On the Experimental Theatre Author(s): Bertolt Brecht and Carl Richard Mueller Source: The Tulane Drama Review

, Vol. 6, No. 1 (Sep., 1961), pp. 2-17 Published by: The MIT Press Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1125000 . Accessed: 25/02/2014 21:34
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would-beshowplacesinto stages: he performed Everymanand Faust in public places. He is a fugitive. era is by no means at an end. stage-being. and in theSovietUnion an atof the Winter Palace with the temptwas made to repeat the storming use of the battleshipAurora. Reinhardt. Open-air theatres saw productions of A MidsummerNights'Dream in themidstof a forest. Vachtangov and Meyerhold drew certain dancelike forms from the Asiatic theatre and created a complete choreography for the drama. Vachtangov. His escape can be here or elsewhere.It must lure him with its spell out of his noisy The theatremust deal with a spectatorwho is tired. and vexed with social frictions of all sorts. can.He has fledhis own small world.exenvironment. The barriersbetweenstage and spectator 3 This content downloaded from 202. In a world as fast-moving and dynamicas ours the enticements of entertainment are quick to wear out. taining. clearlydiscernibleresults. It is myopinion that the experiments followed two separate courses.102. occasions continuously new struggles. Gordon and Piscator. cover thattheyquite remarkably of expression enlargedthe possibilities in the theatre. and of the theatrein general with the cinema.Jessner. that is to say. but he is a customeras well.he sits here a fugitive. 25 Feb 2014 21:34:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .we disCraig.125. and Reinhardttransformed Meyerhold natural. In order public stupefaction to distractits already distractedspectatorsthe theatremust first of all make him concentrate. Meyerhold. Its capacityto entertain has grownunquestioningly.which. The art of ensembleplayinghas createdan uncommonly sensitive and elastic A social milieu may be depicted in its most subtle detail.33 on Tue. the theatre organized experiments which were to increase its powersof enterand experiments whichwere to increaseits powersof instruction.Stanilavski.Brahm. These two courses of fromone anotherby means of theirindidevelopmentare distinguished vidual functions:entertainment and instruction.thoughtheyoccasionallyintersected. when separated. struggles In reviewing the experiments of Antoine. realizeda radical Constructivism.The competitionof one formof theatrewith another form. have but the not as yet produced any unequivocal. hausted with his rationalizedday labor. be individually pursued.On The Experimental Theatre By BERTOLT BRECHT For at least two generations now the serious-minded European theatre The diverseexperiments has existedin an era of experimentation. We mustalwaysbe prepared to meet the desire forprogressive with new effects. which will alwaysexist anew.

33 on Tue.) This content downloaded from 202. (Sketchby Edith Schloss.102.125./ f q *81 BertoltBrechtin New York about 1942. 25 Feb 2014 21:34:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .

One is rilege to Shakespearethan the conventional of a costume-play. A covered.At Reinhardt'sproductionof Danton's Death in the Grosses Schauspielhaus actors sat in the auditorium. as have the experimentalresultsof other institutions.and lightingwas dismade possible illuminationon a large scale. It This content downloaded from 202.and Jessner. The directionof crowds was perfectedby Stanislavski. however.They have in powers of entertaining They are.102. The reflector board complete light permittedus to conjure up the atmosphereof a of theatre Rembrandtpainting. alwayskept withinthe framework One can generallysay that the experiments to improvethe theatre's have not been lacking in results.Far-reaching experiments the ancient classical repertoire. We mightjust as easily in the history of medicine name certainlighting effects Reinhardtian.as you can see.33 on Tue.is not the case with our modern stage technology. As far as the art of the theatrewas concerned. even the most worthlessare scarcelyever completelyworthless. We have extractedso manyfaces fromthe clasWe have lived sical authorsthat theyhave scarcelyany more in reserve. 25 Feb 2014 21:34:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .and in Moscow on the stage. As far as Hamlet in dinnerjacket is concerned.This is one of thereasonswhytechnological progress while not been so greatas it mightbe. and pantomime. it is scarcely any moreof a sacHamlet in silk tights. Reinhardtutilized the "flower Ochlopkov seated spectators the techway" of theChinese theatreand borrowedfromthe circus-arena nique of playingin the midstof the audience.125.There and thereis a new way of manare new methodsof using the projector. aging sound.theyhave neveryet been put into A general usage.as in the history we have named a certain heart operation afterTrendelenburg. In fact.by no means at an end.There were experiments were undertaken with kins. to see Hamlet in dinner jacket and Caesar in uniform. ing stages and domed cycloramaswere invented.4 The Tulane Drama Review were demolished.Forgery in art is considereda dishas fora long grace.and at least have profited dinner jackets and uniforms by it and won theirway to respectability.Time and again Shakespeare was refashionedand changed.busthe theatrewere demolished. The theatrein generalhas not for a long while been broughtup to the standardsof moderntechnology.Reinhardt.and the latter Revolvwon a thirddimensionforthe stage withhis stairconstructions. The artistis continuously hinderedby an evident reticencein taking over unbiasedly the experimentalresults of anotherartistand improving on them. Experiments. are very unequal in their and themostnoteworthy are not alwaysthemostvaluable. new medical operationperformed in New York can withina veryshort time be performed in Tokyo. though worth. That. howpaiticular led to the developmentof theatremachinery. ever.the boundaries between the cabaret and the theatreand between the revue and with masks.

