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2007 : theatre blog *
Baghdad, 2007

... concept-directing

notes for the dramlit group:

Woman as a hero: describe the difference (in your 200 words)

Mother Courage: The title character, her real name is Anna Fierling. She earned her name Mother Courage in Riga when she ran through a bombardment in order to sell her loaves of bread. She has three children, Eilif, Swiss Cheese and Kattrin whom she tries to take care of and protect throughout the play. She loses all three children while following the war around Europe and ends the play alone with her wagon. Brecht said that as a character she learns nothing during the course of the play.

Kattrin: Mother Courage's daughter, she is mute but very emotional. She is killed near the end of the play because she takes a drum and beats it to warn a town that an army is approaching.

Eilif: Mother Courage's eldest son, he is brutish and loves the war. He is recruited into the army in the first scene and quickly advances because of his ability to kill peasants and steal their livestock. However, when peace briefly arrives, he is executed for committing the same acts of brutality.

Swiss Cheese: Mother Courage's younger son, he is honest and unwilling to break his promises. He is forced to become the money-carrier for the army and dies when he refuses to tell the opposing army where he has hidden the money box.

Recruiting Officer: The man who recruits Eilif in the first scene; he has the Sergeant distract Mother Courage with the promise of a sale and quickly takes Eilif away with him.

Sergeant: The man who distracts Mother Courage so that her son Eilif can be recruited into the army.

Cook: The cook for the Swedish Commander. He first appears when Mother Courage haggles with him over the price of a capon. He is the man whom Yvette Pottier fell in love with, thereby causing her to follow the army as a prostitute for five years.

Swedish Commander: The leader of the Swedish Regiment, he is introduced in Scene Two. Mother Courage overhears him congratulating Eilif for Eilif's bravery. She claims that he must be a bad commander after hearing him tell Eilif that he needs more "brave" men.

Chaplain: The religious leader of the Swedish Army. He later joins Mother Courage's wagon and lives with her, switching religions depending on which army they are selling to.

Ordnance Officer: Introduced in the Scene Three, he sells Mother Courage a bag of bullets.

Yvette Pottier: A prostitute in the army, she followed the army after falling in love with the Cook. After the Catholics arrest Swiss Cheese, she picks up a Colonel and convinces him to give her money with which to buy Mother Courage's wagon. However, Swiss Cheese is dies and she does not get the wagon.

Man with the Bandage: An informer for the Catholic Army, he spots Swiss Cheese hiding the cash box and arrests him. Yvette tries to bribe him to release Swiss Cheese, but the haggling takes too long.

Another Sergeant: An officer in the Catholic Army, he helps arrest Swiss Cheese after Swiss Cheese tries to hide the regimental cash box.

Old Colonel: A regimental leader, he is very old. Yvette "picks" him up and convinces him to give her the money to buy Mother Courage's wagon. He pretends to be her "financial advisor".

Clerk: The clerk is in charge of the complaint station, where Mother Courage goes to complain about the way the soldiers messed up her wagon.

Young Soldier: A young man who is furious that his Sergeant stole some reward money that he should have gotten for rescuing the Colonel's horse. He enters the complaint office. Mother Courage talks to him and shows him how easy it is to break his spirit and make him accept his position.

Older Soldier: An older man who accompanies the Young Soldier to the complaint office.

Peasant: A man wounded in Scene Five during the battle, he has lost his arm and needs bandages. He tells the Chaplain that his child is still in the house, causing Kattrin to rush in and save the baby. Mother Courage refuses to provide bandages until the Chaplain forcefully removes her from the wagon and takes some of her shirts.

Peasant Woman: A woman wounded in Scene Five. She is concerned about her farm and the fact that her family has lost everything.

Young Man: A young man who tries to sell bedding feathers to Mother Courage in Scene Eight; he takes his mother home when peace is declared.

Old Woman: An old woman who tries to sell bedding feathers to Mother Courage; she faints when peace is declared and then leaves with her son to return home.

Voice: A voice that invites the Cook and Mother Courage to come inside the parsonage for some soup; also a voice that sings a song about prosperity and shelter in Scene Ten.

Peasants: At the farmhouse in Scene Eleven the peasants agree to work with the Catholic soldiers in killing off the town of Halle. They are mortified when Kattrin takes a drum and beats it on their farmhouse's roof.

Lieutenant: The man in charge of infiltrating Halle and killing off the residents. He orders the soldiers to shoot and kill Kattrin while she is on the roof.

