In the mid 20th century a German playwright named Brecht invented the idea of epic theatre which consist that a play shouldn’t cause the audience to connect emotionally with the characters or action done by them but should instead provoke a logical self-reflection and critical view of the action presented on stage. Eugen Bertolt Friedrich Brecht was born the 10th February 1898 and died on the 14 August 1956. The famous playwright and theatre director introduced to the world epic theatre, he wanted his audience to have a critical perspective of his work for them to be able to recognize social injustice and exploitation so that it could eventually affect change in the world outside, by doing this he wanted the audience to ask questions on why
His work looks at the incapability one has to have power over the lust and greed in the world. He uses the element of shock in his plays as he relates to his yearning for change and fury at his experiences. It was this yearning to bring change via the use of shock that bought us epic theatre. In 1922 Brecht went to Berlin and this experienced gave him the influence for all his later work. Here he observed real theatre and the cabaret, parts of theatre he never knew existed.
I will look at Brecht’s theory of Epic theatre, tracing the beginnings of this style and looking at the influences that may have helped to form it. To get a clear view of what Epic theatre is like I will compare it to dramatic theatre, which Brecht did himself, in regard to how the audience reacts to it. I will examine Brecht’s theory of using Montage and the effect that he intended to have on the audience. I will consider the origination of Verfremdungseffekt and how this was not an original idea of Brecht’s but something that he identified with because it supported his ideas. Geste was the technique that Brecht wanted actors to use when portraying a character, I will examine what geste is and what may have influenced Brecht to use it.
Brecht believed that "To think, or write, or produce a play also means to transform society, to transform the state, to subject ideologies to close scrutiny." Having established this doctrine for himself, Brecht instigated the use of epic theatre in an attempt to break from the Aristotelian definition. Although he did not approve of the Aristotelian version, he redefined the nature of catharsis to suit his needs. (Brecht 71-90) Quick to criticism the role of the audience in traditional theatre, Brecht placed particular emphasis on the eventual let down created by fantasy. "For many, the theatre is the abode where dreams are created.
Man and Superman: A Comedy of Ideas Shaw’s Man and Superman is a comedy of ideas. He has presented a good number of ideas in Man and Superman but his treatment of these ideas is comic rather than serious. Serious ideas have been presented with wit and humour. For this comic treatment of serious ideas the play is regarded as a comedy of ideas. Shaw’s aim was to make certain ideas, which were unpalatable to the early twentieth century society, receive attention among the thinking public.
8th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999. Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. Translated by R. C. Jebb.
26-31 in Kenneth Muir, ed. Shakespeare: The Comedies: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, 1965. Shakespeare, William. A Midsummer Night's Dream, ed.
There are important words to describe before referencing principles of Bertolt Brecht 's theatre. Today as it is known Brechtian Theatre, in theory, has words like ' Epic Theatre ', ' Gestus ', 'Alienation ', 'Estrangement ' and 'V-effect '. ' 'Epic Theatre ' ' is considered to be a key term which enabled a new theatrical form from traditiona literary. Hereby, Bertolt Brecht created his Epic Theatre based on Marxist view and tried to bring with new theatrical aesthetics. Karl Marx 's 'Das Capital ' influenced Brecht 's thought deeply for creating a form of political theatre which was designed to change society.
Bertolt Brecht attempted to fight what he saw as a corrupt capitalist society with his best weapon: Theatre. By implementing a style of theatre that invoked audience engagement in a novel way, he hoped to call attention to the crookedness of German society and ignite a revolution. He called his technique Epic Theatre, which needed the participation and cooperation of both spectator and performer to be effective. Epic Theatre is structured in a certain way so that the audience may apply critique to the world around them after leaving the performance. Brecht began his career with small steps, writing theatre criticism, short stories and directing here and there.