass, 2004), 1–22, here 7.
4. Ibid., 15.
5. Kim Salomon, Lisbeth Larsson and Håkan Arvidsson, ‘Förord’ in Hotad
idyll. Berättelser om svenskt folkhem och kallt krig, ed. Kim Salomon, Lisbeth
Larsson and Håkan Arvidsson (Lund: Nordic Academic Press, 2004), 7–8.
6. Kjell Östberg, 1968—när allting var i rörelse. Sextiotalsradikaliseringen och
de sociala rörelserna (Stockholm: Prisma, 2002), 93–106.
7. António de Oliveira Salazar had been dictator of Portugal since 1932.
8. Claes Hoogland, ‘Sanningen om Portugal och oss’, Teaterronden II
(1967), 21.
9. Peter Weiss, ‘Letter to Göran Lindgren’, Sandrew Biograferna, 21 August
1966, Musik- och teaterbiblioteket, Stockholm.
10. Yannick Müllender, Peter Weiss’ “Divina Commedia”-Projekt (1964–1969) “…
läßt sich dies noch beschrieben”—Prozesse der Selbstverständigung und der
Gesellschaftskritik (St. Ingbert: Röhrig Universitätsverlag GmbH, 2007), 247.
11. Göran O Eriksson, ‘Skråpuken på Scala—bortspelad agitationsteater’,

Dagens Nyheter, 27 January 1967.
12. Rainer Gerlach, Die Bedeutung des Suhrkamp Verlags für das Werk von
Peter Weiss (St. Ingbert: Röhrig Universitätsverlag GmbH, 2005).
13. Göran Lindgren, ‘Letter to Siegfried Unseld’, Suhrkamp Verlag, 16

February 1966, Musik- och teaterbiblioteket, Stockholm.
14. Helene Ritzerfeld, ‘Letter to Göran Lindgren’, Sandrew Film, 16 February
1966a, Musik- och teaterbiblioteket, Stockholm.
15. Göran Lindgren, ‘Letter to Suhrkamp Verlag’, 1 March 1966b, Musik-
och teaterbiblioteket, Stockholm.
16. Helene Ritzerfeld, ‘Letter to Göran Lindgren’, Sandrew Biograferna, 4
March 1966b, Musik- och teaterbiblioteket, Stockholm.
17. Rainer Gerlach, Die Bedeutung des Suhrkamp Verlags für das Werk von
Peter Weiss (St. Ingbert: Röhrig Universitätsverlag GmbH, 2005), 177.
18. Ibid., 179.
19. Ibid., 180.
20. Peter Weiss’s standpoint lead to a huge conflict with the author Hans
Magnus Enzenberger and Gruppe 47.
21. Gunilla Palmstierna Weiss, artist and stage designer, had been married to
Peter Weiss since 1964, Per Erik Wahlund, ‘Oratoriekabaré om diktatur’,
Svenska Dagbladet, 27 January 1967.
22. Ibid.
23. Göran O.  Eriksson, ‘Skråpuken på Scala—bortspelad agitationsteater’,

Dagens Nyheter, 27 January, 1967.


24. Olof Lagercrantz, ‘“Skråpuken”—en debattpjäs’, Dagens Nyheter, 31

January 1967.
25. Svenska Dagbladet, 4 February 1967.
26. T. Baeckström, ‘Sjunga ihjäl lejonet’, Göteborgs handels- och sjöfartstidning,
27 January, 1967.
27. Kjell Östberg, 1968—när allting var i rörelse. Sextiotalsradikaliseringen och
de sociala rörelserna (Stockholm: Prisma, 2002).
28. Peter Iden, ‘Experimenta Nummer 2’, Catalogue for Experimenta 2

(Frankfurt on the Main, 1967).
29. The killing of Benno Ohnesorg by a policeman who was probably a Stasi
agent is interesting from a Cold War perspective, but it will not be dis-
cussed further in this article.
30. Friedrich Luft, ‘Agitprop mit Jazz-Unterhaltung’, Die Welt, 30 January, 1967.
31. Günther Rühle, ‘Das Drama auf dem Weg nach Angola’, Frankfurter
Allgemeine Zeitung, 30 January1967.
32. Ibid.
33. Ferdinand Wahlbrecht, ‘Wie nah ist uns Angola?’, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 30
January 1967.
34. Günther Graffenberger, ‘Der Gesang vom lusitanischen Popanz’,

Frankfurter Rundschau, 30 January 1967.
35. Erich Lissner, ‘Gesang vom lusitanischen Popanz’, Frankfurter Rundschau,
31 June 1967.
36. Henning Rischbieter, ‘Gesang vom lusitanischen Popanz’, Theater Heute
3 (1967), 9–12.
37. Henning Rischbieter, Peter Weiss (Velber bei Hannover: Friedrich 1967).
38. Rainer Kerndl, ‘Der “Popanz” wird stürzen’, Neues Deutschland, 30

January 1967.
39. Verner Arpe, ‘Gesang gegen den Kolonialismus’, Theater der Zeit 5 (1967), 24.
40. Horst Gebhardt, ‘Agit-Prop-Theater groβen Stils’, Theater der Zeit 4

(1968), 27–29.
41. See, for instance, Janelle Reinelt, ‘The Promise of Documentary Theatre’,
in Get Real; Documentary Theatre Past and Present, ed. Alison Forsyth and
Chris Megson (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 6–23.


Manila and the World Dance Space:
Nationalism and Globalization in Cold War
Philippines and South East Asia

meLê yamomo and Basilio E. Villaruz

After the end of the Second World War, two of the victors—the USA and
the USSR—became arch-enemies vying for global control. With the West
rebuilding after the war, and the ‘rest’ of the world in the process of decol-
onization, the world entered a new order fragmented by the different
versions of global modernization advocated by the two hegemons. In the
article ‘You and the Atomic Bomb’, George Orwell criticized the two rival
atomic superpowers for ‘robbing the exploited classes and the peoples of
all power to revolt […] [and] ruling the world between them.’1 In recently
liberated postcolonial South East Asia, the USA and the USSR fostered
impetuses for nation-state-building and regional solidarity, while also con-
comitantly building the infrastructures of their rival models of modernity.
Orwell, in the same newspaper article, also effectively coined the term for

M. Yamomo (*)
University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
B.E. Villaruz
University of the Philippines Diliman, Manilla, Philippines

