Heinar Kipphardt

Definition

Theater

  • (1922 - 82) German playwright, noted for his pioneeringwork in documentary theater. After training in medicine,Kipphardt became resident playwright at the Deutsches Theater inBerlin, for which he wrote such plays as Wanted Urgently: Shakespeare(1954). In 1959 he moved to West Germany. In the Matter of J. RobertOppenheimer (1964), was his first important work to employ documentarytechniques. Intended originally for television, the play broke newground in its handling of recent historical facts, in this case theMcCarthyist intrigues surrounding the US nuclear physicist Oppenheimer.

    Joel Brand - the History of a Deal (1965) appliedsimilar techniques to the subject of Nazi attempts to exchange Jewishprisoners for military equipment. Kipphardt's later documentary dramasincluded The Life of the Schizophrenic Poet Alexander März(1981) and Brother Eichmann (1983), which drew parallels betweenthe beliefs of the notorious Nazi fugitive and military thinking inCold War Europe. Among his other plays was the black comedy TheNight the Boss was Slaughtered (1967).

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