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Bertolt Brecht and deafblind theatre

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DBI World Conference 2019
Accessibility stream: Concurrent session 4C
Presenter: Simon Allison
Topic: Bertolt Brecht and deafblind theatre

Published in: Healthcare
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Bertolt Brecht and deafblind theatre

  1. 1. USING BRECHT TECHNIQUES IN DEAFBLIND THEATRE Presented by Simon Allison
  2. 2. INTRODUCING
  3. 3. BERTHOLD BRECHT • Born Berlin Died 14th August 1956 • Children Frank Hanne Stefan Barbara • Career Poet , Playwright, Theatre Director • NotableWorksThe 3 Penny Opera, Life of Galileo, Mother Courage • Genre Epic Theatre, Breaking the Fourth Wall • Quotes ‘What happens to the hole when the cheese has all gone’ • ‘No one will improve your lot if you do not yourself’
  4. 4. SIMON ALLISON • Simon Allison • Born England • Died Not yet! • Children Rosie, Isobel, Pearl, Ralph • Genre Performance Poet, Playwright,Theatre Director • Career Project Manager Sense -Coordinator Deafblind InternationalYouth Network –Founder andTrustee Drama Express-QAVS 2019 • Quotes ' If there is one word that will drive you, to the end of your tether, then it's that word of rejection and dejection, However'
  5. 5. ‘BRECHT IS A KEY FIGURE OF OUR TIME AND ALL THEATRE WORK TODAY AT SOME POINT STARTS AND RETURNS WITH BRECHT’ PETER BROOKE (THEATRE DIRECTOR)
  6. 6. IN MY ROLE AS A DEAFBLIND PRACTITIONER I WANTED TO INTRODUCE BRECHT TECHNIQUES THROUGH WRITING,PRODUCING AND DIRECTING A PIECE OF DEAFBLIND THEATRE.THROUGH ITS SUCCESS I HAVE PRODUCED SEVERAL PIECES OF SUCCESSFUL WORK FOLLOWING THESE TECHNIQUES
  7. 7. BRECHT USED VARIOUS METHODS TO ADDRESS CONTEMPORARY ISSUES ACTED OUT ON STAGE
  8. 8. Between 2014 and 2018 members of the Deafblind International Youth Network performed their play about the life of Helen Keller. The group performed in Ireland, Western Australia, England and Romania. A total of 24 performances took place to over 1,000 audience members. The play was written to include many techniques used by Brecht, especially those associated with epic theatre
  9. 9. 1- WHAT BRECHT TECHNIQUES WERE USED 2- HOW DID THE YOUNG PEOPLE PUT EACH TECHNIQUE INTO PRACTICE 3-WHAT WAS THE OUTCOME FROM USING THE BRECHT TECHNIQUES AND HOW DID THESE INFLUENCE AND STRENGTHEN THE PERFORMANCE
  10. 10. SIX OF THE BRECHT TECHNIQUES WE USED 1-NARRATION 2-MONOLOGUES 3-SURREALIST HUMOUR 4-PLACARDS AND DISPLAY BOARDS 5-MINIMAL PROPS, SET AND COSTUME 6-FREEZEFRAME
  11. 11. USING THE EXAMPLE OF THE BREAKFAST SCENE FROM THE HELEN KELLER PLAY WE WILL INTRODUCE EACH BRECHT TECHNIQUE
  12. 12. 1-BRECHT SEES NARRATION AS A VERY IMPORTANT TOOL TO TELL A STORY, SETTING THE SCENE AND THE BACKGROUND. NARRATION CAN BE USED TO CREATE A CHARACTERS EMOTION, HIGHLIGHT A PIECE OF SPEECH AND INTRODUCE PROPS BRECHT OFTEN USED NARRATION IN EPIC THEATRE TO DISCONNECT THE AUDIENCE FROM USING THEIR IMAGINATION
  13. 13. NARRRATOR It was breakfast time at the Keller household. Sat at the table, Arthur Keller, Kate Keller, Phillip Keller and Helen Keller. As with most mornings the only sound was the occasional clinking of crockery. Kate ate her breakfast in a hurry knowing that Philip had to leave for school in a matter of minutes. Phillip yawned, the direct result of reading his school revision books late into the night. At the head of the table Arthur Keller pondered over the Boston Gazette, a weekly insight into world events of 1886. Arthur seemed intrigued in an article about Ann Sullivan, a student at the Perkins Institute in Boston.
  14. 14. 2-Brecht would often ask the narrator to change narrative style during production. The narrator addresses the audience as if reporting the information directly from the newspaper article Arthur Keller is reading This monologue style of delivery would be repeated several times during the production
  15. 15. “Today 4th June 1886 the Perkins School for the blind said farewell to an exemplary student Anne Sullivan.Anne, blind herself, had an extraordinary rapport with her fellow students.There must indeed be an opportunity for Anne to continue her skills working alongside her peers”
