Brecht entered a theatre ruled primarily by realistic acting, often focusing on the techniques employed by Stanislavski and his System. Realism was definitely the norm and achieving empathy with an audience seemed the primary concern of actors of the time. It has been suggested that Brecht believed,
"On the Epic Stage... no effort is made to put the audience in a trance and give them the illusion of witnessing natural, unrehearsed events." ("Actors on Acting" 1970: p308)
Brecht's distance from conventional theatre and its techniques made his approach to acting particularly individual.
Brecht's approach to acting was categorised as epic for a number of reasons. Epic theatre originated from Classic Greek Theatre, from which Brecht developed many of his distinct acting techniques. Brecht's plays were also very descriptive, an aspect also typical of epic drama. In addition to this, the plays Brecht wrote or directed were also all set in the past. This historical perspective of the action of the play was also characteristically epic. Brecht wrote that,
"The concern of the epic theatre is [that] human behaviour is shown as alterable; man himself as dependant on certain political and economic factors and at the same time as capable of altering them," (Brecht, 1964b: p86 in Zarilli, 1998: p262)
Brecht is referring...