city montage. berlin. brecht.

Polish Poster

brecht. his ‘epic theatre proceeds by fits and starts, in the manner comparable to the images on a film strip’. here the principle of montage draws attention to the content of the work- its form is sublated (aufheben). its technique is to stimulate the audience and transform the spectator into an active critical observer. the narrative is not continuous, begins anywhere, stop and starts, proceeds in jumps and remains unresolved. the mechanism of the theatre is exposed – on show.

brecht develops his verfremdungseffekt (alienating effect) intent on dislocating our habitual perceptions of the real world so as to make it the object of renewed attentiveness.  this estrangement effect involved stripping the event of its self-evident, familiar, obvious quality and creating a sense of astonishment and curiosity about them. to this effect, songs were employed to interrupt the action, harsh stage lighting used, explanatory placards, the use of film, and actors addressing the audience directly acknowledging their presence, all form part of this attempt to re-function the theatre through the montage principle.