Shevchenko E.

German cultural codes in the performance “Karl and Anna” based on Leonhard Frank’s play (“Masterovye” Theater, Naberezhnye Chelny)


In May 2016, the premiere of the theatrical production “Karl and Anna” based on the play by Leonhard Frank, a 20th century German writer, took place in the Russian Drama Theater “Masterovye” (the city of Naberezhnye Chelny). Frank wrote his novelette “Karl and Anna” in 1927 and later turned it into a play. Both the novelette and the play are among Leonhard Frank’s best works in terms of their artistic merits. Their main theme is love and war. The action takes place in Germany during World War I. The story of Karl and Anna sounds like a parable, its language is universal and understandable to any viewer in any country. Nevertheless, the theatrical production created by “Masterovye” turned out to be very “German”. Director Denis Khusniyarov introduced a number of German cultural signs, which helped to build the “German world” on the stage. The article is devoted to the phenomena of the German artistic culture, which are included in the fabric of the play “Masterovye” and shape its aesthetics. The author aims to reveal the cultural codes used in “Karl and Anna” and show their role in the concept of the production. The author's analysis demonstrates the influence of expressionism, as the most powerful trend in Germany’s arts of the 20th century, on the artistic form of the production. The author shows how the director uses the effect of alienation, the main tool of B. Brecht’s epic theater. The director introduces G. Heine’s poem “Lorelei”, one of the Germany’s iconic poetic works, into the fabric of the production. The author concludes that by using German cultural codes the directors of the production pay tribute to “place and time”. On the other hand, the directors try to discover the universal character of human experiences and convey the dramatic atmosphere, reigning in the world absorbed by the war. Thus, the specific character of the “Masterovye” production is manifested in the skillful change of registers and in the transition from the tragic theme of “love and war” to the universal “formula of love” and from the realities of the “German world” to the panhuman message.

Key words: 

Leonhard Frank, “Masterovye” theater, cultural code, effect of alienation, Brecht’s theater, expressionism, Heine's lyrics.

Syndicate content