Bertolt Brecht EPIC THEATRE using. Verfremdungseffekt. (AKA the V -effect, Making strange, Distancing, Alienation). “The actor is not Lear. PDF | On Apr 1, , Barry Mauer and others published Bertolt Brecht's Dramatic Structure. Publisher's aclcnowkdgment; We are grateful to Stefan S. Brecht and Eyre Methuen Ltd for their kind permission to reproduce the poems by Bertolt Brecht.

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Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht; was a German poet, playwright, and theatre Bertolt Brecht was born in Augsburg, Bavaria, (about 50 miles (80 km) north-. Life of Galileo. (). By Bertolt Brecht. Digitalized by. RevSocialist for. SocialistStories. Page 2. Page 3. Page 4. Page 5. Page 6. Page 7. Page 8. Page 9. Mother Courage and Her Children. () by Bertolt Brecht. Digitalized by. RevSocialist for. SocialistStories. Page 2. Page 3. Page 4. Page 5. Page 6. Page 7.

Soon the parson arrives and they sit down to eat. Polly provides them with some entertainment by singing a song. After she is done Tiger Brown the Sheriff arrives, but instead of arresting them all he greets Macheath as an old friend.

Mac explains that he and Tiger Brown served together in the war and that he has paid Brown kickbacks on every job ever since. After Brown leaves the men present Polly and Macheath a large bed to sleep in and then leave them alone. Polly returns home to find her parents furious with her for marrying Macheath. She tries to defend the marriage, but they decide to take on Macheath and destroy him. Peachum tells his wife that he will go to Tiger Brown and make him arrest Macheath.

Brecht, Bertolt - Brecht on theatre. Extractos.pdf

Meanwhile, Mrs. Peachum agrees to go and bribe the whores whom Macheath goes to every week. She is hoping that the whores will turn in Macheath.

Polly goes with her father and watches as Brown agrees to arrest Macheath. She then goes back to the stable where Mac is staying and tries to warn him. Instead of being emotional, Mac focuses on his business. He hands the business over to Polly and tells her what to do. Soon thereafter his gang arrives and Mac informs them that Polly will be their boss while he goes away. Matthew tries to challenge Polly's authority, but she threatens to kill him if he opens his mouth again; the other thieves applaud her and accept her leadership.

Peachum approaches Low-Dive Jenny, a prostitute, and convinces her to turn in Macheath should he be foolish enough to show up at the brothel. However, Mac arrives and sits down. He thinks she means Polly.

Jenny soon sneaks out while Mac is talking with the whores and gets the police and Mrs. Constable Smith enters and tries to arrest Mac, who knocks the man down and jumps out the window. Unfortunately for him, Mrs. Peachum is standing there with the other police officers. They take him away. She soon arrives and is horrified to see him in jail.

To complicate matters further, Polly arrives and also claims Mac as her husband. Mac chooses to support Lucy instead of Polly because he is more afraid of Tiger Brown. Peachum then arrives and drags Polly away. Lucy, happy to finally be alone with Mac again, hands him his hat and cane and leaves.

Brown enters the cell and is relieved to see it empty. However, Peachum also arrives and threatens to disrupt the coronation if Brown does not find Macheath and arrest him again immediately. That night Peachum outfits his beggars with signs and clothes in an effort to ruin the coronation parade the next morning. The whores arrive, led by Jenny, and ask for their reward for turning in Macheath. Peachum refuses to pay them on the grounds that Mac escaped already.

Jenny, in a fit of rage, tells them that Mac is a far better man than any of them. She then accidentally reveals that Mac had gone straight to her place and comforted her, and that he is now with another whore named Suky Tawdry. Peachum is elated by this information and promises to give the whores the reward money. He sends one of his beggars to get the police.

Tiger Brown arrives only a few minutes later. Brown has decided that rather than arrest Macheath it would be far easier for him to arrest Peachum and all the beggars, thereby preventing them from ruining the coronation. He asks Brown point-blank how if would look if several hundred men were clubbed down on the day of the procession. Unable to arrest Peachum, Brown realizes that he is caught in a bind. Peachum then demands that Brown arrests Macheath and gives him the address where Macheath is staying.

Peachum lastly sends the beggars to the jail rather than that coronation. Polly goes to visit Lucy in an effort to find out where Mac is. It turns out that neither of them knows his whereabouts, causing Polly to laugh and state that Mac has stood them both up. They soon hear a noise in the hallway and realize that Mac has been 16 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www.

