Friday, July 28, 2006

On Bertolt Brecht's A-effect

Brecht believes this (A-effect) “process of alienation… is necessary to all understanding”. It is this process of alienating the spectator from a dramatic experience, which promotes a critical read. “The essential point of the epic theatre” writes Brecht “is perhaps that it appeals less to the feelings than to the spectator’s reason… Instead of sharing experience, the spectator must come to grips with things.” Rather than empathy, the spectator in Epic is cast to be an intellectual and scientific observer.This is quite different than winning the audience to the spectacle, where the performance is an opportunity for spectators to experience new emotional sensations. Brecht wants the spectators to be faced with moral decisions, not take a sentimental ride; “Spectator and actor ought not to approach one another [in empathy or erotic] but to move apart”.

Speculating on the implications of Brecht's A-effect, Sam Renseiw captured a lingering sequence of pure reality while at an out-door concert. Fresh footage complete with two short excerpts of Blixa Bargeld's matter-of fact recitations of Brecht's erotic poems. Enjoy by clicking here or enter the lawn above. (patafilm # 219, 01'38'', 9 MB, Quicktime/mov - Flash version here)


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