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= Presentation and Moderation in ENGLISH / Vortrag und Moderation auf ENGLISCH
= Presentation and Moderation in GERMAN / Vortrag und Moderation auf DEUTSCH

= Presentation and Moderation in ENGLISH / Vortrag und Moderation auf ENGLISCH
= Presentation and Moderation in GERMAN / Vortrag und Moderation auf DEUTSCH

Farzana Akhter (East West University, Dhaka)

Performing Brecht in Bangladesh: Making the Unfamiliar Familiar

Peter Brook in his book The Empty Space wrote, “Brecht is the key figure of our time, and all theatre work today at some point starts or returns to his statements and achievement” (72). Indeed, Brecht is the strongest, most influential and the most radical theatre man of the era and there is hardly any country where Brecht’s plays have not been staged. His aesthetics has influenced political playwrights and theatre activists throughout the world, especially in the third world countries like India and Bangladesh. Brecht has been one of the popular playwrights in Bangladesh ever since a new wave of modern theatre movement began in the country in the early 1970s. The postwar socio-political condition of the country also made Brecht eminently relevant to a Bangladeshi audience. In this paper I will discuss how two of his plays—The Good Person of Szechwan and The Threepenny Opera—have been adapted to our cultural context so as to make the unfamiliar familiar, and how the themes and messages of the plays are so very pertinant in our country.

Farzana Akhter is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, East West University. She also works as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Dhaka. She has been awarded a MPhil degree from the University of Dhaka for her research on Brecht and his influence on Bangladeshi drama.

[May 20, 11:00–12:30, Adaptations & Translations of Brecht in Bangladesh & India, Webster Hall 112]

Amal Allana (Theatre & Television Associates, New Delhi)

Brecht and India: Urban Encounters/Postcolonial Trajectories

This paper contextualizes Brecht’s impact on contemporary Indian playwriting and performance as a post-independence, postcolonial phenomenon. It will also look a Brecht’s influence on other disciplines such as Indian cinema and painting in the 1970s and 1980s.

In the 1990s female directors revisited Brecht more as an “intercultural” partner rather than as someone who might be of help in constructing an Indian identity: Brecht’s splintering technique has informed the deconstruction of gender identity in many contemporary Indian plays.

By 2010, young Indian directors/actors appear to have absorbed Brecht comprehensively into their practice and have come to regard him as integral to their artistic consciousness.

Amal Allana is currently Chairperson of the National School of Drama, New Delhi, Head of Acting at The Dramatic Art & Design Academy and Artistic Director of Theatre & Television Associates, New Delhi. She has directed over 60 plays for the stage, several plays and serials for television, designed costumes for stage and film, curated exhibitions, researched and written on theatre, and engaged in various other related activities. Her last three productions for the stage include: Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother, based on a short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez; Nati Binodini, based on the autobiography of the 19th-century actress Binodini; and Metropolis, based on Ibsen’s three plays Rosmersholm, Hedda Gabler and A Doll’s House, and set in Mumbai.

[May 23, 9:00–10:30, Brecht and Contemporary Indian Theatre, Webster Hall 113]

Nissar Allana (Theatre & Television Associates, New Delhi)

Brecht: Co-Author. Indian Modernism and Contemporary Theatre

The popularity of Brecht’s plays in India is evidenced from the widespread and multiple translations and performances of his plays into all major Indian languages, even into the languages of some minority communities. Brecht’s work arrives in India at a very crucial moment and enters the theatre scene during the third phase of Indian modernism, which coincides on one hand with a call for a “theatre of roots” in the 1960’s, and on the other hand as an alternative to what could be loosely described as an attempt at Stanislavskian “Realism” in contemporary Indian theatre.

Adaptations of Brecht thus connect almost naturally with the folk genre in modern Indian theatre, where a “non-realistic,” “demonstrative” and presentational style of performance takes precedence over the “naturalistic,” where music and song are integrated into the structure of theatre performance, and where a performance style similar to Brecht’s Verfremdung has already been practiced for a long time.

Therefore, the cyclical journey into the “theatre of roots” once again, but with a contemporary sensibility, creates at least three different types of manifestation and trajectory that all integrate Brecht’s theatrical style of performance almost seamlessly into Indian theatre.

Nissar Allana is a scenographer, professor of scenography, art director and lighting designer as well as a producer for theatre, television and other events. In the mid-1970s he was an apprentice/trainee with set designer Karl-Ernst Hermann at the Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz in Berlin. He has produced and designed sets for over 65 theatre productions. Allana is the director of Theatre & Television Associates, a production company based in New Delhi. Since 2008 he has also been the director of the Delhi Ibsen Festival.

[May 23, 9:00–10:30, Brecht and Contemporary Indian Theatre, Webster Hall 113]

Kevin S. Amidon (Iowa State University, Ames)

Brecht’s Operatic Anthropology: Reflections on Race, Class, and Chinese Theatre

Brecht’s work between the Mahagonny and Threepenny projects circa 1930 and the many projects of the period around 1940 (esp. Lucullus, Szechwan, Caucasian, and Mother Courage) displays a varying and troubled tension between race- and class-based identity positions—identity positions that are mediated through the kinds of attention required by dramatic and particularly operatic spectatorship. In the theatrical works, characters display and confront the dynamics of attentive spectatorial positioning; in the theoretical work Brecht attempts to develop a systematic account of the relationship between performance and an audience that is itself subject to the modes of spectatorial attention that are being explored on the stage. In this paper I draw this argument out with particular reference to Brecht’s theoretical writings between 1929 and 1940, especially the notes to Mahagonny and the essay “Alienation Effects in Chinese Acting” (written 1936).

Kevin S. Amidon teaches German Studies at Iowa State University. He specializes in the relations between knowledge, cultural production, and social status in nineteenth and twentieth century Germany, with particular interests in biological thought, social theory, and opera.

[May 23, 9:00–10:30, Race, Class and Sexuality in Brecht’s Plays, Webster Hall 103]

Andreas Aurin (University of New South Wales, Sydney)

Taoist Philosophy and The Horatians and the Curiatians
To date scholarship on the subject of Brecht’s Lehrstück (“learning play”) theory and practice has focused on the way this body of work engages with Marxist thought. This paper extends previous research by illuminating the impact of Brecht’s interest in Chinese philosophy on the Lehrstücke, especially his engagement with the Daodejing in 1920. It demonstrates how investigating Taoist philosophy is necessary for a greater understanding of Brecht’s own conceptualization of dialectics and its usage within the Lehrstücke. For the purpose of exemplification the paper concentrates on Brecht’s final Lehrstück, The Horatians and the Curiatians (1934/55), investigating the function of Taoist ideas in the play, and their interaction with Marxist philosophy.
Andreas Aurin studied Musicology and Cultural Studies at Humboldt University (Berlin) and Theatre and Performance Studies at The University of New South Wales (UNSW, Sydney). Influenced by East German composer Kurt Schwaen, his research concentrates on music of the former GDR, in particular on Brecht’s musical collaborators and their development of the Lehrstück genre. He is currently working on a doctoral thesis at UNSW that investigates the relationship between text and music in all six Lehrstücke.

[May 21, 11:–12:30, Asian Theatre and the Lehrstücke, Webster Hall 112]

Jeanne Bindernagel (University of Leipzig)

Cinematic Gestus and Gesture in Wong Kar-Wai's In the Mood for Love and 2046

Wong Kar-Wai films are set in the contradictory and embattled world of Hongkong in the 1960s where political systems and different kinds of knowledge and experience of life (“Lebenswissen,” Ette) interfere with each other. They are tales of loss. His characters are subject to political and cultural change which threatens to deprive them of their sense of direction in even the most private sphere. This constellation provides the basis for Wong's cinematic actions which are motivated by a quest for new possibilities of how to reinterpret and transform this loss of orientation—and to turn it into an art of action (“l’art de faire,” de Certeau). Brecht's aesthetic concepts of gestus, tableau etc. provide a possibility to understand Wong's stylistic devices beyond mere social contextualization. By observing empty rooms through door frames Wong's audience is shown a Brechtian “surrogate body” (“Ersatzkörper,” Heeg) that accompanies the distress of the protagonists and judges and condemns it as a social problem. As Wong's pictures are always recognizable as tableaus they contain the derangement of their own system and seem to question their own gestures.

Jeanne Bindernagel is a PhD student of drama at the University of Leipzig, Germany.

[May 21, 11:00–12:30, Brecht and Asian Cinema, Webster Hall 103]

Dennis Carroll (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa)

Wuolijoki, Brecht, “Well-Made” Dramaturgy, and The Judith of Shimoda

This paper will focus on the imprints in The Judith of Shimoda traceable to Hella Wuolijoki, the Finnish socialist playwright and politician who was Brecht’s generous host during much of his year in Finland in 1940-41, and collaborated with him in the authorship of several plays. Wuolijoki’s own plays are not usually “episodic” in the Brechtian manner. The dramaturgy of The Judith of Shimoda reveals a strong affinity indeed to Wuolijoki’s realist plays, such as The Young Mistress of Niskavuori, which Brecht saw in its 1940 production at the Finnish National Theatre. Much is also a carry-over from the Yuzo original. I will also argue that the most characteristically Brechtian/Shavian addition to the original, the “Interludes” in which an audience comments on the action, are hardly necessary in making social and thematic points—these are clear enough from the main scenes themselves.

