Brecht’s hugely theatrical masterpiece unearths the true cost of conflict – challenging our notions of war and peace and what it takes to survive just behind the enemy lines.
“Each time Courage takes the reins of her wagon, weary and wounded but marching onward, we must confront the unending destruction that travels with her.”
Thursdays – Saturdays @ 7:30pm
Sundays @ 2pm
Tickets: $18 – Thursdays
$25 – Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays
As a writer, director, dramaturg and theatre theorist, Brecht’s impact on European theatre was unrivalled in the 20th century. Valued highly as a poet for his vivid use of German, his primary artistic objective was to create theatre appropriate for a scientific age. By the late 1920s it had become apparent to Brecht that this would require not only a new kind of dramatic writing but also the destruction of the old theatre system.
What is epic theatre?
Brecht was interested in self-consciously retelling a story rather than realistically embodying the events of a narrative. His techniques encouraged the spectator to view the way in which playwright and actors presented the tale, exposing the mechanisms of theatre, and promoting an attitude of curiosity rather than the emotional and empathic response to the acting typical of the naturalistic and expressionistic forms dominant in German theatre at the time. His admiration for the political comedian Karl Valentin and the films of Charlie Chaplin provided models for the combination of social observation and Spass (fun) with which he intended to animate the theatre so that an audience might attend with the enthusiasm and critical interest of spectators at a sports match.
Most of Brecht’s plays include songs, which allow the performer to comment upon the action and illustrate selected characters’ emotions in an artistic mode without manipulating the spectator to empathise directly with the characters in action. The cognitive disruption provoked by all of Brecht’s techniques serves to alter the spectator’s habitual way of thinking about the way things are. By exposing the contradictions inherent in society, a play could enable the spectator to devise ways to change the world into a place fit for people to live in.