Brecht today

Brecht’s plays are still highly popular today. If you need to review a Brechtian performance, it won’t be so very different from any other review, except that you will be interested in how effectively the performers have measured up to the expectations of the script. As a political writer, Brecht would surely have expected a modern production to address current issues whilst remaining true to his ideals. If preparing a review, you should try and get hold of a programme so that you can study the director’s notes. This will help you understand what issues they were seeking to portray in the production and how they went about it. Look at Writing about and evaluating theatre to learn more.

Some critics have accused Brecht of ‘thievery’ as theatre critic Michael Billington explains:

Of course, you can easily make a case against Brecht. He was a shameless magpie who stole from everyone, often without acknowledgement. He deluded himself that he could provide an inner opposition to Ulbricht's corrupt post war East German regime while accepting its money to create the Berliner Ensemble. And although he championed the proletariat Brecht himself was, in the words of the critic Eric Bentley, "bottomlessly bourgeois".The Guardian December 2011

Nevertheless directors and writers keep finding new ways to interpret his work afresh. This clip from BBC Radio 3’s Night Waves programme features playwright Mark Ravenhill talking about translating Bertolt Brecht's play, A Life of Galileo for the Royal Shakespeare Company. He also discusses why Brecht is still relevant for modern theatre.