Dennis Carroll is Professor of Theatre and Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. His areas of publication include contemporary American, Australian, and Finnish theatre.

[May 22, 9:00–10:30, Brecht’s “Asian” Texts: Collaborators and Contemporaries, Webster Hall 103]

Jan Creutzenberg (Free University Berlin)

The Good Person of Korea: Crosscultural Synergies and Challenges in Lee Jaram's Sacheon-ga

Subject to censorship for decades, the first productions of Brecht's plays in Korea emerged in the late 1980s. Initially following Western models, theatre makers soon started to integrate elements from Korean traditions to create an "intercultural" theatre. Lee Jaram radicalizes this approach by adapting Brecht's The Good Person of Szechwan in the style of pansori, a peculiar form of Korean music theatre. Nurtured by structural similarities between this anti-illusionistic "one-man-opera" and Brecht's epic theatre, Lee's production Sacheon-ga (lit. "Song of Sichuan") relocates the parabolic plot to modern-day Seoul and confronts it with the affective singing-style specific to pansori. The result is both an emotionalized Good Person and a political actualization of Korean tradition.

Jan Creutzenberg has studied Theatre Studies, Cultural Studies and Philosophy in Berlin and Paris, and he is currently writing his MA thesis on the performative processes in pansori (a Korean tradition of singing-storytelling) at the Free University of Berlin. His research interests include the history, politics and practices of traditional and modern theatre in Korea, with a special focus on cross-cultural adaptations of Western classics. On the latter, he presented a paper at the German Shakespeare Society's 2009 conference ("To Be or not to Be Korean: Lee Youn-taek's Hamlet and the Reception of Shakespeare in Korea").

[May 22, 9:00–10:30, New Perspectives on The Good Person of Szechwan, Webster Hall 112]

Boris Daussà-Pastor (The Graduate Center, City University of New York)

Estrangement in

Prof. K. Aravindksahw, leftist scholar, literary critic, and theatre activist from Kerala (South India), claims that the idea of aesthetic distance associated with Brecht’s estrangement or Verfremdungseffekt can be associated with the intellectual aesthetic appreciation of the Natyasastric tradition, and particularly with Kathakaliʻs codified performance conventions and theories of appreciation. Such claims have been strongly dismissed by Prof. Satchedanandan, poet, literary figure, and former Secretary of Delhi’s Sahitya Academy (Literary Academy), who argues that Kathakali operates at a different level and with a different objective than the Brechtian Verfremdungseffekt.

This paper examines the existing discourse on the parallelisms between Brechtian models and Kathakali’s theories of appreciation, attempting to place this local conversation within a larger theoretical framework.

Boris Daussà-Pastor is a Theatre PhD Student at The Graduate Center, City University of New York, and a Teaching Fellow at Brooklyn College. He has a background in acting, including practical training in Kathakali, and has published on this subject.

[May 20, 2:00–3:30, Brecht and Traditional Indian Theatre, Webster Hall 103]

Hilary Demske (Utah Valley University, Orem)

Music, Poetry, and the Nō Drama

This presentation will explore Brecht’s choice to minimize the importance of music in his works, his substitution of the Japanese Nō drama for a Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk (“Total Art Work”), and discuss similarities between the two genres and cultures. Notable stage examples of Brecht’s musical philosophies will be discussed, with particular emphasis on the Japanese Nō drama. From a textual standpoint, a case will be made for the similarities between Seven Deadly Sins and Ujinobu’s Awoi No Uye.

Brecht viewed Greek and Nō dramas as diametrically opposite, but this presentation will explore considerable similarities between the two forms. As the ancient Greek mystery rites combined music, drama, and dance to rouse initiates to action, their aims complement the Nō drama and offer a historical and musical inclined approach to Brecht’s philosophy and work.

Dr. Hilary Demske is currently the Head of the piano department at Utah Valley University, USA. As a pianist, she has earned top prize in four international piano competitions. As a scholar, she has presented papers this year at a wide range of conferences including the Performing Arts Tangier Conference in Morocco and the Tectonics of the Systems Conference on Oswald Spengler in Belgium. She holds degrees from Johns Hopkins University, The Juilliard School, the University of Michigan, and the Hochschule für Musik in Munich, Germany.

[May 20, 9:00–10:30, Brechtian Negotiations of East/West Traditions, Webster Hall 112]

Joseph Dial (University of Washington, Seattle)

Brecht and Mao, 1935-37

Brecht's remarkable "ability to see events more clearly in terms of those people entangled in them" (A. Tatlow, Brecht Today, 1973, p. 207) is nowhere more evident than in his interpretation, based on the Jensen translation, of Mao's "Snow." Brecht creates an image of "die alte schlimme Begehrlichkeit" among the great aggressors that was missing from Jensen’s translation. With it, he supplies a rationale for armed resistance to fascism and Japanese imperialism in the light of Japan and Germany's Agreement, in November 1936, against the Communist International.

How did Brecht get from Jensen's "alte Begehrlichkeit" to his "alte schlimme Begehrlichkeit"? In what sense is Brecht's interpretation the result of his "seeing events ... in terms of [the] people entangled in them"? In this paper, I attempt to answer these questions and show how the rapidly evolving situation in China led Brecht to embrace the necessity of armed struggle.

After receiving his doctorate from Harvard University, Joseph Dial taught at State University of New York at Binghamton, in the public schools of Issaquah, Washington, and at Seattle Central Community College. Recently he has begun teaching continuing education courses at the University of Washington. His publications include The Contribution of Marxism to Bertolt Brecht’s Theater Theory: The Epistemological Basis of Epic Theater and Brecht’s Concept of Realism (diss. Harvard, 1975); "Brecht in den USA," Weimarer Beiträge, 2/1978; "Brecht and the Study of History," Akten des VI. Internationalen Germanisten-Kongresses; "Brecht's Dialectical Dramatics," CLIO 11:1, 1981; and "'Steigend auf so wie Gestirne / Gehn sie wie Gestirne nieder': Brecht’s Hegelian Conception of Death as Life's Contradiction and the Mutability of Everything," Brecht Yearbook 32.

[May 22, 11:00–12:30, Brecht and Mao, Webster Hall 103]

Melissa Dinsman (University of Notre Dame)

Imperial Brecht?—A Discussion of Bertolt Brecht’s Complex Portrayal of Empire and the East as Seen in Man Equals Man and The Measures Taken

This paper will look at two Brecht plays where the central interaction is with the Asian “Other”: Man Equals Man and The Measures Taken. Within these plays there exists a dichotomy rooted in Marxist thought between humanism and what Samir Amin describes as “Eurocentrism.” Yet while Brecht’s intention in these two works is to challenge the inequitable economic status quo found in imperialism, another hierarchy nevertheless creeps into his work, West versus East. I am not suggesting that Brecht’s position on colonization is simple. Rather, where Brecht attempts to represent and give power to the Other, Brecht also simultaneously slips into the language and action of the patriarchal West. My intent in this paper is to create a dialogue between the works of Edward Said and Amin and the selected texts of Brecht, with the purpose of showing how these plays, both rooted in Marxist thought, and thereby Western philosophy, unknowingly reconfirm the imperial position, even in their attempt to counter it.

Melissa Dinsman is a third year student in the PhD in Literature Program at the University of Notre Dame. Her area of interest is global modernism, with an emphasis on British, Irish and German literature. For her dissertation this area will be narrowed to a focus on the radio play and a discussion as to whether this form promotes one-way or two-way communication.

[May 20, 9:00–10:30, Postcolonial and Postimperial Brecht, Webster Hall 103]

Clayton Drinko (Tufts University, Medford/Somerville)

Water Over Stone Over Time: The Place for Realistic Acting Technique in Brecht’s Marxist Revolution

Frederic Jameson uses Brecht’s fascination with Chinese imagery to create a wonderful metaphor for Brecht’s belief in Marxism. “The lesson of Lao-tse is ... consistent with the Brechtian version of Marxism ... flowing water overcomes the hardest stone over time: a doctrine that underscores the temporal change in the process, but also of overturning and reversal (‘revolution’ in the literal sense).” So an acting technique that retrains the actor and audience to see each social exchange differently becomes a re-learning of bad habits, water over a stone over time. I examine Uta Hagen’s realistic performance as Shen Te in the New York premiere of The Good Person of Szechwan in 1956 as an example of the intersection of Method and Brechtian acting theories and techniques. Hagen herself has written about her experience trying to meld her technique with Brecht’s A-effect. Brecht’s theories are often misunderstood and incorrectly executed, so Hagen’s performance sheds particular light on similarities and how these similarities can result in a cumulative A-effect. I also look at Brecht’s directorial work with his Berliner Ensemble and his “Short Organum for the Theatre” to make the argument that Brecht’s social Marxist revolution had more to do with Lao-tse’s vision of water changing stone over time than jarring or shocking the audience into thinking instead of feeling.

Clayton Drinko is a PhD candidate at Tufts University in the Drama and Theatre Studies department. Drinko teaches acting as well as courses that focus on the intersection of theatre studies and popular culture and new media. His research interests include acting technique and theory. Most recently, he has presented his work on the psychological possibilities of original practice Shakespeare performances at the Blackfriars conference in Virginia.

