Audience Manipulation

Bertolt Brecht Biography

Bertolt Brecht was a poet, playwright and theater director(as known as theatrical reformer, dramatist) in Germany. Born and having raised in Germany, Bertolt embraced antibourgeois themes and being forced from his country.The increased dissatisfaction with society after World War I fit Brecht’s anti-bourgeois writing. Brecht’s work fit nicely with the Dadaist and Marxist movement of the time. *Anti-bourgeoisopposed to anyone or anything considered bourgeois *Dadaism: A European artistic and literary movement (1916-1923) that flouted conventional aesthetic and cultural values by producing works marked by nonsense, travesty, and incongruity. *Marxism: A worldview and a method of societal analysis that focuses on class relations and societal conflict, that uses a materialist interpretation of historical development, and a dialectical view of social transformation. What makes him special? – His theater has broken  “the conventions of theatrical illusion” – He as a leftist used drama as a social and ideological tool. Quotes from Bertolt Brecht

Everyone chases after happiness, not noticing that happiness is right at their heels.

The world of knowledge takes a crazy turn when teachers themselves are taught to learn.
Because the things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are

The Fourth Wall

The fourth wall is a theatrical term for an invisible, imaginary barrier between actors on stage and the audience. Actors pretend that they can not hear and see the audience, thereby aiding in the audience’s suspension of disbelief. The Fourth Wall remained unbroken until a number of avant-garde theatrical directors have begun to reject utilizing the Fourth Wall. Examples – The Lion Boy by Complicite Charlie the Lion boy keeps communicating with the audience and tells his inner feelings directly to the audience. – Publikumsbeschimpfung (‘Offending the Audience’) by Peter Hendke This theater is an epitome of breaking the Fourth Wall, as the audience is addressed directly and reminded that they are viewing a fictitious play by the actors. Why do the directors break the Fourth Wall ? None of theatrical expectation is met when theatre rejects the use of the Fourth Wall.

The Fourth Wall in Pina Bausch’s Works

Pina bausch employed various techniques to manipulate the Fourth Wall in her theatre.

1. Kontakthof

Screen Shot 2015-05-13 at 9.28.17 PM The fourth wall is broken down as the dancers consciously present parts of their bodies the audience; they present themselves as if standing in front of an audition panel. Bausch devised the sequence by asking her dancers to present the parts of their bodies they most disliked; hair is scraped back from their faces, and each individual stands facing the audience with teeth bared in an emotionless grimace. The direct relationship between audience and performer is not maintained consistently; Bausch’s dancers alternate between interacting with their audience and retreating into their own self-contained world on stage.

2. Nelken

The stage is covered in magenta carnations, and dancers wear brightly colored dresses.

A half-naked woman who is clad in white briefs appears and crosses the stage with an accordion. Contradicting audience expectation, The woman does not play the accordion.

Then the male actor clad in a silk dress appears and speaks to the audience. Her dreamlike atmosphere created by flowers and the performers blurs the boundary between the actors and the audience.

Constantin Stanislavski

Stanislavski was a Russian actor and theatre director. He started his career as an actor but moved to become a director as well as theatre. He defined a lot of bad acting as an artificial acting and asked actors to do a true acting, which was to work on characters from the inside.
Stanislavski Training – Emotional Memory

The actor does not act emotions in the system. Instead the actor recalls a situation when he/she felt in the same way as a character does. The actor tries to bring up all five senses he/she felt in the situation to the stage. What’s important about this exercise is that the actor can not force a memory, or bring up something hurtful.

Through Dana’s and Angela’s training, we have learned how to convey a situation by showing emotions, without exaggeration.  We’ve also learned we need to bring up all five senses and 5W1H to describe the situation exactly. If not, the audience get confused in interpreting the story. The audience has feel in the same way as the actor did. In order to achieve the purpose of this exercise, the actor is required to act from inside. For example, in the video [Why I do theatre],  the man who hates theater was reminded of his beloved daughter’s death by the actor screaming and mourning on the stage.

Christina’s emotion was clear in overall – she recalled the moment when she came to BHA for the first time in her life. The audience (G10 Drama students) were struggling at first, but eventually two girls managed to get the emotion behind Christina’s short performance.

I was the other one who conveyed the audition to the students. However, mine was as not clear as Christina’s because I only thought of visual and auditory senses without thinking specific surroundings. Since I as an actor didn’t elaborate the situation the audience had more difficulty in interpreting and empathizing it.

Works Cited “Bertolt Brecht.” Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 13 May 2015.


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