Brechtian Theater and Caryl Churchill Essay

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Women in Brechtian theater play important roles such as that of wives, mothers, and workers. For example, Pelagea Vlassova, in "The Mother" undergoes the transformation from a widow, home bound and uneducated, to a revolutionary, fighting against class oppression. However, Brecht uses Vlassova's experienced are entirely dictated on the basis of her class; her sex appears to have no bearing on any aspect of the play. In contrast, the women in Caryl Churchill's "A Mouthful of Birds" are portrayed primarily as female, with the suggestion of class oppression as an underlying theme. As written by Janelle Reinelt, the Brechtian techniques of epic theater, the gestus, and the alienation effect supply a way to "examine …show more content…
Doreen's feelings of confinement as a wife and secretary cause her to run away and sleep by a canal for a night, Lena's feelings of anger and frustration result in the drowning of her baby, and Paul's feelings of emptiness lead him to his love for the pig and the rejection of his former entrepreneurial lifestyle. It later becomes apparent that the inward frustrations experienced by all of the characters function to mold their thoughts, perspectives and words, and greatly effect the ways in which they react to one another, particularly on the basis of gender.

These perceptions, though derived from feeling, can be utilized to project powerful concepts, inherent to the theme. For example, when Doreen and Susy's conversation is interrupted by Tony, who asks politely for a teabag, Doreen reacts violently. She accuses him of disturbing her peace, of being an intruder, and her feelings of individual anger and repression cause her to voice the perception and indicate the possibility of universal injustice. She starts a sentence "My sister lives with a man who-" and Tony tries to defend himself. She continues the thought, "pours boiling water over her head and she thinks its her fault." # The sentence is fractured but Doreen ensures she finishes the thought, as if refusing to consider gender oppression on an individual basis, and needing to make a collective and representative

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