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Paul Pörtner

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Name  Paul Portner
Role  Playwright
Plays  Shear Madness

Paul Portner httpswwwwuppertaldekulturbildungstadtbibli
Died  November 16, 1984, Munich, Germany
Books  Introduction to Surface and Superlattice Excitations, Modality, Light Scattering in Magnetic Solids
People also search for  Marilyn Abrams, Bruce Jordan, David J. Lockwood

Paul Pörtner (25 January 1925 – 16 November 1984) was a German playwright, novelist, translator, and editor.



After doing an apprenticeship as director at the municipal theatre in his native town of Wuppertal, Paul Pörtner began studying philosophy, and German and French literature at the University of Cologne in 1951.Later on he continued his studies in France. In 1958 he began earning his living as a professional author, and from 1976 on he was permanently employed by Norddeutscher Rundfunk Hamburg as a director of radio plays.

His short stories and novels very often deal with "losers" – as a very young man, he himself became handicapped while at war. His work shows Paul Pörtner to be a writer who was deeply drawn to the burlesque as well as having his characters act in desperate ways. He loved experimental language and word play.

His interest in avant-garde theatre led him to the theories of Jacob Levy Moreno, Antonin Artaud and Erwin Piscator. However, through his work on stage as director and playwright he fell under the charm of the commedia dell'arte, Kurt Schwitters or Alfred Jarry. In 1963 Paul Pörtner invented the interactive play Scherenschnitt oder Der Mörder sind Sie where the audience takes over the leading role. It premiered the same year at the Ulmer Theatre, and thereafter, 75 German-speaking theatres followed. In the USA Scherenschnitt, entitled Shear Madness, became the longest running play ever done in American history. Eighteen productions in other countries have made Scherenschnitt a singular international hit: following Agatha Christie`s Mouse Trap, Paul Pörtner`s interactive play is the longest-running play around the world.

In addition to 17 theatre plays, Pörtner wrote more than 20 radio plays that are still influential in this typically German genre.


  • Sternbild Selbstbild. Poems. Wuppertal 1958
  • Schattensteine. Poems. Wuppertal 1958
  • Wurzelwerk. Poems. Wuppertal 1960
  • Experiment Theater. Chronik und Dokumente. Chronicles and documents. Zürich 1960
  • Tobias Immergrün. Novel. Köln 1962
  • Sophie Imperator. Drama. Köln 1964
  • Scherenschnitt. Kriminalstück zum Mitspielen. Stage-play. Köln 1964
  • Gestern. Novel. Köln 1965
  • Einkreisung eines dicken Mannes. Erzählungen, Beschreibungen, Grotesken. Tales. Köln 1968
  • Spontanes Theater. Erfahrungen, Konzepte. Essays. Köln 1972
  • Plays

  • Mensch Meier oder Das Glücksrad, 1959
  • Variationen für zwei Schauspieler, 1960
  • Sophie Imperator, 1961
  • Drei, 1962
  • Scherenschnitt oder Der Mörder sind Sie (Shear Madness), 1963
  • Spielautomat, 1967
  • Mascha, Mischa und Mai. Stage-play for children, 1968
  • Börsenspiel, 1970
  • Kontaktprogramm, 1971
  • Interaktionen, 1971
  • Test Test Test, 1972
  • Polizeistunde, 1975
  • Halt Dich da raus, 1975
  • Tierspiel, 1978
  • Radio Plays

  • Was sagen Sie zu Erwin Mauss? Einkreisung eines dicken Mannes. NDR 1968
  • Scherben bringen Glück. WDR 1970
  • Alea. WDR/BR/SDR 1969 / 1971
  • Dadaphon. Hommage à Dada. WDR 1974
  • Comeback. Portrait einer Frau die singt. SR/NDR/BR 1977
  • Einmischung erbeten. HR 1977
  • Blitzlicht. HR 1980
  • Radio-Erinnerungen. NDR 1983
  • Translations

  • Alfred Jarry: König Ubu. Zürich 1959
  • Pablo Picasso, Jean Tardieu: Der Raum und die Flöte. Variationen zu 12 Zeichnungen. Zürich 1959
  • Jean Tardieu: Kammertheater. Neuwied 1960
  • André Frénaud: Quelle der Quellen. Neuwied 1962
  • Jean Tardieu: Professor Froeppel. Köln 1966
  • References

    Paul Pörtner Wikipedia

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