They defied the Stasi and sparked a revolution. Our writer reveals the pivotal role East Germany’s dynamic theatre culture played in the fall of the GDR – and the collapse of European communism
Thirty years ago this coming Monday, a vast crowd of East Germans streamed into Alexanderplatz in then-divided Berlin to protest against the regime they lived under. The German Democratic Republic was crumbling around them. Erich Honecker, the reviled leader of the GDR, had been forced out. Thousands of people had already fled. Five days later, after a party functionary mistakenly announced that anyone who wanted to leave the country was free to do so, hordes began to clamber over the Berlin Wall.
As journalists observed – and numerous playwrights have realised – the events of 4 November 1989 were so dramatic, they would have been impossible to script. Who would believe a play in which a country gave up the ghost without a shot being fired, and that this helped bring about the end of European communism? All because an apparatchik fumbled his lines.
Legend has it Frank Castorf got away with his scandalous shows because his Stasi informant protected himContinue reading...