Maria Ley Piscator, the teacher-director and widow of the revolutionary European director, Erwin Piscator, died Oct. 14, at the Jewish Home and Hospital for the aged in Manhattan, The New York Times reported.
The 101-year-old Ms. Piscator (nee Maria Czada) was born in Vienna and was a dancer and choreographer in her early career. Erwin Piscator (1893-1966) was her third husband. His theories and use of film, animation and lighting in stage productions were influenced by the work of Max Reinhardt and he was part of the "epic" theatre movement associated with Bertolt Brecht.
Ms. Piscator met her husband while studying at the Sorbonne in the 1930s and the two moved to New York City and founded the Dramatic Workshop at the New School for Social Research. Their students included Stella Adler, Marlon Brando, Elaine Stritch and others.
The Piscators directed or were associated with many Off-Broadway productions, before the term "Off-Broadway" became known (Tolstoy's War and Peace, for example, in 1942). She taught at the University of Southern Illinois at Carbondale and at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.
She was author of "The Piscator Experiment: The Political Theater" (1967) and an autobiography, "Mirror People" (1989). -- By Kenneth Jones