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SANTOZEUM / Island  / Carl Weber arrives on Santorini

Carl Weber arrives on Santorini

Carl spent a week searching unusual village spaces for a new translation and adaptation of a Heiner Müller/Seneca piece.  Even with his epic experience and exposure to people and places, he found Santorini startling and the some of the bucolic spaces unsettling.

Carl began his career as an actor with the Heidelberg City Theater while completing a B.A. in Philosophy, German, and English Literature at Heidelberg University. In 1949, he was one of the founders of the Heidelberg Zimmertheater and directed the company’s opening production. He moved to Berlin in 1950, joining the company of Theater der Freundschaft, and was invited, in 1952, to join the Berliner Ensemble as an actor, dramaturg, and assistant director to Bertolt Brecht, with whom he worked on the productions of Katzgraben, Caucasian Chalk Circle, and Galileo.

After Brecht’s death in 1956, Carl became one of the directors with the company. He co-wrote and directed, with Peter Palitzsch, the play The Day of the Great Scholar Wu, staged a revival of Brecht’s production of Mother Courage, and was one of the directors of Brecht’s Fear and Misery of the Third Reich. He also wrote and edited program brochures and acted in eight of the Ensemble’s productions. 1955-61, Weber directed as well for other theaters, such as Berlin’s Deutsches Theater, and for television (Deutscher Fernsehfunk).

In 1961, Carl staged the West German premiere of Brecht’s Trumpets and Drums at the Lübeck City Theater, and was invited to direct Brecht’sPuntila and his Man Matti at Carnegie Institute of Technology, at Pittsburgh, in 1962. Between 1962 and 1966, he directed at theaters in West Germany, Scandinavia, and the United States, among them the San Francisco’s Actors Workshop, Memphis’ Front St. Theatre, Norway’s National Theatre in Oslo, Denmark’s Aarhus and Aalborg Theatres, and Berlin’s Schaubühne. He also served 1964-66 as principal resident director of Wuppertaler Bühnen, the home of Pina Bausch’s “Tanztheater.”
Carl moved to New York in 1966 when he was appointed Master-Teacher of Directing and Acting at the newly-founded NYU School of the Arts. Subsequently he directed numerous productions in New York and at American regional theatres, such as Lincoln Center Repertory Theatre; Chelsea Theatre Center at B.A.M.; American Place Theatre; Perry St. Theatre; the Martinique; Arena Stage, Washington, D.C.; Yale Repertory Theatre; McCarter Theatre, Princeton; and San Francisco’s Magic Theatre. Among his productions, besides Brecht plays, were the American premieres of Peter Handke’s Kaspar (the production received two Obies), The Ride Across Lake Constance, and They are Dying Out; of Witkiewicz’s The Waterhen; and the premieres of Ed Bullins’ Jo Anne; W. D. Snodgrass’s Fuehrer Bunker; Mac Wellman’sStarluster and Saul Levitt’s Lincoln. He also directed many classics, among them Molière’s The Miser, Rostand’s Cyrano, H.V. Kleist’s The Broken Pitcher; and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. While based in New York, he continued to direct in Europe: for Zürich Schauspielhaus; München Kammerspiele; Hamburg Schauspielhaus, and Wuppertaler Bühnen. He also staged one of the first Indian Brecht productions, Caucasian Chalk Circle, 1968, at the Asian Theatre Institute, New Delhi. From 1971 to 1983, he chaired the Graduate Directing Department at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. In 1984, he was appointed Professor of Drama at Stanford University where he heads Ph.D. Directing Studies. He has directed and/or taught at Columbia University, the National Theatre School of Canada at Montreal, U.C.L.A., Princeton University, Temple University, and Justus von Liebing Universität at Giessen. He also lectured and/or conducted workshops at many other American and German universities.

Carl has authored and narrated programs on Brecht and Handke for Camera 3, CBS-TV. His writings have been published in The Drama Review, Modern Drama, Performing Arts Journal, Theatre Journal, Theater, Theatre Three, Contemporary Theatre Review, Theater Heute, Theater der Zeit, Die Weltbühne, and others. His essays have appeared in the volumes The Director in a Changing Theatre, Master Teachers of Theatre, Szenische Geschichtsdarstellung, Theatre and Film in Exile, Multiculturalism and Performance, Vom Wort zum Bild, The Cambridge Companion to Brecht, Brecht Unbound, A Bertolt Brecht Reference Companion, American Dramaturgy, An Introduction to Theatre, Brecht Handbuch, Heiner Müller Handbuch, and Encyclopedia of the 20th Century, among others. He is a co-editor of theYearbook of the International Brecht Society and of Performing Arts Journal.

Carl translated, edited, and wrote introductions and commentary to four volumes of plays, poetry and prose by Heiner Müller: Hamletmachine, Explosion of a Memory, The Battle, and A Heiner Müller Reader, published by PAJ Publications and Johns Hopkins University Press. He also edited the anthology Dramacontemporary: Germany,Johns Hopkins University Press, for which he wrote introductions and translated several of the plays. His translations of Müller, Manfred Karge, and Gerlind Reinshagen have been widely performed. His translations into German of plays from the English, French, and Russian repertoire were produced at German theaters and radio.

Carl is a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, and was on its Board, 1980-1986. He is also a member of PEN Club, ATHE, and the International Brecht Society.

 

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