[May 22, 9:00–10:30, New Perspectives on The Good Person of Szechwan, Webster Hall 112]

Frank Episale (The Graduate Center, City University of New York)

Brecht (Not) in Asia: On the Mis-Application of Brechtian Ideas to Ta’ziyeh and other “Traditional” Theatres

This paper seeks to challenge the mis-application of Brechtian theory to “traditional” Asian forms, taking as its primary focus Ta’ziyeh, a fascinating religious theatre from Iran. Many scholars have drawn on Brecht’s writings to describe Ta’ziyeh’s acting style, episodic structures, etc. Those who object to this comparison still filter their readings of Ta’ziyeh through Brecht by contrasting, as opposed to comparing, the two.

A review of these debates suggests that such readings do a disservice to both Brecht and Ta‘ziyeh, distorting the theories of one and the practices of the other in a misguided attempt to “legitimize” the study of an unfamiliar form. Given the flaws of such an approach, how might we otherwise explore “non-Western” theatre from the outside? How can we avoid cultural appropriation and intellectual imperialism without resorting to misleadingly “objective,” and under-theorized reports?

Frank Episale is a doctoral student in Theatre at the City University of New York's Graduate Center. He holds a BFA from NYU and an MA from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where he wrote a thesis entitled, “(Meta)theatrical Representations of Imprisonment in Contemporary Drama.” He also serves as Assistant Editor of Cinema Journal.

[May 21, 9:00–10:30, Brecht and the Middle East, Webster Hall 103]

Joerg Esleben (University of Ottawa)

Asia in Brecht in Asia: Fritz Bennewitz’s 1973 Production of the Caucasian Chalk Circle in Mumbai

In the context of a panel of the work of East German theatre director Fritz Bennewitz in Asia, this paper will focus on Bennewitz’s production of Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle in Mumbai in 1973. This production was a milestone in Bennewitz’s development of an intercultural theatrical aesthetics and politics that he tested and refined in many subsequent projects in India and other parts of Asia and the world. I will analyze the available information on the production and particularly Bennewitz’s own published and unpublished writings about it in order to determine how the particular challenges of this Asian transcultural hermeneutic circle (Brecht’s Chinese fable in a Caucasian guise performed in a Marathi adaptation with an Indian setting by Indian actors) contributed to the development of Bennewitz’s intercultural aesthetics and politics.

Joerg Esleben is an Associate Professor of German at the University of Ottawa, Canada. His main research interests include cultural relations between South Asia and the German-speaking world, 18th-century culture and the work of Georg Forster, and the Faust theme. He recently co-edited the volume Mapping Channels between Ganges and Rhein (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2008).

[May 20, 4:00–5:30, Fritz Bennewitz in Asia, Webster Hall 103]

Michael Fernando (University of the Visual and Performing Arts, Colombo)

Brecht in Sri Lanka after 60 Years: His Contributions to a New Aesthetic Approach in a South Asian Society under Postcolonial Conditions

The paper will consist of three main sections:
  • Section one will deal with the reception of Brecht over the last sixty years by the trilingual national theatre of Sri Lanka’s which produced English, Tamil and Sinhala translations and adaptations of his plays.
  • The second section will study the reception of Brecht plays in comparison with other foreign dramatists/trends. The impact of Brecht’s dramaturgy and world view on Sri Lankan theatre will also be examined.
  • The Third section will be devoted to an in-depth study of the understanding/misunderstanding of Brecht’s theories of theatre by Sri Lankan dramatists, critics and academics.
Finally, the contribution of Brecht to the Sri Lankan theatre and to the development of a new aesthetic tradition that encompasses other genres of art will be evaluated.

Michael Fernando, BA (Ceylon), PhD (Berlin, Humboldt University). Head, Department of Fine Arts, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka (1998-2009). Author of
Brecht und Sinhalesisches Theater (1984), published by the Brecht Zentrum, Berlin. Has written several papers on themes such as Brecht and his Theory of Theatre, Semiotic Aspects of Theatre, Interrelation between Theatre and Politics. Currently: IRQUE (World Bank) Consultant, University of Visual and Performing Arts, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Has participated in International Seminars in Colombo, New York, Baroda (India) and Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

[May 21, 2:00–3:30, Asian National Theatre Traditions Encounter Brecht, Webster Hall 112]

Gerhard Fischer (University of New South Wales, Sydney)

Verfremdung als philosophische und ästhetisch-didaktische Kategorie: Anmerkungen zu einem zentralen Werkbegriff Brechts

Der berühmte “V-Effekt” bezeichnet nicht nur ein dramaturgisch-inszenatorisches Prinzip des Stückeschreibers und Regisseurs Brecht. Verfremdung, das Fremd-Machen oder Fremd-Erscheinen-Lassen der vertrauten sozialen Umwelt, die als “nicht-natürlich,” als “fremd” (
alien) und als gesellschaftlich bedingte und konstruierte Realität kritisch dargestellt und durchschaubar gemacht werden soll, ist auch eine zentrale Kategorie des Philosophen Brecht. Entscheidend ist dabei der Gestus des philosophischen Staunens, der z.B. in den “Geschichten vom Herrn Keuner” paradigmatisch vorgeführt wird: es ist ein “Sich-wundern” darüber, dass die Welt so eingerichtet ist, wie sie ist, und das dadurch produzierte Nachdenken darüber, ob es auch so sein muss.  
Die narrative Technik des Fremdmachens beruht einerseits auf einer Ästhetik der Reduktion und Abstraktion, wie man sie auch von ähnlich strukturierten Prosatexten der didaktischen Literatur (Fabel, Parabel) kennt; darüber hinaus ist jedoch die narrative Konstruktion eines “offenen Endes” entscheidend, durch die der Leser in eine offene, kommunikative Praxis eingebunden wird. Am Beispiel eines wenig bekannten Textes von Brecht, “Der Städtebauer” (Mai 1945), sollen die hier skizzierten philosophischen und ästhetisch-didaktischen Prinzipien exemplarisch dargestellt werden.

Gerhard Fischer is Head of German Studies at the University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia) and Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. A literary scholar and historian, Fischer has published on World War I (Enemy Aliens; University of Queensland Press, 1989) and on 19th century migration history, as well as on modern German literature, drama/theatre (GRIPS: Geschichte eines populären Theatres; München 2002) and multiculturalism. As convenor of the Sydney German Studies Symposia he has edited collections of essays on Walter Benjamin, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, Heiner Müller, Erich Kästner, on “multicultural identities” and, with David Roberts, on Schreiben nach der Wende. Ein Jahrzehnt deutscher Literatur, 1989–1999 (Tübingen, 2nd ed. 2007).

[May 22, 11:00–12:30, Fremdheit und Verfremdung, Webster Hall 113]

Eberhard Fritz (Archive of the House of Wuerttemberg, Altshausen)

Grandma, Pietism and the Missionaries: Origins of Bertolt Brecht’s Asia

Although almost every detail of Brecht’s life seems to have been researched and analysed there are even rather important aspects which have never been considered. This paper will present a new theory on Brecht’s origins by analysing the important influences of pietism as imparted by his maternal grandmother Friederike Brezing on his thinking and his works. Although there is no definitive clue it is most probable that Grandma Brezing, along with the stories from the bible stories, also told her grand-children about missionaries who went from Wuerttemberg to China, courtesy of the Basle Mission. Examples from the mission magazines will provide important hints to support the theory that it was those stories which brought Brecht in touch with the world of Asia.

The presentation is based on the author’s new research about Friederike Brezing as well as on his thorough knowledge of Pietism. As a historian with a different point of view than Brecht’s biographers, he follows new paths which might lead to new conclusions.

Dr. Eberhard Fritz (born 1957 in Metzingen, Germany) has been working as an archivist for the House of Wuerttemberg at Altshausen since 1987. He has published some books and many articles about the history of Southwest Germany, mostly on Pietism, the history of the Royal Court of Wuerttem-berg, and on other topics. One of his oldest interests is the history of the rural communities in Southwest Germany where he has done extensive local and regional research.

[May 20, 4:00–5:30, “Asia” in Brecht, Webster Hall 112]

Ronald Gilliam (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa)

The I in YOU: Alienation in Gao Xingjian’s Nocturnal Wanderer (夜游神)

Nocturnal Wanderer was written in 1993 as one of Gao Xingjian’s three abstract plays exploring the liminal space between life and death. The distinguishing feature of this production lies in the unique pronoun modification by the main character, Sleepwalker, who mostly speaks in the second person. The use of the pronoun, “you” in place of “I” has a strong performative quality that reconstructs the self of both the main character and the audience member as they experience the play. This paper aims to locate the complexities of pronoun manipulation in Nocturnal Wander and to postulate direct Brechtian influence within the drama. The September 2009 production of Nocturnal Wanderer at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is used as a site of analysis.