Consequentlythe experiments of plot and provinceof the drama led to an almostcompletedestruction the image of man in the theatre. do we lament thoughoftenwithratherdubious arguments.hy(the emancipationof women.The intrinsic in the galitieswere not made perceptible. It was more or less. whichaesthetics have bestowed on the theatre: instruction? Here.as a consequence of the many diverse kinds of experiments. a parable typeof drama whichis destructive of ideologies. as the objections pointed out. the et cetera. and naturalistic acting is done within fanciful scenic designs. and which. a mere social lesymptomof the superficialcharacterof society. The parlance of the marketsis made rhythmical. the prostitution of artistic tasteand the bluntingof the stylistic sense.the administration giene. In fact. it is meant to be natural but is only accidental.perhaps.' We have the social-critical drama of environment fromIbsen to Nordahl Grieg. we find experiments and the results of experiments. developed by such poets as Auden and Kjeld Abell.It is meant to be individual but is only arbitrary. a virtual Babylonian confusionof styles.contain elements of the revue.and we have original dramaticforms.thereprevailsover our theatretoday.the second function.witha microphoneand withtheinstallation ing mechanism of a fewautomobilelightreflectors.33 on Tue. actors perform with utterly dissimilartechniques. At timesthe theatredid well in endowingsocial movements of justice. Kaiser. and the next This content downloaded from 202. Tolstoy. It is an importantexperimentwhich reshapes the problemsof our time into theatricalterms.Chekhov. 25 Feb 2014 21:34:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . iambics are spoken as theywere common speech. It is only recently that this or thatactor in New York is becominginterested in the methodsof the Stanislavskischool.Still it cannot be secretedthat the insights whichthetheatre into thesocial stituation werenot particularly permitted profound. in theprovince Even theexperiments of acting techniquesare seldom made use of. perhaps. too. and O'Neill is an experimentaldrama. Shaw. Hauptmann.by my ThreepennyOpera.125. Not unjustly.102.BERTOLT BRECHT 5 amuses itselfwith the generallyawkwardutilizationof a primitive turnforthestage. What are we to say of the other. in one and the same play.The theatreby placing itselfin the serviceof social reform suffered the loss of manyof its artisticefficacies. seen from a purely technical standpoint. Strindberg. modern actor findshimselfjust as helpless when faced with the techniques of movement.the movementfor the emancipation of the proletariat)withdefinite impulses. in fact.The drama of Ibsen. et cetera. even.and the Symbolist drama fromStrindberg to PairLagerkvist. We have a drama typified. The techniques of speech have fallen into a lamentable state. Gorky. One and the same actor utilizes an action which is suitable for the circus-arena. On one and the same stage.

