Essay Drama: Bertolt Brecht and Epic Theatre

Submitted By halecaesar
Words: 1586
Pages: 7

DRAFT Devised Performing Written Report (Acting & Technical)
When we were given the theme of ‘The Nightmare’ our original thoughts were something like natural disasters and things like that, but we developed our ideas with the inspiration of a piece shown to us on YouTube, the performance we were shown was about the Hillsborough disaster and how that influenced a massive inquiry, giving these ideas we decided to produce something on the theme of the disaster of the 11th September 2001, we decided to perform this because we thought it would be understood as being a nightmare because of all the fatalities. One of our main inspirations for our performing was Bertolt

Our overall stimulus for this piece of work was Epic theatre and the theme was ‘The Nightmare”, we thought of many things that could be linked with this because a nightmare is not just something you have in your sleep, it is also something extremely terrible for example the World War. Bertolt Brecht influenced my work by the techniques he used in his theatre, I felt that they linked to the theme of the ightmare and that it would have been the easiest way to work, Brecht worked in Epic theatre, Epic theatre was a theatrical movement arising in the early to mid-20th century from the theories and practice of a number of theatre practitioners, including Erwin Piscator, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Vsevolod Meyerhold and, most famously, Bertolt Brecht. Although many of the concepts and practices involved in Brechtian epic theatre had been around for years, even centuries, Brecht unified them, developed the style, and popularized it. The epic form describes both a type of written drama and a methodological approach to the production of plays.
One of the goals of epic theatre is for the audience to always be aware that it is watching a play It is most important that one of the main features of the ordinary theatre.
Epic theatre was a reaction against popular forms of theatre, particularly the naturalistic approach. Brecht's own social and political focus departed also from surrealism and the Theatre of Cruelty, as developed in the writings of Antonin Artaud, who sought to affect audiences viscerally, psychologically, physically, and irrationally. One of the most important techniques Brecht developed to perform epic theater is the Verfremdungseffekt, or the "making strange" effect. The purpose of this technique was to make the audience feel detached from the action of the play, so they do not become immersed in the fictional reality of the stage or become overly empathetic of the character. Flooding the theater with bright lights (not just the stage), having actors play multiple characters, having actors also rearrange the set in full view of the audience and "breaking the fourth wall" by speaking to the audience are all ways he used to achieve the Verfremdungseffekt. Another technique is Didacticism,
Didacticism is the instruction or teaching of a moral lesson. Brecht's plays are didactic in that they all serve to teach the audience or send a message about certain aspects of society, politics or economy. They are plays which are designed to educate the performers and audience. It stems from Brecht's Marxist beliefs and the plays generally show the bourgeois society negatively and the rightness of Marxist morality. In Mother Courage and Her Children, specifically, the didacticism lies in the contradictions of the characters and how their choices have affected their lives and the value of it. The idea that Mother Courage is driven by making money and not taking care of her children is shocking to the audience. Whenever her children need her she is making a business deal. Her actions make the audience question: how much is life really worth? How much am I like Mother Courage? What would I change or do differently? The play teaches a lesson about society, economy and politics and wrestles with these throughout the play. And then there is Breaking