© The Author(s) 2017 307
C.B. Balme, B. Szymanski-Düll (eds.), Theatre, Globalization
and the Cold War, Transnational Theatre Histories,
DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-48084-8_18


what was to become the ‘Cold War’. Paradoxically, nowhere else was this
Cold War waged as hotly as it was in the South East Asian region.2 South
East Asia became the staging ground for the military struggle between the
two hegemons’ competing schemes for global control.
From the late nineteenth until the mid-twentieth century, armed strug-
gles and claims for independence against European imperial powers were
waged in colonial South East Asia. During the Asia-Pacific War, Japan
invaded South East Asia and, under the banner of the Greater East Asia
Co-Prosperity Sphere, ‘natives’ were trained and armed for the struggle
against western imperialists. Concurrently, anti-Japanese guerrilla warfare
and Allied-assisted wars were being waged against Japan in the region. All
these simultaneously provided the impetus for decolonization and estab-
lishment of independent nation-states. However, it was the onset of the
Cold War that directly influenced the individual and collective trajectories
of the newly independent South East Asian states. On the side of the com-
munist bloc, communist-led armed movements (many evolving from the
anti-Japanese guerrilla movements) were indigenously created to challenge
the post-war order established by the Allies. The First Indochina War started
a year after Ho Chi Minh declared Vietnam’s independence, and with this
the spread of the communist movement into Laos and Cambodia began. A
year after its foundation in 1948, the validity of the newly formed Burmese
state was disputed by two competing communist parties. In Indonesia,
the indigenous communist party was defeated in 1948, but after indepen-
dence the party made a comeback. By the late 1950s it had become the
largest communist party outside the communist bloc. In the Philippines,
the former Hukbalahap anti-Japanese guerrilla forces transformed into a
major communist group in opposition to the leadership imposed by the
USA. In Malaya, the Malayan communist party fought a long and aggres-
sive guerrilla war against the British Empire until the country achieved
independence in 1957. After 1949, the People’s Republic of China became
the third power that diverged from the Soviet dominion. And as a result
of its geographic proximity to the region, as well its Maoist anti-imperialist
and peasant-based revolutionary ideology, China’s influence grew strong
as it became an important model for left-leaning nation-building interests.3
On the other side of the coin was the USA’s impassioned commit-
ment to not ‘losing’ South East Asia to the ‘alternative version of moder-
nity’ represented by the communism of the USSR and China.4 There
were several attempts to form regional organizations designed to protect
the new nation-states from communism. SEATO (The Southeast Asia

more than by great powers seeking local allies and proxy theatres of conflict […]’. infrastructure and cultural development of the newly decolonized countries. we look at the accounts of how the newly independent nation-­ states arrived at specific aesthetic and cultural solutions to their specific cultural dilemmas that ‘antedated.10 Therefore.9 a view that reduces politics to the deterministic dichoto- mies of the Left and the Right. Hack and Wade underscore how the South East Asian Cold War ‘was constituted by local forces drawing on outside actors for their own ideological and material purposes.11 . we must be wary of limiting our under- standing of South East Asian cultural development to the framework of ‘Zhdanovism’. MANILA AND THE WORLD DANCE SPACE: NATIONALISM. In 1967.5 The motivations behind this financial assis- tance. outlasted. were all short-lived. Laos and Cambodia. economic and cultural history. the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) was established and became the enduring regional organization unifying the nations of the region. Orthodox historiography on the Cold War in South East Asia has tra- ditionally viewed this period as one of opportunism for the developing South East Asian nations that switched allegiance to whichever hegemonic power provided monetary aid. To understand the complex cultural processes of the region. and Maphilindo. As the modern cultural history of South East Asia is inextricably intertwined with the region’s Cold War political history. Much later.. in looking at theatre and dance in South East Asia during the period of the Cold War. Burma. The key objective in the establishment of ASEAN was to form an alliance between the non-communist nations to resist the threat of com- munism.   309 Treaty Organization) in 1954. ASA (Association of Southeast Asia) in 1961.. which aided the military. issues of race8 and struggles against cultural hegemony are integral threads in its entangled narrative. need to be contextualized to show how this backing was justified within the ideologically motivated construction of the US and the USSR’s interpretation of development and moderniza- tion theories. the association eventually admitted Vietnam. created in 1963. and never became entirely aligned with the ideologies of either bloc’. South East Asian cultural historian Tony Day7 has emphasized the need to look at how culture served as ‘one of the major battlegrounds of the Cold War ideological conflicts’. Scholarly investigations should be contex- tualized within the experiences of South East Asian actors—taking into account the multiple entanglements in the region’s political.6 In Cultures at War: The Cold War and Cultural Expression in Southeast Asia.

Nation and Globalization in Cold War South East Asia Seeing the direct influence that the Cold War had on the beginnings of the postcolonial nations and the region of South East Asia.E. The genealogies of both cultural nationalism and cultural globaliza- tion. Concurrently. Borrowing Pascale Casanova’s concept of the ‘World Republic of Letters’12 and extending this to the practice of theatre and dance in the period of the Cold War. describes how in writing about the peasant struggles in their own contexts. On the other hand. which later formed the foundations for the postcolonial nation-building project of many South East Asian states. those that fell on the other side of the bloc benefited from US post-war ‘developmental’ aid. YAMOMO AND B. Indonesian and Vietnamese writers con- tributed to building the body of ‘international’ literature. Although we started with a background survey of South East Asia. the Cold War instigated the development of indigenous nationalisms in the region. and their intra-nationally generated conflicts that persist in varying degrees. we propose a t­ heoretical logic as to how theatre and dance artists bestrode the c­ oncomitant rise of national culture-building and of a growing ‘world dance space’. On both sides of the hegemonic power divide. As mentioned above. VILLARUZ This paper looks at the concomitant rise of the ostensible search for national culture and the accretion of cosmopolitan and global cultural prac- tices in Cold War South East Asia. we can also observe the two movements that this brought about in the region.13 . this paper will focus on theatre and dance history in the Philippine experience. go back to the nineteenth century and branched out further by means of ideologies and cultural policies established during the period of the Cold War. cultural nationalism was fostered by Soviet politics in combination with Maoist ideology. from the book mentioned above. Tony Day in his article ‘Still Stuck in the Mud: Imagining World Literature during the Cold War in Indonesia and Vietnam’. with both sets of powers making parallel efforts to integrate economies and pave the way for twentieth-­ century globalization. If we consider the individual and concerted efforts towards modernization of the different postcolonial nation-states in Southeast Asia. we will see the concurrent development of nationalism and globalization.310   M. we see how the Cold War instigated globalization in South East Asia.