Ronald Gilliam is currently a Doctoral Student in Asian Theatre at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and a Degree Fellow of the East-West Center in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. He previously received his MA from the Department of Performance Studies at New York University and his BA in Theatre and Chinese Language from Butler University. His production of Nocturnal Wanderer was staged in September 2009 at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

[May 23, 9:00–10:30, Contemporary Asian Playwrights and Directors Read Brecht, Webster Hall 112]

Paula Hanssen (Webster University St. Louis)

Brecht in/and Asia: the Role of Collaborators in Texts from/set in Asia

The role of Brecht’s collaborators is a recurrent topic in secondary literature; many of his publications were the result of his collaborative working group. Brecht’s Asian texts seem to have been influenced most often by women collaborators. I will explore their contributions; for example, Elisabeth Hauptmann and the “Chinese poems;” Hella Wuolijoki and The Judith von Shimoda, based on Yuzo Yamamoto's play The Sad Tale of a Woman, the Story of Chink Okichi; Margarete Steffin and The Good Person of Szechwan, and also her use of Confucius as a metaphor for Brecht in the story, Konfutze versteht nichts von Frauen (“Confucius doesn’t understand women”); Ruth Berlau as the primary reader for The Caucasian Chalk Circle. Although I will touch on all of the above, I will also concentrate on Elizabeth Hauptmann’s and Hella Wuolijoki’s contributions to Brecht’s use of Asia in his texts.

Paula Hanssen is Chair of International Languages and Cultures at Webster University St. Louis. Her research interests include Brecht and the collaborators, the role of women in Brecht’s works, and the use of technology for course content delivery, especially with short-term study abroad.

[May 22, 9:00–10:30, Brecht’s “Asian” Texts: Collaborators and Contemporaries, Webster Hall 103]

Günther Heeg (University of Leipzig)

Of Brecht’s Chinese Peripeties: The Practice of Transcultural Flexions

Metis, Zeus’s first spouse, is the goddess of those who find themselves to be subjected to stories or entangle themselves in them, providing them with unexpected salvation. She rather uses the contingencies of her own place and time cleverly to manipulate the story. Brecht’s Me-ti / Book of Turns does not refer to the Greek goddess but rather to the Chinese social ethicist Mo Di or Mê Ti. Nevertheless, the Greek Metis and Brecht’s “Mê-Ti” speak to each other. Together they have a lot to say about turns of a life in foreignness and possible uses and applications of the unknown, the Other.

In Me-ti Brecht works on a transideological and transcultural Marxist “Art of Action.” In my paper I intend to use Brecht’s Me-ti as a starting point for the development of a concept of transcultural flexions. The exchange between Brecht’s acquisition of an alien culture and contemporary theoretical approaches should be fruitful to both endeavors.

Günther Heeg is Professor of Theatre Studies at the University of Leipzig. His research projects focus on Brecht and Heiner Müller, concepts of intermediality and community, and on the entanglement of cultural processes in the age of globalization. He is Vice President of the International Brecht Society, board member of the International Heiner Müller Society and the graduate program on “Critical Junctures of Globalization,” and speaker of the research association “Cultural Flexions of Space and Time” at the University of Leipzig. He has published widely on Brecht, including Klopfzeichen aus dem Mausoleum. Brechtschulung am Berliner Ensemble (2000).

[May 22, 11:00–12:30, Brecht’s Asian Turn(s) and the Theory of Cultural Flexions, Webster Hall 112]

Laura Heins (University of Virginia, Charlottesville)

Brechtian Theory and Indian New Wave Cinema: the Dialectical Realisms of Ritwik Ghatak and Mrinal Sen

This paper investigates the work of two Bengali filmmakers for whom Brecht figured as a key influence in the search for a politicized film aesthetics. Because the popular cinema of the subcontinent was informed by India's highly stylized theatrical traditions, obvious artifice and a separation of the elements could not be viewed as oppositional within the South Asian context in the same manner as it was in American and European film. Therefore, Ghatak and Sen took different lessons from Brecht than many Western cineastes. While considering Ghatak's 1960 film The Cloud-Capped Star and Sen's Bhuvan Shome (1969) in particular, my presentation will demonstrate the ways in which Brecht's notions of realism were crucial in the development of both filmmakers' versions of Marxist film form.

Laura Heins is an Assistant Professor teaching in the departments of Germanic Languages and Literatures and Media Studies at the University of Virginia. She is currently at work on two book manuscripts, the first entitled The Domestic War: Film Melodrama and German Fascism, and the second project entitled Brecht in World Cinema.

[May 21, 11:00–12:30, Brecht and Asian Cinema, Webster Hall 103]

Eiichiro Hirata (Keio University Tokyo)

Das andere Brecht-Theater in Japan

In der internationalen Forschung über Brecht ist es schon lange bekannt, dass seine Dramen und Theaterästhetik einen grossen Einfluss auch auf das moderne japanische Theater (hauptsächlich “Shingeki”) ausgeübt haben. Regisseure und Dramatiker wie Koreya Senda, Kiyoteru Hanada, und Tatsuji Iwabuchi, die in ihrer Theaterarbeit vor allem politische Aspekte in den Vordergrund rückten, waren von Brecht inspiriert. Andererseits muss man heute zugeben, dass viele Brecht-Produktionen der letzten Jahre keine innovativen Anregungen hervorgebracht haben, obwohl Brecht das als Aufgabe des Theaters betrachtete. Ironischerweise haben gerade die wichtigen Theaterleute (Tadashi Suzuki, Juro Kara, Takeshi Kawamura usw.) seit der Angura-Bewegung der sechziger Jahre keine Brecht-Dramen inszeniert oder bearbeitet. Wer nach interessanten Brecht-Ansätzen im japanischen Theater der Gegenwart sucht, sollte seine Aufmerksamkeit nicht auf konventionelle Dramenaufführungen richten, sondern auf Inszenierungen, die frei mit Brechts Texten und Weltanschauungen experimentieren. Yoko Tawada z. B. trägt verschiedene, zum Teil absichtlich falsch übersetzte Texte Brechts als Kabarett-Performance vor. In ihrer Produktion der
Massnahme bezieht die Theatergruppe Another Works das Publikum auf eine Weise in die Aufführung ein, dass es auch an der Revolution und der Tötung des Genossen “A“ mitwirkt.

Solche Versuche, die sich nicht nur mit Brechts bekannten Theatermethoden (episch, Verfremdung, Parabel) sondern auch mit dem “anderen Brecht“ (Hans-Thies Lehmann) auseinandersetzen, stellen eine vielleicht angemessenere und zeitgemässere Umsetzung seiner Theatervisionen dar. Ich werde dies anhand von Beispielen aus dem japanischen Gegenwartstheater und einiger theoretischer Ansätze Brechts ausführlicher zu belegen versuchen.
Eiichiro Hirata studied German Literature and Theatre Studies at Keio University Tokyo (Master and Doctor Course) and at Humboldt University Berlin (until 2000). Since 2004 he has been Associate Professor at the Institute for German Literature at Keio University Tokyo.

[May 21, 9:00–10:50, Brecht and das japanische Gegenwartstheater, Webster Hall 112]

Sabine Huschka (Free University Berlin)

Intercultural Dance Scenarios in Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater

The theatricality of Pina Bausch’s choreographic works results from the specific ways in which she made use of dramaturgical and staging strategies. These strategies suggest a deep connection to Brecht’s ideas on theatre. At the beginning of the 1970s Bausch started to employ means of montage and alienation as composition methods. Her approach was characterised by the transformation of the personal experiences, childhood memories and anecdotes of her dancers into dramatic narration sequences, elegiac solos, group formations and line dances. This collectivistic approach to different topics created a movement language that seemed capable of evoking emotions while at the same time creating a narrative space that allowed audiences to perceive and relate to the people on stage as “how they really are” (Brecht). This lecture aims at enlightening the relationship between experience and theatricality as it informs the expression of individuation in Bausch’s work. How do Brecht’s principles of gesture figure in her choreographies? Bausch’s strategies for creating an experimental space of gestures and their relationship to Brecht’s notion of the “dividual” will be questioned critically with particular regard to the intercultural dimension of her work, i.e. her numerous residencies in Asia (Japan 2004, etc.).

Sabine Huschka is currently a Substitute Professor for Dance Studies at the Drama Department of the Free University Berlin. During the academic year of 2009 she taught at the Drama Department of Berne University in Switzerland. Her research focuses on dance as a cultural and theatrical field of knowledge. Her publications include: Wissenskultur Tanz. Historische und zeitgenössische Vermittlungsakte zwischen Praktiken und Diskursen (Hg.) (Bielefeld 2009), Moderner Tanz. Konzepte – Stile – Utopien (Rowohlts Enzyklopädie, 2002), Merce Cunningham und der Moderne Tanz (Würzburg 2000), Eine zeitgenössische Tanzpädagogik. 20 Jahre I·TP (Berlin 2006).

[May 20, 2:00–3:30, Brechtian and Asian “Go-Betweens”, Webster Hall 112]

Akira Ichikawa (Osaka University) und Joachim Lucchesi (Karlsruhe University)

Jan-Jan-Oper und Osaka-Rap: Brecht-Nachklänge im Theater Ishinha

Die 1970 von Yukichi Matsumoto in Osaka gegründete Theatergruppe
Ishinha ist eines der bedeutendsten Avantgarde-Theater Japans. Schon die Wahl ihrer spektakulären Auftrittsorte bricht mit tradierten Mustern westeuropäischer Theater-Verortung: Rangierbahnhöfe, Hafendocks, Wassertheater und andere künstliche Spielwelten fungieren als Symbole industrieller Massengesellschaften mit ihren digital gesteuerten Erlebnisparks: moderne Mahagonny-Orte. Matsumotos radikaler Verzicht auf einen “verorteten” Theaterbetrieb, sein Experimentieren mit Formen des flüchtigen Outdoor-Theaters, sein Aufbau eines Lebens- und Kunstbereiche vereinenden Theaterkollektivs deutet bereits sein ästhetisches Konzept an.

