Brechtian Alienation in Community Performance
Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht, (b.1898-d.1956), known commonly as Bertolt Brecht, was a German poet and playwright. One of his major contributions to theatre history was the “alienation effect” (From the German, “Verfremdungseffekt”). Brechtian alienation requires the removal of the “fourth wall.” This is a term that describes the “suspension of disbelief” by the audience that takes place during a performance. It is often thought that the audience looks in on the play’s action through an invisible wall, just as the audience during a performance is focused upon a procenium stage. This is a literal and figurative term. The audience pretends that the characters in the story are actually alive, living in their own world instead of actors performing on a stage. In order for the fourth wall to remain intact, the actors must also, in effect, pretend that the audience does not exist, by staying in character at all t...