How I have used Brecht techniques and style in my performance. In my performance, my group and I have used an array of Brechtian techniques and styles to create a stylised and tasteful performance. Some of these techniques are necessary for a Brechtian piece, such as the use of gestus, play building and alienation. Some other Brechtian techniques such as the use of spazz, songs/music, montage and placards help create a greater meaning in the performance. When my group and I started our performance, we first had to come up with a strong and clear gestus.
We did this by looking in the newspaper – we found many articles about young people inflicting harm on each other and juveniles involved in serious crimes. This topic struck us as a current issue that we could relate to and that we understood. We discussed this further until we all agreed that we would create a play built performance based upon how society has created the monster that is generation Y.
We used this as motivation for all the other scenes or episodes that would be supporting our gestus. The play building process has been severely vital in the construction of our performance.
As we improvised each idea, it was a process of trial and error to see which episodes would be included into the performance. Improvisation played a big part in the play building process because a lot of our best ideas have come from acting on impulse, and have steered us into new, sophisticated directions.
Each scene we develop, the group had to take the technique of alienation into great consideration. It is so easy to forget this factor, which is absolutely vital in a Brechtian performance. After we finished or developed a scene, we all discussed how we could make the audience feel more alienated.
An example of this is in our first scene when the scientist is directly addressing and talking to the audience. It makes each audience remember that they are watching a performance and it ensures that they don’t get caught up in the characters or that specific scene. This is important because the audience has to look at the bigger picture instead of getting attached to the story. To reinforce our gestus and help the audience clearly understand what we are saying, each actor in our group is wearing a nametag, such as “GEN X” or “SOCIETY”, so the audience understands our symbolism without having to think too much about it.
We also are using placards for each scene to outline what we are trying to say in each episode. By getting a member of the group to change the placard, this also alienates the audience by breaking down the “4th wall”. A significant technique we have used is spazz. By displaying a scene, which is serious, and then suddenly breaking out into comical movement and dialogue, this breaks the serious moment and also helps in breaking the 4th wall. Songs and music go well with spazz.
In one of our scenes, the scientist is talking to the audience about serious matters with the generations, and then each generation breaks into a comical satire song, mocking The Brady Bunch. We have combined spazz and music for this to create a fast paced performance. It is important not to have a slow and clunky performance otherwise the audience could get bored and confused about the gestus. To avoid a possibly slow performance, we have used montage. Montage also adds to making it a fast paced performance and also makes the audience think about what is being said. We contrast different war images from different wars against each other.
We made sure that these images were very clear so the audience would not have try and understand what we are saying. To assist this, we are using projection and projecting the image behind us. Brecht used placards in his performances; in a way projection is a modern version of placards. It will assist us a great deal in our performance and will engage the audience. Brecht techniques have helped myself and my group in preparing and performing our piece. By using these techniques, it has assisted us in searching for a deeper meaning when creating a performance and made us think about how we can use drama to get a message across to the audience.