Ferdinand Bruckner used his real name, Theodor Tagger, from 1911 to 1926 when he wrote essays, music criticism, fiction, and lyric poetry. He began in 1920 to write plays, and in 1926 he began to use the pseudonym Ferdinand Bruckner. The plays he wrote under this name are his best known.
Ferdinand Bruckner burst on the theatrical scene in Weimar Germany with the passionate intensity of a phosphorescent flame lighting up a dull, gray winter sky. When his plays first appeared, they created a sensation, for they frequently treated controversial subjects. They proved to be extremely popular with audiences, probably because of their sensational subject matter and also because Bruckner was fortunate enough to have talented directors staging the plays and energetic, talented actors performing in them. Bruckner’s plays were also extremely effective theatrically; they employed numerous devices that made the performance of a Bruckner play a memorable experience.
Bruckner’s plays represent a “third” direction in German playwriting after the vogue in “expressionist” styles had waned in 1924-1925. By midpoint in the decade, German audiences, especially those audiences in Berlin, were ready to accept new directions in drama. The first important direction was characterized by Neue Sachlichkeit—New Objectivity or “new matter-of-factness.” Carl Zuckmayer led this new direction with folksy comedies such as Der fröhliche Weinberg (1925) and Katerina Knie (1928); these plays were actually a “neorealistic” return to formats previously employed by Gerhart Hauptmann and Johann Nestroy Bertolt Brecht. Zuckmayer’s masterpiece of the Weimar period was Der Hauptmann von Köpenick (pr., pb. 1931; The Captain of...
Collins, Scott. “Evidence Room’s Swell Falters.” Review of Swell by Ferdinand Bruckner. Los Angeles Times, May 26, 1995, p. 29. This review of Swell, an adaptation of Bruckner’s Pains of Youth, performed by the Evidence Room in Culver City, California, criticized Director Bart DeLorenzo’s adaptation of the work.
Isherwood, Charles. Review of Race by Ferdinand Bruckner. Variety, February 26-March 4, 2001, p. 52. Review of a performance of Race by the Classic Stage Company in New York. Analyzes the play and its relevance to modern audiences.