Die an Experimente deutscher und russischer Theater-Neuerer wie Brecht, Piscator oder Meyerhold erinnernden Produktionen vereinen
Rhythmus, Tanz, chorisches Singen und choreographierte Massenbewegungen zu einem Kollektiv der Künste. Sie zeigen ein antiillusionistisches Antiheldentheater, welches das westeuropäische Theater kaum kennt. Die sorgfältig komponierte Performance mit ihrer raffinierten Lichtregie weist epische und parabelhafte Elemente auf (Kafka, Brecht) und ist mit synthetisch-minimalistischer Musik (Kazuhisa Uchihashi) durchsetzt. Immer wieder bilden Vergangenheit und Zukunft großer Städte mit ihrer “Masse Mensch“ ein Thema von Ishinha.

Akira Ichikawa, Professor an der Universität Osaka (Sektion: Medien- und Kunstwissenschaften), studierte Germanistik/Theaterwissenschaft in Osaka. Publikationen über Brecht, Heiner Müller und deutsche Gegenwartsdramatik: Deutsches Lachen, japanisches Lachen (Hg. Kojima, 2003); Befremdendes Lachen (Hg. Bayerdörfer/Scholz, 2005); Brecht, über das Jahrhundert hinaus (Hg. Ichikawa 2005). Er ist Leiter des deutsch-japanischen Forschungsprojektes “Brecht und Musik” und gibt dessen Reihe Brecht und Musik in 4 Bänden heraus, von denen 3 Bände schon erschienen sind: Brecht. Gedichte und Songs (2008); Brecht. Musik und Bühne (2009); Brecht. Stücke (übersetzt von Ichikawa, 2009). Er leitet die Theatertruppe “Brecht-Keller,” mit der er viele deutsche Stücke übersetzt und zur Aufführung gebracht hat. Joachim Lucchesi studied musicology at the Humboldt-University in Berlin and has taught and worked at a variety of universities in Germany, Japan and the United States. He has published widely on musical, theatrical, and literary history, including some of the standard works on Brecht and music: Musik bei Brecht (1988); Das Verhör in der Oper: Die Debatte um Brechts/Dessaus Lukullus 1951 (1993), Die Dreigroschenoper: Der Erstdruck 1928 (2004).

[May 21, 9:00–10:50, Brecht and das japanische Gegenwartstheater, Webster Hall 112]

Finn Iunker (playwright, Oslo)

Occidentalist Perspectives on The Measures Taken

Why does Brecht need to go all the way to China to kill off a young comrade—on a stage in Berlin? Is it easier, or more easily justifiable, to kill someone when the action takes place in a land far, far away? In what sense does China/the town Mukden ”exist” in this play—when read in a global context today?

In recent years, Edward Said’s Orientalism has seen its mirror concept in ”Occidentalism,” that is, Eastern antipathies towards the West. However, as Ian Buruma argues, its origins are found—in the West, and Buruma especially emphasizes anti-European sentiments in Germany in the 1930s. Brecht’s turn to Asian culture and theatre should be seen in this light: the Occidentalist view of Eastern cultures celebrated in the West as ”truer,” more authentic etc. if compared to the decadent West.

The pairing of Orientalism vs. Occidentalism could also be taken further to investigate, for example, the portrait of the Coolies in The Measures Taken, since they are described much more one-dimensionally than they are in a European novel from the same time (and using the same historical material), namely André Malraux’s Man’s Fate (1934). The very special mix of both Occidentalism (the turn to Asia) and Orientalism (the flat description of the Coolies) in The Measures Taken seems to require further examination.

Of course, this could easily lead us down the long and winding, well-known road of reading a text as ”contradicting itself.” Occidentalist/Orientalist perspectives on The Measures Taken serve us perhaps better if they are used as a bridge or as a point of departure. If The Measures Taken” were staged today, in Oslo or Honolulu, how should one evaluate the (half mythical) place of the action, China/Mukden? Could it still be viewed as a place far, far away? And how does this effect the justification of the Young Comrade’s murder by the Control Chorus in the play?

Finn Iunker, born 1969, is a playwright living in Oslo, Norway. He graduated from the University of Bergen, Norway, with a thesis on Heiner Müller. His plays have been staged in several countries in Europe.

[May 21, 11:00–12:30, Asian Theatre and the Lehrstücke, Webster Hall 112]

Zheng Jie (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)

Brecht’s Good Person of Szechwan: Undermining the East-West and Self-Other Dichotomy

This paper situates investigation of Brecht’s reconceptualization of the modern subject within the global perspective of contemporary cultural reconfigurations. Our discussion will be contextualized according to the Western intellectual tradition of fetishizing “the East” (which itself forms part of the framework of a Western self-questioning mentality). Addressing interrelated questioned about Chinese philosophy, subjectivity, acting and theatre, the paper analyzes The Good Person of Szechwan and, accordingly, its performance aspects. Considering subjectivity as itself a historical and political field, what we find is that Brecht not only explores theatrical techniques with reflections on Chinese acting to decenter the identity of actors and spectators in performance, but also uses Good Person to question the integrity of another apparently different (or even opposing) subject, a cultural “other,” as he sets the play in Szechwan (China) in the beginning of the 20th century. Moreover, the paper will also suggest that Brecht’s negation of the subject is accompanied by a reassertion of humanism (informed by Chinese classical philosophy)—a trait that marks a point of departure from his early works and Lehrstück-theatre.

Zheng Jie is a PhD student with the Division of English of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She is currently working on her dissertation “Subjectivity and Modernity: Brecht and China.”

[May 22, 9:00–10:30, New Perspectives on The Good Person of Szechwan, Webster Hall 112]

David G. John (University of Waterloo, Ontario)

Fritz Bennewitz’s
Caucasian Chalk Circle in the Philippines

Linking with the previous presentations by Rolf Rohmer and Joerg Esleben, this paper will first outline former GDR director Fritz Bennewitz’s long association with Philippine theatre through his interactions with indigenous theatre practitioners there, and especially his collaboration with the Philippine Education Theatre Association (PETA) in producing many plays. It will then focus on his 1977 production, with local actors and collaborators, of Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle, in Tagalog (Ang Hatol na Bilog na Guhit), staged in Manila with thematic and stylistic connections to the southern Philippine region of Mindanao and its Muslim culture. Bennewitz asserted frequently that this play was an ideal vehicle for mutual intercultural exploration and understanding. Although judged by Philippine critics to be the country’s best production of the year, questions need to be asked as to whether or not it was indeed a successful intercultural venture from points of view then and now.

Since 1974 David John has been Professor of German Language and Literature at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. His major book publications focus on eighteenth-century German theatre, Goethe and Schiller, and he has just completed a book on Fritz Bennewitz’s seven productions of Faust in various countries. He is currently involved in an international collaborative project on Bennewitz in India.

[May 20, 4:00–5:30, Fritz Bennewitz in Asia, Webster Hall 103]

Parichat Jungwiwattanaporn (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa)

In Contestation over Hegemonic Narrative: Kamron’s Brechtian Theatre and Beyond

During seventy-eight years of parliamentary democracy (1932 - 2010), Thai democratization has gone through a number of significant challenges including coup d'états and the recent call by neo-nationalist royalists for a semi-absolute monarchy. The hegemony of the national ideology of the “Three Pillars” (i.e., nation, religion/Buddhism, and the King) has been so deeply imbedded in the Thai consciousness that any attempt to question the meta-narratives of Thai history can be construed as an act against national security. Since open discussions and criticism about these meta-narratives have been legally, socially, and culturally repressed, live theatre has become an important tool for contemporary artists in Thailand to express their dissent and to create a space in which they can interact live with an audience.

For the past three decades, the Crescent Moon Theatre Group (CMTG), led by Kamron Gunatilaka, has been known to use both Thai and Western theatre techniques, especially the Brechtian theatre, to articulate dissent. In countering different meta-narratives, his productions take great risk at criticizing the hegemonic social memory, history, and collective psyche of Thailand.

This paper will be a case study of Kamron’s most important production, The Revolutionist, which has been the most frequently performed contemporary theatre production in Thailand since 1987. Thai theatre critics consider it one of the most important Thai plays of the 20th century. The Revolutionist, inspired by Brechtian theatre, depicts a story of the leader of the Thai revolution in 1932, Pridi Banomyong, a progressive intellectual who fell victim to political intrigues. The play also provides historical details that provide a counter-metanarrative to the well-known metanarratives of recent Thai history. Through Lyotard’s postmodern lens, this paper intends to analyze the influences of Brechtian elements in Kamron’s dramaturgy as well as the creative outcomes that resulted from using this approach.

Parichat Jungwiwattanaporn is a PhD candidate in Asian Theatre at the Department of Theatre and Dance, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Since 1999, as a researcher and writer on theatre history and criticism in Thailand, she has participated in a national research project, “Criticism as an Intellectual Power in Contemporary Thai Society.” Her publications include three co-authored books and two books on Thai Contemporary Theatre and Criticism, as well as a number of articles for such journals as ATJ and SPAFA and various newspapers.

