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date: 17 October 2019

Pirchan, Emil locked

  • David J. Hough

Extract

(b Brno, May 27, 1884; d Vienna, Dec 20, 1957). German stage designer and teacher. The son of a well-known painter, he studied art and architecture in Vienna, then taught drawing in a secondary school. He opened an architect’s studio in Munich (1908) and a school of stage and graphic design (1913). In 1918 he designed Pfitzner’s Das Christ-Elflein and Christian Grabbe’s play Hannibal for the Munich Staatstheater and in 1919 Schiller’s Maria Stuart, the first of many productions for the Berlin Staatstheater. With the leading expressionist director Leopold Jessner (1878–1945), director of the Staatstheater from 1919 to 1930, he began one of the theatre’s most famous artistic collaborations. Influenced by Adolphe Appia’s concept of ‘rhythmic space’, he constructed for each of his productions ‘an architecture that adapted to the rhythm of the action’. He conceived the idea of the ‘Jessnertreppe’ that ‘make the stage breathe and render it expressive’....

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