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Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an…
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Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic

by Bertolt Brecht

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The playwright discusses playwriting, acting, and other aspects of the theatre. He discusses his preference for what he calls the Alienation effect (or A-effect) where the audience is not drawn into the emotions of the characters, and does not view what is presented on stage as a small peek through a keyhole, but as a performance. Brecht feels this sort of theatre - he also calls it epic theatre - is the most appropriate theatre for a scientific age, and that theatre should make people think, not feel. This particular book was published posthumously, put together from various columns, interviews, and radio talks given throughout his life. It is a rare peek into the mind of a genius, and is an interesting look also at a time where one could still be a Marxist and talk about a Marxist theatre with a somewhat rosy view. Brecht has a great believe in the ability of the public to drive theatre toward a new style that gets rid of formalism and realism, and simply acts the events that happen. He also believes in a certain level of audience involvement, such as speaking directly to the audience. Most of the ideas presented here were new at the time he wrote them; by now, many of them have been incorporated into the theatre, but probably not in a way Brecht would have liked, since they have been tacked onto a still somewhat formalist style using empathy as the key driver of a story. Worth reading for both the historical perspective and a look at some ideas that are still worth considering. ( )
1 vote quantum_flapdoodle | Sep 7, 2013 |
This volume offers a major selection of Bertolt Brecht's groundbreaking critical writing. Here, arranged in chronological order, are essays from 1918 to 1956, in which Brecht explores his definition of the Epic Theatre and his theory of alienation-effects in directing, acting, and writing, and discusses, among other works, "The Threepenny Opera, Mahagonny, Mother Courage, Puntila, "and "Galileo". Also included is "A Short Organum for the Theatre," Brecht's most complete exposition of his revolutionary philosophy of drama. /n/nTranslated and edited by John Willett, "Brecht on Theater" is essential to an understanding of one of the twentieth century's most influential dramatists./n
  Roger_Scoppie | Apr 3, 2013 |
This selection of Bertolt Brecht's critical writing charts the development of his thinking on theatre and aesthetics over four decades. The volume demonstrates how the theories of Epic Theatre and Alienation evolved, and contains notes and essays on the staging of The Threepenny Opera, Mahagonny, Mother Courage, Puntila, Galileo and many others of his plays. Also included is A Short Organum for the Theatre, Brecht's most complete statement of his revolutionary philosophy of the theatre. With over 32 pages of photographs of Brecht's productions and workshops, this is a key volume for Literature and Theatre Studies alike.
  RKC-Drama | Mar 24, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0809005425, Paperback)

This volume offers a major selection of Bertolt Brecht's groundbreaking critical writing. Here, arranged in chronological order, are essays from 1918 to 1956, in which Brecht explores his definition of the Epic Theatre and his theory of alienation-effects in directing, acting, and writing, and discusses, among other works, The Threepenny Opera, Mahagonny, Mother Courage, Puntila, and Galileo. Also included is "A Short Organum for the Theatre," Brecht's most complete exposition of his revolutionary philosophy of drama.

Translated and edited by John Willett, Brecht on Theater is essential to an understanding of one of the twentieth century's most influential dramatists.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:52:39 -0400)

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