[May 20, 11:00–12:30, Contemporary Political Theatre, Webster Hall 103]

Simran Karir (University of Toronto)

Brecht and the Fall of the Empire

In this paper I will be examining how modern India, especially its historical and political reality at the beginning of the 20th century, is reflected in Bertolt Brecht’s work by building on Sara Suleri Goodyear’s The Rhetoric of English India. Closely looking at the language used in the historical Warren Hastings trial as well as Rudyard Kipling’s Kim, among others, Suleri argues that these texts, to varying degrees, echo an instability in English India, which eventually led to India’s independence. I explore how Brecht’s work similarly echoes India’s contemporary political reality.

It has been said of Lion Feuchtwanger’s and Brecht’s Calcutta, May 4th: Four Acts of Colonial History (1926; a revised version of Feuchtwanger’s Warren Hastings from 1916) that India really only served as a backdrop. Little notice was taken of what was actually happening in contemporary India. Brecht himself discusses using exotic locales as a means of alienation, and that his Man Equals Man, for example, could very easily be set in Germany. Nonetheless, this paper will explore the possibility that these plays do echo the conflicts in British India.

Brecht’s great love for Kipling’s work and its influence on his own work has been well examined, but Brecht’s knowledge of contemporary India was also informed by Indian sources. Among these was Rabindranath Tagore’s Home and the World, which deals with radical and a more passive form of Indian nationalism, contemporary Indian women’s issues, etc., which he read in 1920. The question arises, if Tagore’s novel influenced Brecht in any way, or helped inform his understanding of contemporary India.

Simran Karir is currently working on a doctoral thesis dealing with Indian influences on German literature during the first of half of the 20th century in the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Toronto. His previous work dealt with the love sonnets which Brecht and Margarete Steffin wrote to each other. He presented on this subject at the 2006 IBS symposium in Augsburg and at an international Margarete Steffin conference in Berlin in 2008, as well as published on it. Some of his extracurricular activities at the University of Toronto included the co-founding and running of the University of Toronto German Drama Club with fellow graduate students until 2008.

[May 20, 9:00–10:30, Postcolonial and Postimperial Brecht, Webster Hall 103]

Sabine Kebir (author, Berlin)

Helene Weigels Weg ins asiatische Theater

Obwohl nicht durch eigene Aufzeichnungen belegt, ging auch Helene Weigel an Brechts Seite ihren Weg ins asiatische Theater. Das geht klar hervor, wenn man Aufführungsfotos aus der Zeit vor und nach dem Exil vergleicht, etwa aus
Die Mutter. Ihr Spiel wurde nicht nur durch die konsequent epische und verfremdende Technik immer “chinesischer,” sondern auch durch das Einüben von Körperhaltungen und Gesten der chinesischen Schauspieler. Man erkennt deutlich, dass sich Helene Weigel nach der Rückkehr aus dem Exil einen chinesischen Körper antrainiert hatte. Ihr permanentes Interesse am chinesischen Theater ist durch vielerlei Briefe und Aufzeichnungen Brechts belegt. Praktische Anschauung und Anregung erhielt sie durch direkte Kontakte mit chinesischen Schauspielern an der amerikanischen Ostküste und insbesondere vom chinesischen Theater in Los Angeles. In meinem Vortrag werde ich meine Thesen mit Projektionen von Fotos belegen.

Sabine Kebir publications include books on literature and political science, but she has also written novels as well as children’s books and youth literature. She has worked as a journalist for print media as well as radio and television. In her work she has covered a wide range of subject and topics including Antonio Gramsci, Brecht, German culture and literature, feminism, Islam and Islamic fundamentalism, and theories of democracy.

[May 20, 11:00–12:30, Brecht-”Vermittlungen” in Asien, Webster Hall 113]

Gerd Koch (Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences, Berlin)

“Ortswechsel des Denkens” (François Jullien): Erkenntnis-pragmatische Überlegungen zu Bertolt Brecht

François Jullien, seit 1987 Professor für ostasiatische Sprachen und Kulturen an der Universität von Paris VII, entwickelte einen Denkansatz, den er plastisch so nennt: “Einen Ortswechsel des Denkens vornehmen”—“Der Umweg über China“ (letzteres ist der Titel eines seiner Bücher: Berlin 2001).

Nicht nur Lehrstück-Spiel-Praxis ist eine Art erkenntnis-pragmatischer Ortswechsel, ein Praktizieren im Möglichkeitsraum Theater, einübendes “Dialektikum”/Pädagogikum. Auch Brechts Keuner- und Me-ti-Geschichten wären als Muster für solches “umwegiges” und Praxis-Denken zu nehmen—dies auch und gerade in “ex-zentrischen,” “de-zentrierten” Weltverhältnissen von heute.

Gerd Koch is Professor for Cultural Social Work and Chair of the MA Program in Biographical and Creative Writing at the Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences in Berlin. He is also co-editor of “Zeitschrift für Theaterpädagogik. Korrespondenzen”
(Journal of Theatre Pedagogy. Correspondences) and Head of the German Society for Theatre Pedagogy. Together with Marianne Streisand he co-edited the first German
Dictionary for Theatre Pedagogy (“Wörterbuch der Theaterpädagogik”).

[May 22, 11:00–12:30, Fremdheit und Verfremdung, Webster Hall 113]

Martina Kolb (Pennsylvania State University, University Park)

The Drama of Things: On Love and Character in Brecht and Pound

“Strong characters need strong nourishment,” writes Stendhal, while describing the object of love as it “crystallizes” in the mind. “The Drama of Things” confronts such crystallization as engraved visualization and condensed reduction in Brecht’s and Pound’s poetology of the simple and concrete thing as it encapsulates action, story, drama—not only in the theatre, but importantly in their (love) poetry as well. My paper traces “character” as proto-poetic ideogram on the one hand, and as dramatis persona on the other, addressing Brecht’s observations on Chinese acting, Pound’s studies of the Chinese character (via Fenollosa), as well as their fascination with vivid visual details (such as the Nō mask or the image in haiku). A year after Pound’s death, Antony Tatlow called Brecht and Pound “two of the most important poets of our time,” tracing their various dealings with Chinese and Japanese poetry. With a tight focus on the Imagist Pound (who comes to Chinese from Japanese) and the mature Brecht (who comes to Japanese from Chinese), my paper presents both authors as strong characters who take in strong nourishment from the traditions of the East and the West, producing strong crystallized characters, which in turn provide strong nourishment for their followers.

Martina Kolb, Assistant Professor of German and Comparative Literature at the Pennsylvania State University, holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from Yale, Graduate Degrees in Modern Philology from Tübingen University, and an MA in German from the University of Oregon. Before joining Penn State, she taught as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Humanities Core Curriculum at Bilkent University in Ankara. She is the recipient of a number of awards, among them a Giles Whiting Dissertation Fellowship, two Postdoctoral Fellowships at the Universities of Konstanz and Bologna, as well as an Individual Faculty Grant and a Residency at Penn State’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities. Her research and teaching interests are comparative Modernism, poetics, Mediterranean studies, theatre East-West, psychoanalysis, and detective fiction. Her publications include articles on verbal-visual encounters in Brecht’s appropriation of Oriental theatre, memory in Uwe Johnson’s novel Jahrestage, multilingual life-writing in Ezra Pound’s prison poetry, Freud’s Italian journeys, and Gottfried Benn’s affinities with Italian Futurism. She is currently completing a book manuscript on Nietzsche, Freud, and Expressionist Mediterranean geo-poetics.

[May 21, 2:00–3:30, Sense and Sensibility: Brecht Meets Japanese Aesthetics, Webster Hall 103]

Danielle Verena Kollig (University of Virginia, Charlottesville)

From Tokyo’s Office Girl to Taipei’s Punk Princess—Bertolt Brecht’s Early Political Aesthetics and the Cinema of Yasujiro Ozu and Hou Hsiao-hsien

This presentation analyses Ozu’s Tokyo Story and An Autumn Afternoon as well as Hou Hsiao-hsien’s Café Lumière and Three Times through the lens of Brecht’s earlier political aesthetics and his theatrical elaborations on socio-cultural mechanisms of inclusion and expulsion. Ozu, although not arguing for radical social changes, agrees with Brecht on the necessity to observe and analyze social systems like the family or the workplace and the effects of values and expectations exercised therein. Hence, Ozu spots intergenerational conflicts, often personified by young female characters standing between marital and professional conventions. Hou Hsiao-hsien resumes the analysis of social values and expectations, affecting the younger female and their roles in societies loosening their traditional ties. Differing from Ozu, Hou rejects possible reconciliatory arrangements with society and emphasizes how the young women’s search for professional and personal recognition ends up in an ever-increasing estrangement from the latter.

Danielle Verena Kollig is a PhD candidate at the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Virginia, writing a dissertation with the working title “Man, Material, Human Being (?)—The Body in Nietzsche’s Philosophy and Its Influences on (Trans-)Gender Acts in Theatre and Film.” She studied German, Philosophy, and Sociology (MA) at Mannheim University, Germany. She teaches German languages and cultures, and her research interests include the New German Cinema, studies in therapeutic writing, and fashion as a system of pop-cultural semiotics.

