Schiller und das Theater
Schiller’s much-quoted view of the theatre as a 'moral institution' is misunderstood if we assume it to be primarily a didactic admonition to morality. His conception is of the theatre above all as an aesthetic institution and of the performance of drama primarily as the 5 artistic transformation of material into form. This material is not only the medium, the stage, but also the dramatic text, even if the theatre Schiller envisages is a literary theatre and serves the art of poetry. Form is the production, which at that time was understood simply as the superficial organisation of the performance.
The development of the stage into a theatrical art form on poetic lines was a gradual one. The audience’s expectations, the actor’s performance and the function of the director, all had to change. The improvised theatre of the old school had to give way to a disciplined and regulated performance. A decisive step in this development was Goethe’s and Schiller’s collaboration at the Weimar Court Theatre. Here the stage became an autonomous aesthetic entity, foreshadowing the conception of the theatre which has been dominant since the early 20th century.