The Liedertheater of Wenzel and Mensching: Subversive Use of the Agitprop and Clowning Tradition in the GDR

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Abstract

The East German poet-clowns Hans-Eckardt Wenzel and Steffen Mensching rose to prominence during the GDR's (German Democratic Republic; Deutsche Demokratische Republik, DDR) Peaceful Revolution of autumn 1989 with their cabaret production Letztes aus der Da Da eR. A film adaptation of the production was made by Jörg Foth in 1990, which was finally released on DVD with English subtitles in the United Kingdom and North America in 2009 (Latest from the Da-Da-R). In light of this long-overdue interest in Wenzel & Mensching, this article will attempt to put the work of the duo in historical and aesthetic context. Their use of character, masks, music, and philosophy combined to create the distinctly grotesque world that constituted their Liedertheater performances.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-249
Number of pages25
JournalTheatre Survey
Volume52
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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