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Brecht on Performance


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Table of Contents

General Introduction and Acknowledgements Part One - The Messingkauf, or Buying Brass Introduction to Buying Brass Preamble First Night (i) Setting the Scene (ii) Naturalism, Realism, Empathy (iii) Tragedy; Learning, Science, Marxism Second Night (i) Intoxication, Empathy, V-effect (ii) Acting, Performance (iii) Science, Social Class, Learning (iv) Elizabethan Theatre, Shakespeare (v) The Augsburger, Piscator Third Night (i) The Fourth Wall, Emotion; V-effect, Acting (ii) The Augsburger, Piscator, Weigel (iii) Social Science and Art (iv) 'Extreme Situations' Fourth Night (i) The Nature of Art (ii) Emotion, Critique, Representation (iii) The Augsburger (iv) Shakespeare (v) Finale Miscellaneous Texts (i) Illusionism, Realism, Naturalism; Social Function of Theatre; Empathy (ii) Acting (iii) Thaeter, Piscator, Neher Plans and Appendices (i) Plans (ii) Appendices Practice Pieces for Actors (i) Parallel Scenes The Murder in the Porter's Lodge (Parallel Scene to Shakespeare's Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 2) The Battle of the Fishwives (Parallel to Schiller's Maria Stuart, Act 3) (ii) Intercalary Scenes Ferry Scene (To be played between Scenes 3 and 4, Act 4 of Shakespeare's Hamlet) The Servants (To be played between Scenes 1 and 2, Act 2 of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet) (iii) Circular Poems Part Two - Modelbooks Introduction to the Modelbooks On Life of Galileo (1947/48) from Constructing a Role: Laughton's Galileo Foreword A Sequence from Scene One: Rotation of the Earth and Rotation of the Brain Background to the Performance On The Antigone of Sophocles (1947/48) from Antigone Model 1948 Foreword Ruth Berlau's Prefatory Note Prelude and Bridge to Scene One Neher's Second Design for the Antigone Stage On Mother Courage and Her Children (1949/50/51) from Courage Model 1949 Opening Remarks Notes and Scene-Photos for the Prologue, Scenes One and Two Details from Scene Three Variations in Berlin and Munich Concluding Texts from the Model: Scene Twelve From Theatre Work (1952) Some Remarks on My Discipline Bertolt Brecht's Stage Direction Phases of a Stage Direction Five Notes on Acting The Berliner Ensemble Models Theatre Photography Does Use of the Model Restrict Artistic Freedom How Erich Engel Uses the Model How the Director Brecht Uses His Own Model From the Correspondence of the Berliner Ensemble about the Model Creative Evaluation of Models From Katzgraben Notes 1953 Epic Theatre Rehearsal Methods Scenery Crises and Conflicts Politics in the Theatre III,2 Constructing a Hero Is Katzgraben a Proselytizing Play? The Verse Form Verfremdung II, 3 [Revelation and Justification] Empathy The New Farmer, the Medium Farmer, the Big Farmer What Are Our Actors Actually Doing? The Positive Hero Second Dress Rehearsal Criticism of Elli and Criticism of Elli 2 New Content - New Form Di Trevis: "Acting is Not Theoretical" Select Bibliography Index of Names and Key Terms

Promotional Information

The volume presents a selection of Brecht's principal writings for directors and theatre practitioners, including an entirely new commentated edition of Brecht's dialogues and essays about the practice of theatre, known as the Messingkauf, or Buying Brass, as well as rehearsal and production records from Brecht's work on productions of Life of Galileo, Antigone, Mother Courage and others.

About the Author

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) is acknowledged as one of the great dramatists whose plays, work with the Berliner Ensemble and writing have had a considerable influence on the theatre. His landmark plays include The Threepenny Opera and, while exiled from Germany and living in the USA, such masterpieces as The Life of Galileo, Mother Courage and The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Editors: Tom Kuhn is Professor of 20th century German Literature at St Hugh's College, University of Oxford, UK, and General Editor of Methuen Drama's Brecht publications. Steve Giles is Emeritus Professor of German Studies and Critical Theory at the University of Nottingham, UK. Marc Silberman is Professor of German at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, USA.


Brecht on Performance is a vital aid to English speakers in understanding Brecht as a theatre practitioner as well as what constitutes Brechtian performance. For the first time, a full edition of the unfinished Messingkauf - translated as Buying Brass - is available in English. [This book] will allow Anglophone scholars and performance practitioners to revisit Brecht's influence as a writer, theoretician, and theatre maker specifically, but also - more generally - the relationship between political thought and aesthetics, and between the theory and the practice of making art. * TDR: The Drama Review *
These two volumes represent an excellent extension of Brecht's writings in English. The editors draw on contemporary scholarship, apply high editorial standards, and offer a readability that opens up Brecht's theories and practices for a new generation. -- David Barnett * New Theatre Quarterly *

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