Anti-War Theatre After Brecht: Dialectical Aesthetics in the by Lara Stevens

By Lara Stevens

Examining the ways that modern Western theatre protests opposed to the ‘War on Terror’, this ebook analyses six twenty-first century performs that reply to the post-9/11 army operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. The performs are written via probably the most major writers of this century and the final together with Elfriede Jelinek, Caryl Churchill, Hélène Cixous and Tony Kushner.

Anti-war Theatre After Brecht grapples with the matter of the way to make theatre that protests the guidelines of democratically elected Western governments in a post-Marxist period. It exhibits how the net has develop into a key software for disseminating anti-war play texts and the way on-line social media boards are altering conventional dramatic aesthetics and broadening possibilities for spectator entry, engagement and interplay with a piece and the political choices it places ahead.

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Extra resources for Anti-War Theatre After Brecht: Dialectical Aesthetics in the Twenty-First Century

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In the latter of these essays Brecht notes the need for any situation to be ‘alienated’ if it is to be seen within a given socio-historical context (1964, 76–7). As noted earlier, despite Marx’s negative portrayal of the effects of capitalism’s Entfremdung, he also suggests in the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts (1844) that Entfremdung is a useful byproduct of capitalist estrangement because it enables workers to view their exploited conditions with an objective eye. It might be said then that Brecht’s Verfremdungseffekt is the means by which FROM EPIC TO DIALECTICAL THEATRE 37 to achieve this objective stance and restore human dignity in a dehumanizing capitalist environment.

While Marx develops abstraction as a means to overcome this paradox, for Brecht, it is the development of gestus or the ‘dialectic at a standstill’. Similar to Benjamin, Willett claims that Brecht learns from Marx that through a contradiction or clash, the ‘mechanism of an event’ can be revealed in ‘slow motion’ (1967, 121). Using dialectical tools to make the dynamism of life slow down or become momentarily static, gestus enables Brecht to show the ‘natural’ conditions of capitalism as causal and contingent.

It is in fact the very reverse and antithesis of this. (Marx 1991, 311) The ‘inner core’ of capitalism conceals its reliance on and deliberate perpetuation of unequal access between different social classes to ownership over the means of production. Marx reveals a discrepancy between the surface appearance of nineteenth-century capitalism and its ‘concealed’ ‘inner core’ using a dialectical method which shows up the tension between inner essence and outer reality. Marx sees contradiction everywhere.

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