Weaving New Designs – Brecht

Bertolt Brecht was born in Bavaria in 1898. He started writing plays after Germany's defeat in World War One, as he felt the government was disloyal. His playwrights introduced a new style of theatre that sought to redefine the relationships between the audience and performance. The techniques he used to accomplish this theatre are still used in a wide variety of plays and films today. His dramatic statements are studied all around the world and illustrates that the issues he raised prove his theatrical genius. This confirms that the statement Peter Brook raised of "Brecht is the key figure of our time and all work today at some point starts or returns to his statements and achievements" and emphasises the importance of Brecht's Epic theatre.

There are countless theories and practices that Brecht is well known for, but the one at the centre of them all is alienation. Using this technique, Brecht was challenging the audience to think on an intellectual basis instead of an emotional one. In his play "The Caucasian Chalk Circle" there are many scenes that demonstrate Brecht's alienation techniques. One of these is on page 161 where Grusha and the guests at her wedding are standing around her fiance's deathbed. The monk opens the service with this speech,

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"Dear wedding ……Amen"

Meanwhile there are people standing around eating and eagerly waiting for the man to die. This action alienates the audience from the real message of death and the serious pain and hurt that follows. This is cleverly directed as a serious event is portrayed in such a comical scene, where it is impossible to attach to any of the characters because of the lack of feeling they show towards the dying man. Brecht's technique to alienate his audience from this scene allows him to show the greed of a mother over the love of her own son. This highlights the social issue of greed and selfishness that defines…

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