About the author: Anthony Hostetter holds a PhD from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Dr. Hostetter has taught at Randolph-Macon College, Stephen F. Austin State University, and at Temple University where he serves as the Technical Director for the Theater Department. He has designed scenery and lighting professionally for Theater and Dance. His article, “A Disaster of Cosmic Proportions? Revisiting Max Reinhardt’s Großes Schauspielhaus,” won the 2001 Herbert D. Greggs Award for Outstanding Writing in Theatre Design and Technology.2003 0-7734-6802-1
The years between 1910 and 1933 represent a period of tumultuous change in Germany. Focusing on Max Reinhardt’s Großes Schauspielhaus in Berlin during the Weimar Republic offers a unique opportunity to examine the many factors that affect theatrical production outside of the realm of the aesthetic. Using neo-Marxist methodology of Raymond Williams as well as Pierre Bourdieu’s The Field of Cultural Production, this study investigates the impact of social, political, and economic factors on planning and building the Großes Schauspielhaus and on its theatrical productions. Previous works focus on Reinhardt’s use of actors, collaboration with designers, technology, etc, but this study begins by asking ‘What were the relations between Max Reinhardt’s artistic direction and the business management?’ It provides an analysis of the economic conditions of the period, the costs involved in building and maintaining a mass theater, and questions of ‘symbolic capital’ versus ‘economic capital’. An appendix provides a complete English-language translation of Max Reinhardt’s 1905 manifesto, originally published in Arthur Kahne’s Tagebuch des Dramaturgen. With illustrations.