as in the marchof the good soldierSchweikto the wars.nor can one say that theyhave cost him nothing.102. the Revolution. It was a question. a totallyunfaircompetition between all possible and impossible effects! One certainlycannot say thatsuccesseshave been lacking. and grassgrowsover all. You undoubtedlyknow of some of them. however.et cetera. then.we want to confineourselvesto pursuingthe developmentof the turningpoint of the theatrein the provinceof aesthetics.the War.33 on Tue. It seemed necessary It is impossiblefor me to enumeratehere all the inventionsand innovations which Piscator utilized togetherwith virtuallyall of the newer technologicaladvances in orderto bringto the stage important modern subjects.race probto rebuild the theatrecompletely. of lightingthe stagehave been all but forgotten. The most radical attemptto endow the theatrewith an instructive characterwas undertakenby Piscator. the public a legistlative body.The increase of the political powers of learningcollided with the approaching political reaction.Hithertotheseinventionshave not been adopted by the international theirmanners theatre.appeared at theirmostprominent:thus the increaseof the powersof entertainment along with the developmentof the techniquesof stage illusion. and the increaseof the powersof instruction along with the fall of artistictaste. To thisparliamentwas presented in plastic terms important.125.and the conveyorbelt which enplayer. of masteringthe importantcontemporary subjects for the stage: the struggle forpetroleum.Let us have the orchestra.justice.I took part in each of his experiments. For Piscator the theatre was a parliament.and therewas none of themwhich did not have as its objective the heightening of the stage's powersof instruction.positiveas well as negative. The experiments of Piscatorcaused.If the stagewas transformed into a machineshop. theirutterly ingenious is rusted.such as the use of which transformed the rigid backdrop of the stage into a new cofilm. Today.It is in thisphase that all the manifestations of the importantprocess. 25 Feb 2014 21:34:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . I come now to thatphase of the experimentaltheatrein whichall the hitherto describedefforts achievedtheir standardand withit their highest various turning-points or crises. completechaos in the theatre.analogous abled the stage floorto move so that epic scenes could roll past. then the auditoriumwas transformed into an assemblyhall. a clearance sale of all the styles of all the ages. machinery Why is it? It is necessary in order to discontinuethis eminent political theatre to reveal its political origins. to the Greek chorus.decision-demanding. above all. public af- This content downloaded from 202. lems.6 The Tulane Drama Review momenta piece of mimewhichis discernibleonly fromthe first rows of and at that only with a pair of opera glasses.

even in regardto tragic subjects.125. definedthe theatreas a place of entertainment and instruction.had something to When the German Kaiser filed a protest say to the parliament-public. A whole staff workedtogether on the play. All means were to achieve thisend.102. it desireddiscussioneven more.seemed to Diderot to be quite emptyand discreditable when it failed to add to the knowledge of the spectator.Piscator'sstage manager had in frontof him a promptbook which was as different fromthe promptbook of Reinhardt'sstagemanageras the orchestral scoreof a Stravinsky opera is from the manuscriptof a lute singer. worthabout it. and which possesseda documentary. The preparationof the of productionaccorded with the preparationof the play. and statisticians. The revolutionary foundedby thosegreatenlightbourgeoisaesthetic. The machineryon the stage was so to supportthestagefloor of theNollendorf heavythatit becamenecessary Theater withiron and cementstruts. economists.the styleof production.In place of an address by a memberof parliamentconcerningcertain untenable social conditionsthereappeared an artisticreproduction of the situation.but in addition to wrestfrom provide its spectators them a practical resolve to take an active hold on life. 25 Feb 2014 21:34:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and slogansshownon thestage.While Piscator'stheatre statistics did not waive applause. to come to political decisionson the basis of the illustrations. The Age of Enlightenment. Pure amusement. that Piscator intended to personify him on the throughfive attorneys the Kaiserhimstagebymeans of an actorPiscatormerelyasked whether self would like to make an appearance. recognized entertainment and instruction. The technicalaspectsof the theatrebecame justified inordinatelycomplicated. and theirworkwas aided and playwrights controlledby a staff of experts.The theatre had the ambitionto prepareits parliament. They took hold of and changed the creativeprocessof the playwright. In short:the objectivewas of such significance and importancethat all means seemed justified. the public. The experiments of Piscatorwere the source of virtuallyall conventions.It did not wantmerely to with an experience.and the work of the theatrearchitect.and elements of in- This content downloaded from 202. And welcome certifying the cartoonwhen the artist. eners. Aestheticaspectswere completely subordinated in the political theatre. Altogetherthey strove for a completelynew social function for the theatre.BERTOLT BRECHT 7 fairs. forexample George Gross.historians.Away with painted sets when one could show a filmwhich was shot at the veryplace of the action. one mightsay that Piscatorofferedhim an engagement. which ushered in a no oppositionbetween powerful upsurgeof European theatre.33 on Tue. so much machinery was hung from the dome that it once collapsed.Diderot and Lessing.

