by Bruno Frank. Premiered 1931. This comedy satirized the German film industry, but its real subject was the overt manipulation of identity. Popular film actress Nina has decided to retire from films in order to spend more time with her devoted husband, a shy inventor. She proposes to the producer of her films that her replacement be Trude Mielitz, who looks and sounds so much like Nina that she could easily become the studio's next diva (the play is written so that the same actress plays both Nina and Trude). The producer agrees to become Trade's Pygmalion, and the former stand-in rises from obscurity into full-blown, petulant stardom. Trude and the producer travel to Hollywood, and there she learns definitive lessons in flamboyant superficiality from German film moguls already in residence. She returns to Berlin in the final act with an aura of tawdry glitz and irresistible banality.
   Frank cleverly combined exits and entrances for Nina/Trude, while his pacing allowed the contrasting personalities of both to emerge. Frank created the roles for his mother-in-law Fritzi Massary, who played them in the premiere production. Many other actresses played the roles successfully until the Nazi takeover, when the play was banned. As he had in his earlier successes (particularly Sturm im Wasserglas Tempest in a Teacup), Frank combined political observation with appealing entertainment value. Nina was about the creation of an image, and Frank used the analogy of Nina with Adolf Hitler, whose success in manipulating the media by exploiting recent technological innovations in the creation of his own image as Germany's savior was unprecedented.

Historical dictionary of German Theatre. . 2006.

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