The next morning, the same day the coronation procession is set for, Macheath is brought out of his cell and locked into a public cell. He is going to be hung at six in the morning, and has only an hour to live. He offers Smith one thousand pounds in cash if Smith will let him escape, but Smith refuses to make any promises. Mac asks Jake, Matthew and Polly for money; they say that it will be hard to get anything so early in the morning but leave promising to find something. Having failed to get the money, Smith refuses to help Macheath.

Soon thereafter all of the characters return and stand next to the cage. Jake and Matthew apologize for not getting the money in time and tell Mac that all the other crooks are stealing elsewhere. Even the whores have showed up to watch him die. Mac gives a last speech in which he claims all the small crooks are being pushed aside by corporate interests.

Peachum then stands up and gives the final speech, arguing that since this is an opera and not real life, they will save Macheath. Brown enters in the form of a mounted messenger and brings a special order from the Queen.

She has decided to pardon Macheath and to also elevate him to a hereditary knighthood. Mac rejoices his good luck while Peachum remarks that such a thing would never happen in real life. Brecht took many liberties in The Threepenny Opera.

The London setting is replaced by Soho in Victorian England. Peachum becomes a beggar king, outfitting, taxing, and reporting on his beggars for the reward. But most important is the changes that make Mack the Knife. Starting with industrialism and ending with the war, new classes were rising to replace the aristocracy and peasantry.

These classes were the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat. New art movements called the avant-garde rose to address the new modern society. Before the outbreak, people thought of war as noble and honorable, a statement of national pride.

Wars had to this point been quick, from six to eight weeks in length. But World War One lasted for six long years, destroyed a generation of European youth, and left a dirty scar across the earth between France and Germany that is still present to remind people today. After the disastrous war, in literature, including drama, a new understanding of the hero and heroism began to spring forth as far as the socio-political issues are concerned.

The Threepenny opera was one of those great dramatic conversions into the avant-garde. He praises efficiency, organization, and even keeps books. Scene 9, 76 Furthermore, Brecht turns Mack into a scoundrel who kills eleven people, seven children, two women and two old men and rapes a young widow all in one song and he continues to be immortalized in this song. Brecht wanted to make his characters amoral, but not immoral. Morality has nothing to do with action.

If there is a choice between morality and bread, it would be bread. It is not just coincidence that this sounds like Marxist theory, but Brecht did not have a utopian view like communists in Russia.

He did however, have strong anti-capitalist views. Now, he is a tight-fisted capitalist who has built an industry of begging and regulates his myriad panhandler and pickpocket employees in their various professional endeavors throughout the London streets.

Because they are weaklings and fools just like you. They may have enough to eat till the end of their days, they may be able to wax their floors with butter so that even the crumbs from their tables grow fat. III, vii, 59 Peachum thus reveals himself a player in the very system he seeks to exploit.

In Act One, Scene Three, Brecht introduces one of the most ironic moments in the play by having Peachum fire a beggar for eating too much. The reader or observer does a doubletake at this moment; after all, how can you become an out of work beggar except in a world where capitalism has taken over every aspect of society to such a degree that existence is no longer possible except within the system.

As usual Brecht avoids the crude propagandistic tactic of presenting an idealized opposition to capitalism; rather he concentrates on arousing our indignation and inspires us to action by simply showing us a brutal world.

The theft of Polly will cause Peachum to openly declare war on Mac the Knife in an effort to regain his reputation. Thus, it is not an emotional conflict where Peachum is upset about losing Polly. Rather, it is a social issue. Macheath makes a similar observation as to the hypocrisy of the commercially successful, but from the point of view of one outside of the capitalist establishment.

He and Ginny Jenny share a duet commenting on the inherent problem with social moralizing separate from social equality. Morals follow on. II, vi, 55 The song that ends the act is one of the most famous. It is an attack on the audience. Instead of morally judging what Macheath, the beggars, the whores and the thieves are doing, the song tells the audience to sympathize with them. By putting food before morals, Brecht is issuing a call to his audience to consider the actual circumstances of the characters instead of judging them abstractly.

Attempts have been made to update the play, but Brecht himself left it mostly in the original form. It is one of the more difficult Brechtian plays to interpret.

The problems stem from the fact that when Brecht wrote the play he was only beginning to explore Marxism and he did not yet identify with the class struggle. Nevertheless, through its display of the base elements of society, the play brought theater to the people rather than to the elite society. The people that move across the stage are murderers, thieves, prostitutes, beggars, and corrupt officials.

Each character is handled so as to arouse an emphatic response and at no point does the sordidness or immorality overshadow the inherent humanity, frailty, and lovability of each of the characters. Bertolt Brecht describes people caught, trapped, and debased by life.

