Spotlight on: Bertolt Brecht
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Modern theatre owes a lot to Bertolt Brecht, the renowned theatre practitioner who pioneered Epic theatre. Living and working in Germany, at a time of great political and cultural upheaval, the central tenets of Brecht’s theatrical vision remain important today, shaping the way in which modern theatre is staged and performed.
Image courtesy of Mike Steele on FlickrBrechtian performance is very much attuned to its own theatricality. Unlike the naturalist movements which came before, Brecht’s plays do not set out to create a piece of reality for the audience but rather look to encourage a process of realisation and contemplation. Brecht’s theatre teases the audience with uncomfortable truths regarding the nature of society and, to some extent, humanity itself. Watching a Brechtian production, one is never allowed to become a voyeur, passively observing the action. Epic (or dialectical) theatre both immerses and distances its audience, creating a thrilling dichotomy of familiarity and unfamiliarity.
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