This postcard shows a German military theater company during WWI. Soldiers entertained each other by putting on plays and musical performances in their free time. It could be very difficult to keep the companies together due to frequent relocation, and casualties on the front. Theaters in the major cities of Europe, including Vienna, Berlin, Paris and London, mostly remained active throughout the war. Although public transportation and proper heating and lighting were a challenge, people kept showing up to the theater in need for entertainment. The demography of the audience changed, as the residents of the cities during the war were mostly women, children, refugees of the war, and soldiers on leave. Increasingly, productions began to feature women in the leading roles. Propaganda was a big part of the theater and plays would often promote unity among people of different classes and viewpoints against the enemy. Plays that were put on stage in Vienna would often paint a positive image of Germans and vice versa. And a polite and dignified British gentleman was a frequent character in the theaters of Paris. Any anti-war message was not well received and the theaters in Europe were often subjects of censorship by their governments. As the war progressed, the audience’s thirst for escapism increased, which gave rise to plays set in exotic locations, comedies, circus acts and cabarets.
Post by Petra Hjartardottir