What were Bertolt Brecht’s key aims in developing his Epic Theatre? Sample Essay

Brecht’s Epic Theatre was a interruption from the predominating signifier of theatre – what Brecht called Dramatic Theatre. Epic theater was a clearly different type of theater and Brecht sought to do it popular – taking accent off from the dramatic theater that he hated so. He genuinely believed that naturalism was unrealistic. as it created an uneffective barrier between the histrions and the audience – a 4th wall -that made realistic theatre suggestive. non oppugning. By specifying his heroic poem theater he created a manner to do observation plays a learning experience:

“Today when human character must be understood as the ‘totality of all societal conditions’ the heroic poem signifier is the lone 1 that can grok all the procedures. which could function the play as stuffs for a to the full representative image of the universe. ”

Brecht wanted his Epic theater to dispute the theater of semblance that naturalism created. He wanted his audience to be watchful and awake and to go forth the auditorium with a challenge: to seek and happen the replies that his dramas posed. He was so determined that his manner of theater shouldn’t be merely amusement that he went to extraordinary steps. In the public presentations of ‘Drums In The Night’ streamers were placed in the auditorium. which said. “stop that romantic staring” and “every adult male is best in his ain skin” . This was to de-romanticise the act of watching – the audience were supposed to detect. non fall into semblance. It was so effectual that a critic remarked: “Overnight the 24-year-old poet Bert Brecht has changed the literary face of Germany. ” Another consequence he used to make the observing of the audience was to utilize a storyteller to interrupt up the action. For illustration in ‘The Caucasian Chalk Circle’ a storyteller is used. This served to distance the audience from the action on phase.

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This technique of distancing became known as Verfremdungseffekt. Although he did non ‘discover’ this technique until 1935. his theater prior had been clearly similar. His ‘discovery’ confirmed that his thought was plausible. He described how the device works:

“A kid whose female parent remarries. seeing her as married woman non merely female parent. or whose instructor is prosecuted. seeing him in relation to condemnable jurisprudence. experiences a V-effekt. ”

He began to utilize the phrase after sing Moscow and seeing the Chinese histrion Mei Lan-fang. and commented how the histrion possessed the ability to “stand aside from his portion. ” Brecht found this intriguing and adopted the method so that his histrions stood outside the character. coercing the audience to look closer at the significance of the drama.

Brecht had gained the thought of distancing the audience from the action from many beginnings. He had a great love for Elizabethan theater where the phase was about au naturel with people standing around it. political and personal events told in fleetly altering scenes and action taking topographic point in daytime. The influence of Elizabethan theater could be seen in his first Epic production. Marlowe’s ‘Edward the Second’ – The soldiers in the production had white faces to demo they were frightened.

He besides drew influence from the going carnival he watched in his teens. These used many simple techniques. which can be found in many of his productions. These included a vocalist and storyteller ; narratives with a moral intent. aided by images ; attach toing music ; and alien still. the audience’s freedom to come and travel. fume and drink as they pleased.

The manner Brecht’s dramas were structured besides differed greatly from dramatic theater. The narrative in Epic theater meant the drama could get down anyplace. and have flashbacks ; dramatic theater had a beginning. center and terminal. This besides led to the development of collage in his dramas. He used collage in ‘Galileo’ while he was in Hollywood. and this consisted of apparently unrelated images. placed together to take on a new significance. Brecht believed that collage. “could link dissimilars in such a manner as to ‘shock’ people into new acknowledgments and apprehensions.

All his extremist thoughts necessarily led to his presenting being immensely different from realistic theater. For illustration in ‘In the Jungle of the Cities’ the drama was presented as a pugilism lucifer. set in an fanciful Chicago. Until so. the usage of the ‘fourth wall’ had been platitude and this different thought. gave his theatre political orientation room to convey to the audience. The dramatis personae in ‘In the Jungle of the Cities’ were raised up on a platform within the ropes of the pugilism ring and lit with rough visible radiations. like a award battle. The usage of an fanciful Chicago was deliberate: by displacing the action into an imagined universe. the audience was distanced by the human struggles. The drape was used for the show of rubrics. captions and remarks. all designed to distance. Propss were non to be used unless necessary. Brecht believed an over-use of them would verge excessively far on naturalism. but allowed them to propose clip and topographic point. E. g. . the cart in ‘Mother Courage’ .


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