Performing Brecht by Marga Eddershaw

By Marga Eddershaw

Appearing Brecht is an unparalleled historical past of the productions of Brecht's performs in Britain over 40 years. Margaret Eddershaw surveys all facets of Brecht in functionality, from his methodologies to his position in postmodernist theatre and beyond.She makes a speciality of key productions via administrators together with George Devine, Sam Wanamaker, William Gaskill, Howard Davies, John Dexter and Richard Eyre. Eddershaw additionally offers 3 in-depth case reviews of productions within the Nineteen Nineties, incorporating her personal unique entry to the rehearsals and in-depth interviews with administrators and performers. The case reports are: * the nice individual of Sechuan, directed by way of Deborah Warner and starring Fiona Shaw; * mom braveness, directed by means of Philip Prowse and starring Glenda Jackson; * The Resistable upward thrust of Arturo Ui, directed via Di Trevis and starring Antony Sher

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103) and he always seems to have exploited his strong physical presence on stage. During his first production with Brecht in 1924, when he played Mortimer in Edward II, Homolka displeased his director by getting drunk during the opening performance, and, as a consequence, gesticulating too much. However, Brecht’s admiration for the actor’s broad 26 BRECHT AND THE PERFORMER style of playing overcame this inauspicious start and they subsequently co-directed Baal, in which Homolka played the lead.

Brecht was, it is said, astonished by the degree of ‘alienation’ which he saw in the performance. As he left the theatre he is reputed to have remarked: Now I shall have to defend Stanislavski from his supporters. . Now I shall have to say about him what people say about me – that the practice contradicts the theory. 213) And it is to this possible contradiction of theory by Brecht’s practice that we now turn. 25 BRECHT AND THE PERFORMER CHOOSING HIS ACTORS The reasons for Brecht’s early admiration of Wedekind, Valentin and Chaplin underlie his choices of actors with whom he worked throughout his career.

5 The American actor/director Joseph Chaikin agreed and saw the implications of this for the actor’s focus: 22 BRECHT AND THE PERFORMER The actor’s attention, which might otherwise be on the character, is here connected to the spectator. Moment to moment, the play is between actor and audience, as the actor’s attitude changes about the character and his circumstances . . 6 In all of these ways, Stanislavski and Brecht were and are ideologically and practically apart. Nevertheless, their positions can be seen to converge.

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