Photo credit: Paula Hanssen. This June was my first time attending an IBS symposium, and I arrived in Leipzig having met only one of the many people at the conference the theme of which, Brecht unter Fremden , felt appropriate for my experience. This was a community of people dedicated not just to the legacy of Bertolt Brecht and his works, but to what that legacy represents: the inseparability of art and politics and an unflinching drive to question and to push back. It employs an original linguistic style, deliberately delaying the cadence and rhythm of language to expose the raw sounds of the words liberated from their meanings. The unique use of language in the piece created a musical quality that wormed its way into my head and created an aural and textual canvas punctuated by outbursts of emotion and physicality.
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Photo credit: Paula Hanssen. This June was my first time attending an IBS symposium, and I arrived in Leipzig having met only one of the many people at the conference the theme of which, Brecht unter Fremden , felt appropriate for my experience. This was a community of people dedicated not just to the legacy of Bertolt Brecht and his works, but to what that legacy represents: the inseparability of art and politics and an unflinching drive to question and to push back.
It employs an original linguistic style, deliberately delaying the cadence and rhythm of language to expose the raw sounds of the words liberated from their meanings. The unique use of language in the piece created a musical quality that wormed its way into my head and created an aural and textual canvas punctuated by outbursts of emotion and physicality. The piece requires an impressive intensity and discipline from its actors, and they performed with admirable vigor.
That my introduction to the symposium came in the form of a performance piece was indicative of one of its strengths: the eclectic combination of workshops, presentations, and performances. A symposium on Brecht consisting only of presentations and panels would have felt incomplete, so I was happy with the variety of experiences on offer, as well as the variety of attendees — largely a mix of academics, theatre practitioners, and students.
It was a wonderfully international group, and I felt like every continent was represented. I assumed that my lack of German language comprehension would prevent me from making the most of the symposium, but I found that every presenter was happy to talk about their material in English following presentations.
The attendees were allowed into the room one by one over the span of about forty five minutes. I was the last to enter, and found the other participants arranged in a sort of human sculpture. Mine explained that the only rules were no verbal communication or use of objects, and to touch other participants only with implied consent. Free yourself, free the others. Individuals mostly behaved in a manner that appeared consistent with whatever their secret mission was throughout the exercise.
It was revealed that, in fact, every participant had the same mission. It had not been an individual dictum given to them at the start that determined their distinct behaviors, rather it had been their own individual personalities and interpretations of the instructions. This revelation triggered an impassioned discussion about the implications of the exercise. How do we react to a group of strangers, and how much do we trust or distrust them? What is our inherent capacity for manipulation? They explored the idea of Verfremdung and protest, whether it was possible to achieve the Verfremdungseffekt in the form of protest, and whether the effect could last through representation in the media and public memory.
The Saturday evening gala dinner encouraged interaction between attendees, and served as a fun cap to the symposium. Performers Hans Martin Ritter and the friendly fire!
Moments of music, performance, and all-out alienation punctuated the friendly conversation and relative normality of the event. I had never considered the idea of a Brechtian dinner, but the gala proved the possibility of the concept. The symposium felt like a great success. The diverse program of presentations, workshops, and performances created an engaging and interactive atmosphere throughout the symposium and a great many viewpoints and concepts were on display. There will always be a bond among any group of people who study and care about the works of an individual, and that bond lends itself to wonderful creative partnership and intellectual stimulation — and evidently draws people from all over the world.
This was my first Brecht symposium, but I hope it will not be my last. Welcoming and impressive: so it was for me at the beginning of my first conference with the IBS. The crystal architecture of the Paulinum at Leipzig University offered a quite magnificent and elegant setting that pleasantly contrasted with the immediately friendly, though highly professional atmosphere of the opening talks. There was some distraction as we picked up our welcome drinks and started to chat with each other: the show that began close to us presented itself as an everyday situation with spontaneous conversations at a table covered with food from different origins and surrounded by people coming from different countries and traditions.
At the end they offered us something to eat, posing simple and direct questions regarding everyone. But allow me to begin again from the following day, as we listened to the first Round Table and to the Keynote held by Professor em. A fruitful dialectic situation, in which the only difficulty, for some of us, was the frequent switching from English to German, more frequent as the conversation started to reach some crucial point although careful translations were always provided when requested.
Each day of the conference was opened with a short video that summarized the various conference activities of the previous day many of which had occurred simultaneously , and was closed with performances in the Leipzig Schauspielhaus. On the evening of June 20th, many of us attended a performance of Der Jasager und Der Neinsager , directed by university students.
This complete immersion was evocative and even amusing. During the performance the public was also invited, divided in small groups, to answer to a questionnaire about the show and epic theatre.
Totally different was the approach offered on the following day by the Compania Sincara with their Turandot : the production here was all oriented towards the Italian play with masks, a structured and well-finished show, based on the physical work and improvisations of the actors and the use of puppets. Such performances are not easy to describe due to their unique combination of atmospheres, music, rhythms, and jokes. But limits and boundaries, as I came to understand, were exactly the theme of the reading.
The recurrence of the same images and disturbing sounds in the background communicated a sense of being bound to always identical narrow paths, directed from the outside. Das Theater und die Pest , at the Berliner Ensemble.
