Die Neuberin ("The Neuberin")

The Passion of a german theater director

Friederike Caroline Neuber, called the "Neuberin", was an unusual woman. She attempted during her times to establish a sophisticated bourgeois state theater, a sort of theater in between the italian elite court opera of the times and the primitive shack boulevard-theater of the marketplace. Despite the furor she managed to create in her younger years, as well as getting a few authors to write for her theater, she was pressed so hard by the male dominated competition, that she ended up losing her own theater, her troupe and lastly even her reputation.

This woman however set an example for the theater, and prepared through her efforts the path for a Lessing, who was then followed by a Goethe and a Schiller, and thereby assisted the nascency of a high level enlightened german theater. This woman affected theater history, though she has to this day -unjustifiably so- been given little recognition.

She was the pionneer of a new ensemble concept, a new handling of text, a new integration of music into the stage pieces and was the first in Germany to raise the question of the necessity of a permanent theater. She was convincing for the biggest part of her life as a brilliant actress, as well as the director of her own troupe. Much can be said and much can be connected to this very influential woman. The struggle for the sake of a conviction, caught between the interests of the court and those of the city councils in the hey-days after the thirty year war, which modeled themselves after the great paradigms of Louis the 14th and Moliere.

An impassioned woman in a time when actors were compared to vagrants and actresses passed as whores. Glory and downfall of a woman who was in the end put under by her male rivals, even her husband and her own actors. In the years 1997/98, the material was developed by authors Clemente Fernandez and J.U. Lensing into a stage play, a reflection on the life of the Neuberin from her 19th year to her death, in 24 scenes. The three and a half hour piece has been so far performed 14 times in Duesseldorf, Essen and Koeln and was in a shortened version be seen in the fall of 1999 in places where the Neuberin herself is known to have worked: Gotha, Weimar and Zwickau.

At present exists on CD a one hour condensed radio-play version of the play by J.U.Lensing, available since May 99. The multimedia production, including acting, dance, video projections, music, voice overlays and acoustic-electronic compositions, was realized in conjunction with the "ICEM der Folkwanghochschule (Folkwang University) Essen" and the "FH-Dortmund" and sponsored by the county organization "Landesarbeitskreis Multimedia und Kunst".

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