- (1889-c.1943)Playwright. Kornfeld was an influential Expressionist playwright, with two plays in that vein to his credit: Die Verführung (The Seduction, 1917) and Himmel und Hölle (Heaven and Hell, 1919). He later wrote comedies, which were more frequently performed than his straight plays, but his subsequent influence derived from an insightful essay on Expressionist acting published as an afterword to The Seduction in 1921. In it, he called for the actor to acknowledge the fact that he was acting, and that what was taking place on stage was not reality; the actor was instead an embodiment "of thought, feeling, or fate!" Kornfeld said the closest analogy to Expressionist acting was an opera singer who hits a high C in the midst of his death throes. There is more truth about life and death "in the sweetness of that note than if he were naturalistically to crawl and writhe on the stage floor" ("Nachwort an den Schauspieler," in Die Verführung [Berlin: Fischer, 1921], 166). Kornfeld's essay has been widely translated and published. Kornfeld himself perished in a Nazi extermination camp sometime between 1942 and 1944.
Historical dictionary of German Theatre. William Grange. 2006.
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