   311 In the 1950s during the communist regime in Indonesia. In the most autonomous countries. and extend its application to theatre and dance. Genius is like the light. poetic—and at once affirms and denies them. the air. two mani- festos were to become the basis of the state’s cultural policy in the cre- ation of a ‘national culture’. the ‘world literary space’ developed in the eighteenth and nineteenth century in Paris.’17 By connecting these two phenomena. we can look at liter- ary scholar Pascale Casanova’s theory of the ‘World Republic of Letters’. It is the heri- tage of all. and that the extraor- dinary improbable construction of what may properly be referred to as the autonomous international space of literature is carried out. formal.18 In attempting to find a logic to this complexity. narrative.. constitut- ing itself as a distinct world in opposition to the nation and nationalism.20 . It blossoms everywhere. According to her. Both articulate a cosmopolitan strategy that looks not just at Indonesian folk and ethnic roots. “nation- alistic”. or its Dutch colonial history. but that claims the whole world as its source.19 This separation of the political and the literary sphere ensured aesthetic autonomy and universality of artistic practice: Literary space translates political and national issues into its own terms— aesthetic. literature cannot be reduced to political interests or used to suit national purposes. a world in which external concerns appear only in refracted form.16 On 25 June 1884 Rizal delivered an impromptu speech to Juan Luna. It is in these countries that the independent laws of literature are invented. or “modern” that were being used to describe cultural processes during the Cold War in Southeast Asia [should] be constantly debated and explored’. MANILA AND THE WORLD DANCE SPACE: NATIONALISM. “cosmopolitan”. where literary practice achieved denationalization and became an autonomous sphere. and we are furthering this culture in our own way.15 This articulation also echoes an earlier proclamation by Filipino national hero Jose Rizal. Though it is not altogether free from political domination.’14 The manifesto by the Marxist cultural organization Lekra expresses the same view of world culture. then.. The opening line of the Testimonial of Beliefs (Surat Kepercayaan Gelanggang) or the Gelanggang Testament reads: ‘We are the legitimate heirs to world cul- ture. who had won three gold medals for his painting Spoliarium at the Madrid Exposition: ‘Genius has no country. literature has its own ways and means of asserting a measure of independence. Day advises us that ‘[t]he meaning of words such as “communist”. trans- formed and reinterpreted in literary terms and with literary instruments.

During the twentieth century and the Cold War. The earlier version of Marxist ideol- ogy ‘came’ from Russia. theatrical and fashion sphere in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Instead. VILLARUZ Casanova drew her theory from Ferdinand Braudel’s ‘world-systems’ model of the modern capitalist global economy. that since the Second World War. In the Second World War this was still billed as a ‘national struggle’ by the Hukbalahap (or ‘Huks’) movement to counter the Japanese.E. The Cold War in Manila During the Cold War. however. the Philippines was caught up in the political and propaganda contest between Soviet Russia (tagged locally as satanic com- munist) and the USA (identified as democratic).21 And while St Petersburg and New York competed to become the world capital of dance. the ‘world artistic space’ ceases to be geographically specific. In the following section we will look at Manila as a specific case study and exam- ine how it became an important global node in the ‘world dance space’. In comparison to literature. closing rank with the American side was inevitable. as a former colony of the USA. which theorizes the unequal polarities of the ‘core’ and the ‘peripheries’.312   M. the Philippines was caught between two kinds of communism: the Russian and the Chinese/Maoist brands. Paris achieved the position of the dominant core of the world literary. It can be argued. . this went as far as allocating vast tracts of land for US military bases at several sites in the Philippines. With new technological infrastruc- tures constantly being upgraded by the two competing globalizing forces. dance was busy building resources and capital. its geography is negotiated and multi-centred. the pervasive presence of these bases generated a mutual (American and Filipino) fear of communism. Paris’s position has been challenged. On the other hand. dance as an autonomous artistic profes- sion is younger. with the establishment of a new economic and political order by the Cold War. In this new system. the ideological competitions of the Cold War effectively laid the groundwork for a global network of cities which serve and continue to function today as linking points for highly mobile performing artists criss-crossing the globe. the centre–periphery model is replaced by a more network-based model of a ‘world artistic space’. YAMOMO AND B. Soon after the Second World War. On the one hand. In Casanova’s theory. filtered through the Filipino peasants’ long-­ simmering calls for social equity against the oligarchs.

which featured ballerinas in what were apparently ‘character ballets’. In 1915 and 1916. The further development of ballet in the Philippines must be studied by looking at generational or even genealogical training networks. Apolonio Chua (1997) traces this back and identifies it as the revo- lutionary progeny of the komedyas. The Russians ‘Cut In’ to Manila This broad progression in the theatrical scene was later accompanied by the gradual introduction of ballet to the Philippines. Ballet was further established in 1922 with the global tours of Anna Pavlova.. They staged performances of skits. both the poor and the political opposi- tion. Russian dancers spilled into Asia and converted Asians to ballet. some of the ballet dancers who came to the Philippines were émigrés (the so-called White Russians). it escalated as it came to support the cause of the labourers and the youth (students) in urban centres. which requires sus- tained instruction over many years. The former became the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) with its own National People’s Army (NPA)—now much marginal- ized. Like her. Actors such as Andres Bonifacio (founder of the revolutionary movement against Spain) and Macario Sakay (one of the last to surrender to the Americans) had already been rebels. A decade or so later and after 1917. Where the revolutionary movement formerly espoused the cause of peasant farmers. escap- ing the Russian Revolution by fleeing to Europe. and the prima ballerina herself had observed them in training while in . Oddly enough. Some had already studied ballet. In 1902 one such was Baroufski’s Imperial Russian Circus. which culminated in martial law—was played out in the streets and on stages. From the late 1960s onwards this rebellious streak—further incited by Marcos’s dic- tatorship. The remaining and revitalized Huks (who sided more with the new Left) carried on their ‘cultural information division’. it was Russian ballet companies that first came to Manila.   313 After the war. performed in Manila. Teachers and schools play a central role in training in this art form.. China and South East Asia. songs and dance to a populace that was predominantly aggrieved due to neglect and disenfranchisement. in the early years of American occupation. With the defeat of the Nationalists in mainland China. MANILA AND THE WORLD DANCE SPACE: NATIONALISM. The first ballet dancers in the Philippines were attracted by Pavlova’s magnetism. who had taken the name of Nijinsky. two ‘costumings’ of the Left postured out their ­differences in strategies and affinities. a certain Mr Paul.22 Komedyas (an indigenized version of Spanish comedias) are Christian-Moor verse drama interspersed with dances and performances of martial arts. changes also took place in the Philippines with regards to the ‘new’ and ‘old’ Left.

