Modernism: Brecht and The Alientation effect

“A Short Organum for Theatre” 1948 in “Brecht on Theatre”
The noblest feature of theare is to give pleasure. It has always been like this and should always stay like this, otherwise it’ll fall. (Brecht, 1948:3)

Narrative is the soul of theatre = Aristotle
“We need a type of theatre, which not only releases the feelingsm insights and impulses possible within the particular historical field of human relations in which the actions take placem but employs and encourages those thoughts and feelings which help transform the field itself” (Brecht, 1948:7)
Relationship between the actor and the character – ‘I am doing this’ to ‘I did this and then from ‘he did this’ to ‘he did this, when he might have done sonething else’
Brecht believed that there should be a different kind of relationship between the protagonists and the spectatos – the Verfremdungseffekt, the Alientation effect\the A-effect (having an object, a character, a process perceived, and at the same time, rendering it unexpected, strange) to push te viewer to establish some distance in his relation of reality)
The actor should examine the world around him. With all his being he must pay attention to gestures, and imitate the world through a process of reflection. He must amplify what he observes, because the original is too subtle, “it speaks too softly”.
An actor should surprise hiself, not to act too quickly, but to realize the options the character might do and think about the things the character might dom but doesn’t and then go to the activity that the character decides to do.
Brecht’s views on theatre:
  • it exists to entertain people – it’s one and only aim is to be fun
  • actors demonstrate the situations
  • A-effect= making familiar stuff strange
  • “Pure imitation would only bring out what has been observed, but this is NOT ENOUGH” 
  • “Without opinions and objectives one can represent nothing at all”
  • Brecht did not want audience to symphatize\emphatize characters – so was it just to make fun of them?

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