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THTRFLM 1T03 (114)
Lecture 5

Theatre & Film Lecture 5.docx

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McMaster University
Theatre & Film Studies
Peter Cockett

Fox 1 Lecture 5 Theatre, Cinema & Society 1T03 Tuesday May 21, 2013 Dr. Peter Cockett Cultural Context for Mother Courage - Epic Theatre  Bertolt Brecht  Born 1898-1956  Revolutionised concept of theatre in the West  Marxist  Wrote and produced plays during Hitler’s rise to power in Germany  Exiled in 1933-wrote major plays and much of his theory in exile  Formed Berliner Ensemble in East Germany after the war  Company toured the world in the 1950s and had a huge effect on theatre practise  Realist vs Epic Theatre  Ibsen’s Social Realism places moral ideals in context of the real world  Brecht’s Epic theatre challenges the very conception of the real world  Aristotle & Brecht (from “The Modern Theatre is the Epic Theatre” by Bertholt Brecht  Aristotle’s Drama (realism): imitation of an action, doing  Brecht’s Epic: Narration and imitation, doing and telling, the doing, the imitating, also created critical perspective, make action strange  The Goal of Brecht’s Epic Theatre  To show how social reality is constructed, to make the audience aware of the social injustices that are consequences of that construction and to prompt the audience to take political action-i.e, to change society for the better-to make it just.  NB: Realism may also show characters who want to change but the change is usually personal rather than social. Brecht wants individuals to act collectively to change society  How does epic theatre achieve its goals? Fox 2 Lecture 5  The Alienation Effect:  Verfremdungseffekt: The effect of making strange  The principle strategy of Epic Theatre  Does not aim to alienate audience  Aims to engage audience with the politics of action – the historical determinants  Remember the apple  Techniques of Epic Theatre: Production Elements  Realism: Creates illusion of reality, unified stage picture, hide the means of production  Epic: Anti-illusionistic. This is a play, Juxtaposition of elements-elements comment on each other, means of production revealed  Epic Acting  Realism: Identify with character-especially with the character’s emotions, see play from the characters point of view, create illusion that they are not acting  Epic: Understand the psychology and emotional life of character but from the outside, see character from political standpoint, demonstrate the polit
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