Epic Theatre: The Influences Of Bertolt Brecht

1459 words - 6 pages

Response Essay

“Theatre makes us think about power and the way our society works and it does this with a clear purpose, to make a change.”
The ideas of Bertolt Brecht (1898-1965) changed the theatre in many ways. Brecht along with Erwin Piscator developed the style of Epic theatre style contrasting to previous accepted styles. Presentational in form, Epic theatre is a vehicle for social comment through techniques such as: alienation, historification, eclectic influences (highly Asian), constructivism in scenery, disjointed and illogical scene placement, ordinary clothing and lighting, the use of music to detach the audience from emotion, placards and signs and projected images. Didactic in nature Brecht’s works aim to challenge the audience to assess socially accepted norms and educate them to injustices often overlooked by the public. The Caucasian Chalk Circle (Brecht, 1944) written during the time of Nazi Germany occupation has a clearly political and social focus.
The Caucasian Chalk Circle (CCC) is a play of two stories which eventually are interweaved. Scene 1 is a prologue to the action of the play that serves as a metaphor for the entire play “struggle between what is right legally and what right socially”. The protagonist from the first story is Grusha, a simple maid who sacrifices her safety and youth to protect Governor’s child. Scenes 2-4 focus exclusively on Grusha’s story. Scene 5 introduces the protagonist for the second story, the drunk judge Adzak. Scene 6 brings the two protagonists together and is the climatic action of the play. Scenes 5 and 6 focus more on social problems being that the base of society- the justice system. The audience experiences the drunken judge take bribes and rule in favour of those who are often in the wrong, yet he feels by way of circumstance are not guilty. The case of the old woman and the farmers illuminates that being poor is an injustice in itself. “Who weeps when she is given a cow and is surprised when she is not beaten.” This quote shows that the old woman was in possession of a stolen cow, Adzak shows compassion to the poor woman as by result of circumstance believes it a miracle to be fed. The Caucasian Chalk Circle is a play that highlights to its audience the injustices of society and aims to instruct change after viewing.
The Caucasian Chalk Circle was written during the time of Nazi Germany, The Second World War and the age of communism in eastern bloc countries. Brecht was a firm advocate for Marxism, which is often present in his tone. CCC is set after World War Town in a rural area; the first scene discusses what will happen to the lands now that the war is finished. This can clearly be linked to comment on the Soviet Union after WW2 and the effect the German’s had had on Soviet progress. Brecht uses the singer to demonstrate and narrate the comment on play happenings, as what can be seen to be a parallel to Brecht commenting on his own context. Brecht’s political views and...

Find Another Essay On Epic Theatre: The Influences of Bertolt Brecht

What were Bertolt Brecht's key aims in developing his Epic Theatre? Support your answers with evidence from his plays and theoretical writings

831 words - 3 pages Brecht's Epic Theatre was a break from the prevailing form of theatre - what Brecht called Dramatic Theatre. Epic theatre was a clearly different type of theatre and Brecht sought to make it popular - taking emphasis away from the dramatic theatre that he hated so. He truly believed that naturalism was unrealistic, as it created an ineffective barrier between the actors and the audience - a fourth wall -that made naturalistic theatre suggestive

Life of Galileo Galilei by Bertolt Brecht

2687 words - 11 pages 8 Farhat Wahid - 1315156 Play Analysis: Bertolt Brecht’s “Life of Galileo” Brecht’s work activates the senses and makes the audience slip into a trance of critical frenzy. He has taken the idea of Epic theatre to further dramatize his work and thereby portrays the characters in a realistic way so that it is up to the audience to form views about them. In this scene, the audience is exposed to a private talk between the Pope and the Cardinal

Why, in the late 1960s and ‘70s did a number of radical filmmakers turn to the work of Bertolt Brecht for ideas and inspiration? Discuss with referen

1244 words - 5 pages . Jump Cut. 27 (1), 64-68. Willet, J (1964). Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic. 2nd ed. Methuen: the University of Michigan. p14. Lovell, A. (1982). Epic Theatre and the Principles of Counter Culture. Jump Cut. 27 (1), 64-68.

Bertolt Brech and Galileo. This essay addresses bertolt's play Galileo. This essay tells how bertolt brecht uses the story of Galileo to speak to the urgent questions of his own time

1142 words - 5 pages The story of Galileo by Bertolt Brecht was for the most part a historically accurate telling of the life of Galileo. Brecht's story of Galileo's life is filled with him succumbing to the authorities no matter what his beliefs may be. This is similar to the lifestyle in Germany about the time Brecht had written this play.Born in Augsburg, Germany in 1898 Brecht began writing at an early age. Writing was not his only interest, Brecht enrolled in

Literary Analysis of Critic Eric Bentley and his work on Bertolt Brecht

1292 words - 5 pages INRTOA playwright, poet, and director who became the major German dramatist of the 20th century, Bertolt Brecht developed what became known as epic, or nondramatic, theater. In Brecht's view drama should not imitate reality, or seek to convince audiences that what they are watching is actually occurring, but should mimic the epic poet's art and simply present an account of past events. His theory is expounded in A Little Organum for the Theater

