ďArt is never without consequences, and indeed that says something for it.Ē
Along with working on your revision for your text analysis, youíll be reading in preparation for our discussion on the theatre practitioner who has perhaps had the most influence on 20th-century thinking about theatreís possibilities, Bertolt Brecht. His work as a director, playwright, theatre-viewer, and careful theorist of his own work all funneled toward a radical rethinking of theatreís previous priorities, one that saw an audienceís empathetic connection with a character or performance as deceptive and troubling. He borrowed a large number of techniques (and texts!) from Chinese and Japanese theatre forms in an attempt to rework and challenge Western tradition. The play youíre reading for this week is a revised parable. Iíd like you to read a few selections from Brechtís theoretical work as well, because he provides a great model for being very specific about how his abstract ideas and goals about theatreís social function ought to translate to stage performance.
If you are able, meet together with others to read Brechtís play aloud. In your blog, discuss one element of Brechtís work (drawn either from his theoretical writing or from his play) that is refreshing or stimulating to you, and one element that is difficult or troubling for you. Accomplish this before lecture on Tuesday, and then spend Tuesday and Wednesday responding to the blog entries of THREE of the other members of your group. Can you help calm another personís troubles, or answer a question? Can you upset someoneís surety with a question? Weíll begin class next week with your interest and difficulty, and then weíll try to stage some of Brechtís concerns by determining a mode of developing characters through his ideas.
Readings for this week:
Brechtís He Who Says Yes/He Who Says No (reader)
Zenchikuís Teniko (reader)
Excerpts from Brecht on Theatre (handout)
Chart on the back of this page comparing dramatic and epic theatre