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By David Barnett

The Berliner Ensemble was once based through Bertolt Brecht and his spouse Helene Weigel in 1949. the corporate quickly received overseas prominence, and its productions and philosophy prompted the paintings of theatre-makers all over the world. David Barnett's publication is the 1st examine of the corporate in any language. in accordance with broad archival learn, it uncovers Brecht's operating tools and people of the company's most vital administrators after his dying. The e-book considers the boon and burden of Brecht's legacy and gives new insights into battles waged backstage for the upkeep of the Brechtian culture. The Berliner Ensemble used to be additionally the German Democratic Republic's so much prestigious cultural export, attracting cognizance from the top circles of presidency, and from the Stasi, earlier than it privatised itself after German reunification in 1990. Barnett items jointly a fancy background that sheds mild on either the company's groundbreaking productions and their turbulent instances

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Extra resources for A history of the Berliner Ensemble

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He develops a practice that simultaneously seeks input that is tentative and na¨ıve while discouraging ideas that are forced or pursue a line of action that runs contrary to the material itself. Brecht thus ‘trained’ his actors by suggestion, rather than explication, in a mode predicated on contextualized experimentation. The process certainly achieved transformative results. Ekkehard Schall, one of ¨ the BE’s most famous leading actors, arrived, according to Rulicke, as ‘a young, screwed up, pathos-ridden actor .

By 1954, Brecht commented about rehearsal: There is a strict ban on achieving a desired effect. Actors can’t resist it for too long. 30 While Brecht’s insistence on realism is clear, it is his process of enforcing it that is of more importance here. He develops a practice that simultaneously seeks input that is tentative and na¨ıve while discouraging ideas that are forced or pursue a line of action that runs contrary to the material itself. Brecht thus ‘trained’ his actors by suggestion, rather than explication, in a mode predicated on contextualized experimentation.

In addition, the document dispelled the idea that the assistants’ training conformed to a fixed scheme: ‘the individual’s own desire to explore particular areas of interest is a part of achieving good results for the group’. The document proposed that its readers might want to organize the lecture series themselves or recommend further reading, amongst other things. In addition, suggestions were ‘requisite . . in order to enrich the individual’s theoretical “toolkit” and make it serviceable’. This is another reference to the reciprocal relationship between theory and practice, embedded into the assistants’ work ethic from the outset.

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