Max Ehrlich
masks-2.gif (31054 bytes)  





                                                       [ Back ]

Max Reinhardt (1873-1943)


Max Ehrlich about Max Reinhardt and his School

[...] Then (I went to) acting school. Naturally Max Reinhardt's. (Max Reinhardt the man who earlier went into business in Schumann's Berlin Circus. -- but every person must figure out for them self where they belong.) I auditioned high tragedy for him : Fiesco, Karl Moor and the like. At the time I  weighed 98 kilos in my stocking feet. Then, after I'd also interpreted Romeo to the helpless man, he enquired in a nasal tone: "Do you have any more comedy material to show me?" But despite this he accepted me into his school. And to this day I am grateful to him for it.

It was 1911. That was the year that yielded good wine and good actors. All my schoolmates  ultimately became famous: Else Eckersberg, Conrad Veidt, Ernst Lubitsch, only innate modesty prevents me from citing my own name as well. At the time I was allowed to play important parts in the Deutsche Theater (German Theater): "Monsieur the Count, the tea is saddled!" or "Madame the Baroness, the the horses are served!" As the famous officer from the Personal Guard in "Don Carlos," I once so badly mutilated my role that, at a point never foreseen by Schiller, the curtain fell in shame.

One terribly hot Sunday afternoon in July, we played Strucken's "Lancelot." The worthy role of Pater was thrust upon me and I felt that, in this play, the character just pranced around without rhyme or reason. So on this day, out of Dramaturgical zeal, I played each act as a different well known actor. But, nonetheless this does not

appear to have been in keeping with the long established traditions of the Deutsche Theater (German Theater); because, on the next day, I received the following letter:"It is reported that, during the performance yesterday, your on stage antics were such that a general atmosphere of mirth prevailed both amongst the other actors and in the audience. You apparently thoughtit tasteful to do an imitation of Mr. Moissi during the first act, of Mr. Bassermann during the second act and of Mr. Pallenberg during the third act. Following this inexcusable behavior, we inform you that we are fining you 15 marks and will definitely refrain from hiring you as a cast member next season.

The Direction
Max Reinhardt"

Still on the same day, I sold the letter for 20 Marks as a rare Reinhardt autograph. I used 15 Marks thereof to pay the fine. I managed to keep the remaining 5 Marks throughout the inflation years: Recently, I used them to purchase the controlling interest in a heartburn clinique.

Excerpt from "Sermon über mich"
Max Ehrlich (1924)







Max Goldmann, the son of a Jewish merchant, is born in Baden, lower Austria on September 9th 1873 .

As a young man, he follows an appreniceship in banking; but from age 17 to 19 also takes private acting lessons during his free time.

Thereafter, he plays small roles in Vienna and throughout Austria, using the stage name Max Reinhardt.

Later, in 1894, he joins the German Theater (Deutsche

Theater) in Berlin where he primarily is cast as an old man.

He remains there until 1892; but in 1891, together with several colleagues, also founds the Noise and Smoke (Schall und Rauch) cabaret.

Ever successful, in 1903 Max Reinhardt officially assumes direction of both the Small Theater (Kleines Theater ) and the New Theater (Neues Theater), presently called the Berlin Ensemble (Berliner Ensemble).

After 1904, his whole family goes by the name Reinhardt. 

By now a major personality on the German theater scene, in 1905 Max Reinhardt is named director of the German Theater (Deutsche Theater) and, within this context also founds a school of acting, many of whose students -- including Max Ehrlich, and Ernst Lubitsch -- go on to become international names in theater and film.

His directing style sets a new standard in opera staging, treating the singers as actors and achieving major breakthroughs in dramatization.

After 1912, his particular style of theater, which has come to be called Show Theater (Schautheater), also quickly sets a new standard for the art, characterized in particular by large scale scenes and enormous stage sets. His influence by now has reached worldwide proportions!






[ Back ]


                                 Send mail to with questions or comments about the Max Ehrlich Association or this web site.            
                                 Copyright © 2000, 2008 Max Ehrlich Association
                                 Last modified: January 5th 2012