Bertolt Brecht

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"Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it." Bertolt Brecht. Bertolt Brecht is one of the most influential theatre practitioners of the last century. Brecht believed that the theatre's purpose was to educate. Brecht wanted to evoke critical attitudes in his audiences; he introduced theatrical devices that were designed to challenge the audiences unthinking emotional involvement with productions. Brecht was strongly influenced by the political and cultural ideals associated with Marxism. The social and artistic goals inspiring Brecht’s theatrical styles were also addressed and articulated in Brecht's early propagandistic plays ‘The Threepenny Opera’ and ‘Mother Courage and her Children’.

Brecht's Marxist political convictions led him to propose an alternative direction for the theatre combining the meaning of instruction and entertainment. In this way the theatre could project a picture of the world by artistic means and offer models of life that could help the audiences understand their social environment both rationally and emotionally. Brecht's emphasis on the political and didactic significance of theatre inspired him to try and alert audiences for the need of social change. This introduced ‘Epic Theatre’ generally described as Brecht's theory and techniques of dramatic action that was episodic. Epic Theatre presents a sequence of incidents or events that are narrated on a grand scale without the restrictions of time, place or formal plot. It consisted of non-representational staging, alienation and the incorporation of theatricalism. All elements contributed to Brecht's overall purpose that was to comment on the political, social and economic elements that affected the lives of his characters. The aim was to develop a consciousness within the audience that would then create a catalyst act. ‘The Threepenny Opera’ captivates many elements of epic theatre. First staged in 1928, it is based on John Gay’s eightieth century...
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