Talk:Epic theatre

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Material[edit]

This material was previously scattered throughout several articles: Bertolt Brecht, Brechtian acting, Defamiliarization Effect, and Epic theater. I tried to preserve the important points in all of them. [[User:21:14, 2005 May 13 (UTC)


I reverted the anonymous edits that created this mangled paragraph:

Common production techniques in epic theater include simplified, non-realistic set designs,(sometimes no set at all!) announcements or visual captions(such as placards or similar)or actors "stepping out of the scene" to talk to the audience to emotionally detatch them, eg somebody dying in a sad way, then someone comes on and breaks the "fourth wall" and says that the character that died was a child molester or such, so that the audience thinks and does not feel say/sorry but thinks about whether they should stiill feel sad/sorry for the death.things that interrupt and summarize the action, and music that conflicts ironically with the expected emotional effect are also used for this style.

This might not have been meant as vandalism (though the editor's history is 99.99% goofing around), but it's badly spelled, ungrammatical, weirdly punctuated, unnecessary, and inaccurate. If you don't think readers can understand the principle without an example, then please come up with an example from an actual play, rather than this hypothetical and silly child molester bit which bears no resemblance to anything Brecht did. Epic theater isn't the same thing as irony. Hob 22:53, 11 November 2005 (UTC)


I'm not responisible for this deleted edit, nor am I going to amend the article as it stands, but it sounds like the above was (poorly) cribbed from Peter Brook's 'The Empty Space', specifically his section on The Rough Theatre in which he talks about the potential for antitheses to affect an audience's sympathies with a character. Brook is not talking specifically about Brecht here, but the real example is helpful. The passage reads:
The alienation effect and the happening effect are similar and opposite: the happening shock is there to smash through all the barriers set up bu our reason, alienation is to shock us into bringing the best of our reason into play. Alienation works in many ways in many keys. A normal stage action will appear real to us if it is convincing and so we are apt to take it, temporarily, as objective truth. A girl, raped, walks on to a stage in tears - and if her acting touches us sufficiently, we automatically accept the implied conclusion that she is a victim and an unfortunate one. But suppose a clown were to follow her, mimicking her tears, and suppose by his talent he succeeds in making us laugh. His mockery destroys our first response. Then where do our sympathies go? The truth of her character, the validity of her postiion, are both put into question by the clown, and at the same time our own easy sentimentality is exposed. If carried far enough, such a series of events can suddenly make us confront our shifting views of right and wrong.
(London: Penguin, 1990. p. 91) Just to be fair. --Mobda 22:13, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

Theatre vs. theater[edit]

There seems to be a minor edit war about the British vs. American spelling of theatre. I believe wikipedia states that either is acceptable and I'm inclined to go with the British spelling for British, Canadian, Australian etc. articles, and American for the US. However, in the case of non-English speaking subjects, what is preferred? The article was created as "Epic Theater", so maybe we should stick with that. Freshacconci 19:35, 1 May 2007 (UTC)

Yes, please see Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style#National_varieties_of_English for guidance in this issue.
The only argument I can see for going with the British-English spelling here is that the widely used translation by John Willett does: Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic. The original, of course, is in German, where the spelling ("epische Theater") is closer to American English than British. Please see the German Wikipedia:
"Das epische Theater ist eine Theaterform, in der versucht wird, das Theater durch die Einführung eines Erzählers zu episieren. Dies geschieht in der antiken Tragödie etwa durch den Chor. Dabei steht das epische Theater im Gegensatz zum dramatischen (bzw. aristotelischen) Theater, welches das Ziel verfolgt, den Zuschauer durch Einfühlen in das Gesehene zu läutern (Katharsis)."
http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Episches_Theater
--Jeremy Butler 10:57, 2 May 2007 (UTC)

Piscator material[edit]

What remained special to his [Piscator's] productions however was their dramaturgical handling of a whole succession of scenes using a variety of theatrical techniques in such a way as to suggest [...] that the subject matter was not just being put on show but examined by a Marxist. It was the difference between presenting 'the times' and trying to get under their skin.
Willett on Piscator.[1]

just a thought[edit]

i was thinking that someone should put in a list of playwrights for this style of theatre... it would be helpful to people intrested in such plays 65.33.196.220 22:23, 30 October 2007 (UTC)deathdealer

It's not only about writing plays; you can turn many "classical" plays into epic performances via set design, direction and acting. -- megA (talk) 09:31, 15 May 2008 (UTC)
    • ^ Willett 1978, 111).