Gaston Salvatore was born in Valparaiso, Chile, in 1941, of an upper middle class Chilean mother and an Italian father. After completing a degree in law, he went to Berlin in 1965, where he studied sociology, and together with Rudi Dutschke became one of the leaders of the student protest movement. He was arrested and obliged to leave Germany in 1969, returning briefly to Chile. In the early ‘seventies he went to Rome, where he worked with Michelangelo Antonioni. One of the results of that collaboration was his novel. Der Kaiser von China, published in 1979. He began his work in German with a cycle of poems, Der langwierige Weg in die Wohnung Natascha Ungeheurs, set to music by Hans Werner Henze, in 1970. His German theatre pieces include Büchners Tod (1972), Fossilien (1975), Freibrief (1977), Tauroggen (1978), Stalin (1985), and Lektionen der Finsternis (1989). A novel, Der Mann mit der Trommel, was published in 1974, and Salvatore's most recent work in that form, Waldemar Müller – ein deutsches Schicksal, appeared in 1982. Gaston Salvatore is co-editor with Hans Magnus Enzensberger of the Trans-Atlantik review, and also writes for Stern, Der Spiegel, and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He now lives in Venice. The following interview with Salvatore by Alessandro Tinterri, one of the directors of the Actors’ Museum of Genova, took place in Venice in 1989, following two Italian productions of Salvatore's Stalin in a single season – one by the Compagnia del Collettivo di Parma, with Gigi Dall' Aglio and Michele De Marchi, and another by the Teatro di Sardegna, with Raf Vallone. The original German production opened in Berlin, at the Schiller-Theater on 31 October 1987, and was followed by several other productions, including one directed by Salvatore himself at Karlsruhe. In 1988 George Tabori staged the play at the Burgtheater in Vienna, with a woman, Angelica Damrose, in the title role. Alessandro Tinterri sets out in this interview to examine the background to Gaston Salvatore's work and to trace the multi-cultural pathways that have led to his present standing in the European, and especially German, theatre.
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