who also visited Manila after the Second World War. Pavlova herself subsequently lived in England and other Russians in the USA. where another Ballets Russes company was launched in New York.24 Among them were prima balleri- nas Olga Preobrajenska and Lubov Egorova. a billing strategy that pervaded the (later) Ballets Russes in Europe. who went on to dance with the Kirov Ballet for another two years before she returned to found her own Ballet Manila company. YAMOMO AND B. although some might have actually been Eastern Europeans or had Russianized names.) Later China’s ballet artists . In later years China came to rival the Soviet Union as the preferred site of ballet training. both stars of St Petersburg’s imperial ballet.25 Another of Manila’s most important ballet teachers. She brought her own manager and pianist with her to consolidate her virtual monopoly in Manila. With Radaic. Ironically. England and the USA. A number of Filipinos went to train with them in those countries. who claimed she had been one of Pavlova’s danc- ers. There were other itinerant Russians (Katrina Makarova.E. Even in the 1980s. Some Filipinos sought them out there. One of them was the now popular ballerina Lisa Macuja Elizalde. and Anton Dolin. Vladimir Bolsky and so on) who taught in Manila. émigré and state-supported traditions. In this she was not far from the orientalism that influenced the Ballets Russes with Fokine as their choreographer and Bakst as designer. The Russian ‘connection’ continued throughout the Soviet period. Her adaptation of Philippine folk dances to the idiom of ballet was pivotal to this art in the Philippines. VILLARUZ Manila. From 1927.314   M. thus linking the imperial. Noordin Jumalon. (Margot Fonteyn herself started ballet as a child in China. including the Philippines and South East Asia. who were depleted of Russians. He became a dancer with Ballet Philippines and later the principal of its dance school at the Cultural Centre of the Philippines (CCP).23 More members of the various contingents of the Ballets Russes migrated to Europe. much of China’s own expertise in ballet rose to further heights with Soviet Russian infusion. he later formu- lated a Philippine national ballet syllabus based on their studies in both the Russian and English systems. Olga Dontsov. pupils of Felicitas Layag Radaic and Basilio Esteban Villaruz went to study in Leningrad. Prominent examples were the Englishwoman Alicia Markova (Alice Marks). also spent four years studying as a teacher in Moscow. originally Sydney Francis Patrick Chippendall Healey-Kay. These Russian (or faux-Russian) stars continued to proselytize for ballet all over the world. one of the most influential teachers was Madame Lubov ‘Luva’ Adameit from Kiev.

five stars of the Bolshoi Ballet had taken part in the inauguration of the Meralco Theatre in Manila. China’s ballet and folk danc- ers performed. who was of Chinese and French-African extraction. Consequently. His was an innovative version from Tbilisi (Georgia). featuring Manila’s Hariraya Ballet. taught and staged traditional and new works in Manila. an occasion attended by California Governor—and later US President—Ronald Reagan. These libraries provided not only books and . With loosened ties with the USSR and the subsequent fall of the Soviet Union. ballet also became part of Imelda’s showcase.. both Soviet People’s Artists. as well as the folkloric ensembles of Moisseyev and Berioska.. defectors from Russia like Rudolf Nureyev and Natalia Makarova also performed at CCP in Imelda’s time. This included per- formances by the Bolshoi. later changed to Information Agency or USIA) was prominent in the Philippines. latter-day Filipinos sought further ballet studies in China. Of particular significance was the visit in 1982 of Vakhatang Chabukiani. MANILA AND THE WORLD DANCE SPACE: NATIONALISM. the United States Information Service (USIS. Among them were Raissa Struchkova and (her husband) Alexander Lapauri. Imelda inaugurated the CCP in 1969 to house ‘the soul of the Filipino people’.) Subsequently. and more Asian than the original Petipa choreography. who staged for Ballet Philippines the first full produc- tion of La Bayadere in that country. who went on to study and perform in Russia on her own. one of the stars of Russian ballet and a Soviet People’s Artist. Later on Hariraya also invited the Bolshoi’s Sulamith Messerer to stage a production of Petipa classics in the same theatre. was Si-lan Chen Leyda.   315 and tutors more or less modified that source and formulated their own graded system. Ironically. This did not deter Mrs Marcos from play- ing a dual game and visiting China to meet with Mao. The development of ballet in the Philippines parallels its earlier turn from Marxism to Maoism. this theatre was more or less sidelined by Imelda’s CCP. With the coming of Soviet presence and increased trade with Russia from 1976. It set up libraries in key cities like Manila. Perhaps to counteract the increasing prominence of Chinese (Maoist) Communism in the Philippines. Kirov and Perm ballets. Cebu and Iloilo to propagate US interests. President Marcos and his wife Imelda Romualdez invited several Soviet ballet troupes to perform at the CCP. (An earlier example. A year earlier in 1968.26 US Big Apples to Dance For: Culture and Propaganda During the Cold War.

the organization was integrated into a govern- ment strategy to fight the Cold War on the cultural front. literature. Aside from these libraries.31 . the USIS/ IA centre was located in different offices in Manila before finally moving to the US Embassy. Two playwright-­directors. should also not be forgotten. Both directors are now (post- humously) recognized as national artists. This can be attrib- uted both to the aforementioned military bases. VILLARUZ ­ eriodicals. As the smaller cities out- p side Manila had few municipal resources. and Severino Montano with his Arena Theatre at the Philippine Normal University. academics. these groups included the San Francisco Ballet. Over the years. She was also a musician and for a while she doubled as an honorary cultural attaché for the US Embassy.27 In the same way.30 Over the years. YAMOMO AND B. economic and cultural influence of the USA was pervasive in the Philippines. These programmes targeted Filipino businessmen. New York City Ballet. journalists and artists and ‘encour- aged’ them to ‘focus’ their politics and social leanings in a pro-Amer- ican direction. which were then much sought by Filipino scholars and journalists. the Martha Graham Dance Company (three times). the Paul Taylor Dance Company and subsequently smaller ensembles and solo artists. As access to recordings was neither wide- spread nor affordable.29 Several of the playwrights and directors in the schools were also US-trained. From there it became relatively ‘quiet’ while still pro- viding ‘propaganda’ materials.28 In this period. theatre and dance became instrumentalized on account of their perceived power to capti- vate and influence.316   M. US-sponsored ‘artistic diplomacy’ was channelled through the presentations of the American National Theatre and Academy (ANTA) in Manila and the rest of Asia. she was responsible for exposing most Filipinos to American music. A child of the Federal Theatre Project and designed initially to establish a national theatre in the USA. and had a regular music radio programme hosted by Eva Ponce Panajon. The visiting musical and theatre ensembles included a number of dance groups. and to the availability of grants for study and visits to the USA. music. Alvin Ailey Dance Theater (twice). Today the USIA is no longer heard from. but also occasionally showed films. Recent research shows that these visits were also sponsored by the US government. sometimes indirectly with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation. During the Cold War period the political. Wilfrido Maria Guerrero with his Mobile Theatre at the University of the Philippines.E. US propaganda also broadcast Voice of America. these libraries became key cen- tres for information and news. initiated by President Eisenhower.

