Origin of Epic Theatre

Topics: Bertolt Brecht, Erwin Piscator, Epic theatre Pages: 4 (957 words) Published: June 10, 2008




In the following essay I will explain the origins of epic theatre and what is actually meant by the term epic theatre. I will look at the people who influenced this form of theatre, the essential elements and how they differ from naturalism and affect the actor. I will also look at the production elements and how they differ from other types of theatre.

Origins of Epic Theatre
Bertolt Brecht was a playwright and practitioner who wrote plays which attacked bourgeois values. His plays were full of humour but bleak and cynical. Erwin Piscator was a director who developed left wing expressionist theatre ‘agitprop’. This was made up of a shortening of the words agitation and propaganda. He was a Marxist director who also developed left wing expressionist theatre ‘agitprop’. This was made up of a shortening of the words agitation and propaganda. His aim was to make theatre part of the social struggle. Agitprop was songs and short sketches which would hopefully bring about political action through creating agitation in the audiences mind. He wanted the spectators to act on what they had seen. His aims were to influence voters, raise class consciousness and clarify what communist policy was. The communist party commissioned him to create Revue Roter Rummel in 1924. It was a collection of statistics, factual information, slide projection, dance, gymnastics with music and sketches which was taken around workers meeting halls. The 2 main characters, a master butcher and an unemployed workers began arguing in the audience and went up onto the stage. They remained there giving comments throughout from bourgeois and proletarian points of view. His main aim, he said was to create ‘direct action in the theatre’: “I hoped to achieve propagandistic effects which would be more powerful than it was possible with plays, where the ponderous structure and problems tempt you to psychologies and...
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