Judith Malina

Biography of Judith Malina

Judith Malina (born June 4, 1926) is a German-born American theater and film actress, writer, and director. She was one of the founders of The Living Theatre, a radical political theatre troupe that rose to prominence in New York City and Paris during the 1950s and 60s.

Malina was born in Kiel, Germany, the daughter of Jewish parents: her mother, Rosel (née Zamora), was a former actress, and her father, Max Malina, a rabbi in the Conservative denomination. In 1929 at the age of three, she immigrated with her parents to New York City. Her parents helped her see how important political theatre was, as her father was trying to warn people of the Nazi menace. Except for long tours, she has lived in New York ever since. Interested in acting from an early age, she began attending the New School for Social Research in 1945 to study theatre under Erwin Piscator. Malina was greatly influenced by Piscator's philosophy of theatre which was similar to Bertolt Brecht's principles of "epic theatre" but went further in departing from traditional narrative forms. Piscator saw theatre as a form of political communication or agitprop (“Theatre interests me only when it is a matter of interest to society.”); Malina, unlike Piscator, was committed to nonviolence and anarchism.

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