 Among them was a local insurgency by the Huks after the Second World War and in the wider context of an anticipated communist threat in Asia. the patriotic song ‘Bayan Ko’ (My Country) with lyrics by Jose Corazon de Jesus found renewed popularity. and was reg- ularly performed and danced to. Controversially. A notable dance production in the protest vein was Esteban Vilaruz’s The Resurrection of Lazarus. became both a subtle and blatant banner of protest. as though hit by bullets rather than being nailed to a cross. a circumstantial juxtaposition of life and death. As the pit sank again and with the music’s own punctua- tions.32 Aside from vociferous political protest against Philippine involvement in the Vietnam War (with the non-combatant Philippine Civic Action Group or PHILCAG) in the 1970s.. the resurrection (shown on a raised orchestra pit) was attempted twice by Christ. the prolonged war in Vietnam. It was part of the 1971 summer workshop ensemble of the CCP Dance Workshop-Company (now Ballet Philippines). Based on the biblical story of Christ’s belated rescue of his friend Lazarus from death at the latter’s grave. MANILA AND THE WORLD DANCE SPACE: NATIONALISM.. The production was staged at Imelda’s own CCP. At the height of Marcos’ dictatorship. fully articulated dramatic writings against dic- tatorship and portrayals of dire social issues appeared in print. Much of the street-theatre happenings at this time came from the labour movement and the youth and Leftist sectors. several—actual and perceived—Asian cri- ses provoked open demonstrations of alliance between the Philippines and the USA. the disputes between the Philippines and Malaysia over the ownership of Sabah and.   317 Some Choreographic Critiques During the Cold War period. It should also be noted that the miracle occurred shortly before Christ’s own crucifixion. the conflicting claims to the Spratly islands in the China Sea. That particular ending alluded to the ongoing Vietnam war in which the Philippines was involved. and at the end. they abandoned the miracle-worker on the orchestra pit. conveying how he was still mainly human at that time. to this very day. and set to music by Messiaen. Christ was gradually brought down—in spasms. This song. . while the people raised aloft the resurrected Lazarus. musical icon from colonial times. These fears were heightened by Marcos’s orchestration of the growing threat of insurgency to justify his martial law. Some established dance companies also enhanced these protests with suites of songs—like those from the group of choreographer Tony Fabella and Eddie Elejar. the ballet utilized both modern dance techniques and native mourning customs.

as the decolonized nation-states claimed space in the global geography.318   M. With art and cultural production becoming an ideological tool and an enterprise of the Cold War states. This network. This collective naming of the South East Asian region did not happen until the middle of the twentieth . whose allegiances to either political bloc would become increasingly indistinguishable. in Tribune. Notes 1. Antedating and outlasting Cold War politics. When the hegemonic interest within the theatre and dance sphere was divorced from the hegemonic political agenda of the Cold War powers. we see the intertwining of the political and artistic space in this period. a global network emerged. The USA and the USSR competed for hegemony as the ‘world centre’ by granting dance and theatre scholarships. In tackling this subject. we have traced Manila’s position as an important centre in the global network of theatre and dance from the turn of the twenti- eth century until the 1980s. replacing the imperial centre–periphery system. Cambodia. Burma. Manila hosted and became the source of several itinerant and migrant artists within the global network of dance and theatre. the superpowers strategically invested in infrastructures of a global network of interconnected cities. Thailand and Vietnam. Singapore. This shift towards transnational- ism and transculturalism in cultural and economic practices has begun to receive increased attention in scholarship. 19 October 1945.E. These cities and their relationship within the ‘global artistic sphere’ again reconfigure in South East Asia after the collapse of the Iron Curtain (although communist states continue to exist in a large part of Asia today) and as liberal capitalism expands globally. Laos. Malaysia. they encouraged the legitimiza- tion of St Petersburg and New York City as competing centres. Indonesia. By hosting dance and art scholars. and by bringing US and Soviet artists and theatre companies on tour around the world. consisting of cit- ies like Manila. George Orwell. scholars must take into account the historical impact of the Cold War in our theo- retical construction of contemporary globalization. This occurred while the Philippine state was building its own national cultural sphere. South East Asia here refers to the region which encompasses the nations of Brunei. ‘You and the Atomic Bomb’. outlasted its political and economic depen- dency on the Cold War system. the Philippines. East Timor. On the other hand. 2. VILLARUZ Conclusion In this article. YAMOMO AND B.

. 5. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 40.3 (2009). Sudershan Chawla (Sudershan Chawla et al. Karl Hack and Geoff Wade highlight the importance of the historical revision on this topic. and repeatedly affirm that the revolutionary process should adapt itself to local conditions in each specific country. MANILA AND THE WORLD DANCE SPACE: NATIONALISM. as well as a number of conferences and seminars. See Mark T. 54) summarized this posi- tion: ‘Imperialism being considered as the final stage of moribund capital- ism. The political scientists . Decolonization in the 1940s and the onset of the Cold War saw the establishment of the new independent states and the continuous reconfiguration of their collective identity as a region. It thus does not seem likely that the two camp message lit the revolutionary spark in Southeast Asia. especially in Asia. as a military-political term during the Second World War and much later with the publishing of several books by former colonial civil servants working there.. 1945–1975’. while underlining the inadequacy of tradi- tional methods in those countries. The Chinese experience shows the validity of the Maoist strategy as a revolutionary model for these countries. Modernisation and Nation-­Building: Political Development Theory and the Appeal of ­Communism in Southeast Asia. the different colonies were separated and segmented by the imperial powers. although the Chinese believe. 1974). In the introductory article of the special edition of the Journal of Southeast Asian Studies dedicated to the Cold War in South East Asia. though it may well have added the extra tinder which caused it to burst into flame’ (Karl Hack and Geoff Wade. colonial and semicolonial countries are of special importance in the revolutionary struggle against capitalist countries. which specifically coined the term to refer to the region. Whereas orthodox historians believe that policies emanated from Moscow and were disseminated to the communist parties and states in Asia.3 (2003). He notes how these are politically motivated. Prior to this. ‘The Origins of the Southeast Asian Cold War’. 6. Its goal was to articulate a theory of political development […]. This experience in China’s eyes justifies her role and influence in the vanguard of the world revolutionary move- ment.’ 4.. here 442). Southeast Asia under the New Balance of Power (New York: Praeger. They quote Ruth McVey (1958): ‘[T]he opportunity and incen- tive for Communist rebellion were already present in the countries where revolt occurred. 421–448. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 34. 441–448. revisionists argue that there were never really directives coming from Moscow. 3. Berger points at how the US ‘Committee on Comparative Politics sponsored a wide range of academic and policy-oriented publica- tions. Berger discusses the theoretical development of modernization and devel- opment theory.   319 century—first in the 1940s. Berger. ‘Decolonisation. particularly within underdeveloped countries. ideologically driven projects.

