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By Laura Bradley

This construction heritage of The Mother offers titanic new insights into Bertolt Brecht's theatre and drama, his impression on political theatre, and the connection among textual content, functionality, and politico-cultural context. because the merely play which Brecht staged within the Weimar Republic, in the course of his exile, and within the GDR, The Mother deals a distinct chance to check his theatrical perform in contrasting settings and at varied issues in his occupation. via distinctive research of unique archival facts, Bradley exhibits how Brecht turned way more delicate to his spectators' political beliefs and cultural expectancies, even making significant tactical concessions in his 1951 construction on the Berliner Ensemble. those compromises point out that his ''mature'' staging shouldn't be considered as definitive, for it was once adapted to a distinct and gentle state of affairs. The Mother has appealed strongly to politically devoted theatre practitioners either in and past Germany. through exploiting the text's familiar hybridity and the interaction among Brecht's ''epic'' and ''dramatic'' components, administrators have interpreted it in considerably alternative ways. So even though Brecht's 1951 creation stagnated into an affirmative GDR background piece, post-Brechtian administrators have used The Mother to advertise their very own political and theatrical issues, from anti-authoritarian theatre to reflections at the legacies of country Socialism. Their ideological and theatrical subversion have helped Brecht's textual content to survive the political procedure that it got here to uphold.

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Extra info for Brecht and Political Theatre: The Mother on Stage

Sample text

Er ist das Urbild des Lehrers aus der Mutter. ²⁹ Although Brecht never credited Hauptmann’s contributions, Weisenborn considered them invaluable. ³⁰ Similarly, when interviewed in 1972 for the documentary Die Mitarbeiterin (The Collaborator), Hauptmann argued that her political experience had been crucial and that her name had been omitted purely by chance: Mein Beitrag zur Bearbeitung von Gorkis Die Mutter bedarf einer kleinen Erläuterung, denn mein Name steht nicht (das war purer Zufall) bei diesem Stück.

Ibid. Cf. Wolfgang Gersch, Film bei Brecht: Bertolt Brechts praktische und theoretische Auseinandersetzung mit dem Film (East Berlin: Henschel, 1975), 169. ⁸² ‘ Don’t surrender it, [Karpow]! Negotiations don’t work, we told him, and the Mother told him …’ BFA, iii. 283. ⁸³ Although most of the captions in the 1933 text simply set the scene like a stage direction, those in Brecht’s ‘Anmerkungen’ supply a clear sociopolitical commentary on the action. ’⁸⁶ In fact, by communicating the play’s political arguments, the captions both functioned as aids and disrupted spectators’ involvement in the action.

Again, Brecht’s failure to foresee the KPD’s predictable objections indicates the limits of his political grasp. Although Communist reviewers had significant reservations about Brecht’s ideological stance, they still deemed his treatment of contemporary socio-economic problems valuable. ⁷⁴ 5 . D R A M AT U RG Y A N D A E S T H E T I C S In the programme, Weisenborn reprinted the table contrasting ‘epic’ and ‘dramatic’ theatre from Brecht’s ‘Anmerkungen zur Oper’ (‘Notes on the Opera’, 1930) and thereby presented Die Mutter as the antithesis of conventional theatre.

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