David Gordon's Uncivil Wars
David Gordon's Uncivil Wars:
I was immediately taken back by the use of stage setting and lighting. At the very beginning, I was surprised by the headlining banner done in iconic film style, which works to set the tone for the nostalgia of the performance for the earlier film years. As a viewer, from the younger generation, I have no direct relationship to the McCarthy era, Brecht or Eissler, or the Cold War years in general, therefore, I appreciate incorporating the influences of not only the different variations of the creation of the performance itself but also includes the perspectives of the creators (the characters of Brecht and Eissler themselves). By incorporating the extra layer of insight, it allows the viewer to not only appreciate what may (or may not) have been intended but to further understand the function of certain devices applied within the performance.
A wonderful example is the incorporation of Brecht's philosophy regarding character. Bertolt Brecht, (according to the character who portrays him), portrays the belief that the best method actor's are comedians because they never allow themselves to fully become the characters they portray but instead maintain elements of reality. This method order to better relate to their audiences. I found this to be fascinating advice/artistic perspecitve because, in the past, I have always been led to believe that the best character actors were those that completely immersed themselves within the character identity.
The concept of creating a third awareness between character and actor as the performer is very powerful in conveying a narrative point or moral. This is because it allows the characters to be both at the will and whim of their environments, therefore reacting naturally as such, but also, enables the actor to bear upon the audience full knowledge and disclosure of intelligence, significance, as a perspective beyond time and space. The character within the performance can therefore be viewed not only as relavant to the performance but as an omnipotent informative device that is relative to the audience in real life. In short, it allows for the embodiment of the omnipotent and the innocent to converge at a single point in time, simultaneously creating within the viewer both perspectives. In example, the character of Brecht/Judge is able to oversee the entire performance as the outside creator Bertolt Brecht, while maintaining the character of the judge who partakes in the trials that occur. The character, as a judge appears to relate to the different cases naturally, but is further able to commit to the audience by offering insight and influence with regards to the overall intended direction of the performance. An example of this is exhibited when Brecht explains to the audience that s/he had once intended an entire series of such 'trials' in order to offer the public the oppurtunity to experience 'famous' trials. The embodiment of both characters allows the audience the choice to discontinue with the performance at it's close or to further their own understanding of the knowledge portrayed.
I greatly enjoyed this performance and would suggest it highly. I found it to maintain my attention well and to be informative in creative and unexpected ways.