1. Bertolt Brecht 1898 - 1956
I am a playwright. I would actually like to have been a
cabinetmaker, but of course you dont earn enough doing
2. Social Context
1914-1918 First World War
Brecht posted as a medical orderly in his home town.
Not attached to the emotion of the frontline but witness the
effects of war.
3. 1919-1933 Munich and Berlin
1922 - Directs first production.
1925 Sees Battleship Potemkin by Sergei Eisenstein introduced to
the idea of montage.
1926 - Produces Baal riot in the auditorium.
Begins to study Karl Marx.
1927 First collaboration with musician Kurt Weill (also
collaborates with Piscator)
1928 -The Threepenny Opera is a box-office success.
1930 -Performances of The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahogany
picketed by Nazis.Brecht sees Meyerholds theatre on tour.
1932 - Agit-prop sequence in Brechts film KuhleWampeis
1932 - Nazis come to power, Brecht flees the country.
4. 1933-1948 The Years of Exile
Most of Brechts major plays were completed before he reached the
safety of America in 1941.
1935 - Begins to use Verfremdungseffekt. Nazis formally remove
German citizenship. Friends and colleagues in Russia start to
1935-41 - Moves around Europe away from Nazis.
1941 - Leaves Europe to go to California.
1947 - Appears before the House of Un-American Activities.
5. 1949 1956 The Berliner Ensemble
1949 - Goes on recruiting tour for the Berliner Ensemble.
1951 - Post-war Berlin premiere of The Mother, Brecht uses
1954 - Berliner Ensemble takes residence at A, Schiffbauerdamm
Theatre. The original Berlin production of Mother Courage is taken
on tour establishes Brecht as the leading director in post-war
1955-6 - The Caucasian Chalk Circle tours Paris and London. Brecht
is at the height of his power.
6. Brechts Plays
1918 Begins to write Baal and Drums in the Night
1928 The Threepenny Opera is a box-office success.
1929 First two didactic plays The Lindbergh Flight and The Baden
1930 -The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
1932 -The Mother (a key text for understanding the Epic in
1938 Premiere of Fear and Misery in the Third Reich
1939 Mother Courage and Her Children
1941 The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui
1941-7 Works on The Caucasian Chalk Circle
7. The Good Woman of Setzuan, 2001
Mahagonny(Berlin Komische Oper, 1984)
Caucasian Chalk Circle, 1971
8. The Street SceneA Basic Model for Epic Theatre
Activity: An eyewitness demonstrating to a collection of people how
a traffic accident took place.
9. The Street SceneA Basic Model for Epic Theatre
Audience are aware that it is a demonstrator not the
driver/victim. (Distinction between actor and character).
10. Characters are derived entirely from their action. (Brecht
works from the outside-in) 11. The demonstrator imitates the action
of the driver/victim but the audience are not caught in the emotion
of their experience so can form an opinion.