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By David Barnett

David Barnett invitations readers, scholars and theatre-makers to find new methods of apprehending and employing Brecht during this transparent and obtainable examine of Brecht's theories and practices. The ebook analyses how Brecht's rules can come alive in practice session and function, and divulges simply how conscientiously Brecht discovered his imaginative and prescient of a politicized, interventionist theatre.
What emerges is a nuanced figuring out of Brecht's techniques, his paintings with actors and his methods to directing. The reader is inspired to interact along with his approach which sought to 'make theatre politically', with a view to enjoy the strategies he brought into his stagecraft. Barnett presents many examples of ways Brecht's rules might be staged, and the ultimate bankruptcy takes a better examine very assorted performs: one written by way of Brecht and one via a playwright with out 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 strategy can brighten up and remove darkness from production.

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Extra info for Brecht in Practice: Theatre, Theory and Performance

Sample text

Juliet then hears a twig break and both women realize it is Romeo. Now Juliet needs the servant to distract the door-keeper below so that she can speak to Romeo undetected. Juliet’s need is thus placed above that of her social inferior, and another stage direction tells the woman to be present during the ensuing scene, again as a means of retaining the presence of the social contradiction. In this pair of scenes, Brecht invites the actors of the famous roles not to neglect their social position when playing the famous characters, but to perform their parts mindful that they are not ‘simply’ star-crossed lovers, but members of a divided, class-based society.

I will take each example in turn. The ‘parallel scenes’ are designed to reinvigorate classic plays by changing the actors’ approaches to performing them. Brecht despaired of actors playing Shakespeare who got lost in the language without paying attention to the action that drove the speeches. The ‘parallel scenes’ emphasize action over character in a bid to reorientate the actors, and the two found in Buying Brass echo famous scenes from the dramatic canon. Brecht chose one from Macbeth and one from Schiller’s Mary Stuart.

The ‘Contest between Homer and Hesiod’ is a dialogue between the two classical poets in which Hesiod puts questions to Homer. It is concerned with laying verbal traps and linguistic cunning, and is framed by on-stage commentary and narration. 6 Again, this scene is about developing actors’ expressive skills, but whereas role and attitude is central to the poem about the dog, here the relationship between Homer and Hesiod is key as the rivals try to outsmart each other. When the Berliner Ensemble staged its version of Buying Brass, the two actors wore masks and flowing robes.

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