Intro to Brechtian Theatre

Lesson 1: Intro to Brechtian Theatre



TH: Pr4.1.III a. Apply reliable research of directors’ styles to form unique choices for a directorial concept in a drama/theatre work.

TH:Cn11.1.III a. Develop a drama/theatre work that identifies and questions cultural, global, and historic belief systems.


Objective: Students will demonstrate an understanding of basic Brechtian theatre techniques by beginning to create a Brechtian staging of a children’s story.


Materials needed: AV hookup for PowerPoint  Lesson 1.Brecht PowerPoint


Hook: Brechtian Nursery Rhyme Exercise- pairs up the class into partners who stand at the opposite ends of the room facing each other. Each person thinks of a well-known nursery rhyme, and, on a signal from the teacher, tries to communicate his rhyme to his partner, requiring each student to talk and listen at the same time. The result is chaos. Then students are told it is a life-or-death matter that they communicate their message. Usually, students increasingly incorporate gesture and pantomime into their attempts to be understood.

(This is a Brechtian exercise that trains actors to use gesture and facial expression.)


Learning Plan:

Step 1– Intro to Brecht PowerPoint. Go through the information on the PPT.


Step 2- Get into groups of 4-5 and choose a simple folk tale that you all know. For example, The Three Little Pigs. Take a few minutes to create your story. Improvise your story using dialogue and action only.


Step 3: Narration In Brechtian theatre, a narrator is often used (his plays were didactic and aimed to teach or instruct the audience). Instruct the students to now build on their initial improvisation by adding narration, and times that the characters break the fourth wall and speak to their audience. Give them a few minutes to figure out how to incorporate this.


Step 4: Rearrange- Shifting modes. Present your story in a series of episodes that are no longer in chronological order. You can shift between modes of presentation, such as scenes of monologue, extended narration, dialogue, etc.


Step 5: Movement- In Brechtian theatre, the movement was a mixture of realistic and non-realistic movement. In your groups, find times where each of your characters can use non-realistic body language to demonstrate who they are and how they are feeling.


Closure: Next time we will finish our stories and perform.