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  1. Hi! This is a really informative article, but i was just wondering if you knew a bit about Brecht’s use of tableaux? I’m doing an assignment about Brecht and I’m not sure if he would just stop the action completely or if he would sometimes have one character moving in the scene with the other actors frozen! Thank you for your time!

  2. Hi, I’m a research student and my subject is about Russian constructivism as an influence on the scenographic design of Bertolt Brecht, I want to quote you but I would also like to know where I get that information from please. Thank you!

    1. Cynthia, this article was posted on 17 March, 2014. So, depending on your referencing system used in your research, it would be something like: Cash, J, 2014, Epic Theatre Conventions, date you accessed this page, thedramateacher.com/epic-theatre-conventions. Hope this helps!

  3. Can you help me out a bit, I would love to cite your work so I can give credit to your ideas. I’m using some of the things you say as the foundation for one of my papers in university.

  4. Hi guys

    Stumbled apon this site by accident. I’m starting to teach Caucasian Chalk Circle to my class this term.

    I teach at an all boys school in South Africa
    We are having similar debates here over use of alianation. I use enstrange or to make strange to remove or de familiarization never alienation.

    1. “epic plays employed a large narrative (as opposed to a smaller plot), spanning many locations and time frames […] epic plays used non-linear, fractured plots, where the events of a single episode were not necessarily a result of the preceding one” (THIS ARTICLE).

  5. This material is very useful as it will be a very handy tool for me as I teach courses in “Introduction to directing” and “Advanced acting”. I look forward to more of such.

  6. How might you take a regular musical in America and make it more interesting by adding Brechtian touches to become more artistic? I already have expresisonism and heightened realism as a goal. (This site is thought provoking…) Thanks for y our info and support.

      1. I was unable to afford tickets to see Hamilton. Can you tell me if Hamilton employed Brechtian techniques?

        1. Edward, Hamilton has not been to my country yet (Australia), so I can’t help you with this one. Maybe some other readers who have seen Hamilton can advise?

  7. This was extremely helpful in aiding my project surrounding Brechtian theatre and practices. Thank you so much for posting this, it means a lot to have so much information at my disposal!

    1. Hi there

      Brecht was highly influenced by Marxism. This is because he believed in an equal society and during his times Capitalism was at the forefront. He believed that Capitalism could not provide for its people and wanted a more communist approach and that was marxism.

      He was also influenced by Expressionism. However it wasn’t the whole expressionist movement but certain aspects of it listed below. Expressionism:
      – abolished theatre conventions,characterisation, plot and structure
      -Playwright represented thought, feelings and fate
      -There was a poetic dialogue used which was sometimes non-sensical
      – used unconnected scenes instead of a linear plot in the structure (influenced by the playwrights Georg Buchner and Frank Wedekind
      However I must mention that in Brecht’s epic theatre, emotions were removed from expressionism

      Erwin Piscator influenced Brecht in his semi-revolutionary theatre after world war one. He used themes that were against the government back then and turned them into skits and made songs, painted and drew posters. His goal was to re-educate and uplift the lower class/oppressed class. He used puppets, projections and screens and believe that art could not just be for art’s sake but should awaken social consciousness.

      Elizabethan theatre practises
      – a bare stage with the audience around it
      -A narrator and entertainment
      – personal issues and political being unravelled with changing scenes

      Oriental theatre practises
      – Verfremdung from chinese acting style
      -Dispassionate Noh Plays
      – revolving stage of Kabuki theatre from the Japanese

      I hope that helps 🙂

  8. I am student of theatre and performing Arts and I am happy for meet you because I have learnt a lots and I know brecht more better now. thank you sir

    1. Bella, it sometimes depends on the age of the students, whether they have had some introduction to Brecht already, and how academic the group in question is? Generally, I have found students enjoy using placards/signs, narration, song with a message. Other students get into Brecht and Epic Theatre by using conventions such as speaking stage directions out loud (though in reality, Brecht’s actors probably only did this as a rehearsal technique), and swapping characters mid-scene. More sophisticated and older students get in to Brecht’s political and social background (Marxist beliefs) and how this affected his theatre, by looking at his use of gestus. Other students enjoy using projection in their practical studies of Brecht. I have found over the years one just has to tailor it to your students at the time.

  9. Hi, thank you for the information. Is doubling (an actor plays 2 characters) a Brechtian technique? I doubt it but somebody told me it was so.Thank you.

      1. Thank you very much for your reply. There is any other place where you talk about it OR any other sources that I can check? thank you!

  10. Wow tanks alot for em write ups..i want to knw did he(Brecht) Talked about anything on using of multimedia on stage?pls i need to knw in detail or if u can refrence me to any work fine.tanks

    1. Migel, Brecht collaborated with fellow German theatre director Erwin Piscator on a well-known production of a work entitled The Good Soldier Schweik (1928) in which film projection was used on stage. It is believed that Brecht, in collaboration with Piscator, were two of the first directors to successfully use projection in the theatre. Whether this included sound as well, and therefore closer to “multimedia”, I do not know for sure. I believe the production used projection as scenery, cartoon film and real film (John Willett – scholar and author of books on Brecht). This information is a little tricky to find. Sorry my reply was late, but if still relevant I recommend searching books such as Brecht in Context, Brecht on Theatre, Brecht on Performance, Bertolt Brecht (Mumford) etc for more details, or searching .edu websites for web information through Google, plus utilising university libraries with academic resources on Brecht.

  11. A great resource that has helped me develop throughout the entire year. From my Solo performance to developing descriptive language for my Performance analysis, this resource has helped a lot.

    Thanks!

        1. Hi Kelly,

          Shorter episodes (scenes) in some of Brecht’s plays contained parables, often communicated to the spectator (audience) through the use of song. The intention was to distance/detach the spectator emotionally by driving home the intellectual message of the play (often a Marxist one) in these scenes. ‘Marginal’ detachment is probably more my own opinion as to the level of effect on the spectator. – Justin

  12. A fantastic resource, thank you for developing these pages. Expect a lot of hits from South Australia as I will be sharing this with my students as it is so clear and accessible.

  13. What is it called when a performance does a breif overview of the play at the start…ie…in a short movment piece.. and therefore leaves the audience to then watch how it all took place, knowing already what took place? Does the techniqu have a name?

  14. We should stop writing “alienation techniques” once for all. This is an outright wrong translation of Brecht’s term “Verfremdung”. “Verfremdung” does NOT have anything to do with “Entfremdung” (alienation). Not in the slightest. “Defamliarization” is the correct term. “Entfremdung” is a Marxist term that has nothing to do with theatre although one might be tempted to confuse these things because Brecht was a Marxist.