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Bertolt Brecht: Chaos, according to Plan (Directors in Perspective) [Paperback]

John Fuegi

Price: 33.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

29 Jan 1987 Directors in Perspective
This is the first full-length study in any language of Bertolt Brecht's day-to-day work as a theatre director. Professor Fuegi has researched his subject extensively over many years, and this book is the result of interviews with Brecht's closest associates (including Helene Weigel, Angelika Hurwicz, Elisabeth Hauptmann and Hans Bunge), inspection of the unpublished typescripts recording several years of Brecht rehearsals at the Berlin Ensemble, and consultation of archival materials in Moscow, Berlin and Harvard University. Although Brecht is acknowledged worldwide as having changed our whole conception of playwriting, acting and directing, virtually nothing has been previously published which tells how he worked and reacted with actors, and how his productions were actually put together in rehearsal. John Fuegi now tells the story, evoking the excitement and controversy which surrounded Brecht's work on the stage. He examines the way Brecht applied his manic but brilliant character, in both personal and professional life (though these cannot easily be separated), in order to create the tension and confusion, contradiction and chaos, from which his best productions emerged. He shows how the plays must be seen in the light of their evolution on the stage through innumerable arduous rehearsals, themselves conditioned by the intense magnetism, spontaneity and unpredictability of Brecht's personality. Most importantly, the book charts the evolution of Brecht's own dramatic theory from his early rejection of Stanislavskian realism and his demands for emotional coolness from the spectator to his later acceptance of the power of theatre to involve, even to move, the audience. The book goes behind the scenes to look at the playwright's negotiation of contracts for his productions, commercial agreements which were often highly beneficial to himself but markedly less so to his collaborators such as Kurt Weill, Ruth Berlau and Elisabeth Hauptmann, and it talks frankly of Brecht's use of the 'casting couch', bestowing and withholding favours with the same volatility that characterized his remarkable love-life. The story is accompanied by illustrations, many of which have not been published before. It provides a much-needed antidote to some of the more sterile accounts of Brechtian theory, concentrating very much on the 'practice' but remaining at the same time vividly aware of the social and political context in which and about which Brecht was writing. The book will be of interest to scholars and students of theatre and of dramatic and comparative literature, and it is presented in a lively style that should also appeal to the general reader.

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Bertolt Brecht: Chaos, according to Plan (Directors in Perspective) + Performing Brecht + The Cambridge Companion to Brecht (Cambridge Companions to Literature)
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First Sentence
In order to understand the position of the European theatre in 1898 at the time of Brecht's birth in the small south German town of Augsburg, then part of the kingdom of Bavaria, let us hypothesize a scene in which we join all the major people then working in innovative theatre as they gather in Augsburg for Brecht's christening. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Are we reading the same book?? 11 Sep 2001
By A Customer - Published on
I don't quite understand the previous reviewer's comments.
This book is a very good introduction from a technical point of
view. It surveys the career of Brecht as a stage director. This aspect of Brechtian studies in the Anglo-American circle is lacking. Carl Weber and John Rouse are leading scholars on this topic, but you have to dig hard and deep to find their articles.
If anything, the detailed record on the production of the Caucasian Chalk Circle at the Berliner Ensemble which forms the core of chapter six is an absolute keeper. It details how Brecht directed this play himself. What kind of things he was looking for? What to focus on? What to work on? How? It's invaluable but it's ignored again and again by college teachers who try to piece together theorectical expressions from defferent periods in Brecht's career. I say none of this nonesense; instead, study chapter six, if your German is not good enough and then you will get a handle on Brecht.
The rest of the book is a little chaotic, and his writing is a bit imprecise sometimes. People familiar with Eric Bentley's or Martin Esslin's books will recognize that the lack of political consciouness does not start with Fuegi. Fuegi really has some contributions to the study of the theatricality in Brecht by focusing upon the so-called "theatre" side.
What fouls Fuegi's reputations as a scholar and a biographer is his notorious biography published later. That volume is now deservedly out of print.
5.0 out of 5 stars That was Brecht was all about: Chaos in his work 20 May 2013
By Eric Orsolics - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book describes Brecht's life, his political leanings, his troubles with other performances and their producers. And, it gives afine examp[le of performance art
5.0 out of 5 stars Strongly endorsed ! 26 July 2010
By John (Playwright) - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's a great book, You really get to know Bertold Brecht, how he thinks, acts, and his relationships with other directors.He has changed our concept of Playwriting, Acting, & Directing. The book tells how he worked & reacted with actors, and how his productions were actually put together in rehearsals.
4.0 out of 5 stars I like it 30 Aug 2014
By Gavrik Losey - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
interesting prospective
2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars American neurosis 28 Aug 2001
By A Customer - Published on
This book is a compendium of America's neuroses, from its puritanism through its hatred for anything smacking of socialism all the way to its feminist-inspired guilt feelings towards women. These neuroses are then projected on Germany, leading to countless misunderstandings concerning the nature of German history and life. As an account of Bertolt Brecht and the world in which he operated this book is all but worthless. If you want to understand how crazy Americans really are, however, by all means go ahead and study it as carefully as you can.
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