Brecht sourcebook by Brecht, Bertolt; Brecht, Bertolt; Bial, Henry; Martin, Carol

By Brecht, Bertolt; Brecht, Bertolt; Bial, Henry; Martin, Carol

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There is not much knowledge that procures power, but much knowledge is only procured through power. Learning means something very different to people in different strata of society. There are people who cannot conceive of any improvement in conditions; conditions seem good enough to them. Whatever may happen to petroleum, they make a profit out of it. And they feel, after all, that they are getting rather old. They can scarcely expect many more years of life. So why continue to learn? ”4 But there are also people who have not yet “had their turn,” who are discontented with the way things are, who have an immense practical interest in learning, who want orientation badly, who know they are lost without learning—these are the best and most ambitious learners.

What antitheses don’t? In his last years, Brecht was beginning to mold actors, beginning, in fact, to learn to mold actors, and beginning to talk of acting schools and the younger generation. And conversely, perhaps, examples could be given of Stanislavsky’s editing and adapting plays. Such factors, however, imply only slight modifications of the point I have made. And by consequence what Brecht, in his theoretical pronouncements, is talking about is what actors, finally, can and should do, while what Stanislavsky is talking about is the question of how they may be brought to the point where they can do this or anything else.

The potentialities of projection, the film, the greater facility in changing sets through machinery, completed the equipment of the stage and did so at a moment when the most important human events could no longer be so simply portrayed as through personification of the driving forces or through subordinating the characters to invisible, metaphysical powers. To make the events understandable, it had become necessary to play up the “bearing” of the environment upon the people living in it. Of course this environment had been shown in plays before, not, however, as an independent element but only from the viewpoint of the main figure of the drama.

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