An unseen thread of implied identity connects them to the world of light. They harshly mirror the weaknesses and limitations as well as the corrupt practices that typify people generally then and now. One of the main questions posed by Bertolt Brecht in The Threepenny Opera is: how are goodness and love possible amid so much misery? Indeed, this and some similar moral and socio-political questions preoccupied Brecht throughout his life.

How, for example, can honesty and decency be demanded from people who have nothing to eat?

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And who, then, will be guilty of the evil they may commit? The ballad describes many of the things that Macheath, known as Mac the Knife, has done. He is compared to a shark with sharp teeth, but unlike a shark he keeps his weapons hidden. See the shark with teeth like razors. All can read his open face. And Macheath has got a knife, but Not in such an obvious place.

Bertolt Brecht

Mac the Knife wears white kid gloves which Give the minimum away. Is it plague or is it cholera? On a beautiful blue Sunday See a corpse stretched in the Strand. God alone knows how or when. Jenny Towler turned up lately With a knife stuck through her breast While Macheath walks the Embankment Nonchalantly unimpressed.

Where is Alfred Gleet the cabman? Who can get that story clear?

All the world may know the answer Just Macheath has no idea. Prologue, The song indicates that Macheath is to blame for killing many men, stealing cash boxes, murdering a prostitute, setting a fire in Soho that killed seven children, and raping a young bride.

At the end of the song the whores laugh and a man steps out of their group. The introduction of Mac the Knife immediately sets him up in paradoxical terms.

These white gloves, signs of pure hands, serve as a symbol of bourgeois society. Brecht is essentially saying that Macheath covers his crimes by pretending to be bourgeois Alternatively, this can also be interpreted as implying that bourgeois society commits the crimes and then pretends that nothing ever happened.

By transforming the stable into an excessively luxurious room, Brecht again is using bourgeois decoration to hide the murders and thefts. The use of furniture is paralleled by the gang in suits, a comic image since they do not have the right manners. Thus we again see bloody deeds and bloody people parading around as if they were common, normal members of the successful society.

One may note that Macheath does not deny his crimes; instead, he acts as if nothing is wrong. Love is made fun of by portraying it ironically.

When she continues claiming that she is really in love with Macheath, Mrs. Peachum blames the books that Polly used to read. Polly: Look. Is he particularly handsome? He can support me. He is not only a first-class burglar but a far-sighed and experienced stick-up man as well.

A few successful ventures and we shall be able to retire to a little house in the country just like that Mr. Shakespeare father admires so much. Use your head. Well, she gets divorced, see.

Is that so hard to figure out? Peachum: Divorce. Polly: But I love him. How can I think of divorce?

Peachum: Really, have you no shame? Peachum: In love! Polly realizes this and tries to point out to her parents that Macheath is financially well off, however, since he is a competitor to her father, Peachum chooses instead to take this opportunity to ruin Macheath.

Oh, last night I had a dream. I was looking out the window and I heard laughter in the street, and when I looked out I saw our moon and the moon was all thin like a worn-down penny. Second, love is compared to something old and not worth very much.

This belief that love is worthless is held by all of the characters except for Polly who seems to the only character struggling to achieve worthwhile emotions. In Act Three, Scene Eight, the falseness of love and marriage is dealt with throughout the scene. Is it a cushion? Oh, you really are a hypocritical strumpet!

Peachum has the gall to enter and make Polly dress as a widow before Macheath is even dead. Ha, Polly, so this is where I find you. You must change your things, your husband is being hanged. III, viii, 69 This brutal disruption of the sentimental interaction between Lucy and Polly serves again to make the audience feel less pity for Polly.

The image of her as a sad, broken wife does not hold very long either; when Mac asks her for money in the last scene she is brilliantly evasive, implying that she has taken over his business and kept the money. Brown visits Mac in the cell to settle up their business first.


In the speech he accuses big business of doing exactly what he does, namely being a thief. The only difference is that the big companies do it with more money and legally. Lucy brings up the issue of class for the first time in the play.

The question then is which direction did she marry, up or down? The answer is not obvious because her parents are actually in a similar profession to that of Macheath. However, Polly clearly interprets it as meaning that she married down. It serves to accuse the bourgeois class, i. The issue of class re-emerges when the Queen raises Mac to the hereditary peerage.

By giving him a knighthood she elevates him into the highest class, the leisurely class of aristocracy with guaranteed income. To any bridal couples present.

The Theatre Of Bertolt Brecht

Her Majesty bids me to convey her gracious good wishes. Therefore, such technique helps the audience to question attitudes and behaviour which have been taken as expected and natural. The Brechtian songs always comment on the main action of the play; furthermore, it gives the spectators time to think of what has been said by other characters or by the singer himself since the tempo of the song is slower than that of the normal dialogue.

