DURING the period previous to the war the German stage took its inspiration from the contemporary dramatists; the theatre and literary production were almost one. Authors like Gerhard Hauptmann and Wedekind, at that time both representatives of modern dramatic art, wrote plays for the five main theatres such as the Deutsche, Hebbel and Lessing Theatre, whilst Ibsen and Strindberg were well introduced on the German stage. Reinhardt frequently availed himself of the plays of Stucken, Schnitzler and Eulenberg, the most popular dramatic authors of that period, whilst the Konigliche Schauspielhaus (Royal theatre) was marked by performances of a more antiquated taste inspired by the Kaiser's conservatism in art. On the whole, it may be stated that the repertoire of all the leading theatres in Berlin was rich and carefully selected. Classical plays, chiefly Shakespeare, were performed and interpreted in the most perfect manner; the same refers to the Russian drama, Stanislawski, Chechow, Tolstoi and Gorki being at that time introduced. Thus the German pre‐war theatre fulfilled a high cultural mission because the author was interpreted in the sense and spirit of his works, plays being selected for the sake of art, and not of sensation or monetary profit.
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