The emigrant cabaret Die Laterne in Paris (1934-1938)

Leaflet, Die Laterne cabaret
Advertising leaflet containing the programme of DIE LATERNE cabaret in the Caveau Camille Desmoulins, Paris (December 1937)
Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Maximilian-Scheer-Archive, no. 1157

The emigrant cabaret Die Laterne in Paris (1934-1938)

Schließlich erreichten wir das Wichtigste: Wir spielten Theater. 

[Finally, we achieved the most important thing: we put on plays. (ed. trans.)]

Steffie Spira, Trab der Schaukelpferde. Aufzeichnungen im nachhinein (1984)

The cabaret theatre Die Laterne was founded in 1934 in Paris by the actors Steffie Spira and Günter Ruschin, who had not journeyed on with their Truppe 1931 from Paris to Moscow. The members included Hans Altmann, Werner Florian, Walter Hain, Marianne Oswald, Erich Schoenlank and Barbara Bucher. The organisational leader was Alphonse Kahn.

The group first staged different cabaret shows in different cast constellations. They performed sketches, scenes from emigrant life, sang German and French songs. The writer Henryk Keisch wrote many of the sketches and lyrics. It was not easy to thrive alongside the many other cabaret groups in Paris.

One location was the Caveau Camille Desmoulins, a historical cellar vault in the Palais-Royal which housed a Bohemian restaurant. Here, they presented their musical show, accompanied at the piano by the composer Jo Cosma. The group also participated in the events organised by the Schutzverband Deutscher Schriftsteller (SDS) by giving readings in the Café Mephisto. After a break in 1935 it resumed performances in a room in the Rue de Seine, and also in the Palais-Royal as the Künstler-Klub, alternating with the Viennese exile cabaret Bunte Bühne.

Artistic highlights included the premieres of two plays by Bertolt Brecht, Die Señora Carrar's Rifles 1937 in the Salle Adya, and 99% (Fear and Misery of the Third Reich) 1938 in the Salle d'Iéna, both directed by Slatan Dudow. 

Further reading:
Hermann, Regine: Theaterarbeit im französischen Exil. In: Schiller, Dieter u.a.: Exil in Frankreich. (Kunst und Literatur im antifaschistischen Exil, Bd. 7). Leipzig: Philipp Reclam jun. 1981. S. 272-302.