new This content downloaded from 202.theythwarted theyinterrupted sympathetic understanding. showed itselfin no position to interpret the world as an shriveled object of human usage. substance. partsof the ThreepennyOpera and its didactic songs are to some extent entertaining. But even if we consideronly thatone part of the public that is in political agreement. The artistictreat is subject to political attitude.102. In Piscator'sproductions theactorand thestagemachinery open hostility. have come more and more into sharp conflict. Expressionism. in open hostility. had doubtlessparalyzedsignificant aestheticforces. installed. minds.with its "intellectualization it withsocial bearing. we are able to see how the conflict betweenthe powersof entertainment and the powersof instruction becomescritical. strangely the offshattered. it is a political fact.just as the philosophicalMachismuswas philosophy's answerto it.The enjoymentof learningis subject to social position. It was the theatre'sanswer to the great social crisis. and instrucentertainment tion. of the arts. naturallyin artisticforms. It was a revoltof art against life. theydid not result organicallyfromthe whole.125. theystood in opposition to the whole. and the world existed for it only as vision. stood together We perceive fromthe fact that throughentertainment the public is split into at least two hostilesocial camps. theywere cold showersfor those who wanted I hope thatthe moralizing to sympathize. the flowof the play and its events. the aestheticsense. The instructional elements of a Piscatorproductionor of a production like my ThreepennyOpera were. thatof fantasy.It is a quite definite. of that amusementwas given more after this it was aspect amusement.8 The Tulane Drama Review seemed in no way to disturb the struction. 25 Feb 2014 21:34:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . If we observe the theatreof our time we shall findthat the two constituentelementsof drama and the theatre. so that it can be challenged and become accepted. but surelythere can be no doubt thatthisentertainment is different fromthatwhichone experiences fromthe scenes of the play proper.so that the commonart experience falls to pieces. The Expressionism of the post-war era had describedthe world as will and representation and brought a characteristic solipsism. The characterof this instructionand entertainment stand togetherin play is two-pronged. particularly The instructive elementsplainlyharmedthe artistic elements.and the genuinelypoetic.33 on Tue.This opposition existstoday. The theatre'spowers of instruction away.so to speak." which provided Naturalism. which greatlyenriched the spring of frightened theatre's means of expressionand broughtabout a hitherto unexploited aestheticgain.

old kind of self-entertainment. A technical apparatus and a styleof productionwas developed which were able to produce illusion ratherthan practicality.a new sphere of problems. Of what profit was a Constructivist stage when it was not sociallyconwhat profit was therein the finest structive. (Bad actors were often interested in utilizingthe instructional aspect of the theatre.BERTOLT BRECHT 9 kind of learningwhich cannot reconcileitselfto a definite. the effect upon the nervous which is the result of emotional threatened system. broughtabout in almost all civilizedcountries.") In reverseorder. lightingplant when it illuminated false and childishrepresentations of the world. learning.and what profit was therein a Suggestivist art of the theatrewhen it servedonly to convince us that an X was a U? Of what use was the whole box of magic trickswhen it could only offer us artificial substitutes for actual experiences?What purpose was therein this constantilluminationof problems which always remained unresolved?Was all this meant to gratify not only the nervesbut the understanding as well? One could not possiblyhave ended here. and deception ratherthan enlightenment. it's an adult education class. entertainmentand instruction. This content downloaded from 202.102. The developmentpressedfora fusionof the two functions. brought public to whereit agreed. ("This isn't theatreany more. just thatmuch less was it capable of seeing the ins and outs of thematter. to develop models of the social life of human beings. intoxicationrather than elevation. 25 Feb 2014 21:34:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . The crisiswas this: the experiments of half a century. thatmuchlessdid it learn.33 on Tue. had won forthe theatrean utterly new made it a facrange of subjects. But theyhad broughtthe theatreto the place where any further social developmentof the verdict-finding.consistently the performance's powers of instruction. acting. In one of the (later) phases of the experiments every new increase in the powersof instruction led to an immediatedecrease in the powers of entertainment.and the more there was to learn. however.125. If theseendeavorsare to attain a social consciousness then theymust finallyprepare the theatre to develop a view of life throughartistic means.On the other side.and thereby tor of eminent social significance.just thatmuch less was the artistictreatbroughtto realization.in order to his social surroundings and to help him help the spectatorto understand controlthemrationallyand emotionally.experienced. the artistic (political) experiencemustnecessarily destroy experience.the artisticexperience always came about less oftenwithoutthe further developmentof the verdict-finding experience.sympathized.)In otherwords: the more the public was emotionallyaffected the less capable it was of That the more we the is.

