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GE212 Bertolt Brecht: Theatre as Revolution

Module Code: GE212
Module Name: Bertolt Brecht: Theatre as Revolution
Module Coordinator: Dr Helmut Schmitz
Term 2 Time: Thursdays 10:00-12:00 Room: H2.02
Module Credits: 15

Module Description

One of the problems of modern theatre is how to represent large scale social conflicts such as class struggle, the relationship between Capital and labour, or war. The socio-economic developments of the late 19th and early 20th century in Germany - the quick development of market capitalism in Germany, the devastations of WWI, the change from a monarchy to a republic, the world economic crisis of 1929 and the resulting mass unemployment and political conflicts - all challenged the ability of traditional bourgeois theatre to represent the individual within these conflicts. Brecht's response to these challenges was the development of his 'epic theatre', a series of innovations in staging, acting, performance and language intended to create both (class) awareness for these conflicts and increase the audience's ability to situate itself within them, understand them and intervene in them.

This module will explore the development of Bertolt Brecht's theatre in the Weimar republic and in exile.

By the end of the module students should be able to

  • contextualise Brecht's Weimar and early exile plays with the socio-historical issues of the period
  • develop an understanding of the development of Brecht's concept of theatre
  • develop critical skills by analysing Brecht's plays in depth

Assessment Method:

Either one 4,000-4500 word coursework essay (100%), or one 2-hour examination (100%).