Epic theatre German : episches Theater is a theatrical movement arising in the early to midth century from the theories and practice of a number of theatre practitioners who responded to the political climate of the time through the creation of a new political theatre. Epic theatre is not meant to refer to the scale or the scope of the work, but rather to the form that it takes. One of Brecht's most-important aesthetic innovations prioritised function over the sterile dichotomical opposition between form and content. Brecht discussed the priorities and approach of epic theatre in his work " A Short Organum for the Theatre ".
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Epic theatre , German episches Theater , form of didactic drama presenting a series of loosely connected scenes that avoid illusion and often interrupt the story line to address the audience directly with analysis, argument, or documentation. Epic theatre is now most often associated with the dramatic theory and practice evolved by the playwright-director Bertolt Brecht in Germany from the s onward. Its dramatic antecedents include the episodic structure and didactic nature of the pre- Expressionist drama of the German playwright Frank Wedekind and the Expressionist theatre of the German directors Erwin Piscator with whom Brecht collaborated in and Leopold Jessner , both of whom made exuberant use of the technical effects that came to characterize epic theatre.
He wished to block their emotional responses and to hinder their tendency to empathize with the characters and become caught up in the action. They were to disregard inner life and emotions while emphasizing stylized external actions as signs of social relationships. Gesture, intonation, facial expression, and grouping were all calculated to reveal overall attitudes of one character toward another.
Compare Stanislavsky method. Epic theatre. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. While still providing entertainment, it should be strongly didactic and capable of provoking social change. In the realistic theatre of illusion, he argued, the spectator tended to identify…. History at your fingertips. Sign up here to see what happened On This Day , every day in your inbox! Email address.
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