cal power. he cannot control theworld.102. theworld ofhumanbeings. his inaccurate.Man today. people in different lands murder one another at irregular living periodic so that all whoponder thefuture intervals. This comes from the fact that theintelligence andcharacter ofthe masses This content downloaded from 202. must livein fear. notyet.inexact. ineffective. a knowledge without ofthenature ofman. The physicists thata new. It willfarsooner become a source ofunhappiness. ThankGod replied: forthatl I firmly believethat mankind is notyetmature to take enough of sucha source of energyl It was clearthathe had onlythe possession warindustries in mind. threat so thattoday invention nearly every is received a cry with of triumph which soonturns intoa cry offear.As a socialbeinghis general but these emotional reaction is emotional.33 on Tue. we also use thatpower to free mankind from all labor. The sources of his emotions and are justas bogged as thesources of his knowlpassions up and polluted in a rapidly world and himself edge. so greatly and so ingeniously increased and exis incapable. living changing rapidly with himand on the lacksan image of theworld which changing. and contradictory.The physicist Albert Einstein does notgo quite so far.tremendous source of energy reported had been discovered. buthe goesfarenough. sphere. 25 Feb 2014 21:34:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . and. in itstotality. he received theanswer: In a toneofgreat relief theInterviewer No. reactions are vague. basisofwhich His conceptions of the sociallifeof humanbeings are false. Ourtime is a mine ofinventive intellects whose inventions could Wecross the seasbymeans easeourlives ofmechaniconsiderably.human panded. withhis imageof imageis whatone might theworld.125. of chinery the natureof things. We havelearned to fly and are able by fatiguing physical meansof electric wavesto disseminate newsand information theentire world. ofmaking this a source control ofnature ofhappisociety nessformankind.10 The Tulane Drama Review Man today which control knows little aboutthelegalities his life. He does notknowon whathe is dependent. call impracticable. So it happensthatour greatdiscoveries and inventions have becomean everincreasing to mankind. fear of being forced from theeconomic Moreover. Yet production and distribution throughout of merchandise is farfrom so that eachofus must livein organized. thatis. When theInterviewer askedwhether a practical utilization of theexperiment wereyetpossible. whenin a few short which are sentences. he lacksa graspon socialmawhichis necessary to cause thedesired A knowledge effect. to be buriedin a capsuleat theNewYorkWorld's on Fair. agrees he can act witha viewto success. Before thewarI experienced a genuinely historic sceneon theradio: the institute of thephysicist Niels Bohrin Copenhagen was beinginterviewed a revolutionizing in thefield of nuclear concerning discovery fission.as a report our timeto future he writes thefollowing: generations.

the world of human beings. faced with these natural manifestations.33 on Tue. In point of fact. is unfortunately not so ingenious and qualified as when faced withothernatural manifestations.' They know too little about their own nature. It is clear how much would be gained.it investsthe mostabsurd assertions concerninghuman relations with the appearance of truth.were capable of providingus with a practicable view of life.The factthatman knowsso littleabout himself is thereason why his knowledgeof nature is of so littlehelp to him. but whereasearthtremors come to an end. which neednotconform to anyother. good. asserts thatwithin the technique. The greatwars. inevitableas the power of nature itself.had to stimulatecertainemotions. contributes littleto a happy life forman.but by no means correctviews of life or of happeningsbetweenmen. man's inhumanity to man seemsnever to reach an end.it has its own If thisor thatset of elementsis specified. thenall otherelements legality. the more unverifiable its In place of production. It achieved its effects genuine illustrations withincomplete. 25 Feb 2014 21:34:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .a socalled aestheticlogic.in so far as we have controlof it. An art capable of thiswould be able to take firm hold on social development.however.125.The more powerfulit is..fortheiruse.the monstrousoppression and exploitation of man by man. The poet is grantedhis own world. seem as innumerableas earthtremors.otherwise effects will eithernot occur or else be impaired.in order to perform its duty. must be similarly and theprinciple ofspecification be in some specified uniform in orderto save thewhole.BRECHT BERTOLT 11 are incomparably lowerthanthe intelligence and character of the thosewhoproduce of worth forthecommon few. for example.At the same time.which it knowshow to exercise. logic we have flights Aesthetics demand a particularplausibility forall happenings. the theatre.it would not merelyradiate more or less apathetic impulses but deliver its findingsto sensitiveand intelligentmen of the world. the warlike butcheriesand peaceable degradations of all kinds across the entire planet have almost become natural by now. a particular through phenomenon on thebasisof theSuggestivist which. Through artistic suggestion. if.102.if not art itself. degree Artachieves thisprivilege of beingable to construct itsown world. This content downloaded from 202.in place of argument we have rhetoric.forexand therefore as seemingly ample. of fancy. provide certain experiences. there is also the question of a purely aestheticplausibility. things Einsteinthusprovesthe factthatthe controlof nature. But theproblemis not at all simple. deceitfulor obsoleteviewsof life. but man.The veryfirst showed experiments thatart. and further thatman in generalis lackingin knowledgehow to turnthesediscoveries and inventionsto his own use.

