Eugen Bertolt Friedrich Brecht (10 February 1898 – 14 August 1956) was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director of the 20th century. He made contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, the latter through the tours undertaken by the Berliner Ensemble – the post-war theatre company operated by Brecht and his wife, long-time collaborator and actress Helene Weigel. (Wikipedia)
Overview of Brecht
The BBC Bitesize website has 11 pages covering his background, his theories and his works.
Biographies of Brecht
Britannica entry for Brecht detailing his life.
Gradesaver essay on Brechts life including an outline of his works.
Epic theatre was primarily proposed by Bertolt Brecht who suggested that a play should not cause the spectator to identify emotionally with the characters or action before them, but should instead provoke rational self-reflection and a critical view of the action on the stage. Brecht thought that the experience of a climactic catharsis of emotion left an audience complacent. Instead, he wanted his audiences to adopt a critical perspective in order to recognize social injustice and exploitation and to be moved to go forth from the theatre and effect change in the world outside. For this purpose, Brecht employed the use of techniques that remind the spectator that the play is a representation of reality and not reality itself. By highlighting the constructed nature of the theatrical event, Brecht hoped to communicate that the audience’s reality was equally constructed and, as such, was changeable. (Wikipedia)
Universal teacher’s website covering all of Brecht’s concept of Epic Theatre.
Blog post explaining Alienation Theory (verfremdungseffekt).
Mother Courage and Her Children
A blog post about the use of guests and verfremdungseffekt in Mother Courage and Her Children.
Comprensive guide to Mother Courage and Her Children from Sparknotes.
Other major works
A Slideshare presentation about Brecht and Epic Theatre that can be downloaded and shown to students.
A blog post with some lovely exercise on exploring Gestus in performance.
A lesson plan supported by a Prezi in Gestus.
National Theatre Education Resource Pack for The Caucasian Chalk Circle.
Nottingham Playhouse Teacher Resources for The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, The Threepenny Opera and The Caucasian Chalk Circle.
National Theatre’s Introduction to Brecht.
National Theatre’s Five Truths About Brecht
Fiona Shaw talking about how she prepares to take on the role of Mother Courage in the National Theatre’s 2008 production of Mother Courage And Her Children.
Interviews with the cast and director from The Unicorns Theatre 2014 production of Caucasian Chalk Circle.
Brecht in the words of Helene Weigel
At the start of every unit that involves I like to give them a handout with all these links on them so they can do some of their own research. It’s best to email them it so that they can use the links properly.
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