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Peter Weiss (November 8, 1916 – May 10, 1982), was a German playwright, novelist, painter, graphic artist and experimental filmmaker with adopted Swedish nationality.
Son of a small Hungarian industrialist, he was born in a suburb of Berlin, where he spent his childhood and adolescence. With the arrival of Hitler to power, his family takes refuge in London, then live in Czechoslovakia and a little before the Second World War in Sweden. He begins his literary career writing in Swedish and later, definitely, in German.
He had a great success with his Persecution and murder of Jean-Paul Marat represented by the scenic group of the hospice of Charenton, better known as Marat / Sade, striking example of theater within the theater. In this work, of political commitment and Brechtian influence, the inmates of an asylum carry out a theatrical performance on the historical character Marat. Some critics have seen in this work the synthesis of several modern theatrical currents: epic theater, theater of the absurd, theater of cruelty … The dramatist and theater director Peter Brook made a film version of the assembly of this piece in which they act professional actors together with real psychotics.
Peter Weiss is considered one of the references of documentary theater, which explains historical events through theatrical writing and its subsequent staging. One of its clearest exponents is The Inquiry (1965).
As a novelist he wrote between 1971 and 1981, in three parts, The Aesthetics of Resistance. It is a great epic about the history of resistance movements in Europe throughout the 20th century, in confrontation with the great works of Art History carried out by the most disadvantaged.
As a painter he made his first exhibition in 1936. Among the short films by Weiss, it is worth mentioning El estudio del doctor Fausto (1956)
Weiss was honored with the Charles Veillon Prize, 1963; the Lessing Prize, 1965; the Heinrich Mann Prize, 1966; the Anderson Carl Albert Award, 1967; the Dehler Thomas Prize, 1978; the Prize of Literature of Colony, 1981; the Bremen Literature Prize, 1982; the Children’s Award, 1982; the 1982 Swedish Theater Critics Award; and the Georg Büchner Prize, 1982.
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