Brechtian Clichés #1: ‘He wants you to know you’re in a theatre’

Posted: December 27, 2017

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

Posted: November 16, 2017

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’

Posted: November 13, 2017

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

Posted: October 15, 2017

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 ?

Posted: October 7, 2017

Brecht notes in his unpublished ‘Stanislavsky Studies’ of 1953 that the Russian director’s theatre was in fact alive with Verfremdung, but Stanislavsky just didn’t know it.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 […]


Welcome to Blog

Posted: September 29, 2017

Welcome to the blog. I will be using this space to consider examples of Brechtian work, primarily in theatre and film, as a way of pointing to varieties of artistic practices in different media. I’ll also be offering links to and comments on sites that may (or may not) help visitors to this site […]


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BRECHT IN PRACTICE - Copyright 2017 © Prof. David Barnett | All Rights Reserved

David Barnett
Professor of Theatre
University of York