of the spectatorswere the same as those which broughtthe characters on stage into line.that is. understandingis a main support of the prevailing aesSympathetic we have a description of how thetic.so long can we be symtowards him.and which passes fromthe artistinto the characters thestage. sympathetic mannersof behavior and institutions.125. the spectator. The stage could scarcelygenerate emotions. which are not suggestively on it.To discusshis behavioris as impathetically understanding of the atom would have been in possible as a discussionof the splitting the tenthcentury.In the imposingPoetics of Aristotle of the spectator.It is thisprincipleof sympathetic whichwe have understanding now to consider.in avoidable acts.The actor imitatesthe hero (Oedipus or Promeabout through theus). and he does so with such suggestionand power of conversion that the spectatorimitateshim in the role and thus possesseshimselfof the hero's experience. represented that is.What I want to acquaint you with now is thata seriesof experiments to establisha practicableview of life the means of theatre's resources has led to the staggering by question whetherto achieve this end it is necessary. and perceptions emotions. Lear's wrathover his daughtersinfectsthe spectator.his deeds subject to naturewithout restriction.drew up the last of aesthetics.not This content downloaded from 202. as long as we considerhim as being unchangeable. 25 Feb 2014 21:34:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .and in superfluous pain. stage opposite him he could only have such emotional responsesas the "mood" on stagepermitted.and unless one accepts the attitudesof humanity.watchinghim. of the importantsystems refersto the ability of man to experience the same emotionswhen faced with simulated realityas he does when faced with realityitself. who. et cetera.as one has accepted them of nature with such success for several centuries.those critical attitudes. As long as the starsof his fatehang over King Lear. could have seen only as much as the hero saw withwhom he was joined in sympathetic And towardsparticularsituationson the understanding. to surrender Unless one perceiveshumanity.proceedings.33 on Tue. as someconditions.concerning change and the masteryof nature. the spiritualpurification Mimesis. even presentedas being fated. to my knowledge. then one is unable to utilize the technique of sympathetic understanding. with all its understanding. Hegel. could only experience wrath. thingstable and unchangeable.is not possible. was brought Catharsis. If the intercourse betweenstage and public were to occur on the basis of sympathetic then at any given moment the spectator understanding.Sympathetic understandingin changeable human beings. more or less. The observations.102.permit observationsand facilitate understanding.12 The Tulane Drama Review artistthereexiststhe establishedsympathetic of the specunderstanding and eventson tator.

It was not to be discussed. on the contrary.The wrathof Lear. than sympathetic understanding? What could a new basis such as thisoffer us? What can be substituted forpity and terror. theatre. and then only if he breaks can be sociallyjustified.set free. One can be sympathetically a towards unlike who. he should be ushered into his own real world.125.An example: The wrathof Lear is sharedin byhis faithful a servantof the thankless servantKent. could not be testedagainst its it with nor could be a prophesyof its possible provided justification only to be sharedin. It is only the directtransplantation of thiswrath thatmustbe stopped. stoyhad excellentthingsto say on thisverymatter.unhistorical. then. kept in suspense.Would it be This content downloaded from 202. 25 Feb 2014 21:34:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . while in essence sympathizing with the thrashing of the servant.102.BERTOLT BRECHT 13 perhapsamazementor uneasiness.and pathetic understanding.natural. spectatorof our time share Lear's wrath and approve of it. therefore. in any case. The question. and did not hold fordiscussion.All of thisgoes so much withoutsayingthat the art of the theatreis candidlydefinedas having the power to release.set going.resigned-to-fate tude? He should no longer be abducted fromhis own world into the world of art. Tolthroughthe theatre's power of suggestion.with attentivefaculties.We are not concernedwithsimply makingthespectator to the wrathof Lear. ourselves. is it possibleon a basis other sympathetic understanding. social phenomenaappeared eternal. which generallycould occur only to him.It is not an art at all unlessit does so. attipassive.unchangeable. My use of theterm"discussion"heredoes not imply a dispassionatetreatment of a theme.and supplied with illusions. Human beingsgo to the theatrein orderto be sweptaway.Shall the daughters.a purely intellectual immune process.and the same holds forotherpossible emotions.captivated.is this: Is the artistic treatat all possible without or. no longer be kidnapped. the twin-yoked classical cause of Aristotle's Catharsis? When one renounceshypnosis to what can one appeal? What attitude should a spectatorpartake of in this new when he is denied the illusionary. away. moved. fliesinto a passion because of Lear's wrath?Only an emotionof thiskind which can deny the spectator symwhich generallyonly he can experience. released. is the important artificial means of an age Sympathetic understanding in whichman is thevariable and his surroundings the constant. In thisway consequences.uplifted. Kent soundly thrashes who is instructed to disobey one of Lear's wishes.carried out on Lear's orders?The question is this: How can this scene be played so that the spectator. understanding only person bears the starsof his destiny withinhim.sweep et cetera. diimpressed. verted. horrified. on the contrary. transplantedfromtheirown time.33 on Tue.uplift.

