Bertolt Brecht: Biography of the German Dramatist

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Brecht was born in 1898 in Germany and died in 1956. He was a play writer, theatre director and a poet. Brecht lived in Bavaria where he was born and studied medicine, he also worked in an armed forces hospital. He produced his first play in 1923 called ‘Baal’ which was a success. In this period of time. Brecht also industrialised a brutally antibourgeois outlook that reflected his generation displeasure in the people.

Brecht made it known that he was not an actor, in fact he started off as a poet. He then eventually started his own company. Now when people heard about his company they were not happy. He and his company started to work on putting their own productions which made people really uncomfortable. He was the opposite of Mr Stanislavski, in fact he didn’t agree with the methods that Stanislavski used. Stanislavski wanted the audience to feel comfortable, his work was more about realism whereas Brecht used a lot of melodrama in his work, and his aim was to make the audience feel uncomfortable. He would put shows on that would make the audience really think about the things they avoid to think about. His shows were inspired by the corruption in the wold that everyone ignores. “Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer which to shape”. To me this quote means that the arts isn’t just a tool that controls you, you are the one in control. This idea of control in this period of time was limited for Brecht, he couldn’t control what they put in the papers nor could he control the theatre politics. In his pieces he had a lot of moral messages, he was writing a lot of political plays in fact, he was writing political plays from a young age such as ‘crucial views’. 

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After studying Marx, Brecht’s views on a lot of things changed. His focus wasn’t on the audience’s opinions before, but after studying Marx the desire to not care developed stronger. Brecht didn’t care about how you felt when watching his plays, he cared about how it made you reflect on the topics when watching his pieces. “Don’t expect the theatre to satisfy the habits of its audience, but to change them”. He wanted you to question yourself by bring up strong topics like social justice. By doing this people left his show conflicted, which was his aim.

Brecht used a lot of music in his work, to create a mood and atmosphere. The characters in his plays where quite disturbing to watch. The staging of the audience and the main stage were quite intimate. I think being seated in an intimate space while watching his performances made you question a lot of things, which leads to you imagery and imagination which then brings you to think about the things that you would never imagine, I think that was his aim. I think that is how he used imagination.

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