Vita Bertolt Brecht and Helene Weigel

 

1898

10 February: Eugen Berthold Brecht is born in Augsburg. 

1900

12 May: Helene Weigel is born in Vienna. 

1917

Brecht passes his wartime school-leaving examination and goes to Munich to study medicine. 

1918

Brecht writes BAAL. 

1919

Helene Weigel is engaged at the New Theatre in Frankfurt/Main (until 1921).

Brecht writes DRUMS IN THE NIGHT. 

1921

Helene Weigel is engaged at Frankfurt Theatre. 

1922

Première of DRUMS IN THE NIGHT at the Munich Kammerspiele.

Brecht marries the opera singer Marianne Zoff.

Helene Weigel is engaged at the Berlin State Theatre. 

1923

12 March: Brecht and Marianne Zoff’s daughter Hanne is born.

Helene Weigel and Brecht meet for the first time in Berlin.

Première of IN THE JUNGLE OF CITIES (Munich) and BAAL (Leipzig). 

1924

3 November: Helene Weigel and Brecht’s son Stefan is born.

Brecht moves to Berlin. 

1928

31 August: Première of THE THREEPENNY OPERA at the Theatre on Schiffbauerdamm.

 

1929

10 April: Helene Weigel and Bertolt Brecht marry.

 

1930

28 October: Helene Weigel and Brecht’s daughter Barbara is born.

 

1932

Helene Weigel plays the title role in the première of the play THE MOTHER.

 

1933           

 

 

1934

The Brecht family emigrate to Denmark. Brecht’s German citizenship is revoked in 1935, Helene Weigel’s and the children’s in 1937.

Brecht’s THREEPENNY NOVEL is published by Allert de Lange in Amsterdam.

1937

 

Helene Weigel plays the title role in the première of SEÑORA CARRAR’S RIFLES in Paris.

 

1938

Brecht writes LIFE OF GALILEO. Première of a number of scenes from FEAR AND MISERY OF THE THIRD REICH, featuring Helene Weigel, in Paris.

 

1939

The family flees to Sweden.

Brecht writes MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN and THE GOOD PERSON OF SZECHWAN. 

1940

Escape to Finland.

Brecht writes the REFUGEE CONVERSATIONS and MR PUNTILA AND HIS MAN MATTI. 

1941

Brecht writes the play THE RESISTABLE RISE OF ARTURO UI. Première of MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN at Zurich Playhouse (with Therese Giehse in the title role).

Escape by train via the Soviet Union and from Vladivostok by ship to Los Angeles.

Residence in Santa Monica. 

1943

Brecht works on the plays SCHWEYK IN THE SECOND WORLD WAR and THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE.

 

1944

Helene Weigel plays a silent role in the Hollywood adaptation of Anna Seghers’ THE SEVENTH CROSS (director: Fred Zinnemann).

Brecht and Charles Laughton translate LIFE OF GALILEO. 

1947

Première of GALILEO at the Coronet Theatre in Beverly Hills with Charles Laughton in the title role.

Brecht appears before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the family leaves the USA.

 

1948

 

Première of the adaptation of THE ANTIGONE OF SOPHOCLES at Chur Theatre with Helene Weigel in the title role.

Première of MR PUNTILA AND HIS MAN MATTI at Zurich Playhouse.

Trip to Berlin. 

1949

11 January: Première of MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN at the Deutsches Theater with Helene Weigel in the title role.

Bertolt Brecht and Helene Weigel take up residence in Berlin-Weißensee, Berliner Allee 190.

Brecht works on the play THE DAYS OF THE COMMUNE.

September: Opening of the first season of the Berliner Ensemble (BE) at the Deutsches Theater.

12 November: Opening performance at the BE with MR PUNTILA AND HIS MAN MATTI. 

1950

Helene Weigel and Bertolt Brecht are founding members of the German Academy of Arts.

15 April: Première of THE TUTOR by Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz. 

1951

12 January: Première of THE MOTHER with Helene Weigel as Pelagea Vlassova. Première of the opera THE TRIAL OF LUCULLUS.

 

1952

16 November: Première of SEÑORA CARRAR’S RIFLES with Helene Weigel in the title role.

Brecht and Weigel lease a plot of land in Buckow with country house and gardener’s cottage. 

1953

Brecht stages KATZGRABEN by Erwin Strittmatter with Helene Weigel in the role of the farmer Großmann.

October: Brecht moves to an apartment in the rear building and side wing of Chausseestraße 125.

November: Helene Weigel takes up residence in a separate flat in the same building. 

1954

The Berliner Ensemble moves to the Theatre on Schiffbauerdamm.

19 March: Opening performance with DON JUAN by Molière (production: Benno Besson). Brecht becomes vice-president of the Academy of Arts.

Guest performance of the BE with MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN at the Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt in Paris.

Première of THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE with Helene Weigel as Natella Abashvili and Mother Grusinia.

Brecht is awarded the Stalin Prize. 

1955

Guest performance of the BE at the Théâtre Sarah Bernhardt with THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE.

Brecht rehearses LIFE OF GALILEO. 

1956

Brecht travels to Milan for the première of THE THREEPENNY OPERA at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano (production: Giorgio Strehler).

10 August: Brecht attends a rehearsal at the BE for the last time.

14 August, shortly before midnight: Brecht dies of cardiovascular failure.

Brecht is buried in the Dorotheenstädtische cemetery.

Helene Weigel continues the artistic work of the BE with a directors’ collective.

Guest performances of the BE in London with MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN, TRUMPETS AND DRUMS, and THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE.

December: Helene Weigel founds the Bertolt Brecht Archive. 

1957

15 January: Première of LIFE OF GALILEO with Ernst Busch (production: Erich Engel).

Helene Weigel plays the role of Judith Keith in THE JEWISH WIFE from the series of scenes FEAR AND MISERY OF THE THIRD REICH. 

1961

Première of the DEFA feature MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN with Helene Weigel in the title role.

 

1961

Helene Weigel plays the role of Martha Flinz in Helmut Baierl’s play FRAU FLINZ.

 

1962

Participation in Brecht Evening No. 1 and in further Brecht evenings and programmes up until 1969.

 

1965

Helene Weigel plays the role of Volumnia in Brecht’s arrangement of CORIOLAN by William Shakespeare (première 1964).

 

1967

Brecht edition at Suhrkamp (complete works in twenty volumes).

 

1968

Helene Weigel plays the role of Madame Soupeau in THE VISIONS OF SIMONE MACHARD by Brecht in a GDR television film.

Brecht Dialogue 1968. 

1971

On the 100th anniversary of the Commune, Helene Weigel performs for the last time as Pelagea Vlassova in THE MOTHER in a Paris suburb.

6 May: Helene Weigel dies. She is buried alongside Brecht in the Dorotheenstädtische cemetery.