Jessner, Leopold

(1878-1945), actor, director, and theater* manager; Berlin's* most renowned director in the Republic's early years. Born in Kö-nigsberg, he began his stage career in 1897 as an actor with the Cottbus Stadt-theater. Soon after 1900 he acted and directed with the Ibsen Theater. He was appointed director of Hamburg's Thaliatheater in 1908; his imaginative summer programming with the city's Volksschauspiele led in 1915 to appointment as intendant of Konigsberg's Neues Schauspielhaus. His wartime productions, in-cluding works by Gerhart Hauptmann* and Arthur Schnitzler, met with such acclaim that in June 1919 Prussia's* new government appointed him intendant of Berlin's* Staatstheater, a position he retained until völkisch attacks on "the Jewish element in the Prussian State theaters" forced his resignation in 1929.
   While Expressionism* guided his use of light and color in productions of Shakespeare, Schiller, Hauptmann, and Wedekind, Jessner also introduced steps (Jessnertreppe) to reinforce dramatic action at the expense of traditional scenery. Serving as symbols of dominance or repression, or of varying levels of reality, the steps were effective in his December 1919 production of Wilhelm Tell and his November 1920 arrangement of Richard III. But when repeatedly employed, the Jessnertreppe became simplistic and monotonous.
   Jessner continued directing at the Staatstheater for two seasons after resigning as intendant. Of Jewish ancestry, a socialist, and a republican, he relocated to England in 1933. After two years in Palestine, he emigrated to America in 1937. His work for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was based on prior cinema experience: he directed his first film* in 1919 and was active in 1921 with production of Die Hintertreppe (The backstairs). Yet, like Max Reinhardt,* Erwin Piscator,* Ber-tolt Brecht,* and Erich Engel,* he is best remembered for his work on behalf of Weimar-era theater. His zeal transformed the Staatstheater into one of Eu-rope's premier stages.
   REFERENCES:NDB, vol. 10; Patterson, Revolution in German Theatre; Willett, Theatre of the Weimar Republic.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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  • JESSNER, LEOPOLD — (1878–1945), German theatrical director and manager. Starting as an actor, Jessner was director at the Thalia Theater in Hamburg (1904–15). He later directed the Neues Schauspielhaus in his birthplace Koenigsberg (1915–19). From 1919 to 1930 he… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Jessner, Leopold — (1878 1945)    Director. Jessner was best known for his work during the Weimar Republic, when he was appointed intendant of the Prussian State Theater, the tradition bound, Karl Friedrich Schinkel designed Royal Theater on Gendarme Square near… …   Historical dictionary of German Theatre

  • Jessner, Leopold — ▪ German director and producer born March 3, 1878, Königsberg, Germany [now Kaliningrad, Russia] died October 30, 1945, Los Angeles, California, U.S.       theatrical producer and director associated with the German Expressionist (Expressionism)… …   Universalium

  • Jessner, Leopold —    см. Йеснер, Леопольд …   Энциклопедический словарь экспрессионизма

  • Jessner — Leopold Jessner (* 3. März 1878 in Königsberg; † 13. Dezember 1945 in Hollywood) war ein deutscher Theater und Filmregisseur. Er gilt als wichtiger Vertreter des Bühnenexpressionismus und des politischen Theaters der zwanziger Jahre. Bekannt… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Leopold Jeßner — Leopold Jessner (* 3. März 1878 in Königsberg; † 13. Dezember 1945 in Hollywood) war ein deutscher Theater und Filmregisseur. Er gilt als wichtiger Vertreter des Bühnenexpressionismus und des politischen Theaters der zwanziger Jahre. Bekannt… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Leopold Jessner — (* 3. März 1878 in Königsberg; † 13. Dezember 1945 in Hollywood) war ein deutscher Theater und Filmregisseur. Er gilt als wichtiger Vertreter des Bühnenexpressionismus und des politischen Theaters der 1920er Jahre. Bekannt wurde er zudem als… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Leopold Jessner — est un metteur en scène allemand, directeur de théâtre et réalisateur, né le 3 mars 1878 à Königsberg (Prusse Orientale (aujourd hui Kaliningrad, Russie), mort le 13 décembre 1945 à Los Angeles (Californie). Il a participé… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Leopold Jessner — (March 3, 1878 ndash;December 13, 1945) was a noted producer and director of German Expressionist theater and cinema. His first film, Hintertreppe (1921), is considered a major turning point which paved the way for the later German Expressionist… …   Wikipedia

  • Fritz Jessner — (* 19. August 1889 in Stolp in Hinterpommern; † 9. Juli 1946 in Boston, USA) war ein deutsch amerikanischer Theaterdirektor und Regisseur. Jessners Vater war Samuel Jeßner, ein Dermatologe in Königsberg. Fritz Jessner studierte an der Universität …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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