Bertolt Brecht

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(1898-1956) German socialist playwright. The influence of his plays and his theories on political theatre (including political cabaret, epic theatre, the “gestus”, “Verfremdung” etc.), have been enormous in South Africa. On the one hand he has been an extremely popular playwright with Afrikaans theatre companies. Perhaps one of the most memorable performances being Anna Neethling-Pohl’s portrayal of Moeder Courage in 19**, while his influence on Hennie Aucamp and the rise of Afrikaans political "kabaret" (cabaret) in the 1980s was immense. His notions of political theatre have also most noticeably influenced numerous English companies and authors, including Athol Fugard and the Serpent Players, Barney Simon and The Company, Malcolm Purkey, Mbongi Ngema and Junction Avenue Theatre Co and William Kentridge in his work with the Handspring Puppet Company. By the 1990s – as elsewhere - his reputation had declined somewhat, though the occasional production was still being done and the influence in terms of technique remains. (See also German theatre in South Africa)



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