Political Theatre Essay

2978 WordsDec 4, 201412 Pages
‘Dismantling the traditional naturalistic theatre, with its illusion of reality, Brecht produced a new kind of drama based on a critique of the ideological assumptions of bourgeois theatre’. (Terry Eagleton, Marxism and Literary Criticism) Referring to ONE play from the earlier part of the ‘Theatre & Politics’ section of the unit, and to ONE play from the ‘New Perspectives’ section, explain how the relationship between theatre and politics has evolved. In your response you should refer to specific examples from within the plays, and to at least TWO critical/theoretical readings from within the anthology. The drama of revolution is a political text through and through, but it cannot separate the political from the theatre; the drama of…show more content…
Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) offered a challenge to Aristotle's ancient approach to theatre as a spectator activity. He sought to stimulate the minds of his audience, integrating economics and politics into his plays, in hopes that those watching would respond with intellect, not emotion. As Eyre and Wright describe him, “He was a brilliant man of the theatre, highly receptive to the avant-garde of his day, quick to improve it and somewhat too precipitate to turn it into theory. He was a communist: not a left-winger, not a liberal, nor a humanitarian. From his twenties onwards, he thought and worked in terms of Marxist dialectic and he really wasn't kidding.” (Bicknell 2012) Over the course of his career, Brecht developed his so-called epic theatre, in which narrative, montage, self-contained scenes, and rational argument were used to create a shock of realization in the spectator. To create a distancing effect, Brecht promoted acting and staging that would merely demonstrate what was being portrayed, which gave the audience a more objective perspective on the action. In Brecht's plays, say Eyre and Wright, "lucidity reigns: nothing is worse than a jumble of confused impressions." (Bicknell 2012) In terms of construction, Brecht explains that epic drama does not lead to an inevitable
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