Brechtian techniques as a stimulus for devised work

You might choose to adopt Brechtian techniques because you’ve been told that you must exploit the ideas of a major practitioner in your work. Or it may be that the objectivity of the style suits your piece. There are several elements you should consider if you’re going to create a piece in this style:

  • The narration needs to be told in a montage style.
  • Techniques to break down the fourth wall, making the audience directly conscious of the fact that they are watching a play.
  • Use of a narrator. Because this character is outside the character framework, they change the relationship with the audience.
  • Use of songs or music. Songs and dances are likely to provoke a more objective viewing, particularly if what you’re watching is serious and not the schmaltzy environment of a typical musical.
  • Use of technology. If you project ideas onto a screen in a slide show or even have a still image there throughout each scene, it makes the audience analyse more thoroughly.
  • Use of signs. If an actor starts each scene with a placard naming the scene or you have a board which is changed at the start of each scene, you’re reminding the audience about the fact that they are watching a play.
  • Use of freeze frames / tableaux. This is obviously unnatural in the simple sense of that word, and should make the audience think about the frozen moment.