[May 21, 11:00–12:30, Brecht and Asian Cinema, Webster Hall 103]

Weijia Li (Western Illinois University, Macomb)

Strategy of Survival: Taoism in Brecht and Anna Seghers

Brecht’s intensive engagement with Taoism resulted in his adaptations of Taoist philosophy in various aspects. One of his contemporaries, Anna Seghers, studied Chinese philosophy at the University Heidelberg (1920-1924) and also embedded Taoist elements in her works. Yet, research on Brecht’s encounter with China has not compared the reception of Taoism by Brecht and Seghers despite their similar political beliefs and personal experience as German writers in exile. My paper will compare the use of Taoist elements between Brecht and Seghers by focusing on Brecht’s Schweyk in the Second World War and Seghers’s novel Transit Visa, both works written in the early 1940s. The research will provide a comparative perspective for understanding Brecht’s engagement with Chinese philosophy in a larger cultural-historical context.

Weijia Li is Assistant Professor of German at Western Illinois University. His research interest includes China in German literature and German main-stream media, Anna Seghers and China. Currently, he is working on his book manuscript China und China-Erfahrung in Leben und Werk von Anna Seghers (Peter Lang, 2010, forthcoming).

[May 22, 9:00–10:30, Brecht’s “Asian” Texts: Collaborators and Contemporaries, Webster Hall 103]

Peilin Liang (University of Texas, Austin)

Localizing Brecht—Performing Hakka Women and Pear-Growers on Taiwan’s Fault Line

One of Brecht’s major contributions to modern theatre was his demand to turn audiences into critical thinkers. Under the umbrella term “People’s Theatre,” a system of Brecht-influenced theatre practices has shaped many aspects of contemporary theatre development in Asia in the later part of the 20th century. Since the introduction of People’s Theatre into Taiwan in 1990, numerous avant-garde and community theatres have further adapted its methodologies to address local social issues. Taking the case of the Shigang Mama Theatre Company based in central rural Taiwan, this paper aims to examine the localization of Brecht-influenced theatre practices in the (post)colonial context of Taiwan. Consisting of Hakka housewives and pear-growers who survived the gigantic earthquake that took place on September 21, 1999, the members of the collective have not only walked out from the shadow of their traumatic experience, but have also grown into empowered individuals aware of their gender, ethnicity, and class status.

Peilin Liang is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Texas, Austin. Her theatre research focuses on cultural production within the theoretical frameworks of (post)colonialism and multiculturalism, with a particular emphasis on Asia.

[May 20, 11:00–12:30, Contemporary Political Theatre, Webster Hall 103]

Frances Mammana (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa)

On Display: Brechtian Renderings of Ryukyuan Heterotopias in Jinruikan

Winner of the 1977 Kishida Kunio Drama Award, Chinen Seishin's play Jinruikan (according to Japanese theatre critic Akihiko Senda) marks the beginning of contemporary theatre in Okinawa. The play is set at the Osaka Industrial Fair of 1903, where a human display of Ainu, Taiwanese and Ryukyuan housed in a Pavilion of Humans (Jinruikan) was erected alongside a Pavilion of Wonders that featured the latest electricity operated accoutrements. A man and a woman on display and their tamer embody the binary primitivism vs. civilization: the tamer interprets the eating habits, language, and physical appearance of the couple as identifiers of otherness. Chinen does not mince efforts in denouncing tactics of oppression against Ryukyuans, particularly within the setting of WWII; nor in identifying known literary and political figures, namely Mishima Yukio, Governor Yara and the Emperor, as responsible ideological figures.

Stylistically, Chinen makes gestic use of Okinawan theatrical forms including the early post-kingdom zo-odori (popular dance) Munjuru, and the kageki (Ryukyuan opera) play Okuyama no Botan (1910), the inclusion of which antithetically foregrounds the vastness of cultural wealth of the “primitive” race on display. In this paper, I will tease out how Chinen conspicuously deploys Brechtian techniques such as historicization, fragmented montage, and the Verfremdungseffekt whilst maintaining a stylistic continuity with the Ryukyuan/Okinawan theatre canon in Jinruikan.

Frances Marguerite Mammana (PhD candidate, ABD, at the University of Hawaii at Manoa) studied Ryukyuan language, Court Drama Literature, and Localized Cultural Geography at the University of the Ryukyus while observing Ryukyuan court theatre training at the Okinawa Prefecture University of the Arts for three years (two years as a Crown Prince Akihito Scholar). She has been involved in theatre in the capacities of performer, director, costumer, and educator since 1984, in Argentina and the U.S, and with Okinawan performing arts in particular since 1999.

[May 21, 2:00–3:30, Asian National Theatre Traditions Encounter Brecht, Webster Hall 112]

B. Venkat Mani (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

Translating Die Dreigroschenoper into Hindi: Preliminary Notes on Teen Kaudi ki Nautanki

This paper presents preliminary notes on Teen Kaudi ki Nautanki, my current project of translating Bertolt Brecht’s Die Dreigroschenoper (“The Threepenny Opera”) from German into Hindi. Conceived as a preface to the translation, the paper addresses the relevance of a new translation of this play into Hindi, while outlining specific challenges that accompany such a translation. The paper identifies in the history of Brecht’s Hindi “intertexts” historical and political markers in post-Independence India as they bear upon translations/adaptations. Continuing this tradition, the new Hindi translation of Die Dreigroschenoper reads issues central to the play—class, corruption, crime, and capital—in the context of early-21st century India of free-market economy, multinational finance, and the ever-growing rift between the lowest, middle, and upper classes. By focusing on Hindi adaptations—which in some cases also draw on the English translations of the plays—the paper privileges specific evaluations of non-Anglophone linguistic contexts for locating Brecht in/and Asia.

B. Venkat Mani is Associate Professor, Department of German at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is the author of Cosmopolitical Claims: Turkish German Literatures from Nadolny to Pamuk (University of Iowa Press, 2007) and has published articles on contemporary German literature, Urdu literature and politics of literary pedagogy, among others. He is currently working on a book project on World Literatures and Comparative Literature with a special focus on public and private libraries.

[May 20, 11:00–12:30, Adaptations & Translations of Brecht in Bangladesh & India, Webster Hall 112]

Lúcia Nagib (University of Leeds)

The Realm of the Senses, shunga and the Eroticized Apparatus

Even when Nagisa Oshima is openly embracing Brecht, as in Death by Hanging (1968), the result is far from pure alienation effects. The Realm of the Senses (1976) shows precisely how questionable the very idea of alienation effect is. Brecht used the famous expression Verfremdungseffekt for the first time in his discussion of a performance by the Chinese actor Mei Lan-fang, in which he identified a series of “anti-illusionistic” devices. These can also be found in many Japanese art forms, in The Realm of the Senses (close as it is to the Japanese traditional arts), and in shunga (erotic prints). Since the 1970s the so-called “cinematic apparatus” has become a central concept in film studies, for it describes the ways in which identification and illusionism are produced in order to create an “impression of reality.” The revelation of this apparatus in the scene would consequently prevent identification and enable the formation of critical spectatorship in Brechtian terms. In this paper, I will counter the idea that The Realm of the Senses “prevents” sexual contagion due to the presence of disruptive voyeurs with the anti-illusionistic function of revealing the cinematic apparatus. I will resort to the analysis of shunga to show that voyeurism in the film turns this apparatus into an integral part of the play, together with the artist’s and viewer’s bodies themselves.

Lúcia Nagib is Centenary Professor of World Cinemas and Director of the Centre for World Cinemas, University of Leeds. She is the author of the books Werner Herzog: Film as Reality (Estação Liberdade), Around the Japanese Nouvelle Vague (Editora da Unicamp), Born of the Ashes: The Auteur and the Individual in Oshima’s Films (Edusp), The Brazilian Film Revival: Interviews with 90 Filmmakers of the 90s (Editora 34) and Brazil on Screen: Cinema Novo, New Cinema, Utopia (IB Tauris). She is the editor of The New Brazilian Cinema (IB Tauris), Ozu (Marco Zero), Master Mizoguchi (Navegar) and Realism and the Audiovisual Media (with Cecília Mello, Palgrave, forthcoming). Her book World Cinema and the Ethics of Realism is forthcoming with Continuum.

[May 21, 2:00–3:30, Sense and Sensibility: Brecht Meets Japanese Aesthetics, Webster Hall 103]

Manisha Patil (Institute of Science, Satara)

Postcolonial Adaptations, Translations and Other Offshoots of Brechtian Plays in Bombay Theatre

…One of the surest tests is the ways in which a poet borrows. Immature poets imitate, mature poets steal, bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole feeling which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn; the bad poet throws it into something which has no cohesion. A good poet will usually borrow from authors remote in time, or alien in language or diverse in interest…”
T. S. Eliot, “Philip Massinger,” in Elizabethan Drama, ed. Ralph J. Kaufmann (London: OUP, 1961) 143.

Present paper proposes to discuss translations, adaptations and offshoots of Brechtian drama in Marathi, the official language of Maharashtra. Following plays are selected at random to analyze the culture-conditioned reception of Brecht’s plays in Marathi:

  • Ajab Nyay Wartulacha (“A Strange Justice of the Circle,” 1974) by C. T. Khanolakar (adaptation of The Caucasian Chalk Circle)
  • Teen Paishyacha Tamasha (“A Farce of Three Paisa”) by P. L. Deshpande (adaptation of Threepenny Opera)
  • Galileo by Rajiv Naik (translation of Life of Galileo)
The seventies were the decade of Brecht in Calcutta, Delhi, Mumbai and other places in India where serious theatre activities were undertaken. Every region had its specific reasons for doing Brecht. In contrast to the dozens of versions of Brecht’s plays in Hindi and Bengali, there are very few adaptations and translations into Marathi.
The use and misuse of foreign dramatic texts is a serious problem in our dramaturgy. For instance, Brecht’s plays are adapted into Marathi without his Marxist commitments and ideology. It is like a weak talent’s work of imitation. Marathi playwrights borrowed the mere skeleton of the source text and altered content as well as concept. Nevertheless, this fascination for Brecht made Marathi literati more aware of the novel concepts of “alienation,” “alienation effect,” “epic theatre,” etc.

