My college unit has now moved onto looking at Brecht and his take on theatre.
While I’m no expert on Brecht having only looked at him briefly in a couple of previous units, his influence on 20th century theatre is unquestionable. I’ve found him a fascinating character, and have been looking forward to discovering more about him and his work in this years module.
He seems to have gained an unfair reputation for writing heavy and boring plays, which is ironic as two of his major influences were Charlie Chaplin and the German clown Valentin. Of course his work is political, he was profoundly influenced by his time witnessing the horrors when he served in World War One and he worked and lived in Germany during the rise of Nazism. However as mentioned in Saturdays post, just because a play contains politics or is political, doesn’t mean it can’t be good drama, or contain humour. The TV show, “Have I got News for You” proves that politics/politicians are funny.
Brecht wanted his plays to contain “Spass” (fun) . Serious plays can be fun. Reading his plays with this in mind, is actually quite a useful tool, rather than fearing I’m in for a lengthy communist manifesto, I’m actually reading a play and to play is fun. Theatre should be a fun place – not that it can’t deal with serious issues, but Brecht knew that serious theatre without “Spass” wouldn’t appeal to many people.
So as I continue my Brecht studies, I aim to remember “this is fun”!