By forcing the audience to not empathize with the characters, Brecht is trying to make people think about the play rather than feel emotions. The songs are nonetheless bawdy, cabaret style works that invert the common perception of opera.

The songs serve as social statements by combining high culture with low; they also are an attack on traditional Wagnerian opera. This is evident in the first scene where Mr.

Peachum sing a song under spotlight which has nothing to do with their real characters. He laments the fact that humans are able to deaden their feelings, forcing him to constantly create new ways of arousing human sympathy.

You ramshackle Christian, awake! Get on with your sinful employment Show what a good crook you could make. The Lord will cut short your enjoyment.

Betray your own brother, you rogue And sell your old woman, you rat. Act, I, 5 Brecht here tries to remind the spectators from the very beginning of the play that what they are watching is just a game not a slice of life; it is a mere presentation of actors on a 30 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. One of the main attributes of the middle class is a preference for an idealized past.

There was a time, now very far a way When we set up together, I and she. I saw her right, and she looked after me — A way of life then, if not quite the best. That could not last, but what would I not give To see that whorehouse where we used to live?

II, vi, Brecht attacks this naive view of the past by having Mac sing about his life with Jenny. Mac makes the couple seem idyllic even though if they live in a whorehouse. Jenny also wishes for the past again even while telling us how Mac used to knock her down the 31 PDF created with pdfFactory Pro trial version www. Thus Brecht uses the two of them to combine elements of bourgeois nostalgia with lower class crudity.

It is a kind of report on life as any member of the audience would like to see it. Since at the same time, however, he sees a good deal that he has no wish to see; since therefore he sees his wishes not merely fulfilled but also criticized sees himself not as the subject but as the object , he is theoretically in a position to appoint a new function for the theatre.

Brecht: , 90 This means that Brecht is giving the bourgeois audience their fantasy of the criminal world, but, at specific moments, he gives them a dose of harsh reality. Brecht exposes his understanding of death penalty in the play. The dancers will be the ones to face the rich spectators with their hypocritical behaviour, demanding decorum today and abusing them tomorrow.

For when it seems that the leader of the gangsters is going to be executed, an unexpected pardon arrives, which moves the chorus to sing: Injustice should be spared from persecution: Soon it will freeze to death, for it is cold. Think of the blizzards and the black confusion Which in this vale of tears we must behold.

The capacities he needs to achieve his aim are in effect universal. Suppose he cannot carry out some particular movement as quickly as the victim he is imitating; all he need do is explain that he moves three times as fast, and the demonstration neither suffers in essentials nor loses its point. On the contrary it is important that he not be too perfect. The theater exposes its machinery.

The experience of the driver and the victim is only partially communicated by him, and he by no means tries to turn it into an enjoyable experience for the spectator. He is not interested in creating pure emotions i. The demonstration should have a socially practical significance i. This type of theater has to acknowledge certain limitations.

It must be able to justify any outlay in terms of its purpose. The demonstration may, for instance, be dominated by the question of compensation for the victim, etc. This type of theater is not based on characters but on actions. A key feature of epic theater is the interruption of representation by commentary. Wherever he feels he can, the demonstrator breaks off his imitation in order to give explanation. Brecht includes a footnote that contrasts the epic theater with a satirical theater that imitates people for the sole purpose of comedy.

Brecht is not against comedy, but he believes that both the sensible and senseless behaviors of a person, and the switch from one to the other, should be imitated.

The Epic Theatre makes use of interruption to produce the Alienation-effect. OED Definition.

Definition of Dialectical Theatre: An engine-room of change and transformation. It excludes the psychological, the subconscious, the metaphysical unless they can be conveyed in concrete terms. Brecht By Social Gest is meant the mimetic and gestural expression of the social relationships prevailing between people of a given period. They differ in their approach.

Bill Brueh, a Stanislavskian, says that all drama is internal while Brecht says it must be external. In either case, the key is to discover intentions.From the very start Provided with every last sacrament: With newspapers.

His latest research is about citizen curating, which aims at enlisting a corps of citizens to curate exhibits, both online and in public spaces, using archival materials available in museums, libraries, public history centers, and other institutions. His epic theatre needed to demonstrate that the present reality was not immutable. In this chapter, we will examine a specific example of Brecht's depictions of contradiction present in bourgeois society.

Its joy and its sorrow have refreshed and pained us. The play opens with a recruiting officer and an army sergeant standing together, talking in the freezing snow.

Thus, Brecht's social ontology is one of constant flux. It serves to accuse the bourgeois class, i.