Haupt- und Staatsaktionen



  • In the German and Austrian theaters of the 17th and 18th centuries,vernacular plays about violent and dramatic deeds in high places.These crude extempore performances were given by the first German-speakingprofessional actors. The plots, derived from plays presented by theEnglish Comedians, combined melodrama with comic interludessupplied by the clown Pickelhering, later replaced by Harlequinand Hanswurst. Although the critic Johann Gottsched (1700 - 66)and the actress-manager Carolina Neuber (1697 - 1760) attemptedto reform the Haupt- und Staatsaktionen by eliminating Harlequin,the older form remained popular throughout the 18th century.