Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Pabin, David E.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Theatre


Brecht; Bertolt; 1898-1956; Acting


The purpose of this study is to present and analyze Bertolt Brecht's acting theory and its development in a manner which will clarify the many inconsistencies and contradictions (or seeming contradictions) within it, in order that some of the misconceptions concerning the theory will be dispelled. This study chronologically follows the development of Brecht's acting theory, including the theatrical tradition Brecht was heir to, significant social-historical conditions in Germany during the period in which Brecht lived, and aspects of Brecht the man which had a bearing upon the direction in which his theories developed. Also, because the acting theory was only a part of Brecht's entire theory of drama and theatrical production, the entire theory and its development is included in this study. Consequently, the main body of this study is divided into five parts (chapters). Chapter II covers the background to Brecht's theories up to 1924, including the theatrical tradition, social and personal influences upon Brecht's early career, and the effect which his contemporaries had upon his career. Chapter III covers the early development of the theory from 1924 to 1933. Chapter IV covers the final development of the theory from 1933 to Brecht's death in 19566. Chapter V includes an overview of the entire theory, an overview of the development of the acting theory in particular, and a very brief comparison between the major points of Stanislavski an and Brechtian acting. Chapter VI presents the final evaluation of the acting theory and the conclusion, which is that Brecht's acting theory, taken as a whole does not work. Elements of the theory do work in performance before a general audience, and the entire theory can be utilized before a specialized audience, but the entire theory does not work in performance before the mass audience which Brecht wished to reach.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [176]-179)


179 pages




Northern Illinois University

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