Text from a dramaturge notebook on the play "mother courage and her children" by Bertolt Brecht

Essay by pink_sombreroHigh School, 11th gradeA-, February 2004

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The stage is set up with seats arranged around the outside of the central acting area (Theatre in the round) to reinforce the idea of alienation. Unlike in dramatic theatre where the action on stage depicted as life itself; the audience of epic theatre must regularly be reminded that they are watching a performance. For the audience of dramatic theatre it is as though they are looking into a room, the fourth wall of which having been magically been made invisible. However, this illusion is shattered during the performance of Mother Courage by the use of theatre in the round. Having the audience members visible to each other during the performance is a simple device used to remind them that the action on stage is not life. See appendix 1.7

The set should be simple, using fragments of scenery and single pieces of furniture to suggest whole locations. The scenery can be changed in front of the audience, even by the actors themselves.

See appendix 1.1

Microphones and television monitors have been set up around the circumference of the stage as tools in some of the alienation techniques. The microphones firstly have the practical purpose of picking up the dialogue on stage and allowing the audience to hear it more clearly, as well being used as props during some of the songs. By making the microphones visible to the audience, some of the illusion of theatre is removed and will consequently lead to increased alienation. A similar principle is seen in the use of lighting.

The television monitors are simply the modern alternative to banners and placards used in Brecht's early productions. They serve as a device to fortify alienation through displaying messages that relate to the theme, or giving details about what is to happen next in the...