THTRFLM 1T03 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Bertolt Brecht, Social Realism, Social Determinism

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Lecture Seven
Brecht- Mother Courage, and Epic Theatre
Bertolt Brecht (1898- 1956)
. German Marxist, exiled in 1933
. Mother Courage in 1939, after Germany’s invasion of Poland
Realist vs. Epic Theatre
Social Realism: Places moral ideals in the context of the real world
Epic Theatre: Challenges the very conception of the real world
. What is real? We aren’t supposed to be swept up with the characters
The goals of epic theatre
1) To show how social reality is constructed
. Ideology, dominant ideology of the times in which the play is performed
2) To make the audience aware of the social consequences of that construction
3) To prompt the audience to take charge of the construction of their world
. Constructed by us
. Due to this goal the audience must participate and buy into the ideals of the play
Brecht: “ Art is not a mirror help up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it”.
Epic theatre is Dialectical
. Thesis + Antithesis= Synthesis
. Contrasting themes, causes, effect, moods
. Brecht provides no synthesis
. Forces viewer to reconcile opposites for themselves
. More representative of contradictory nature of human reality
. Made it more realistic
. Not always a happy ending, we have questions with no answers
Dramatic vs. Epic Theatre
Dramatic theatre Epic Theatre
. Imitation of an action Narration and imitation
. Doing Doing and telling
AND- the doing also creates alienation
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