Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Brecht and Epic Theatre

Brecht and Epic Theatre:
"In order to produce A Effects the actor has to discard whatever means he has learned of persuading the audience to identify itself with the characters which he plays. Aiming not to put his audience into a trance, he must not go into a trance himself. His muscles must remain loose, for a turn of the head, e.g., with tautened neck muscles, will "magically" lead the spectators' eyes and even their heads to turn with it, and this can only detract from any speculation or reaction which the gestures may bring about. His way of speaking has to be free from ecclesiastical singsong and from all those cadences which lull the spectator so that the sense gets lost."
(from A Short Organum for the Theatre, 1948)

Bertolt Brecht:
Proposals for an epic theatre


Extracts from:
Bertolt Brecht. Brecht on Theatre, trans. John Willett (London: Methuen, 1964)

1. ‘Certain changes of emphasis as between the dramatic and the epic theatre’ (37)

plot narrative
implicates the spectator in a stage situation turns the spectator into an observer
wears down his capacity for action arouses his capacity for action
provides him with sensations forces him to take decisions
experience picture of the world
the spectator is involved in something he is made to face something
suggestion argument
instinctive feelings are preserved brought to the point of recognition
the spectator is in the thick of it, shares the experience the spectator stands outside, studies
the human being is taken for granted the human being is the object of the enquiry
he is unalterable he is alterable and able to alter
eyes on the finish eyes on the course
one scene makes another each scene for itself
growth montage
linear development in curves
evolutionary determinism jumps
man as a fixed point man as a process
thought determines being social being determines thought
feeling reason

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