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Brecht lecture Autobiographical Augsburg 1898 East Berlin 1956 Middle class Nazi black list-books burned-wife was Jewish Exile from 1933-1949 Created the Berliner Ensemble Theater in Berlin What are some of the differences between Mother Courage and some of the other plays we’ve read? Aristotelian Theatre Unities Emotional catharsis- an audience identifies with the hero and feels what the characters feel=to evoke emotion Naturalism/ Realism –suspension of disbelief Theatrical Illusion-suspension of disbelief Is there a problem with this ideal of suspension of disbelief and emotional catharsis? If you’re suspending disbelief you are accepting that what is being presented is a mirror of reality, but in reality it’s is still a perception of reality. The audience is not thinking for themselves, but is chained to the vision of the creators of the illusion. If an audience is losing themselves in the action of the play, how does Theatre as art, create change. Epic Theatre Episodic plot structure-little cause and effect between scenes, Setting the stage- bare stage, sometimes showing the backstage area or the light grid Using technology having screens and text shown, commentary, a screen showing what will happen in the next scene, anything to avoid being lulled into that suspension of disbelief Historification- relating historical times to modern times, often he would do this by showing films and written text on screens above and to the sides of the stage Acting Style-actor must be separate from the character, the actor must not relate to the character at all, but remain oneself, distant from the lines they are saying—Weigel who played Mother Courage played her as angry throughout most of the play, but it is not Mother Courage who is angry, But Helene Weigel who is angry at the character of Mother Courage Song-repeatedly inserted song to disrupt action and often had musicians on stage with the actors Alienation Effect The goal for the audience is to never forget that they are seeing a play The audience see the machinations or the production of the play and are a part of that production Audience does not have emotional catharsis but a critical detachment Reason and judgement of what is happening is Brecht’t goal Provoke the audience into not only thinking about the play, but into reforming society by challenging common ideology Theatre as a vehicle of change- This is horrible, but it doesn’t have to be this way. We can change this, you can’t achieve this with realism, if what you are being presented is supposed to be reality and truth then how can it be changed. It is inevitable. Is Mother Courage a hero? Each time her children are killed she is busy haggling. She produces nothing, but just buys it cheap from the poor and sells it to a higher price-capitalism. Swiss Cheese-She refuses to give the 200 when it means she will lose her wagon. Kattrin- she refuses to leave her, because of the wagon Page 361- “I know you you’ll get five guilders for him.” Equating money to her children. Their worth is measured in money. She loses Eilif, because she is engaged in a transaction with the sergeant. Brecht changed this from the original where they just take Eilif. To make Mother Courage more culpable in the loss of her own children. In the opening scene she predicts the fate of each of her children. She wants to live off the war, but not let her son fight. Eilif is awarded for killing peasants and stealing their meat. Awarded for his cunning and his shrewdness. She scolds him for his bravery. Page 369 she likes the idea that more countries are involved so that she can make more money. 370 Elief sends a message. Her response is..”What does he want I have no money to spare.” Then Mother Courage comment about making war for profit. When Eilif is taken she is haggling. When Swiss Cheese dies it is because she is haggling. Pg 379 she haggles and her son is killed and then she refuses to identify him three times. Swiss Cheese. Page 389. From God Damn the War to don’t run down the war. It’s good when it’s profitable. Page 392 He hath need of a long spoon that eateth with the devil. Page 394 Eilif returns Page 395 heaven be praised they’re shooting at each other. Page 396 the war is hungry so enlist 399-400 it’s the wagon the center of their economy, capitalism 405 Mother Courage’s last line I’ve got to get back in business. In the play, how is war put into a simple economic equation. Profit subtracted from the cost. What is the cost of war? Why would Brecht use motherhood? A sacred institution Hegel’s Dialectic-Marxist analysis of history A miniscule depiction of Capitalism in the family. The relation of Mother to her Chidlren is like the relationship of worker to owner in Capitalism- the worker sells his or her labor to buy goods that were manufactured by his or her labor. Mother Courage doesn’t make anything, but just buys things and then sells them at a higher price. Why the 30-year War? Written months after Hitler invaded Poland on the eve of World War II Page 371 Polish Hypocritical bring freedom through force. Give them freedom by putting them on the rack. German Civil war almost Started out about religion, then became about land when other European countries became involved. Nationalism/Patrriotism as a type of religion What kills her children? Too intelligent for his own good. Too honest for his own good Too good-natured What about religion in the war? How is it depicted? It is used as a way to whip the soldiers into a frenzy and let them think that dieing for their king is a noble thing. Religion is a social structure that is used to push the war. Why does Mother Courage lament the loss of her children? They are cattle They are to work for her Does Brecht achieve his goal of estrangement in the play? Did you feel for Mother Courage? Is this play relevant today? Then why is it that Brecht is so seldom produced? Escapist theatre.