Brecht’s Influence The very fact that there is a “Brechtian Theatre” style shows what an impact he had and

how different from other playwrights at the time he was. Socialist theatre that couldn’t help but make the audience ask questions of themselves, the playwright and most importantly their politicians was a fairly new phenomenon. For example the original staging of Mother Courage ends with Mother Courage, having lost everything because of war as well as her own greed, pulling her cart behind her trudging round and round in circles leaving the audience asking “will this ever end”. Brecht’s determination to create a specific reaction from audiences led to him making changes after Mother Courage’s first performance as he felt that the audience was being too sympathetic towards Mother Courage’s character. The most memorable and important moment in Mother Courage is the silent scream before the corpse of Swiss Cheese is brought on when the stage directions tell us “it grows dark, it grows light again, Mother Courage is in the same position”. Here Mother Courage is literally immobilized by grief and as her character becomes increasing dehumanised Brecht is making the point that in war you can’t be human. Brecht’s Influence on Film One can see Brechtian devices alive and well in contemporary Hollywood. Scorsese's mixing violence with love songs, Tarantino's use of an episodic story telling in his innovative editing of scenes in Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction have set an example for other Hollywood directors and thus commercial film-making to follow. Indeed, most recently one can see such Brechtian devices as to-audience addresses in Fight Club where Tyler Durden explains projectionist film changeovers, and in American Beauty where Sam Mendes incorporates a two-minute explanation of the beauty of a plastic bag blowing in the wind. A further break from simulated reality may be seen in the considerable interest in feature length animated films like Toy Story, A Bugs Life) and Antz. That all of these come with their scathing political undertones seems to be heartening.

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