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Competing GermaniesNazi, Antifascist, and Jewish Theater in German Argentina, 1933-1965$
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Robert Kelz

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501739859

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501739859.001.0001

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Theater on the Move

Theater on the Move

Routes to Buenos Aires

(p.58) 2 Theater on the Move
Competing Germanies

Robert Kelz

Cornell University Press

This chapter traces the journey of the German Theater's founder, Ludwig Ney, from Europe to Paraguay and, ultimately, Argentina. Shifting to Jewish actors, the chapter then reconstructs three Jewish thespian refugees' flights to South America and explores how their work onstage both exposed them to Nazi persecution and facilitated their escapes to an unlikely reunion in Argentina. This discussion emphasizes the interdependency between actors and audiences at theaters in times of crisis, casting dramatic performances as a laboratory for testing survival strategies amid the rise of European fascism. Another focus is the evolution of theater management during the 1930s. Bereft of state subventions, stages were compelled to upend the tradition of cultural theater, adopting instead a market-based approach to repertoire and advertising similar to popular entertainment venues, like the cinema. This controversial model became the blueprint for the Free German Stage in Buenos Aires.

Keywords:   Ludwig Ney, Jewish actors, survival strategies, theater management, market-based approach, popular entertainment, German Theater

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