The Theater of the Bauhaus
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Few creative movements have been more influential than the Bauhaus, under the leadership of Walter Gropius. The art of the theater commanded special attention. The text in this volume is a loose collection of essays by Oskar Schlemmer, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, and Farkas Molnár (who in an illustrated essay shares his vision of a total theatre space), with an introduction by Bauhaus leader Walter Gropius. Originally published in German in 1924, Die Bühne im Bauhaus was translated by A. S. Wensinger and published by Wesleyan in 1961. It was prepared with the full cooperation of Walter Gropius and his introduction was written specially for this edition.
From Bauhaus experiments there emerged a new aesthetic of stage design and presentation, a new concept of “total theater.” Its principles and practices, revolutionary in their time and far in advance of all but the most experimental stagecraft today, were largely the work of Oskar Schlemmer, Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, and their students. Profusely illustrated and startling in its typography (the work of Moholy-Nagy), the 1924 volume quickly became a collector’s item and is now virtually unobtainable. Those interested in the stage, the modern visual arts, or in the bold steps of the men of genius who broadened the horizons of aesthetic experience will appreciate that this translation is available again.
unhampered by INDIVIDUAL. ments man into creative stage production must be moralistic tendentiousness or by problems of science or the Man may be active only as the bearer of those functional ele- which are organically in accordance with his specific nature. It is self-evident, however, that all other means be given positions of effectiveness equal to man's, of stage production who must as a living psycho- physical organism, as the producer of incomparable climaxes and
the repetition of a words and with identical or varying means of creating synthetic (This would be the chorus but not the intonation and cadence, could be employed as a (i.e., unifying) creative theater. — attendant and passive chorus of antiquity!) Or mirrors and optical equip- ment could be used to project the gigantically enlarged faces and gestures of the actors, while their voices could be amplified to correspond with the visual MAGNIFICATION. Similar effects can be obtained from
color. Color and form reveal their elementary values within the constructive manipulation of architectonic space. Here they constitute both object and receptacle, that which is to be filled In painting and sculpture, and fulfilled by Man, the living organism. form and color are the means of establishing these connections with organic nature through the representation of phenomena. Man, its chief phenomenon, its both an organism of flesh and is blood and at the same time the
banned from mechanistic organism. at the central switchboard, play, at once infinitely variable He would stand as "the perfect engineer" from where he would direct this feast for the eyes. seeks meaning. the creation of Whether Homunculus He the Faustian problem or the anthropomorphic impulse created his gods and idols, he ness, his image, or the sublime. it is is incessantly seeking his like- seeks his equal, the superman, or the figures of his fancy. Man, the human
end in literature if a reality or a potential formulated or visually expressed with- out the creative forms peculiar only to the stage. It is not until the tensions concealed in the utmost economy of means are brought into universal and dynamic interaction that we have Even in recent times stagecraft when creative stagecraft (Biihnengestaltung) .^ we have been deluded about the true value of creative revolutionary, social, ethical, or similar problems were un- rolled with a great