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What is Epic theatre?

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Introduction

What is Epic theatre? Brecht wrote his plays at a time when theatre was very much for the upper classes and those who could afford it. As Brecht was a communist he believed in equality of humanity and so decided to write plays that attacked the conventional 3 act plays about upper class people and their "jolly" lives. Brecht invented "Epic Theatre." This is a type of theatre that encompasses many elements in strong contrasts to the conventional theatre that was around at that time. Epic theatre is: * Anti naturalistic - This means that a play is not conventional in its style of acting or in its structure. In terms of acting, it refers to a style that does not bare resemblance to the behaviour of every day people. With regards to structure, it means a play does not follow the conventional 3 act rule or does not follow a chronological order. ...read more.

Middle

* This also depends on how the director chooses to show the play. If it is decided that the actors are to use gestus then the play will be very anti-naturalistic and therefore epic. * However, if the director wants the play to be acted in a realistic style, then the play will be naturalistic and therefore not epic. * Even if the play is done in a realistic style, there will still be the aspect of epic theatre within the titles and the poems. The poems will require actors to use alienation (Verfrumdenseffekt) which is a very anti naturalistic technique. It requires actors to step out of their characters and talk directly to the audience. * The key theme in this play is looking at a series of different people from different backgrounds and from different classes and how they cope with the everyday life of the Nazi regime. ...read more.

Conclusion

In other words, a play that in forms and educates the audience about a topic, in this case of a political basis. Fear and misery is considered very much a Lehrstuck as it teaches the audience about a great number of things. Firstly, on a basic level, it teaches people about life in Nazi Germany. When performed at the time it was written, it informed people outside of Germany what life was like, and also provided hope for those living in Germany. Today, it has become an important document which provides educational material for those learning about the holocaust and the Second World War It teaches people that every aspect of German society was affected by the Nazi regime, and also personalises the effect of this. This is important as it is easy to distance yourself from the reality of the holocaust by only looking at statistics. Audiences are also implicitly educated about Brecht's communist views. Although the information is explicitly anti-Nazi, the persuasion to support communism is expertly subtle, to the extent that an audience member may be oblivious to it. ...read more.

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