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By David Barnett

The Berliner Ensemble was once based by means of Bertolt Brecht and his spouse Helene Weigel in 1949. the corporate quickly won foreign prominence, and its productions and philosophy motivated the paintings of theatre-makers worldwide. David Barnett's booklet is the 1st research of the corporate in any language. in response to broad archival examine, it uncovers Brecht's operating tools and people of the company's most vital administrators after his loss of life. The e-book considers the boon and burden of Brecht's legacy and offers new insights into battles waged backstage for the protection of the Brechtian culture. The Berliner Ensemble was once additionally the German Democratic Republic's such a lot prestigious cultural export, attracting awareness from the top circles of presidency, and from the Stasi, earlier than it privatised itself after German reunification in 1990. Barnett items jointly a posh historical past that sheds mild on either the company's groundbreaking productions and their turbulent instances

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Extra resources for A history of the Berliner Ensemble

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Claus Kuchenmeister, unpublished interview with the author, 4 November 2010. 24 A History of the Berliner Ensemble would leave a performance of Mother Courage and collectively abolish war, Brecht wanted art to play a role that pervaded his audience’s lives by refashioning their consciousness. His theatre was designed to make the spectator a curious, questioning, and active member of society, having developed those attributes over time watching his productions. 65 It is clear, however, that Brecht’s theatre was not aesthetically extreme like that of the expressionists or the surrealists, so here one may identify a different method of folding art into life.

Theater¨ arbeit: 6 Auffuhrungen des Berliner Ensembles (Dresden: Dresdner Verlag, 1952), p. 343; BoP, p. 237. 22 A History of the Berliner Ensemble and the choice of photographs to be included in any one Modellbuch was enormous. Berlau recounts how Palitzsch pored over a large selection for hours, evaluating their relative merits. 55 Brecht regarded not only a keen sense of observation, but also vast reserves of commitment essential qualities in an assistant. Angela Kuberski notes that there was ‘no norm’ for the manufacture of Modellb¨ucher,56 which suggests that finding a suitable form was also a task for the assistants.

The drive to make the creative staff productive rather than reactive extended beyond the actors. Brecht wanted to open up a dialogue about fundamental questions facing a theatre under socialism, but this could only be carried out in an atmosphere where exchange of ideas was possible. Returning from exile and with very little known about his work at the time, Brecht may well have been brimming with ideas, but a reception of his plays and his theories was yet to take place. The praise lavished on his own Berlin production of Mother Courage in early 1949 had brought him a great deal of attention and had stimulated curiosity, especially amongst young people interested in a new kind of theatre.

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