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By David Barnett

The Berliner Ensemble used to be based by way of Bertolt Brecht and his spouse Helene Weigel in 1949. the corporate quickly received overseas prominence, and its productions and philosophy prompted the paintings of theatre-makers around the globe. David Barnett's ebook is the 1st learn of the corporate in any language. according to vast archival learn, it uncovers Brecht's operating tools and people of the company's most vital administrators after his demise. The ebook considers the boon and burden of Brecht's legacy and offers new insights into battles waged behind the curtain for the renovation of the Brechtian culture. The Berliner Ensemble was once additionally the German Democratic Republic's such a lot prestigious cultural export, attracting recognition from the top circles of presidency, and from the Stasi, earlier than 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 instances

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Extra resources for A history of the Berliner Ensemble

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For Fuegi, dialectics is little more than a question of an artificially created roundness, ¨ of locating good and bad in everyone. For Rulicke, good and bad do not simply exist in conditions of mutual suppression, but are produced by forces with which the hero has to interact. This version is intimately connected to Lutz’s experience of ‘turning points’ and ‘breaks’ – change comes about through situations that transform their participants. That is how dialectical rehearsal was understood at the BE.

BEA File 13. See Brecht, ‘Aufbau einer Rolle. Laughtons Galilei’, BFA, 25: 10; BoP, p. 153. 18 A History of the Berliner Ensemble Appointing young collaborators and the definition of talent Brecht’s desire to articulate, interrogate and develop his practice was not only a question of his own self-understanding. Brecht was an artist who thrived on the energy of collaboration, and so practice was always something into which he entered with a group of like-minded, but critical, associates. Like-mindedness here suggests an interest in the social possibilities of theatre, not the character-based fare offered at most other theatres.

25 This was a structural feature of many BE productions and one aimed at the actor rather than the spectator (who may have been blissfully ignorant of the dual casting). Actors could observe their peers’ approach to a particular character and consequently note the differences between the two performances. The process of sublimating theories formulated in exile into practice was an ongoing process at the BE. Actor Angelika Hurwicz noted that the first impression she got of Brecht’s work appeared to be entirely one of a normal director, different from conventional direction only perhaps in his greater patience.

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