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By David Barnett

The Berliner Ensemble was once based by means of Bertolt Brecht and his spouse Helene Weigel in 1949. the corporate quickly won foreign prominence, and its productions and philosophy stimulated the paintings of theatre-makers worldwide. David Barnett's publication is the 1st examine of the corporate in any language. according to huge archival learn, it uncovers Brecht's operating tools and people of the company's most vital administrators after his dying. The e-book considers the boon and burden of Brecht's legacy and offers new insights into battles waged behind the curtain for the protection of the Brechtian culture. The Berliner Ensemble was once additionally the German Democratic Republic's so much prestigious cultural export, attracting cognizance from the top circles of presidency, and from the Stasi, prior to it privatised itself after German reunification in 1990. Barnett items jointly a fancy historical past that sheds mild on either the company's groundbreaking productions and their turbulent occasions

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While there was certainly no sense that the audience 63 64 Hans Bunge, unpublished interview with John Rouse, 18 May 1988, p. II-5. ¨ Claus Kuchenmeister, unpublished interview with the author, 4 November 2010. 24 A History of the Berliner Ensemble would leave a performance of Mother Courage and collectively abolish war, Brecht wanted art to play a role that pervaded his audience’s lives by refashioning their consciousness. His theatre was designed to make the spectator a curious, questioning, and active member of society, having developed those attributes over time watching his productions.

Monk, in Lang and Hillesheim, ‘Denken heißt ver¨anden . . ’, p. 103. 26 A History of the Berliner Ensemble The different kinds of institutional structures did bring about important changes in the way that the BE made theatre. 73 Mitbestimmung, as practised later in the West, can be understood in connection with the student movement of 1968, the rebellion against parental authority and institutional hierarchy. Its appeal to leaderless collectives sowed the seeds of its own decline. Mitbestimmung at the BE had an altogether different context and was not blighted by revolutionary romanticism.

Palitzsch, in Peter Iden, Peter Palitzsch: Theater muß die Welt ver¨andern (Berlin: Henschel, 2005), p. 55. ), Brecht im Gespr¨ach, pp. 126– 33. Peter W. Ferran, ‘Moli`ere’s Don Juan adapted for Brecht’s Berliner Ensemble’, Contemporary Theatre Review, 6:2 (1997), pp. 13–40 (22). An opportunity to establish a new type of theatre 23 Brecht fired off a series of questions that continually queried his collaborators’ assumptions as a model of how one retains a dialectical liveliness in the production process.

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