  16. 16. THE NARRATOR HAS A MULTI FACETED ROLE. TELLING THE STORY, DIRECTING THE ACTION, PROMPTING STAGE MANAGERS AND DELIVERING FACTUAL INFORMATION IN DEAFBLIND THEATRE THE NARRATOR IS CRUCIAL TO THOSE ASSISTING THE DEAFBLIND ACTORS ON STAGE AS THEY USE THEIR INTERVENTION SKILLS TO GUIDE THE ACTOR THROUGH THE PERFORMANCE
  17. 17. 3-SURREAL COMIC SCENES CREATED A STYLE OF UNEXPECTED HUMOUR OFTEN ASSOCIATED WITH SERIOUS MATTERS
  18. 18. NARRATOR - ARTHUR KELLER HAS EMPLOYED ANNE SULLIVAN AS HELEN'S TEACHER. AS A STARTING POINT ANNE WAS TO TRY AND TEACH HELEN HOW TO BEHAVE AT THE BREAKFAST TABLE. WITH NO FAMILY MEMBER ABLE TO PROPERLY COMMUNICATE WITH HELEN BREAKFAST WAS OFTEN A SCENE OF TOTAL DESTRUCTION ARTHUR AND KATE KELLER DISCUSS THE EVENTS OF THE PREVIOUS EVENING AS HELEN SCATTERS BREAKFAST CEREAL ACROSS THE TABLE AND OVER HER FAMILY. EVERYONE IS OBLIVIOUS TO HELEN'S ACTIONS
  19. 19. 4-PLACARDS AND DISPLAY BOARDS AND FREEZEFRAME BRECHT USED THIS COMMUNICATION METHOD TO TRANSMIT INFORMATION TO THE AUDIENCE. OFTEN USED TO MAKE A STATEMENT OR INTRODUCE HUMOUR. PLACARDS WERE FAMOUSLY USED IN THE BOB DYLAN VIDEO SUBTERRANEAN HOMESICK BLUES. INDEED DYLAN IS QUOTED AS BEING HEAVILY INFLUENCED BY THE WORK OF BRECHT
  20. 20. NARRATOR- ARTHUR LEAVES THE BREAKFAST TABLE TO GO TO WORK. IN TURN HE BIDS GOODBYE TO EACH FAMILY MEMBER. PROPS –TWO CLOCKS ARTHUR – ‘MY TIME AT WORK SEEMS TO PASS VERY QUICKLY THESE DAYS’
  21. 21. 5-Minimal and multiuse of props and scenery In Deafblind theatre a non cluttered environment ensures successful negotiation around the stage. The layout of both scenery and props can be used as reference points for the actors positioning themselves for each scene. Constant scenery changes and too many props can become both confusing and misleading. In the Helen Keller play the table remains on stage throughout the whole production as it is a central reference point for many of the scenes.
  22. 22. NARRATOR -ANNE SULLIVAN HAS BEEN A REVELATION WITHIN THE KELLER HOUSEHOLD. HELEN'S BEHAVIOUR HAS CHANGED DRAMATICALLY AND MEAL TIMES ARE NOW A SCENE OF PEACE AND NEAR CALM. THIS HAS GIVEN ANNE THE OPPORTUNITY TO DEVELOP THE COMMUNICATION OF HELEN INTRODUCING A FORM OF DEAFBLIND SIGN LANGUAGE. THE PROCESS OF SPELLING OUT WORDS ONTO THE HAND OF HELEN HAS ENABLED THE BOND BETWEEN THEM TO STRENGTHEN. TODAY ANNE IS PRESENTING AN OBJECT TO HELEN, SPELLING OUT THE NAME OF THE OBJECT ON TO HELEN'S HAND.
  23. 23. THE SCENE IS CRUCIAL TO THE PLAY AS IT SIGNIFIES A MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH IN THE COMMUNICATION BETWEEN ANNE AND HELEN. FOR THE FIRST TIME WITHOUT PROMPTING HELEN INDEPENDENTLY SIGNS ONTO THE HAND OF ANNE ASKING FOR THE CUP. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF JUST THE ONE PROP CLARIFIES IT’S IMPORTANCE IN THIS SCENE
  24. 24. MIMIMAL COSTUME WHERE THE ACTORS WEAR SIMILAR COSTUMES THERE IS AN ENHANCED SENSE OF TOGETHERNESS AND BELONGING WITHIN THE C AST
  25. 25. BRECHT INTRODUCED A TECHQNIQUE WHERE A PROP WOULD HAVE MULTIPUPLE PURPOSES CAN YOU IMPROVISE WITH THESE PROPS? A GREAT TACTILE WORKSHOP EXERCISE
  26. 26. 6 – FREEZE FRAME Using this method the narrator can catch up with the action on stage. Putting movements on hold there can be focus on the finer details of what is taking place
  27. 27. NARRATOR: ANNE ENCOURAGED HELEN TO BE MORE INDEPENDENT WITH HER COMMUNICATION, EXPRESSING HER NEEDS AND WISHES THROUGH SPELLING OUT WORDS ON ANNE SULLIVAN'S HAND
  28. 28. AT THE END OF EACH BRECHT PLAY THE AUDIENCE WILL HAVE HAD TIME TO STUDY THE STORY AND RECOGNISE ANY SOCIAL MESSAGES. BRECHT WOULD OFTEN CHOOSE TO CONCLUDE HIS PLAYS WITH ISSUES UNRESOLVED, LEAVING THE AUDIENCE TO THINK OF THEIR OWN OUTCOMES
  29. 29. BRECHT ACTIVITIES FOR DEAFBLIND THEATRE WORKSHOPS 1-TACTILE EXPLORATION OF PROPS 2-EMOTIONS IN THE FRAME 3-RED CARPET THEATRE 4-THE DRIVE THROUGH 5-NET WORKING

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