Brecht in Practice: Theatre, Theory and Performance by David Barnett

By David Barnett

David Barnett invitations readers, scholars and theatre-makers to find new methods of apprehending and applying Brecht during this transparent and obtainable learn of Brecht's theories and practices. The booklet analyses how Brecht's principles can come alive in practice session and function, and divulges simply how conscientiously Brecht learned his imaginative and prescient of a politicized, interventionist theatre.
What emerges is a nuanced figuring out of Brecht's techniques, his paintings with actors and his methods to directing. The reader is inspired to interact along with his procedure which sought to 'make theatre politically', that allows you to savor the thoughts he brought into his stagecraft. Barnett presents many examples of ways Brecht's principles might be staged, and the ultimate bankruptcy takes a more in-depth examine very varied performs: one written through Brecht and one through a playwright without stated connection to Brecht. via an interrogation of The Resistible upward thrust of Arturo Ui and Patrick Marber's Closer, Barnett asks how a Brechtian procedure can brighten up and light up production.

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Sample text

The possibilities of performing theory The dialogue fragments of Buying Brass suggest the possibility of performance. The Berliner Ensemble was the first company to attempt a production in 1963 and set about editing the many drafts, scenes and fragments found in the Brecht Archive into a workable evening-long show. The company’s management initially assumed that the piece was likely to be a low-key affair, only attracting those with a curiosity about Brecht’s theories. Instead, the show proved so engaging that it ran for 100 performances over seven years, with changes made to the material performed during its lengthy run in a process of sustained, critical revision.

For example, in one production, Battle in Winter, the protagonist is a young man, Hörder, who begins as a heroic Nazi soldier, but comes to realize the error of his beliefs by the end of the play. The notes on the production describe two different ways the actor Ekkehard Schall approached the character. First, he played Hörder in an unsympathetic fashion, as a Nazi plain and simple. In the second attempt, ‘Schall played a likeable young man who, however, talks and acts like a Nazi. It is clear that a young man has been turned into a Nazi.

For example, the campaign in 2013 to make Jane Austen’s the image on a British ten pound note was successful. This reflects a degree of female self-confidence and an environment accepting of women’s achievements that may not have been present a hundred years earlier. On the other hand, the amount of vitriol and sexist abuse aimed at the leaders of the campaign betrays that fact that equal rights have not been greeted positively by everyone and continue to provoke the most unpleasant of responses.

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