Weichert, Richard


Weichert, Richard
(1880-1961)
   Director, manager. Weichert became one of the most significant directors of the Expressionist style in the 1920s. He had studied acting with Louise Dumont and Gustav Lindemann in Düsseldorf before World War I, and during the war he began directing at the Mannheim National Theater. Among his most notable productions there was Walter Hasenclever's Der Sohn (The Son) in 1918. Weichert embraced distortion in both lighting and set design, seeing both as a route to the central character's inner torment. He continued to promote Hasenclever's plays when he became manager of the Frankfurt am Main City Theater in 1918, a post he held until 1932. In Frankfurt he attempted to stage works by William Shakespeare in the Expressionist manner, but only his Macbeth stirred any interest. In Frankfurt he also produced the early works of Bertolt Brecht, attracting national attention to Frankfurt am Main and enhancing Brecht's chances for additional productions in Berlin. During the Third Reich, Weichert worked regularly at the Berlin Volksbühne, directing a variety of plays that ranged from Shakespeare, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, and Heinrich von Kleist to Franz von Schönthan, including even Nazi favorites like Heinrich Zerkaulen. He worked periodically in Vienna as well. By the mid-1930s he had long forsaken the Expressionist paradigm, but after the war, he returned to Frankfurt am Main and to an Expressionism of sorts, premiering Wolfgang Borchert's Draussen vor der Tür (The Outsider) in 1948.

Historical dictionary of German Theatre. . 2006.

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