... BB on WAR


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mother courage : bertolt brecht 2007

script.vtheatre.net/themes : war * religion * society * state * army ... live investigation of (social) reality

* script.vtheatre.net/brecht -- drama

* direct.vtheatre.net/brecht -- directing

* filmplus.org/thr/epic-thr -- theory

* filmplus.org/biomx/epic -- acting2

... playwright + dramaturgy

think about:

* time passing

* present -- visual expression

* style -- graphics/design/poster today

* sound

* light

{ MC } * The play opens in Dalarna, a province of Sweden, in 1624 during the Thirty Year's War. The Swedish army is recruiting for a campaign in Poland. Mother Courage runs a canteen wagon that follows the army and sells the soldiers drink and items of clothing. A Recruiting Officer and a Sergeant are trying to find troops for the Swedish Army. They see Eilif, one of Mother Courage's sons, and try to recruit him. When Mother Courage prevents them, the Sergeant feigns interest in one of her belts. While she negotiates with him, the Recruiting Officer pulls Eilif away from her and signs him up for the army.

scene and character analysis :

stage direction




Mother Courage follows the army into Poland, accompanied by her younger son Swiss Cheese and her mute daughter Kattrin. She enters the Commander's tent and tries to sell the Cook a capon for dinner. The Cook haggles with her over the price. Suddenly she overhears her son's voice talking with the Commander. Eilif is being honored for having killed some peasants and stolen their cattle. She manages to sell her bird to the Cook for a high sum and then sees her son again. Eilif embraces her, but she boxes him and tells him that the next time he encounters peasants he should surrender when they surround him (instead of fighting and killing them all).


Three years later Mother Courage is still with the regiment. The Catholic Army attacks and wins, forcing her to switch flags. Swiss Cheese, who has become the payroll master for the army, foolishly hides the money box in her wagon. The Chaplain of the Protestant regiment joins Mother Courage and pretends to be a Catholic. After several days he and Mother Courage leave to conduct business. Swiss Cheese decides that he should hide the money box somewhere else, but when he does so Catholic spies watch him carefully. They arrest him and bring him back to Mother Courage, who has returned to her wagon and discovered that Swiss Cheese has left. She realizes that his life is in danger and pretends not to know him.

They take Swiss Cheese away to interrogate him. Yvette Pottier, a prostitute in the army, arrives with a Colonel in tow. Mother Courage gets Yvette to buy her wagon for a large sum of money. She then sends Yvette to the Catholics in the hopes that she can bribe one of the soldiers to release Swiss Cheese. However, she bargains too long and Yvette returns to the wagon and tells her that Swiss Cheese is dead, with eleven bullet holes in him. The soldiers bring his body to Mother Courage, who must again deny knowing the man.

She then goes to complain to a sergeant about the way the troops ruined her goods and charged her a fine for nothing. While in the tent waiting to complain, a soldier arrives who has been cheated out of his reward. He tells her that his sergeant kept the reward money and spent it on whores and alcohol. Mother Courage explains to him that unless his anger is "long", he might as well capitulate and realize that his spirit has already been broken and that there is nothing he can do about it. She succeeds in convincing him to give up his anger, but realizes that her own complaint is just as worthless. She leaves without complaining.

Mother Courage is in a small town where the war is being fought. Several peasants need bandages but she refuses to give them any. The Chaplain, who is still with her, forcefully enters her wagon and rips up some good shirts for bandages.

The Commander of the regiment eventually gets killed and the soldiers spend the day drinking instead of attending his funeral. The Chaplain tells Mother Courage that the war will not end and that she should add more supplies while they are still cheap. As a result, she sends Kattrin into the town to buy supplies. Kattrin returns with lots of goods, but with a nasty scar on her face where she was hurt on the way home. Mother Courage patches up her daughter but tells the Chaplain that it is doubtful Kattrin will ever be able to marry now.

Unfortunately for Mother Courage, peace does in fact arrive, meaning that she is financially ruined. She is, however, happy that she will get to see Eilif again. The Cook from earlier in the play arrives and he gets into an argument with the Chaplain, where both men vie for Mother Courage's favor. The Cook suggests that Mother Courage should sell her goods before the prices drop too much due to the peace. Yvette Pottier shows up again and she and Mother Courage go to sell the goods.

Eilif is brought onstage in chains. He tells the Chaplain and the Cook that he killed some peasants again in order to take their cattle, but since it was during peacetime, he got arrested. He does not get to see his mother, and the Chaplain accompanies him to be executed. Mother Courage arrives back soon thereafter with the news that the war has actually started again, but that they did not know it. The Cook does not tell her that Eilif has been executed.

The Cook remains with the wagon for two years until he receives a letter that his mother has died and left him a small inn to take care of. He tries to get Mother Courage to accompany him, but since he refuses to take Kattrin along, she turns him down. While he is eating in a parsonage, she dumps his stuff on the ground and drives off with Kattrin.

