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Erwin Piscator: Father Of Political Theater

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  1. Introduction
  2. What exactly were the aims of Piscator's theatre?
  3. Brecht and his theoretical work regarding political theatre
  4. The story of corruption and politics set in Louisiana
  5. Machinery on stage.
  6. Conclusion
  7. Bibliography

Throughout history, both theatrical and otherwise, there are figures that stand out prominently in the collective memory. There are the giants, those triumphant individuals whose work has made an indelible impression on society. And then there are those who stand behind the giants, their teachers, their inspiration. Often disregarded and ignored, these people gave life to the ideas their successors then expanded upon and organized. There are many such examples of this kind of a relationship, but one of the most classic examples is that of Bertolt Brecht and Erwin Piscator. Those who are familiar with theatrical theory and history recognize Brecht as the creator and theorist of epic theatre. Most people do not recognize the name of Erwin Piscator at all. However, Piscator was in fact the man who originated the idea of epic/political/documentary theatre

[...] Brecht is often credited as having done most of the theoretical work regarding political theatre, and the epic acting style associated with it in particular; however, Piscator did have some concrete tenets that he set down regarding political theatre. Terence Smith writes that Piscator sought totality (represent the whole picture), immediacy (relevancy to contemporary issues), and authenticity (force spectators to action) (Smith, 2). For him it was not enough that the audience leave thinking the play was interesting, or had a great message. [...]


[...] The play itself is typically episodic, lacking the conventional structure of a realist or naturalist play (Probst, 3). One example of a documentary play is Trotz Alledem (1925), a play that in a series of scenes deals with the high points in the revolutionary history of man (an obvious testament to the power of revolution to change things for the better) (Probst, 2). The adaptation may in fact be the most complex of the three major styles Piscator utilized in his work. [...]

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