And conditionsare thus and so because human beings are thus and so. 25 Feb 2014 21:34:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .helpful collaboration?Is it pospossible. The acting techniques. persons as historical. so that he can conceive of still other reactions Lear as well as thatof wrath. as he mightbe. is an ephemeralthing. As a resultof thisthe spectator has a new attitudein the theatre. sympathizing fallen havinghimself into the same wrath. Let consider the Lear out wrath of over thanklessthe again ity nessof his daughters. as something is.The processof of presenting eventsand alienation.125.102. conditions. mentwithLear.the kind of wrath which manifests has such originsas thoseof Lear. then. as ephemeral.evidentand produce surprise and curiosus of it.is capable of being presentednot only in thisway. however. but this kind of itselfin thisway and which wrath. theirattitudesmay also be presented may happen with contemporaries.to substitute to create a new contactbetween the stage and the specsible therewith a new basis forthe artistic treat?I cannot describe tator.33 on Tue.historical. but in otherwaysalso. through in place of sympathetic understanding principle consistsin introducing whatwe will call Alienation. there are human beings who do not experienceit.as he is.is the processof historifying. but it is not universally applicable. and evanescent.perhaps. that from to Lear.Through the techniqueof alienation.on the other thewrathof Lear in such a way thatthespectator hand. are capable of being presentedin otherwaysthan as theyare.mightthisoffer here the new technology of playwriting. it is presentedas belongingspecifically shocking. What is Alienation? To alienate an eventor a character is simplyto take what to the event or character is obvious. understandThrough the techniqueof sympathetic ing the actoris able to presentthiswrathin such a way thatthe spectator sees it as the mostnatural thingin the world.The attitudeof Lear is alienated. of course.Wrath may be an eternallypossible reaction of the human being. and therefore as ephemeral The same.14 The Tulane Drama Review forpity. This human being. What he sees is that thishuman being is thusand so because conditionsare thus and so. of theatreconstruction and of whichour experiments were carriedout. The experiencesof Lear need not produce in all people of all timesthe emotionof wrath.He has the same attitudetowardsthe images of the human world opposite him This content downloaded from 202.so thathe cannot imagine so that he is in complete agreehow Lear could not become wrathful.too.unadaptable. and handed over helpless to fate. as a social phenomenonwhichis not self-evident. theactorpresents can be surprisedat it.known. This emoremarkable. withhim completely. tion of wrathis human. What do we achieve by this?We achieve the fact that the spectator need no longer see the human beings presentedon the stage as being unchangeable.

