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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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Public Domain Plays Explained

Drama and theatre teachers often find the confusing nature of copyright expiration a minefield to deal with. Under what circumstances can I copy the entire script of a well-known play for my students without breaching copyright? If I found the script on the Internet, does that automatically mean it is...

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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...