Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic - 1947-1948 (Zurich) Summary & Analysis

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1947-1948 (Zurich) Summary and Analysis

A Short Organum for the Theatre - In his prologue, Brecht comments that both the creators and the critics of the new (epic) theatre saw it as a rejection of theatre's entertainment value in favor of its potential for instruction. The prologue ends with his decision to do the opposite.

The essay itself consists of a series of seventy-six one-paragraph arguments, some longer than others, in which Brecht systematically analyzes the state of the theatre. He begins by referring it to as nothing more or less than pleasurable entertainment, and discussing it in terms of its relationship to the evolving scientific age. In analyzing how it can best fulfill that relationship, he develops his theories of gest and the Alienation Effect, discussing general ways in which actors of the epic theatre employ both in their performance. He also discusses...

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