Monday, March 4 2013 – DRAMA REVIEW
What are some elements the Professor will be looking for in the review?
Synopsis (let people know what the show is about, but don’t get stuck describing
the plot of the play). Describe how successful the play was when you are giving a
What the director has done with the play (director’s choices).
Close description (zoom in on specific scenes so you have specific examples to
base your opinion on). Pick the relevant things that connect together to make your
Exercises were a way to help actors understand rather than declaim Shakespeare’s text.
Scenes were intended to be strenuously rehearsed but omitted during the performance
(they were backstage preparations). The actor can be made to see the human problems of
the characters in order to convey the man/woman behind the poetry. Some of the
questions this forces us to ask is: What are the human problems we share or we ignore?
What does it cost to be good? How can theatre not answer but rather ask these questions
Bertolt Brecht: Theatre as a “Part of Life”
Brecht was interested in English writers and Chinese philosophers. He looked like an
engineer or a car mechanic (he dressed differently from everyone else).
Born in Germany in 1898, studied philosophy and medicine before working in a German
military hospital in WWI as a medical orderly. This reinforced his hatred of war; he
supported the communist party. He worked with composers and wrote a musical play, as
well as a few operas (The Little Mahagonny, The Threepenny Opera). In 1933 he was
forced to flee from Nazi Germany (because his plays reflected a Marxist interpretation of
Germany). While living in Germany, he wrote explicitly anti-Nazi play like Life of
Galileo, The Good Man, Mother Courage and Her Children… He lived in Denmark,
Sweden, arrived in US in 1941. He helped the writing of a war film in 1943 when
arriving in Hollywood. In 1947, he was called before the House of Un-American
Activities Committee (HUAC) which had begun an investigation into the entertainment
industry. On October 30, 1947 he denied he was a member of the American Communist
Party. He said as a guest to the US, he refrained from any political activity. “Art can
present clear and nobler such ideas”. He after left for East Germany and founded a theatre
company. During this time, he wrote only one new play in died in Germany.
Key terms in Brecht’s theatre:
“Estrangement effect” (NOT the alienation effect)
- The attempt to “make strange” the enti