Module 4 Discussion
Playwrights create an imaginary world for an audience to explore, enter into and engage in. Oftentimes there are cathartic moments during the course of the theatrical experience. Sometimes not, as is the case with Epic plays such as The Three Penny Opera, written by German playwright Bertolt Brecht.
Playwrights portray a theatrical body of work through a realistic and/or non realistic lens, (realism/non realism). That decision occurs during the unfolding of the plot, language, characters and spectacle within the dramatic structure. The theatrical conventions and structure are entirely up to the playwright’s vision and concept.
In the assigned readings for this Module (chapters 9 and 12) several playwrights, set designers, directors, artists and choreographers were introduced. Whether it was Bertolt Brecht’s Verfremdungseffekt or Epic Theatre, German Expressionism, European Realism and/or Non Realism, playwright’s created a theatrical landscape that employed various styles, methods, movements and artistic influences.
From this context, select a playwright (you can choose one of the playwright’s discussed in the assigned readings) and discuss why their body of work has changed, challenged and/or influenced the theater and an audience’s theatrical experience.
Playwrights such as Bertolt Brecht and Samuel Beckett (for example) would be good selections because of their extensive body of work and their influence on contemporary theater even today. However, you can select any playwright that you admire, although you must provide an example as to why their work has challenged, inspired and impacted the theatrical world and experience.
Mother Courage is a play written by Bertolt Brecht about war and its victims. This video clip highlights scenes from the play that was adapted by Tony Kushner and performed at the Delcourte Theater in New York City in 2006. Actress Meryl Streep played the role of Mother Courage. This interview offers her unique perspective as an actress as to why the playwright’s words and theater is still relevant even today. A playwright such as Bertolt Brecht, and/or William Shakespeare has that ability. Their words and influence are not bound by time and/or place, in fact, their ideas are universal, striking a cord with the masses. Their canon of dramatic literature is timeless, infiltrating borders, and can be adapted and presented in different languages, in varying countries, for many generations to come.