The actors, dressed in matching red jackets and matching masks and wigs moved rigidly in front of flat scenery created through projected animations.
Was this a sign of the fact that the work is far from becoming less problematic with time? Die Perser , which followed, was a quite different drama with more conventional staging. Nevertheless, the overall tone of the assembly was that of real cooperation, aimed at creating new ground for future meetings and discussions.
Das Die zwei Keynotes setzten den Rahmen des gesamten Symposiums. Brecht im Transit. Das Fremde und das Eigene werden so als zwei sich gegenseitig bedingende Pole verstanden, zwischen denen sich das Selbst im ewigen Transit befindet.
Dabei sind die vielversprechenden Momente, wenn verschiedene Ideen aufeinanderprallen und daraus Neues entsteht. Besonders Round Table II zeigte sehr gut wie in diesem Format die Kommunikation zwischen verschiedenen Positionen angekurbelt werden kann. Wie den eigenen Standpunkt klar erkennen und vertreten?
Wie Ja oder Nein sagen? Patrick Primavesi stellte oft die gleichen Fragen an die vier verschiedenen Parteien. In den Antworten wurde sehr schnell deutlich, wie unterschiedlich die Wahrnehmung der Prozesse in den einzelnen Gruppen ausgefallen war, wie Fremd- und Eigenwahrnehmung voneinander abfielen. Ihre Methode nennen sie Live-Reenactment. Der Workshop erlaubte den Teilnehmenden diese Methode selbst auszuprobieren.
Abwechselnd konnten die Teilnehmenden versuchen parallel mit der Person im Video das Gesprochene mitzusprechen. Es gab verschiedene Reaktionen auf diese Fremdheitserfahrung. The problem was reconciling them.
The Daoists and Mozi, a source for his Me-ti , wittily criticized Confucian hierarchism. Daoism, a Chinese social unconscious, stimulated creative minds and offered solace for the politically frustrated. Similar views exist in Mozi, and such analogies persist across time and cultures. I now revisit well and lesser known theatre performances, then not properly discussed.
We also need to see some consequences, since pictures say more than words can show. There are as many Hamlets as there are melancholies. In the s and early 30s, acting practices came via Russia, texts via England. Asja Lacis had worked with Meyerhold, who employed Japanese externalizing.
Brecht asked Valentin how they felt before battle. In he criticized all acting of his work. Nicht nahekommen sollten sich Zuschauer und Schauspieler, sondern entfernen sollten sie sich voneinander.
Jeder sollte sich von sich selber entfernen. The consequences were a stylized vocalization and externalization of the figures in the Mann ist Mann production, which Brecht directed.
Absolute feudal loyalty logically justified that astringent tale. Rejecting the Great Custom, the Neinsager refuses to be hurled into the valley. To be performed with the Neinsager, the second Jasager , afraid of being left behind alone, asks to be hurled over the cliff.
In each plot, except the Neinsager , they have to kill their companion with or without his agreement. In the Weimar Republic, political replaced religious justification. The German Communist Party, following the Soviet Union, advocated a united front, holding that capitalism had stabilized. Korsch and Brecht disagreed. Where Brecht drew on traditional Japanese nanori self introduction and michiyuki journey description , the Shingeki, or New Theatre, like the Chinese huaju or spoken theatre, with no realist theatre tradition, understandably turned to Stanislavskian naturalism to convey modern social problems.
Brecht made Japanese directors realize that socially alert theatre need not follow Stanislavsky. His Taniko adaptation also drew attention to the inherent politics in Noh. Proponents of traditional theatre considered such attribution an ideological intrusion into the Japanese sense of pleasure and regret, incomprehensible to outsiders.
A member of the Kanze family Noh school was even dismissed for participating in a Brecht performance. Since performance forced the participants into self-confrontation, Hiroshi Yagi, arguing that Japanese preferred Jasager, favoured the opposite conclusion.
Placing the chorus below on either side, Senda dramatized the danger of climbing. Wearing similar, but differently coloured, costumes, the refusing Neinsager are female. The final refusal and its impact on the shocked group was presented in a truly comic gestus which created a refreshing, liberated — and liberating — effect.
Brecht shifted from Japanese to Chinese plot structures in the didactic plays and later drama. If the Emperor disregarded the Will of Heaven, Chinese culture acknowledged the right of rebellion.
Entitled Die Regel und die Ausnahme, it was abandoned for the reverse conclusion, since a merchant is exonerated for killing a proletarian Kuli.
The movement from ritual acceptance to social criticism does not expect participants to accept a conclusion, but invites an audience to criticize one. Its impact after the Cultural Revolution was comparable in depth, though not in breadth, to the Mother Courage.
Ding Yangzhong had translated it, using paper given to write his self-confession. When the churchmen waved their little black book, everyone in Beijing knew what was meant.
IBS Symposium “Brecht unter Fremden” Leipzig 2019
MDS classes with significant recommendations overlap, excluding ones under the same top-level class. Melvil Dewey invented his Dewey Decimal System in , and early versions of his system are in the public domain. Home Groups Talk Zeitgeist. Big news! LibraryThing is now free to all!
Bloom, Harold - El canon occidental (parcial).pdf
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Melvil Decimal System: 792.04