The Recent Explosion of Brecht Publications in English
The AHRC-funded Writing Brecht project, of which I was a team member, is winding down after several years’ service. Now seems like a good time to celebrate its achievements by picking out four of the highlights that emerged over the years. Brecht on Theatre This is perhaps the most significant publication of the project in […]
Brechtian Clichés #3: Breaking the Fourth Wall
It’s time to address another cliché relating to Brechtian practice. People often associate breaking the fourth wall (more on this below) with Brecht’s theatre, puncturing the fictional world by acknowledging the real world of the audience who are watching the theatrical production. In a way, this relates to the first Brechtian cliché I wrote about […]
New Section on the Site: Full Documentation of The Crucible
Just a quick one to say that I have expanded the brechtinpractice site with a full documentation of our production of The Crucible by Arthur Miller. A link to all pages can be found here.
Brechtian Clichés #2: An Obsession with Placards
There is a photograph, published in all editions of Brecht on Theatre and viewable on this website, in which a man is listening to the radio. The still, taken from The Flight of the Lindberghs (1929), has a placard above the man that reads ‘Der Hörer’ (‘The Listener’) and one in front of the on-stage orchestra that […]
New Document in the Download Zone
I have added a new document to the Download Zone: it’s a schedule for how you might approach rehearsing a full-length play using a Brechtian approach. The details are all in the document, as is my email address in case you have further questions or responses to the scheme.
Brechtian Clichés #1: ‘He wants you to know you’re in a theatre’
In an essay of 2009, Dan Rebellato notes ‘representational theatre is not illusionistic. In illusions we have mistaken beliefs about what we are seeing. No sane person watching a play believes that what is being represented before them is actually happening’. It is difficult, if not impossible, to take issue with his sentiments. One needs […]
More Thoughts on Gestus
Just a quick post to note that I’ve added a paragraph to the Gestus page. This, in part, is an addition made after reading a draft of David Zoob’s insightful and eye-opening book, Brecht: A Practical Handbook. Here he includes a Glossary. I realized, when offering thoughts on his entries for Gestus and Haltung, that Gestus is such a slippery term that it […]
Time to Say Goodbye to ‘Epic Theatre’
Epic Theatre is a term synonymous with Brecht’s theatre. Yet its meaning has often been misunderstood, and so it’s perhaps worth setting out its terms clearly first. ‘Epic’ has nothing to do with the Hollywood use of the word: grand, extensive and expensive. Brecht takes the term from Aristotle, who divides the arts into different […]
Brechtian Theatre: Rehearsing with Professionals; Rehearsing with Students
The Brecht in Practice project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, has allowed me to direct full-length shows with both professional and student actors (Closer by Patrick Marber in 2016 and The Crucible by Arthur Miller in 2017, respectively). Each production was rehearsed in four weeks with an additional production week (a technical […]
Can a Naturalistic Film Be Considered Brechtian ?
Brecht notes in his unpublished ‘Stanislavsky Studies’ of 1953 that the Russian director’s theatre was in fact alive with Verfremdung, but Stanislavsky just didn’t know it. I used to find this a rather glib observation, Brecht trying to find his theatre in anyone else’s and tarring them with his own brush. And Stanislavsky was a particularly […]
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