To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Gestus remains an important but elusive concept in the scholarship on Brecht’s writings and continues to inform contemporary theater practices as well as new theories of performance and performativity. This article provides a brief overview of Brecht’s evolving definitions of Gestus, including in, and through, key plays and productions, followed by an assessment of the larger literary, political, and theoretical debates associated with Weimar theater, communist agitprop, and Marxist theory. Throughout, the productivity of Gestus as a concept and practice is reconstructed through its dialogic qualities, heuristic functions, and intertextual effects.
This chapter explores Brecht’s understanding of political theater and sets it in the context of other contemporary approaches, including the work of director Erwin Piscator. It explains why Brecht did not view naturalism or expressionism as acceptable aesthetic models, and it demonstrates how he rooted his theater in a material approach to reality, showing the social and economic influences on, and implications of, characters’ decisions and actions. Epic theater creates the scope for the agency that Brecht found lacking in naturalist drama: it shows that characters have choices, enabling audiences to imagine how different decisions or circumstances might yield different results.
The second ’half’, as identified in this book, of Stanislavsky’s artistic enterprise sees him insistently separating art – thus theatre – from politics in the decades after 1917 in which political engagement and political misalignment were matters of life and death. This chapter puts paid to the myths that Stanislavsky was politically naïve and incompetent and as well administratively incompetent. Such biased but reproduced ‘received wisdom’ has failed to acknowledge the actual complexities of the MAT’s struggles to survive the onslaughts of continuing brutal change, particularly of the later 1920s and well into the 1930s during which Stanislavsky was obliged by moral imperatives together with political subterfuges to protect his life’s work. Doing so meant entering into correspondence with Stalin, also to argue against decisions made by his totalitarian leadership concerning the theatre. Most notable was Stanislavsky’s unassuming but well understood protection of Meyerhold and Shostakovich.
Meyerhold’s theatre trajectory is juxtaposed against those of the Proletkult, the Blue Blouse groups, Agitprop and TRAM, highlighting Meyerhold’s theatre innovations while pointing out how the MAT managed its compromises until state co-option triumphed and left Stanislavsky continuing valuable research outside his own edifice but in his last studios.
In 2015 the concept of live performance as having efficacy to instigate political change is contested, yet some politically motivated performance has demonstrably facilitated change, and critical frameworks have been developed that account for performances that hold clear political stances. However, even where arguments exist for the enduring relevance of political performance, certain models of practice tend to be represented as more efficacious and sophisticated than others. In this article, inspired by her recent experiences of making political theatre, Rebecca Hillman asks to what extent prevalent discourses may nurture or repress histories and futures of political theatre. She re-evaluates the contemporary relevance of agitprop theatre made in British contexts in the 1960s and 1970s by comparing academic analyses of the work with less well-documented critiques by the practitioners and audiences. She documents also the fluctuation and transformation, rather than the dissipation, of political activism in the final decades of the twentieth century. Rebecca Hillman is a director and playwright, and is a Lecturer in Drama at the University of Exeter..
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.