Analysis of the first few scenes Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 10 July 2017

Analysis of the first few scenes

Brecht wrote: ‘… to think, or write or produce a play also means to transform society, to transform the state, to subject ideologies to close scrutiny. ‘ Offer an analysis of the ideologies your work subjects to scrutiny by considering the value systems which that work critiques or with which it colludes. You may answer in both political and theatrical terms. Our group looked at representing the first few scenes of one of the most controversial plays of the 1960s, which was Edward Bond’s Saved. We decided to focus on the themes rather than the individual scenes.

As a starting point our group looked at Brecht’s dialectics as a director, discovering the definition of ‘dialectics’ is “a way of finding out the truth by logical discussion”. We progressed with this to try and find ‘the truth’ that was beneath the text in the section of the play we had been given to interpret dramatically. Realising we had to bring to life the social and strong beliefs of present day, we decided to take the uncomfortable and shocking themes within this controversial play; even if we felt they may offend, we knew we had to utilise them to our best efforts.

In our first scene we represented prostitution and fear, showing that the girl had been forced into that world that she hated although that was the only thing she thought she could practically do to get money. We showed it as an awkward sex scene, the two characters wearing practically nothing. As we decided to go as far as we thought we possibly could in this scene without offending, in the end we realised it was a good scene to start with as it got the audience’s attention straight away and perhaps got them to relate as they may have also been in a similar situation.

A suggestion was made to convert the speech in our performance, (the little of it there was) into our own accents rather than the accents of the characters. Only after the performance did I discover that this, in fact, was a rehearsal method of Brecht’s; “… to read in the third person, to change register, to convert the present tense into the past, to include stage directions along with dialogue, to switch roles, even to use empathy (still to be avoided in performance). ” (Thompson and Sacks, 1994:196)

As a result of keeping our own accents, I think it made the whole performance more realistic; true to life and there was no distraction of trying to perfect each character’s accent for both the actor and the audience’s benefit. “Brecht’s theatre shows us the variety of artistic techniques because he makes us know that we can not only find beauty in emotional theatre, but also in reasonable theatre. ” (Hyoung, http://www. lancs. ac. uk… ) “Brecht wants the audience think about the events but not get drawn in emotionally by the characters. Brecht developed a new type of theatre which he called Lehrsti ck “learning play. ”

Brecht described them as “a collective political meeting” in which the audience is to participate actively. ” (Kellner, http://dogma. free. fr… ) Originally we planned to have a great deal of audience participation throughout our performance. During a later rehearsal we realised that a constant close relationship with our audience would probably create the opposite genre of what we wanted, which was any form of comedy. By using the small piece of intervention with our audience during our second scene, not only did it make them feel uneasy, it also brought another sense of reality to our piece.

The audience probably realised that as they were the victims in this scene, anybody could be a victim of the type of life portrayed by the characters. “I have never seen anyone cut a script as mercilessly as Brecht cut his own. ” (Weber, 1967:85) Just through re-reading Brecht’s theories and techniques as a director, it is surprising how many of them our group unknowingly used when thinking back to our rehearsal process. In relation to the above quote, not only did we edit and cut the majority of the original script, but we also cut a lot of our original scenes we worked on just because we thought they were not necessary.

I can remember that even in our dress rehearsal we changed almost all of one scene and cut out over half of the dialogue, there was much disagreement as it was a last minute change, but the majority of the group thought it looked messy and unprofessional, so it had to be altered. “If he found that in an almost completed production one certain part was opaque or boring, he cut it. ” (Weber, 1967:85) By analysing our performance, even though it was a very small scale and amateur production, it has made me realise that you can really touch people through theatre and create so much thought and emotion.

I have read this in theory and other people have mentioned how passionate and life-changing theatre can be, but just through illustrating a genre so violent and controversial on stage with real people representing the characters can be so effective to a live audience. Everybody sees such violent images today in the media whether it be fictional within a film or real life in the news, we all, including myself, take violence and murder for granted as an every day occurrence even though we may feel sympathy at the time when we see or read it in the news.

I feel that such involvement, interaction and interest from the live audience we performed for made them think about today’s situation of murder, violence, prostitution and child abuse, even though we performed our piece with hardly any dialogue and with a hidden meaning. I really do believe that our audience did think about our performance when they left, thought about the meanings outside the four walls of the theatre; relating them to our world today. The alienation device Brecht used was the most important way of achieving the result as it was intended to present the familiar world in an unfamiliar way.

Although Brecht did not have an organised theory of the theatre, his only organised belief was Marxism and he even used this in his own, individual way. The essential purpose of epic theatre was to challenge the everyday way in which we see things, which we automatically accept as “normal” and make us see with fresh eyes.


BOOK Thompson, P. and Sacks, G. (eds. ) (1994) The Cambridge Companion to Brecht Cambridge: Cambridge University Press WORLD WIDE WEB PAGES Thierry Simonelli Brecht’s Marxist Aesthetic, Kellner, D. (created January 2000),

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