Tony Day and Maya Hian Ting Liem (Ithaca: Southeast Asia Program Publication. We too had hoped that Moscow would treat us accordingly. a former member asserted that its “purpose” had been to “for- mulate a non-Communist theory of change and thus to provide a non- Marxian alternative for the developing nations”’ (Berger. a common fear of a “yellow peril” embodied in Zhdanovshchina. 4. who are both helped and recognized by the USSR.E. . accessed 15 March 2016). 2004). 25 December 1971. I think the Russians consider themselves white. Far Eastern Economic Review.’ 9. Zhdanovism became the most important Soviet cultural policy. ed. 443. developed by the Central Committee secretary Andrei Zhdanov in 1946. VILLARUZ associated with the Committee were aware that they were engaged in the production of a theoretical alternative to Marxism. I feel that the Russians want to keep Asians in a state of subservience. Its main premise was that the world was divided into the ‘imperialistic’ (headed by the USA) and the ‘democratic’ (headed by the Soviet Union). The World Republic of Letters (Cambridge: Harvard University Press. a neurotic fear of an imaginary “yellow peril” embodied by China. here 2. for example. YAMOMO AND B. and they do not want yel- low people to become too strong […]. 19–21). Hack and Wade ‘The Origins of the Southeast Asian Cold War’. the Russians turned us down … We told them that we want to be recognized as the legal government of Cambodia. Modernisation and Nation-Building’. ‘Cultures at War in Cold War Southeast Asia: An Introduction’. Day. ‘Decolonisation.320   M. Norodom Sihanouk’s candid response to an interview by Alessandro Casella in the Far Eastern Economic Review (Norodom Sihanouk. ждановизм. 8. served as the most important cultural doctrine of the Soviet Union.britannica. ‘Cultures at War in Cold War Southeast Asia’. 11. Cornell University. 2010). In the early 1980s. and was imposed on the creative works of all Soviet artists and writers (http://www. 1–20. both the Americans and the Russians are motivated by a common racism. concisely summarized the state of affairs of the time: ‘We are fighting side by side with socialist Vietnamese and left-oriented Laotians. Pascale Casanova. Ultimately. 10. ‘Response to an Interview by Alessandro Casella’. also called the ‘Zhdanov Doctrine’ (Russian: доктрина Жданова. The Americans are also motivated by this same fear of China […]. ‘Zhdanovism’ or ‘zhdanovshchina’. 12. There is. in the Russian mind. They will give the Vietnamese just enough to keep them from losing the war but not enough to enable them to win it […]. the Russians are aiming at China. ждановщина). in Cultures at War: The Cold War and Cultural Expression in Southeast Asia. but this the Russians refuse. However. Tony Day. 427–428) 7. By hindering the Indochinese.

15. Basilio Esteban S. Ani [Harvest] 24 (1997). ‘Cultures at War in Cold War Southeast Asia’. Jose Rizal’s novel Noli me Tangere was a key literary text which Benedict Anderson analysed in constructing his theory of nation and nationalism in Imagined Communities (originally published 1983). in Cultures at War: The Cold War and Cultural Expression in Southeast Asia. 13). Es la herencia de todo. El genio está como la luz.” All this. Casanova explains: ‘“A civilization is a form of capital […] whose increase may continue for centuries. 1991).’ The speech was printed by Wenceslao Retana in La Independencia. ‘Heirs to World Culture 1950–1965: An Introduction’. 19. Casanova extends this idea to Paul Valéry’s ‘great market of human affairs’ and J. 14. 2010). 10. 68–75. Florece por todas par- tes.’ The Surat Kepercayaan Gelanggang was originally published in Siasat/Gelanggang on 22 October 1950. 131–173. 16. ed. ‘Still Stuck in the Mud: Imagining World Literature during the Cold War in Indonesia and Vietnam’. Jennifer Lindsay and Maya Hian Ting Liem (Leiden: KILTV Press. el aire. The World Republic of Letters. Anderson.W. 22. 21. van Goethe’s notion of global intellectual commerce. 20. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London and New York: Verso. 25 September 1898.. English translation by Jennifer Lindsay (Jennifer Lindsay. ed. Tony Day. Alicia Markova’s name was changed from the original English Alice Marks according to the fashion of Russianizing names of dancers in Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes and other Ballets Russes to deceive the public into believing . Casanova. was evidence of “a wealth that has to be accumulated like natural wealth. Tony Day and Maya Hian Ting Liem (Ithaca: Southeast Asia Program Publication. like that of certain other forms of capi- tal. 18. 17.. ‘Dulambayan: Dulaan ng mga Kilusang Panlipunan’ [National Staging: Social Movement Theatre]. see Lindsay. From the Spanish original: ‘El genio no tiene país. Drawing on Ferdinand Braudel’s theory of the modern global market. Apolonio Bayani Chua. ‘Heirs to World Culture 1950–1965’. Day. in Heirs to the World Culture: Being Indonesian 1950–1965. 10) from the Indonesian original: ‘Kami adalah ahli waris yang sah dari kebudajaan dunia dan kebudajaan ini kami teruskan dengancara kami sendiri. a capital that has to be formed by successive strata in peo- ple’s minds’”(Casanova. 23. MANILA AND THE WORLD DANCE SPACE: NATIONALISM. 2012). Quoting Valéry. The World Republic of Letters. to Valéry’s mind. 3. ed. Lekra stands for Lembaga Kebudajaan Rakjat (Institute of People’s Culture). Villaruz]. 86.. Ibid. and which absorbs into itself its compound interest. [Performing Arts and Literature issue. Cornell University.   321 13.

which the USIA toured in the Cold War years. Mary Anne Santamaria) hosted by the USSR Ministry of Culture at the Kirov. They were . One of them is Anatoli Panassioukov. as in the case of Balanchine and Danilova. including Danilova. and that of the USA’s ‘First Lady of the Theatre’ Helen Hayes. performed in Manila in the 1950s. once with American director Rommey Brent. would be followed in 2012 with ‘Days of Philippine Culture’ in Russia.322   M. Theatre Journal 61. In post-­Soviet times. I myself (Villaruz) witnessed Macuja’s graduation (and that of another pupil. ‘“In the Interest of the State”: A Cold War National Theatre for the United States’. although some did manage to escape. despite the fact that a ballet ban was imposed by the Catholic Church at that time. and Oteyza with expatriates in Paris. A few musicians have joined the annual rondalla (a Filipino string ensemble) festival with their own kind of instruments. I (Villaruz) remember the acclaimed visit of the prized novelist William Faulkner to Manila. My (Villaruz) own early ballet teachers (the Filipino-Chinese Elsie Uytiepo and the Spanish Remedios de Oteyza) studied with Adameit in Manila. Ballet companies in St Petersburg later banned dancers from leaving. The earlier tours by the Denishawn (Ruth St Denis and Ted Shawn) com- pany in 1926. 30. 28. Early in 2012. In 2011 Rossiya (State Academic Russian National Ensemble) performed for the National Commission on Culture and the Arts in ‘Days of Russian Culture’. 25. several of them over time periods straddling the political changes in Russia. I also heard anthropologist Margaret Mead at the Philamlife Auditorium. who gave a talk at St Paul College in Manila. She brought many Soviet and post-Soviet Russian teachers and groups to Manila. visits of Russian dancers have declined significantly and appear now mainly through Macuja Elizalde’s Ballet Manila. which. (This may not have had anything to do with ‘rumours’ of a renewed call for a greater US presence in the Philippines— because of China’s claim over the Spratly islands in the China Sea.E. a Russian anti-submarine ship sailed into Manila Bay for ‘a goodwill visit’. Other Soviet dancers have performed or taught in Manila. Some of them. 24. which I heard and reviewed in Weekly Nation. YAMOMO AND B. See Charlotte Canning. As a student in the region.) 27. 26. VILLARUZ that the dancers were all Russians. In that college’s auditorium I also saw several American musicals staged. 407–420. it was announced.3 (2009). Musician and US cultural attaché Edward Mattos conducted a number of productions. who has long been in Manila as ballet master with the Philippine Ballet Theatre. 29. and of Katherine Dunham’s own troupe in the 1960s were mainly commercial ventures at the Manila Grand Opera House. now again the Mariinsky Theatre. An example of US global enticement in those days was the seemingly harmless photo-exhibition The Family of Man.

