brecht meets meyerhold

If Brecht and Meyerhold ever had met each other, it would have had the deepest impact on European theatre history happening in the last century.

That meeting didn’t take place – and the results are well known:

• Brecht’s visions were disfigured with all the known signs of degeneration: didactic pathos, boring speech lacking in emotional range and hardly any attention paid to the body as an expressive tool.

• Until the beginning of the 1990’s Meyerhold’s biomechanics were known merely as a myth. His method was the source of different training styles, which help create shows with almost mythical quality.

Both of them were stripped of their social and political strength.

brecht meets meyerhold
wants to make up for an encounter that never occured

In a sequence of practical seminars participants will learn the basics of Biomechanics and Epic acting. Both, Brecht and Meyerhold, had theatrical roots in European as well as Asian Popular theatre. This is used as the basis of the workshop which then is going to develop the connection from that source to our contemporary theatre. This means: filling the empty space that exists because these two never met.

Contrary to general opinion that there must not be any emotion in Epic Theatre, we are going to show that emotions not only are necessary but also need a well-formed and ingenious expression.

Acting in Epic Theatre offers a lot of solutions, leaving it up to the actor how s/he can and will „play“ his own evaluations of the character.

Acting in Epic Theatre supports the actor in interpreting a part in the context of the plot of a play, in developing a partner relationship with a unique history and in simply telling a story.

In learning these concepts the actor receives a comprehensive tool that helps him to make concrete choices and offers to the director during a rehearsal process.

W. E. Meyerhold developed biomechanics, a training system for actors, as a drama-lesson, geared towards the body.

It is a training that shapes body and alerts the mind. It can help the modern actor to recover and recreate the forgotten techniques of Cabotin. The actor will become able to transform internal processes into a body language that is expressive but can also be abstract. Thereby the actor can realise difficult and impossible forms of movement without problems as to surprise the audience every time.

„Cabotin is a rambling and travelling actor, from the same family as the mime, the comedian and the juggler. He knows all secrets of the magic art of acting.
Cabotin is the representative of the traditions of a genuine art of acting. With his help occidental theatre reached its zenith… Cabotin was present whenever there was a spectacle. The promoters of the “MYSTERIOUS” demanded from him to fulfil exactly all difficult parts of the spectacle.“
(V. E. Meyerhold)

brecht meets meyerhold aims link both methods. During the workshop our participants are going to gain the experience, that biomechanical training is not only supporting the ideas of Epic Theatre, it also has a direct influence on Brechts methodology..