Compare And Contrast Brecht And Stanislavski's Notions Of Acting And The Role Of The Actor In The Theatre

1728 words - 7 pages Bertolt Brecht and Constantin Stanislavski are regarded as two of the most influential practitioners of the twentieth century, both with strong opinions and ideas about the function of the theatre and the actors within it. Both theories are considered useful and are used throughout the world as a means to achieve a good piece of theatre. The fact that both are so well respected is probably the only obvious similarity as their work is almost of

Compare and contrast Brecht and Stanislavski notions of acting and the role of the actor in the theatre

1535 words - 6 pages Bertolt Brecht and Constantin Stanislavski are regarded as two of the most influential practitioners of the twentieth century, both with strong opinions and ideas about the function of the theatre and the actors within it. Both theories are considered useful and are used throughout the world as a means to achieve a good piece of theatre. The fact that both are so well respected is probably the only obvious similarity as their work is almost of

Brecht's infulence on Dürrenmatt: The effect of Epic Theatre in The Visit

1398 words - 6 pages In The Visit by Friedrich Dürrenmatt you feel unattached and are constantly reminded that you are in fact watching a play, nothing else. Dürrenmatt constructs this play using Bertolt Brecht’s epic theatre, a twentieth-century theatrical movement that was a reaction against popular forms of theatre, Dürrenmatt uses epic theatre in his work, The Visit, because he wants his audience to analysis what is being said and done instead of what

Reality, Illusion, and Foolish Pride in The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen, and Galileo by Bertolt Brecht

1673 words - 7 pages In the plays The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen, and Galileo by Bertolt Brecht, the protagonists' mental beliefs combine reality and illusion that both shape the plot of each respective story. The ability of the characters to reject or accept an illusion, along with the foolish pride that motivated their decision, leads to their personal downfall.In The Cherry Orchard, by Anton Chekhov, Gayev and Miss Ranevsky

Quest for Identity in The Life of Galileo by Brecht

1600 words - 6 pages Quest for Identity in The Life of Galileo by Brecht Throughout the course of history, from era to era, mankind has been on a continuous attempt to perpetuate what they perceive as the truth; and in doing so, embark on a quest to find their true identity and place in life. One must realize that the common theme in all literature is the search for identity and belonging. Bertolt Brecht, author of "The Life of Galileo," effectively uses

The Epic of Batman

890 words - 4 pages An epic is a long narrative poem that tells the exploits of an epic hero. Epics are comprised of an epic hero and an epic battle between good and evil. The earliest known epic today is The Epic of Gilgamesh. This tale is about Gilgamesh’s search for eternal life. Although epics have been around for thousands of years, the epic tradition still has an enormous impact on modern writing and film. In fact, Batman, a story about Bruce Wayne trying to

Similar Essays

Bertolt Brecht And Epic Theatre Essay

691 words - 3 pages Bertolt Brecht was a highly influential figure in the theatrical world. He opposed the aesthetic theatre, believing that the audience must take on a critical and intelligent role, making judgement upon the issues raised in the performance. To achieve this he introduced the "Alienation Effect" where he detaches the audience from feeling identification towards the characters. Many of his ideas were maintained and are now commonly used in modern

Epic Theatre, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Brought To Life By German Playwright, Bertolt Brecht

1058 words - 4 pages "Epic Theatre turns the spectator into an observer, but arouses his capacity for action, forces him to take decisions...the spectator stands outside, studies." (Bertolt Brecht. Brecht on Theatre. New York:Hill & Yang, 1964. p37)The concept of "epic theatre" was brought to life by German playwright, Bertolt Brecht. This direction of theatre was inspired by Brecht's Marxist political beliefs. It was somewhat of a political platform for his

Bertolt Brecht Was A Great Playwright Of Th 20th Century In Which He Became A Great Practioner Of Epic Theatre

2008 words - 8 pages Brecht's intent was to keep the audience alienated or distanced from what is happening in the play so they could freely concentrate on the larger social and political issues that are made and reflected during the play. Brecht considered his plays to be epic because it attempted to create a whole new perspective of human history and to indicate the political direction to make things clearer.Brecht's, Epic theatre (Brechtian theatre), was directed

With Reference To Bertolt Brecht And John Osborne, Discuss Ways In Which Political Viewpoints Have Been Communicated To A Theatre Audience Within The Last Century

1835 words - 7 pages The term 'political theatre' has been accepted as defining a left-wing theatre, critical of the capitalist system and expressing in its work the need for radical change. However, most theatre is political in a broad sense, as a playwright usually has a certain ideology that he wants to convey to the audience. In this essay, I will discuss the rise of political theatre, and will concentrate on the two playwrights Bertolt Brecht and John