NH: Wesleyan University Press. Rafael Zulueta and musician Redentor Romero brought artists like them to Manila and the provinces.. 31. DC: American Enterprise for Public Policy Research.   323 part of the vaudeville circuit operating in the USA. 113–119. promoted by their respective impresarios. See Martin Duberman’s biography of Lincoln Kirstein. Dance for Export: Cultural Diplomacy and the Cold War. 1997). . founder of New York City Ballet (Martin Duberman. Claude Buss. The World of Lincoln Kirstein (Evanston. IL: Northwestern University Press. Studies in Dance History (Hanover. Later Filipino impresarios such as Alfredo Lozano. MANILA AND THE WORLD DANCE SPACE: NATIONALISM.. The United States and the Philippines (Washington. 32. 1998). 2007)) and more broadly Naima Prevots.

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249. 11. 6. 6. 245. 123n2. 10. 217. Berghaus. 229. 280 263. 249. 254. 148n14. 249–52. 20n19. 261. 314. 59–71. Arturo Ui. Benedict. 143. 157. 261 acting training. Jean. 42n50. Szymanski-Düll (eds. 153. Edward. 76. Erwin. 321n16 71n38. Globalization and the Cold War. 156. 165. 99. Index A Barber of Seville. 12. 229. the. Balme. 262. 295 Berlin Wall. Ruth. 6. 255n8. 198. Radu. 62–7. Ballets Russes. 157 Americanisation. 9. 154. avant-garde. 232. 270n4 Anouilh. 147n5. B 237n38. 13. 224. 257n27. 70n18. 236n25 171. 13. 261–7. 70n25. 89. 156 300–2. 65. Vivica. Aurel. DOI 10. The. 260 103n1 BE. 204n33 263. 214. 231–3. 142. 65 70n15. Transnational Theatre Histories. 80. 256n22. 264 Bandler. 266. 89–92. 145. 103. 154. 191. 234 Beligan. Baranga. Athen. 260. B. 19n8 19n11. Samuel. 14 Bavarian State Opera. 279 Beckett. 12. 260.1007/978-3-319-48084-8 . Bayreuth Festival. 174. 70n21. 192. 71n35. 81. 255n5. 169. 28. See Berliner Ensemble (BE) amateur. 265 Alexandrov Ensemble. 220n19 Anderson. 174. 165. 321n23 261. 178.B. 244. 243.). 300–4 Axer. 5. 101. 197. 154–60. 66–8. 176. 34. 259. 70n26 Berliner Ensemble (BE). 94. 13. 226. 11. 127–6n50. Appadurai. 172. 161n8. 304 © The Author(s) 2017 343 C. 225. 27. 13. 212. 167. Albee. 250. 178 Berlin/East Berlin/West Berlin. 297. Theatre. 7. 87. 97. 185n65. 238n41. 170. Arjun. 174. 242. 64.

André. the. 109. 218. 219. 79. See British Youth Festival 133–63. 212–14. 20n19. ‘Choros. . Carnival Scenes. 120. 321n21 69n8. 320n8. 156. 219n2. 212–14. 160 279. 18. 261. Truman. Liviu. 214–16. Committee (BYFC) 207–21. 70n28. See Cultural Center of the 304 Philippines Breen. 218. 221n23. 20n24. 213. 218 221n27. 284 119. Caucasian Chalk Circle. 220n14. 32–4. Budapest. 38. 321n19. 126n37. 126n40. 219 112. 320n12. 215. 238n40. 209. Nicolae. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). 70n16. Bulandra Theatre. 29. 61–3. 207. Casanova. 244. 207–9. (CIA) 129n85. 210. 40n18. 117. 208. 49. 70n29 Caragiale. CCP. 214. 73. 235n5. 212 204n27. 217. 89. 174 C Birabeau. 220n19 219n4. 116. 181n3. 150n40. 212. 302 circulation. 18n2. 221n23 Cold War. 238n41 238n41. 224. 119. 209. BYFC. 2. Robert. 250. 303. 109. 174 Camus. 171. 298. 234n3. 25–43. 220n4. 232–4. 66. 26–8. 128n78. The. 227. 226 70n18. 117. 232. Pascale. 221n20. David. Charlotte. 18. 216. 189–205. 143. 235n12. 84n1. Caute. 218. 38. 59. 5. 134 219n3. 168. 52. 219n2. 80. 45–57. 128n74. 20n23. 232 126n43–126n45. 223. 1–14. 237n32. 219. 153. Kurt. 278. CIA. 276. 211. 126n48. 7. 30–2. 12. 322n26 125n35. 142. 11. 308. 156. 11. 226–34. 220n18. 45. 209. 107–29. 233 Bujański. Ceauşescu. 10. Bundeswehr. 207. 93. 166. 221n28 China. 165–86. 65. 237n37. 7.344   INDEX Bierut. 176 ‘Black Belt’ theory. 317. 18n3. 237n28. 17. Milan. 5. 70n13. 45–7 Canning. See Central Cultural Troupe British Youth Festival Committee (CCT) (BYFC). 100. 123n7. 224. 60. 211. 14. 6 Capote. 154 25–43. 169 Ciulei. 102. Bogdanović. 118. The. 65. 217. 70n15. 79. 160. 255n9. 212. 282 Bucharest. Jerzy. Bertolt. 4.’ 226. 239–57. Bolesław. 41n41 Bork. 96. 11. 312. 213. bourgeois. Cherry Orchard. 207–9. 143–5. 313–15. 114. 141. 61. 209 150n41. 108–15. 78. 41n35 CCT. 235n4. 156 21n29. 117. 150n43–150n46 Central Cultural Troupe (CCT). 216. 11. 108. Broadway. 69n1. Bulgaria. 120. 21n31. 282. See Central Intelligence Agency 127n58–127n60. Albert. 220n12–220n19. 8. Central Hospital. 212. 12. Ion Luca. 229. 20n22. Bucharest National Theatre. 289n24 218 Brecht. 322n29 border crossing. 214. 3. 99–102 73–85. 6. 221n25.

