Download Anti-War Theatre After Brecht: Dialectical Aesthetics in the by Lara Stevens PDF

By Lara Stevens

Examining the ways that modern Western theatre protests opposed to the ‘War on Terror’, this booklet analyses six twenty-first century performs that reply to the post-9/11 army operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. The performs are written by way of probably the most major writers of this century and the final together with Elfriede Jelinek, Caryl Churchill, Hélène Cixous and Tony Kushner.

Anti-war Theatre After Brecht grapples with the matter of ways to make theatre that protests the guidelines of democratically elected Western governments in a post-Marxist period. It indicates how the web has turn into a key software for disseminating anti-war play texts and the way on-line social media boards are altering conventional dramatic aesthetics and broadening possibilities for spectator entry, engagement and interplay with a piece and the political possible choices it places ahead.

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Dialectics are: (a) a way of thinking; (b) a means by which to characterize society; (c) a method for investigating reality; (d) a mode for conveying such a reality (Ollman and Smith 2008, 4). Their classification takes into account the reflexive problem of the dialectic as both theory and practice: methodology and sociological phenomenon. Jameson explains the circular logic of a dialectical view of reality when he writes: Perhaps, if Marxism is to be identified as a unity of theory and practice, the same needs to be said about the dialectic, namely, that it will always be its own illustration or example; that any exercise of it will already be its own presentation; that, as Sartre put it, you do not think dialectically without saying so and calling it that: all of which is to say that you have to be grappling with a dialectical reality already in order to be able to show what the dialectic is.

1 Brecht studies Capital in 1926 and, according to Lunn, ‘Brecht’s own view of science was developed in terms of Marx’s practice of a critical, dialectical, and historical method’ (1982, 114). Brecht also develops an understanding of Marxist and Hegelian dialectics through attending reading groups in the 1920s and 1930s led by his ‘Marxist Teacher’ and KPD dissident Karl Korsch as well as through influential Marxist friends including Fritz Sternberg, Hanz Eisler, Ruth Berlau (Red Ruth), Margarete Steffin and Walter Benjamin.

Brecht’s emphasis on dialectics in theatre as the basis for a revolution in consciousness or sceptical thinking, rather than a revolution of barricade building, is therefore amenable to the present ‘post-political’ epoch. Ollman and Smith demonstrate how Marx’s use of the term ‘dialectics’ can be read in a number of different ways. They offer four key categories by which to pinpoint its multilayered usage. Dialectics are: (a) a way of thinking; (b) a means by which to characterize society; (c) a method for investigating reality; (d) a mode for conveying such a reality (Ollman and Smith 2008, 4).

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