November 1, 2012 – 6:30 pm
“Bertolt Brecht and Expressionism”
Presented by Peggy Setje-Eilers, Ph.D, assistant professor of German and teaching assistant supervisor, Vanderbilt University
Frist Art Museum Auditorium ~ FREE; seating is first come, first seated
Peggy Setje-Eilers, Ph.D., will examine the texts and lyrics of Bertolt Brecht and the musical compositions of Kurt Weill, Hanns Eisler, and Paul Dessau to make a connection between Brecht's work and the modernist disruptions and disjunctions in expressionist visual arts. She will begin by examining Brecht’s development of Epic Theatre, which took issue with the goals of classical Aristotelian theatre and later also with the German Expressionists. The distortion of expressionistic artwork evoked emotions rather than encapsulating pure visual reality. This contrasts with many elements of Brecht’s theatre style, which instead of wanting the audience to become lost in the play, emphasized the spectator's awareness of what was happening to put the experience of watching and critical thinking at the forefront. This lecture will explore the relationship between Epic Theatre and the German Expressionist artworks on view in German Expressionism from the Detroit Institute of Arts.