• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Modernism.Political Theatre, like the rest of Modernism posed a number of experimental, and often controversial ideas. The two main forerunners of Political Theatre were Germans, Erwin Piscator and Bertolt Brecht.

Extracts from this document...


Modernism came about due to a change in international thinking, with the likes of Darwin's evolution theory and the publication of Karl Marx's ' The Communist Manifesto' (1848). People wanted a clean break with tradition, presented through the arts as Romanticism and realism. Consequently, Modernism - an artistic experiment and immensely complex movement - encompassed the majority of the countries in the Western World, after figures in the 'avant-garde' of the movement, such as Zola and Nietzsche, spread out from the bohemian cities of Paris and Vienna, where Modernism stemmed from. Modernism is an Umbrella term, "an overwhelmingly complex phenomenon"1, including Naturalism, Symbolism and Theatre of the Absurd among others. It also began throughout the world at different times forming a number of different strands, such as Germanic and Anglo-American Modernism. It is for this reason that the movement is so difficult to pin down to one era. According to Bradbury and McFarlane, it began in 1880 and ended in the 1930's. However, among other critics, I propose that the period stretches further, much closer to the present day, where we are currently in the period of Post-Modernism. It is certain that Modernism began in the 1880's, making a swift transition from Romanticism. It was concerned with a negative consciousness, alienating the audience and creating a sense of disorder. ...read more.


It has been suggested that Piscator's Epic theatre was a fusion of these two elements. However, his theatre is not Naturalism. He uses aspects of previous forms, fitting them into Political Theatre. He is more sympathetic towards Naturalism because it shows 'real' people on stage, but claims the problems is that "...cries of exasperation stand where we should hear answers" 3, this being the difference. However, where Piscator scattered the pieces, Brecht was the one to pick them up and create the jigsaw. Brecht drew his own ideas from Piscator's, simplifying and customising them. Piscator wanted to create a new form of theatre, one that engulfed the social struggle, where the Proletariat take power from the ruling class, another link with Marxist Russia during World War I (1917). He wanted his audience, preferably the working class, to take a stand as a result of his theatre. Piscator once said " ...More than ever the theatre must nail its flag fanatically to the mast of politics: the politics of the proletariat... Theatre is action, the action of the proletariat"4 His theatre aimed to depict reality as truthfully and authentically as possible, providing a documentary style reality to the drama. This had repercussions on future Art, because this idea formed the basis for Documentary Theatre. ...read more.


However, after doing this, Weigel turned to the audience, opening her mouth in a 'silent scream'. This reminded the audience they were spectators at the theatre, another of Brecht's aims, but also had more affect on the audience than any real scream could have. It is for this reason that 'Mother Courage' was both a success and ineffectual for Brecht. Audiences always felt some emotion towards Courage, yet the play was well received. Brecht included a number of songs in his play, and the actors would 'step out' of character to perform these, adding to the Verfremdungseffekt. He wanted the music and text to juxtapose one another, such as when Yvette teaches Kattrin about love in the 'Fraternization Song'. Political Theatre played a key role in the development of Modernism as a whole, Brecht being the most influential character, but was also fundamental in the development of theatre. Remains of Political Theatre can be seen across the Arts today, and the sub-movement has been continued by such political writers as Edward Bond who said that theatre helps us to understand political views, complimenting the work of Brecht and Piscator. Despite being experimental and controversial, Political Theatre is now regarded with great respect and well received. Therefore, Brecht's ingenious but contentious ideology came true for him, and the development of Modern Theatre: Don't start from the good old things, but the bad new ones. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Theatre Studies section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Theatre Studies essays

  1. Performing Arts A2 - Unit 4 - Report Secion (1 Specialism)

    These courses are usually 3 years and are all fully funded by the individual and there is limited funding.

  2. What is Epic theatre?

    * This play does not fulfil the criteria of epic theatre in that it is not removed from the actual situation and setting the audience find themselves in. i.e. it is not a metaphor like Threepenny Opera. It is set in Nazi Germany, and is one of the few if

  1. Samuel Becketts Endgame has several connections with Brechts meaning of alienation. Brecht alienation idea ...

    In other words, he wants the audience to puzzle each word together and to think what the next move is going to be. For the audience to give their own interpretation, he gives vague and minimum details. He wants his audience to come away with conclusions and answers and be forced away from the easy plot.

  2. Sports Development

    It is now a celebration of dance with a reputation for excellence. Job Description Dance N I placed me as an Outreach assistant's role. Within this role I had unique insights with the organisation and took my lead from the Project Manager Jane Moore.

  1. Evaluation of Live Theatre Performance, Case-Study: 'Bouncers' by John Godber.

    When the four actors were playing bouncers, the shape projected on the background screen was blue, when they were playing the young men, the shape was green, and when they were playing women it was pink. The colours were carefully chosen to be symbolic of the groups of characters they

  2. Live Theatre Review - The actors and director of The "Woman In Black" had ...

    We were really involved. The actor also used a torch in the audience, whilst the whole room was black. The light was shone all around the audience, kind of like a spotlight. This whole moment, reminds me of childhood and being scared of the dark.

  1. How does the staging of the original production of Equus illustrate the play’s themes?

    The fact they are not real also shows that Equus the god is a fantasy of Alan and it all comes from Alan's head. "Throughout the play the chorus sitting on the benches often make the 'Equus noise'. The noise is composed of stamping of people's feet, humming or thumping".

  2. Greek theatre

    We presented each writer giving information about their early life and why are they considered to be famous Greek playwrights. In our third lesson we were given the task of creating of creating a piece of Greek theatre using the traditional conventions of Greek theatre.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work