The theatre no longerseeksto intoxicatehim. Our experiments could not be carriedthrough so methodically as thoseof the foreign schoolsof Stanislavski.The art of speech was while workadayspeech and the recitajoined with the art of movement. Neher. port.and the naturalistic elementsof Stanislavski's into realisticelements.The illusions.et cetera. Oskar Homolka.and Vachtangovbecause we had no state supwere. Possibilitiesappeared for transforming the dancelike elements and the elements of group composition of Meyerhold'sschool from somethingartificialinto somethingartistic.33 on Tue.102. The experiments led to a vast simplification of apparatus.Theatre construction theatre principles. He is also welcomedinto the theatreas the greatreformer. Piscator's principle.Even in Piscator'slast experimentsthe consequentdevelopmentof the technicalapparatus led to the realization that the machinery which then dominated everything might also permita beautifulsimplicity of production.but our experiments pursuedmore widelyand not theatre.permittednot only an instructive but a beautifulone as well. The techniqueof alienationwas developed in Germanythrough a new seriesof experiments. whichwe developed at the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm. Peter Lorre. Artists of merelyin the professional participatedin experiments amateurgroups. and Busch. and thoseof Piscator'stheatre in particular. amateurgroupsweredeveloped along with the professional.125. one who no longer merelyaccepts the world passivelybut who masters it.has had towardsnatureduring thiscentury. Symbolism and Illusionismmightbe liquidated in like manner.Meyerhold. At the Theater am Schiffbauerdamm in Berlin we attemptedto develop a new styleof production. revealed its artisticqualities relatively quickly and the non-Aristotelian with importantsotechnique of drama set about workingimportantly cial subjects.therefore.freelyemployed.From the beginning schools. The playwright was able to This content downloaded from 202. as a human being.styleof productionand subject matter.The mostgiftedof the youngergenerationof actorsworkedwithus.and the Neher principle for the developmentof scenic design permittedthe scenic designer. tion of verse were thoroughly fashioned fromthe so-called movement was completely revolutionized.supplyhim with theworld. 25 Feb 2014 21:34:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .according to the needs determinedin rehearsal.to gain profitfromthe acting of the performers and to influencethe actingin his own way.make him forget theatrenow spreads the world in frontof him to take hold of and use forhis own good.The so-calledepic style of production. one who is capable of comingto gripswith the natural and social processes. There were Helene Weigel.workers' choruses. It was a question throughout of continuingthe earlier experiments.to reconcilehim withhis fate.BERTOLT BRECHT 15 on the stage whichhe.

the popular theatreof Brudghel'stime and the Elizabethan theatre.125.these experimentsare not so easily described.is it a technique which is complete and which can be surveyedas such. From the startthe classical repertoire organizeditselfon the basis of The means such artificial of alienation opened a many experiments.the changeable and the world-changing human being of This content downloaded from 202.abused seekinghuman being of our century. forexample.forexample. Experiments mustcontinue. advantageousto the contemporary particularly student. Nevertheless. ignorant.33 on Tue.seen froma purelytechnicalpoint of view. Through alienation it became possible to produce enterand instructively the worthwhile old plays withoutdisturbing tainingly elementsof over-actualization and museumliketreatment. and ingenious. It is one way. the definitive result of all the experiments? The answeris: No. the Chinese theatre. This is not too terribly surprisingsince. such divergentacting techniquesas perhaps those of the Vachtangovor the Ochlopkov extroopsand the Workers'troop could be joined.It is becomingconceiveable to draw boundaries between the performancesof amateur and professional actors withoutthe need to relinquishone of the basic functions of the theatre. 25 Feb 2014 21:34:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . even the theatresof past ages produced resultsthroughthe use of alienation effects.The same problemexistsforall art. The heterogeneous of half a century periments appear to have founda basis fortheirutilization.and child actors). the classicalSpanish theatre. The solutionwhichwe are striving towards is only one of the perhaps possible solutions to the problem which is this: How can the theatrebe both entertainingand instructiive at the same time?How can it be drawn away fromthis intellectualnarcoticsand be changed froma place of illusion to a place of practicalextraffic perience? How can the shackled. Liberation fromthe compulsion to practice hypnosisis noted to be amateur theatre(worker.16 The Tulane Drama Review propose his play to the actorsand the scenic designerin uninterrupted collaboration. Is this new styleof productionthe new style. freedom-and knowledgethe tormented and heroic. and I have simplyto asserthere thatwhat we intend is to make the real artistic treatpossible on the basis of alienation.102. broad path of approach to the vital importanceof the dramaticworks of other ages.and it is a giganticone.the way which we have gone.to influenceas well as be influenced.Paintersand musicians at once regained theirindependence and were able throughtheir own artificial means to make theirpresence felton the subject matter: the collectiveart projectappeared beforethe spectatoras a seriesof dissociated elements. On the basis of the new foundation.

et cetera. and the few inventiveintellectsare here veryhelpless where the sphere of economics is concerned.102. Chekhov had his Stanislavski. RICHARD MUELLER This content downloaded from 202.33 on Tue. directlyand indirectly.125. 2We need not here enter into a painstaking critique of the technocratic point of view of the highlyeducated.BERTOLT BRECHT 17 this frightfuland important century achieve his own theatre which will help him to master not only himself but also the world? Translated by CARL NOTES 1The importanttheatresare naturally prominentfor the share theyhad in the experiments Ibsen his Brahm.We are satisfied with the fact that Einstein confirms the ignorance concerningco6perative interests. along thisline. the initiativealong the line of increasingthe powers of instructionproceeded next most significantly fromthe drama itself. 25 Feb 2014 21:34:45 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Normally that which is of use to society will proceed completelyfrom the masses. However.

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