Two years later Mother Courage is near the town of Halle, in which she is buying goods for her wagon. Kattrin remains with the wagon near a farmhouse. Some soldiers arrive from the Catholic army and seize the peasants in the farmhouse along with Kattrin. They force one of the peasants to lead them silently into town. The remaining peasants go up on the roof and realize that the army is going to slaughter the townspeople. They kneel to pray, and Kattrin stays behind them and listens. During the prayer she suddenly goes and gets a drum out of the wagon and climbs up on the roof. She starts beating the drum and pulls the ladder up with her to prevent them from stopping her.

Her noise brings back the soldiers. They first try to bribe her down by offering to protect her mother. Next they threaten to shoot her. She refuses to stop beating the drum even when they get a gun and aim at her. Kattrin beats louder and harder until they shoot her down. However, the noise that she made successfully wakes up the town and allows it to defend its walls and to use its cannon.

The next day Mother Courage pays the peasants to bury her daughter. She then says that she must get back into business. Hearing a regiment pass by, she harnesses herself to the front of the wagon and pulls the wagon offstage.

[ ClassicNote on Mother Courage and Her Children ]


Brecht is very useful in Film Theory: see Spectator Theory @ Film-North. Also, for BioMechanics

Social commentary: lives on war and suffers because of it. Anti-war?

... Dialectics

From Utopia

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Utopia Project 2007 : XXI century POV

web-show -- brechtian idea... FILM and EPIC Theatre [ notes -- where? Chaplin + Eisenstein, according to BB ]

shows.vtheatre.net -- web and epic theatre concept





playwrighting.net 2008

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"The Modern Theatre is the Epic Theatre" is a theoretical work by the twentieth-century German theatre practitioner Bertolt Brecht. It was composed in 1930 as a set of notes to accompany his opera Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. In it, he outlines his ideas for a 'refunctioning' of the theatre, his principle of the 'separation of the elements' (conceived in opposition to Wagner's principle of the 'integrated work of art'), and the "shifts of accent" involved in the move from traditional 'dramatic' theatre to his own 'epic' theatre. It also contains one of the earliest formulations of 'Gestus'.


BB and FILM [ Montage of Attractions, Eisenstein ]

BB and Meyerhold (Director's Theatre) : direct.vtheatre.net

"Russian BB" -- TAGANKA and Lubimov

BB and Beckett --

BB and PoMo (Hamletmachine, Muller)

... But First --

BB and Sophocles [ chorus ]

BB and Shakespeare

BB and Broadway [Musical]

BB and Ideology [Marxism] ... and Socialist Realism ?

... BB and popart ?

BB, century 21 ... Web and BB -- "virtual theatre"

see script.vtheatre.net/brecht [ key terms : brecht dictionary? ]

... theatricalism [ From: Britannica Concise Encyclopedia | Date: 2007 ]
Twentieth-century theatrical movement that emphasized artifice in reaction to 19th-century naturalism. Marked by stylized acting, a stage projecting into the audience, and frank scenic artifices and conventions, it did not strive to create the illusion of reality but rather to remind the audience of their role as viewers and critics of the artwork in progress before them. Theatricalism was found in the Expressionist, Dadaist, and Surrealist drama of the early 20th century and has continued as a current in the modern theatre.

... http://www.theatredatabase.com/20th_century :

As James K. Lyon points out in Brecht Unbound, "Brecht appears to have been someone whose death did more to advance his career than any single act of his life. Almost from the moment of his funeral, officials in East Germany began a process that rapidly transformed him from a troublemaker into an almost saintly literary classic, while West German intellectuals, theater people, and publishers who discovered and promoted his works quickly laid the foundation for a 'Brecht industry' that still flourishes today. In the process, and despite a propensity for causing trouble long after his death, Brecht became, depending on how one views it, one of the most dominant influences on, or obstacles to, the development of German theater and literature in both Germanys for the next two-and-a-half decades."


Explaining his technique in A Short Organum for the Theatre, Brecht says, "In order to produce A-effects [alienation effects] the actor has to discard whatever means he has learnt of getting the audience to identify itself with the characters which he plays. Aiming not to put his audience into a trance, he must not go into a trance himself. His muscles must remain loose, for a turn of the head, e.g. with tautened neck muscles, will 'magically' lead the spectators' eyes and even their heads to turn with it, and this can only detract from any speculation or reaction which the gesture may bring about. His way of speaking has to be free from parsonical sing-song and from all those cadences which lull the spectator so that the sense gets lost. Even if he plays a man possessed he must not seem to be possessed himself, for how is the spectator to discover what possessed him if he does?... His feelings must not at bottom be those of the character, so that the audience's may not at bottom be those of the character either. The audience must have complete freedom."

Galileo for THR413 Playscript Analysis [ dramaturgy ? ] THEMES : ... script.vtheatre.net/themes [ list ]

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