The Brechtian Method

Brecht’s method can be summed up as a process.

It begins with the construction of the Fabel , which then leads to initial blockings in the form of the scenes’ Arrangements. The actors then develop a basic Gestus for their figure, and inductive rehearsal leads to a diverse range of Haltungen. The aim, as ever, is to produce lively, realistic theatre that allows the spectator to speculate on the ways society works by drawing attention to the contradictions that drive the action.

The method, as set out here, may give the impression of something mechanical or overly fussy – everything has to take place in a specific order, one thing after the other. The method is a kind of model for approaching a production, and models are ideal forms. Actual rehearsal is likely to be far more messy, especially as actors become more familiar with their new tasks in Brechtian theatre. Consequently, initial thought’s about a scene’s Fabel may prove unreliable, the Arrangement may thus alter, all as a result of the surprises that can arise from inductive rehearsal. The Fabel, as an interpretation of a scene’s events, has to be subjected to the rigours of rehearsal, and if it is in some way lacking, then it will be altered.

Ultimately, it is the method’s ends rather than its specific means that determine its success. It can thus sustain modification in order to reach its goals of setting out contradictions and attesting to the liveliness of the figures. Indeed, in some cases, such as the production of Closer, documented on this website, initial drafts of a Fabel proved difficult to implement and it was inductive rehearsal that proved the more useful means of attaining a Brechtian treatment of the text.