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 utilising Brecht during this transparent and obtainable research of Brecht's theories and practices. The booklet analyses how Brecht's rules can come alive in practice session and function, and divulges simply how rigorously Brecht learned his imaginative and prescient of a politicized, interventionist theatre.
What emerges is a nuanced knowing of Brecht's ideas, his paintings with actors and his methods to directing. The reader is inspired to interact together with his approach which sought to 'make theatre politically', to be able to delight in the recommendations he brought into his stagecraft. Barnett offers many examples of the way Brecht's rules will be staged, and the ultimate bankruptcy takes a more in-depth examine very varied performs: one written via Brecht and one by means of 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 technique can liven up and remove darkness from production.

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Additional resources for Brecht in Practice: Theatre, Theory and Performance

Sample text

Romeo is short of money and plans to sell the tenant’s farm to raise funds for an elaborate present for Juliet. A stage direction indicates that the farmer should wander around in the background of the ‘balcony scene’, and one may interpret this instruction as a way of showing the audience and the actor playing Romeo that the social problem persists. In the other scene, Juliet questions her serving woman about her lover, Thurio. Juliet permits 48 Brecht in Practice the servant to go to Thurio, something made urgent when she learns of his desire to see another woman as well.

He was dressed and made-up to look like Brecht, yet when he spoke, he sometimes had to consult a notebook to make his points; he was not a fluent and confident articulator of his own ideas, but needed help. The figure, then, was comic and not earnest, exploiting the audience’s knowledge of Brecht and playfully undermining it. The same principles can also be applied to the others, too. They can be portrayed ironically, with the actors showing the distance between themselves and their figures. The Actor, for example, could be rendered in such a way that he does his best to resist the Philosopher’s ideas because they attack all he has held dear in terms of acting practice.

Without the expressivity of their faces, they had to show their relationship through voice, physical gestures and positioning on stage. Brecht also imagined that performance could play an illuminating role in Buying Brass’s dialogues themselves. In one fragment, he gives the stage direction ‘the Actress plays a man’ (Brass 66). The Philosopher initiates the ensuing dialogue by remarking that a man playing a man would not draw attention to the character’s masculinity in the way a woman would. This is because she has to observe what it is that makes a man’s actions different from her own and can then 50 Brecht in Practice emphasize this in performance.

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