Brecht theorized many aspects of the theatre and you will find link to a variety of headings below. Each link introduces an idea about or an approach to theatre-making. You can then compare the theory to the practice in the ‘Documentation’ section.
Brecht’s theories, available to an English-reading audience in Brecht on Theatre, Brecht on Performance, Brecht on Art and Politics and Brecht on Film & Radio, can inspire theatre-makers with their ideas and ambitions. This page offers a series of links that discuss Brecht’s central ideas, although readers are recommended to read Brecht’s own ideas, too. However, readers have sometimes wondered how the theory relates to practice. You will thus find links in all the pages, below, to real examples in order to show the relationship between theory and practice.
Who was Bertolt Brecht?: an overview of Brecht’s life and ideas.
The Meaning of ‘Brechtian’: a definition of what this term might mean for theatre practitioners
The Aims of Brechtian Theatre: gives an overall introduction to what Brecht was trying to achieve in his theatre and how he set out his theoretical ideas.
Theory and Practice: considers the relationship between the two and offers thoughts on how the two can be negotiated.
Dialectics and Contradiction : a more detailed discussion of Brecht’s approach to reality with an emphasis on how the world works and how it can change.
Brecht’s Approach to Reality: this relationship lies at the heart of Brecht’s theatrical ambitions and differentiates his theatre from other forms of theatre-making.
Brechtian Realism: contrasts the more conventional definition of ‘realism’ in the theatre with Brecht’s.
Brecht’s Aims for a Production: Verfremdung (making the familiar strange) and the difference between Verfremdung and a Verfremdungseffekt, Historicisation, Figures (not Characters), Gestic Language.
Brecht’s Means: Fabel, Arrangement, Gestus, Haltung, inductive rehearsal, the realistic detail, the ‘not/but’.
The Brechtian Method : outlines how Brecht’s approach to making theatre can be considered a ‘method’ and how it might be applied.
A Theatre of Showing : Brecht’s theatre is all about setting out relationships with clarity and not passing over contradictions.
Politics in a Brechtian Theatre : what are the political implications of Brecht’s theories?
Making Theatre Politically : what is the difference between ‘making political theatre’ or ‘making theatre politically’?