157. 8 Communist Youth of Greece (KNE). 282. 96. Dwight D. 52. 203n16 Front (EPLF) Crişan. E 161n10 Edwall. See German Theatre Institute Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). 266 287n14. Ilya. 37. 70n32. 290n25. 315. Elsom. Eritrean People’s Liberation Front 128n78. 307. 220n20. 66. 219n3. 277. Sergei. Tony. 159. August. See Eritrean People’s Liberation Cricot 2. 290n28. 48. 194. 199. 292n46. 3. 220n19 269 Davis. 216. 308. 88. 102. 45 DTI. 199 Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF). 286n4. 32 Everyman Opera Company. 42n59 321n13 experimenta. Everding. John. (ELF) 311. Emergency Fund for International 225 Affairs. 97. 260 Finland. 30. 269 289n23. 307–23 235n5 Communist Party of Greece (KKE). Blevins. 92. Vasile. 157. See Eritrean Liberation Front 73–85. 50. 91. 20n17. 51 folklore/folk. 268. 195. 109. 213–17. 231. 289n23 Darcante. 314. 306n29. D 286n4. 8. INDEX   345 235n5. 67. Maxim. 295. 233. 26. 209. 101. 247. 273–306. 27. 238n43. 199 F documentary theatre. 282. 299–301 decolonization. 90. 36. 28. 41n28. 317 Eritrea. 310. cultural diplomacy. 315 . Allan. 216. 51. 288n15. 102. 227. 285. 319n2 Demarko. Walter. 239–57. ELF. 274–8. 94. 91. 26–8. 139. 298 Flaszen. 194. 204n28. 275–8. 288n16. 157. Czechoslovakia. 46. 275. 41n27. 217 Erich Weinert Ensemble. 152. 29. 289n23. 291n33. Jean. 27. 268 Felsenstein. 221n28 Eisenstein. 196. Richard. 101. 193 205n44 Eisenhower. 105n39. 275–80. 18n2. 8–11 225. 320n7. 81. 8. 17. 283. 316 220n16. 93. 153. xi. 21n31. 314. 208. 91. 287n14.. 283. 304 FBI. 146n3. 156. (DTI) 59–61. 220n18. 112. 259. 292n50 112. 28–30. Day. epistemic communities. 259. 288n20 95. 278. 283. 54. Florea. 160. 292n47. 89. 49. Cultural Center of the Philippines 100 (CCP). 95. Ehrenburg. 289n22. 220n12. Ludwik. 236n26 EPLF. 291n34 Ethiopia. 122. 36. 14. cultural exchange. 3. 5. 286. (EPLF). 212–14. 198.

147n9. 250. 243. 40n12. 261. 40n17. global history. Félix. 2. 204n27. Maksim. 171. 211. 165–86. 109. 193–8 161n11. 249. 95. 221n23 I Giraudoux. 115. 219. 246. Etienne. 260–2. 181n5. 265. 38. See International Theatre Institute 149n23–6. 318 148n13–148n15. 254. 276. 12. Gebhart. 223–38 Grotowski. 256n20 287n8 German Democratic Republic (GDR). 203n20. 84n5 83. 277. 195. 264 Heinz. 5. 303. 174. 142. 171. 259. 148n13. 266 Hungary. 150n43–6. 59–71. 141. 264. 152–4. 208. 211–14. 14. Hans. 15. the. 157–9. Bohumil. 178. 220n12 292n48 interweaving. 17. 137. 141. 74. 99. 33. 189. 135 174. 92. 153. 10. Jerzy. 232. 297. 28. 157 Ivanov. Eugène. HUAC. 171. 26. 136. 16. 9. 112. Nikolai. 204n24. 279. Götz. 208–10. 157–61. Vsevolod. Achim. 295 10. 161. 114. Iron Curtain. 75. 116. 10. 300 Herlischka. 19n12. 11. 90. 220n15. 149n27–30. 18. 125n25. 127n58. 172. 198. 134. 149n20. 266 home front. 301 242–50. Committee (HUAC). 161n12. 111. See Federal Republic of Germany 257n39. 13 Gomułka. 126–7n50. Jean. 135. 248–50 H Freyer. House Un-American Activities 12. 11. 160. 152. German Theatre Institute (DTI). J 200. 196. 216. 61. 168. 97. 162n27. (ITI) 150n37–41. 218. 304 G Horn of Africa. 239. 215–19 Gould-Davies. 209. Activities Committee (HUAC) 252. 257n34. 257n40. 79. 176. 205n44 Juliusz Słowacki Theatre. FRG. 20n22. 256n22 178. 151–3. Władysław. 192 . 150n35. 40n14. 287n7. 3–6 155. Friedrich. globalization. 252 Giacomoni. 15. 34. 287n10 205n38. Earl. 161n5. 161n9. 247. 301. 64. 251. 171 Greece. 213–16. 6–8. Wolfgang. Nigel. 11. 199. 257n43 (FRG) Helsinki. 197. 177. 149n22. 17. 6. 134. 177. 176 International Theatre Institute (ITI). Jackson. 231. 2. 121. Great Britain/UK. 204n27 260. 172. ITI. Gorki. Ionesco. 155–7. Gogol. 156. 168. 274–6.346   INDEX formalism. 3. Glaser. 175. 81. 307–23 161n10. 269. 234n2. See House Un-American 238n41. 35. 160. 232. 38. 264.

Aleksandr. 226. 240. 162n25. 260. 9. Horst. INDEX   347 K M Kána. 108–14. 264–6 123n2. 45. 135. 60. 9. 65. See Communist Youth of Greece McConachie. 122. 312. 175 Mazowsze. 311. Arvi. The. 180. 76. Alexander. 84n11 La forza del destino. 176. 168. Kulnev. 9. 73. 250. London. 173 MacColl. Ewan. 267 Morawski. Joan. 315 179. Boris. 7. 70n17. 76 L Moiseyev. See Communist Party of Greece 236n22. 288n17. 136. 203n8. 239–43. 303. 232. 266. 302. 189. 283–5. 300 music drama. (KNE) 20n23. 147n4. 18n2. 185n57 255n1. 147n10 198 Maliszewski. 233. Vladimir. 174 166. 5. Littlewood. 87–103. 26. 199. 256n18. 261. 309. 267 Manila. Tadeusz. 184n48. 15. 229. 147n10 Mother. Tadeusz. 247. 61 locality. 165–86. 173 Military Intelligence. 20n24 245. 266. 186n83 248 Kennedy. 260. 300. 123n2. 140. 282. 224. 26. 283 Kleineidam. Bernardo. 135. 192. 256n19. 17. 39. 12. Section 5 (MI5). 8. 136. 5. Dennis. 120. Dramatyczne). 183n32. 162n19. 163n31 227. 255n8. 136n14. Platon. 259–70 . 312. 168 (Państwowe Teatry military. 270n16 McCarthy. 165–86. 7. 7. 191. 21n25. 191–3. 124n13 Marxism/Marxist. 203n9. 315. Kifleyesus. 260 Mother Courage and Her Children. 11. A. 20n14. Václav. 175. Harry. 241. Mavromoustakos. 192 121. 77 203n15 Midsummer Night’s Dream. 256n25. 238n45 (KKE) Mayakowski. 292n50 320n6 Kivimaa. Leipzig. 17. Bruce. Nikita. 119. 140. Vašek. 61. 133–50 Moiseyev Dance Company. 1. 2. Khrushchev. Jerzy. 103n2 194. 174. 88. 159. 66. 177. 236n13. metonymy/metonymical. 47. 17