By Laura Bradley
This construction historical past of The Mother offers massive new insights into Bertolt Brecht's theatre and drama, his effect on political theatre, and the connection among textual content, functionality, and politico-cultural context. because the in basic terms play which Brecht staged within the Weimar Republic, in the course of his exile, and within the GDR, The Mother bargains a distinct chance to match his theatrical perform in contrasting settings and at various issues in his profession. via designated research of unique archival proof, Bradley indicates how Brecht grew to become way more delicate to his spectators' political beliefs and cultural expectancies, even making significant tactical concessions in his 1951 creation on the Berliner Ensemble. those compromises point out that his ''mature'' staging shouldn't be considered as definitive, for it used to be adapted to a special and gentle state of affairs. The Mother has appealed strongly to politically devoted theatre practitioners either in and past Germany. via exploiting the text's well-known hybridity and the interaction among Brecht's ''epic'' and ''dramatic'' parts, administrators have interpreted it in extensively alternative ways. So even though Brecht's 1951 construction 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 method that it got here to uphold.
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Extra info for Brecht and Political Theatre: The Mother on Stage
Ich sagte, daß ich nicht der Meinung sei, daß sie viel Geld bekommen, ein Arbeiter verdient doch mehr als ein Polizist. Brecht hat geändert, ‘die wenig Geld bekommen, doch zu allem bereit sind’. Ich wußte doch: im Arbeitsnachweis in der Gormannstraße lief der Luxemburgmörder rum. ⁴² These examples support the impression given by Brecht’s more theoretical writings: that his overriding concern was the quality of the play, not the proprietary authorship of each line. ’ Weisenborn, draft manuscript of Memorial, GWA 306/151.
Dieser Charakter hat ja nur drei Eigenschaften, warum hat er nicht vier? Ein Mensch ist doch reicher, als nur drei Eigenschaften aussagen. ’ HEA 2875/2. ²³ ‘[I did not meet you again], until Brecht … was dramatizing The Mother…. ’ Hauptmann to Weisenborn, Berlin, 6 July 1967, Elisabeth-Hauptmann-Archiv (henceforth EHA) 627, AdK RKP. ’ HEA 2875/2. ’ Weisenborn, ‘Hanns Eisler’, Sonntag (East Berlin), 10 Jan. 1965. ²⁷ ‘I rate him as a dramaturge because he lived up to the deﬁnition of a good dramaturge: he helps you with your work, he helps to write literature ….
Most notably, the Gruppe Junger Schauspieler was joined by the actors Ernst Busch, Theo Lingen, and Helene Weigel. Busch had already acted in Die Dreigroschenoper, Die Maßnahme (The Decision), and Kuhle Wampe, whilst Lingen—who was married to Brecht’s former wife Marianne Zoff—had played the clown at the controversial première of Das Badener Lehrstück vom Einverständnis (The Baden-Baden Learning Play on Consent). ⁴⁷ Brecht also appointed his long-standing collaborator Caspar Neher as the set designer and Emil Burri as the director.
Brecht and Political Theatre: The Mother on Stage by Laura Bradley