The writings of Brecht provide considerable insight into the nature of both the question of what is theatre; and also what is culture. They also explore how those questions are reflected in society.
The most conceptually abstract writing, "Short Description of a New Technique of Acting which Produces and Alienation Effect", afforded me a new argument of an idea that that I support, despite the obvious break with convention. That is the idea of the dropping the assumption of the fourth wall. Being both a student of solo performance and a lover of comedy, I find that involving the audience directly creates an experience with few parellels in live performance. Though I understand that this idea would not work with much theatre, it does provide a certain spontaniety to the performance that could otherwise be impossible.
The idea that I found questionable was Brechts' assumption that the image of the world created by a play "weakens the good instincts and strengthens the bad, it contradicts true experience and spreads misconceptions, in short it perverts our picture of the world." Brecht's example of the movie "Gunga Din" highlighting this theory by its' characterization of Indian people directly refutes that theory. Though I don't doubt that his idea is often true, he himself recognized the movies characterization was false and was quick to confirm it personally. I do understand that much of his writing was before these more culturaly sensitive and global times, when international racism and the struggle of classes was impossible to avoid; particularly for an exile such as himself.Posted by thom1456 at March 2, 2005 8:27 PM