Theatre History

Erwin Piscator 0

Erwin Piscator Biography

Erwin Piscator was born Erwin Friedrich Maximillian Piscator on 17 December 1893 in the German state of Prussia. Like Brecht, Piscator studied at Munich University. He began acting for the theatre in 1914, but was soon drafted to the front line during World War I.  After the war, Piscator staged...

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Bertolt Brecht’s Epic Theory

Verfremdung “Verfremdung”, pronounced “fair-frem-doong”, is a German word used by Bertolt Brecht that lies at the very heart of his theories on epic theatre. In practice he called it “verfremdungseffekt”. The term has variously been translated as “alienation effect”, “distancing effect” and “estrangement effect”. For decades, “alienation effect” was the...

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The Beginnings of Epic Theatre in Germany

Epic theatre was first practiced by Erwin Piscator (1893-1966) and Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) in Berlin in the 1920s. Although Brecht would soon claim the notion of an “epic theatre” as his own idea, there is evidence the term was previously being used in debates in avant-garde circles before this. Epic...

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Bertolt Brecht Biography

The first in a series of articles on epic theatre explores the man synonymous with the form, Bertolt Brecht. Bertolt Brecht was born Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht on 10 February 1898 in Augsburg, Germany, to middle class parents. As a young man he studied medicine and served in an army...