Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic

Front Cover
Macmillan, Jan 1, 1964 - Drama - 294 pages
9 Reviews
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.
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - quantum_flapdoodle - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review

Review: Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic

User Review  - Michael Gilboe - Goodreads

Good insight into Brecht's thoughts. While the first part makes it look as if Brecht is a little maniacal and rigid, he makes it clear later in the book his sense of humor and that he is merely ... Read full review

Contents

Frank Wedekind
3
A Reckoning
4
Emphasis on Sport
6
Three Cheers for Shaw
10
Conversation with Bert Brecht
14
A Radio Speech
18
Shouldnt we Abolish Aesthetics?
20
The Epic Theatre and its Difficulties
22
On Experimental Theatre
130
New Technique of Acting
136
Two Essays on Unprofessional Acting
148
Notes on the Folk Play
153
Alienation Effects in the Narrative Pictures of the Elder Brueghel
157
A Little Private Tuition for my Friend Max Gorelik
159
Laughtons Galileo
163
an editorial note
169

Oedipus
24
A Dialogue about Acting
26
On Form and SubjectMatter
29
An Example of Paedagogics
31
The Modern Theatre is the Epic Theatre
33
The Literarization of the Theatre
43
The Film the Novel and Epic Theatre
47
The Radio as an Apparatus of Communication
51
The Question of Criteria for Judging Acting
53
Indirect Impact of the Epic Theatre
57
Interview with an Exile
65
Theatre for Pleasure or Theatre for Instruction
69
preHitler
77
Criticism of the New York Production of Die Mutter
81
On the Use of Music in an Epic Theatre
84
Alienation Effects in Chinese Acting
91
Notes to Die Rundkopfe und die Spitzkopfe
100
On Gestic Music
104
The Popular and the Realistic
107
On Rhymeless Verse with Irregular Rhythms page
115
The Street Scene
121
A Short Organum for the Theatre
179
Masterful Treatment of a Model
209
From the Mother Courage Model
215
Does Use of the Model Restrict the Artists Freedom?
222
Formal Problems Arising from the Theatres New Content
226
Stage Design for the Epic Theatre
230
From a Letter to an Actor
233
Some of the Things that can be Learnt from Stanislavsky
236
an editorial note
239
Notes on Erwin Strittmatters Play Katzgraben
247
Study of the First Scene of Shakespeares Coriolanus
252
Cultural Policy and Academy of Arts
266
Conversation about being Forced into Empathy
270
Classical Status as an Inhibiting Factor
272
Can the Presentday World be Reproduced by Means of Theatre?
274
Appendices to the Short Organum
276
an editorial note
281
Our London Season
283
Other English Translations
284
Index
286
Copyright

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About the author (1964)

Bertolt Bertolt (1898-1956) was the most influential German dramatist and theoretician of the theater in the 20th century. Also a poet of formidable gifts and considerable output, Brecht first attracted attention in the Berlin of the 1920s as the author of provocative plays that challenged the tenets of traditional theater. Forced to flee Germany in 1933 because of his leftist political beliefs and opposition to the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler, Brecht and his family spent 14 years in exile in Scandinavia and the United States. Although he tried hard to become established in the United States, Brecht failed to make a breakthrough either as a scriptwriter in Hollywood, California, or as a playwright on Broadway. Two years later he moved to East Berlin and remained there until his death. In the 1950s he became an internationally acclaimed playwright and director through productions of his plays by the Berliner Ensemble, a company based in East Berlin and headed by his wife, actor Helene Weigel.

John Willett (1917-2002) was a noted scholar, author and translator. From the outset he was the prime editor and translator (with Ralph Manheim and others) behind Brecht in English. He was involved in the planning and translation of the programme book for the Berliner Ensemble's celebrated first visit to London in 1956 (the year of Brecht's own death); in 1959 he published the first general study in any language, The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht; he translated, edited and introduced the enormously influential Brecht on Theatre (1964); and he was a founding member of the International Brecht Society and sometime editor of its Yearbook.

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