Bertolt Brecht's Epic Theatre As A Modern Theatre

1857 Words 8 Pages
As one of the most influential figures in theatre, Bertolt Brecht has stamped his legacy in the world theatre. His search for anew kind of theatre made his theatre a modern avant-garde whichhas left its traces in postmodern theatres. This paper tries toinvestigate Brecht’s epic theatre as a modern avant-garde and itsinfluence in postmodern theatre. His epic theatre was in fact a revoltagainst the main stream modern theatre in which Brecht openlydeclares that theatre should be ‘political.’ Brecht’s theatre was soinfluential that his theatre becomes reference to the postmoderntheatre.
Key words: epic theatre, Bertolt Brecht, avant-garde, postmodern, propaganda Bertolt Brecht was a modern man. He grew as a dramatist in aworld where modern ideas
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1). Thisparty “intended not only to curb the tide of bourgeois cultural dominancebut (also) to annihilate it” (p. 16).This cult theatre reached its peak when Nazi ruled the country.“When Hitler came to power, the German theatre was flourishing, withnumerous wonderful buildings and high artistic level assured by anucleus of outstanding directors and actors” (Hubner, 1992, p. 90). This,however, did not benefit Brecht and his friends since they were just emptypropaganda in which creativity had to submit itself to political purposes.About this situation Zortman (1984) comments as …show more content…
No self is either natural orindependent. Unlike in classical plays—Greek plays especially--nosuffering is natural: it is always related to “structures that constrain andexploit human kind” (Guba& Lincoln in Denzin& Lincoln, 1994, p.113). ‘Self’ is value dependent, unlike in the relist’s belief in whichsomeone can choose his own identity. One needs, first of all, to liberatehimself/herself from the oppressing structure.Changing/liberating ‘self’ requires more than just psychologicalanalysis. Brecht contends that there has to be “a transformation ofpsychological ‘conflict’ into historical condition” (Worthen, 1993, p.773) in theatre to liberate ‘self.’ To really understand the historicalcondition and to realize that a person is formed by the dominant valuehe has adopted unconsciously, a critical mind is needed. Therefore,neither the actor nor the spectator should be drawn into “simple empathy”(Brecht, 1992, p. 71), in which they usually try to identify themselves.In his explanation about epic theatre, Brecht proposes that theatreshould provide a process of alienation: the alienation that is necessary toall understanding (p. 71). Further, addressing the spectator Brecht gives acomparison between dramatic theatre’s spectator and epic theatre’sspectator as follows:The dramatic theatre’s spectator says: Yes, I have felt like thattoo—Just like

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