Manisha Anand Patil has been the Head of the Department of English at the Institute of Science in Satara, Maharashtra, for nine years. Her area of interest is in Comparative Culture Studies and Drama. She has submitted her PhD thesis on Marathi drama.

[May 20, 11:00–12:30, Adaptations & Translations of Brecht in Bangladesh & India, Webster Hall 112]

Susan Philip (University of Malaya)

Brecht and Kee Thuan Chye in 1984, Here and Now

In this paper I will look at the works of Malaysian playwright Kee Thuan Chye, who has spoken repeatedly of being influenced by Brecht’s work. My focus in this paper will be on Kee’s play 1984, Here and Now, which referenced Orwell’s novel to examine social and political conditions in Malaysia. I will examine how Kee has adapted Brechtian techniques to the situation he portrays. However, I also intend to demonstrate that Kee’s work goes beyond mere adaptation, to develop a kind of political theatre original to Malaysia. His theatre, although in English (rather than the national language, Bahasa Malaysia), vividly captures the language and attitudes of contemporary Malaysians. Thus, while highlighting the political situation of the time, he is also working towards the creation of an inclusively Malaysian cultural language and identity.

Susan Philip lectures at the English Department, Faculty of Arts, University of Malaya. Her area of specialization is the English-language theatres of Malaysia and Singapore, and she has published several articles and book chapters on the subject.

[May 23, 9:00–10:30, Contemporary Asian Playwrights and Directors Read Brecht, Webster Hall 112]

Kathy Phillips (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa)

Bacchants, Homosexuals, and Asians in Brecht's In the Jungle of Cities

Bertolt Brecht’s In the Jungle of Cities (1923) shows how ideologies of race, gender, and especially sexualities join ideologies of economics and colonialism to imprint characters as coercively as branding irons on skin. With various degrees of awareness or unconsciousness, rebellion or capitulation, characters try to slide out from under these markings. I will highlight how and why the perceptive but doomed character Shlink is presented as Asian.

If the homosexuality in In the Jungle is noticed at all by critics and directors, Shlink is usually read as a sinister character who seduces an innocent Garga. But the Asian Shlink is presented very sympathetically, whereas Garga keeps denying his own relationship with Shlink and eventually betrays him cruelly to a mob. Brecht uses his "Asian" references to draw interesting parallels among various groups that suffer prejudice: Asian immigrants, Negroes who might be lynched in America, and homosexuals, who were already attacked by Nazis at the time of the play. The reviewers of the 1923 production of In the Jungle continued this blurring of scapegoats by claiming that "the audience was full of Jews and the Chinese characters spoke Yiddish" (Nellhaus xi).  

Kathy Phillips is Professor of English at the University of Hawaiʻi. She has published five books and some twenty articles. Among the books, Manipulating Masculinity: War and Gender in Modern British and American Literature (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) will be reissued in paperback in 2010. Among the essays, "Between the Third Sex and the Third Reich: Brecht's Early Works" appeared in the book Literature and Homosexuality, ed. Michael J. Meyer (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2000): 71-92.

[May 23, 9:00–10:30, Race, Class and Sexuality in Brecht’s Plays, Webster Hall 103]

Daniela Pillgrab (University of Vienna)

”The Text is Inside the Dance”: Ong Keng Sen’s Desire for a Connection of Epic Theatre and Peking Opera

What is tempting about staging Brecht with procedural methods of Chinese acting? Did Brecht’s encounter with the Peking Opera in Moscow 1935 lay the basis for an intercultural exchange of contemporary theatre practices? These questions are to be discussed using the example of Ong Keng Sen’s production of The Good Person of Szechwan in Linz, Austria (premiere on September 26, 2009). The director attempts to connect Brecht’s Epic Theatre with conventions of traditional Chinese acting forms. What is to be the result? A synthesis or something different, something new—maybe a new philosophy of performance? The central aspect during the rehearsal process is the actors’ work with their body: they are instructed to develop a sense for language and character through physical movements. Ong Keng Sen strives to question both the textual structure of the play and Brecht’s theory, thinking beyond them at the same time.

Daniela Pillgrab studied Theatre, Film and Media Studies in Vienna and Bologna. She was a fellow of the research project on “Senses, Technology and Mise-en-Scène: Media and Perception” at the University of Vienna. She wrote her dissertation on “Staged Bodies between Socialist Realism and Peking Opera: Mei Lanfang in the Soviet Union 1935.”

[May 23, 9:00–10:30, Contemporary Asian Playwrights and Directors Read Brecht, Webster Hall 112]

Ralf Räuker (Edith Cowan University, Perth)

Brecht’s Baal and the Chinese God of Happiness

On August 24, 1920, Brecht wrote of his play Baal that, “It should be ‘more similar’ to oneself! One should make it with intestines, heart and blood in it and lungs and let it run, with a kick!“ In this statement Brecht created a kind of “body-map” for Baal. My paper will compare this body-map with the Indian concept of the Chakra system and the Chinese model of energy meridians.

Later Brecht worked on plans for an opera, The Journeys of the God of Happiness, which, he stated, “has to do with the same basic idea as Baal.” In describing the source of inspiration for this opera fragment Brecht referred to a Chinese figure “representing the tubby God of Happiness contentedly stretching himself.” In reference to this quotation, I will examine Tai Chi, Qigong and Hatha Yoga and their notions of energy flow as triggered through the stretching of the body.

Born in Aachen, Germany, Ralf Räuker studied Acting at the University of Arts in Berlin, received a two-year scholarship for his research on Meyerhold’s Biomechanics and subsequently began his career as an actor, director and teacher. He now lives in Perth, Western Australia, where he is course coordinator in Contemporary Performance at Edith Cowan University. Currently he is writing his PhD thesis on “Body-Mapping Brecht’s Baal and The God of Happiness.”

[May 20, 4:00–5:30, “Asia” in Brecht, Webster Hall 112]

Martin Revermann (University of Toronto)

Brecht’s Asia vs. Brecht’s Greece

What happens if two major influences on Brecht, the theatre traditions of ancient Greece and the Far East, are contrasted synoptically? This paper will start by outlining, very briefly, Brecht’s relationship with the ancient Geek theatrical tradition: the points of contact established in his education and early years; the construction (since the late 1920s) of Aristotle and Aristotelianism as antagonists to the Brechtian project and the ideologies underlying this construction (which occasionally verges on scapegoating); and Brecht’s own performative venture into Greek drama in his Antigone of 1948. The main focus of the paper, however, revolves around justifying my central claim, which is that the Asian traditions from both China and Japan, by contrast with that of ancient Greece, had such a profound appeal for Brecht qua being “the better other.”

Martin Revermann is Associate Professor in Classics and Theatre Studies, University of Toronto. He is the author of Comic Business. Theatricality, Dramatic Technique and Performance Contexts of Aristophanic Comedy (Oxford 2006) and the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Greek Comedy (Cambridge, forthcoming in 2011), as well as articles on Homer, Greek drama, theatre-related iconography and theatre theory.

[May 20, 9:00–10:30, Brechtian Negotiations of East/West Traditions, Webster Hall 112]

Rolf Rohmer (Fritz Bennewitz Archive, Leipzig)

A Brechtian Approach to Interculturalism—Fritz Bennewitz’s Theatre Work in Asia
[since Rolf Rohmer cannot attend the conference, Alexander Stillmark will present his paper]

Fritz Bennewitz regarded his first production in India—Brecht’s Threepenny Opera, New Delhi 1971—as “a foreign product imported to the Indian stage and not developed from the tradition of the Indian theatre culture.” Convinced that the historical situation required a new international cultural relationship, he started searching for an adequate intercultural practice. With nearly 50 productions over a period of 25 years in India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Bangladesh he developed his own intercultural strategies based specifically on Brecht’s works and theories but opposed to simultaneous efforts by Brook, Schechner, Barba and others. The paper will focus on the principles of Bennewitz’s concept and its qualification step by step; it will focus on his adaptation and modification of Brecht in this process, and it will critically discuss the perspective and prospects of his approach.

Rolf Rohmer has been Professor of Theatre History at the Theatre Academy Leipzig until his retirement in 1995; he is still in charge of the Fritz Bennewitz Archive. His main research centered on dramaturgy and on international relationships in the field of modern theatre. He has been involved in related international projects such as The International Bibliography of Theatre and The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre.

[May 20, 4:00–5:30, Fritz Bennewitz in Asia, Webster Hall 103]

Marc Silberman (University of Wisconsin, Madison)

The Postcolonial Brecht?

Has the postcolonial turn rendered Brecht as just another “dead, white, male European writer” whose reputation is anchored in the epistemological interests of the East/West and North/South divides? Are Brecht’s imagined displacements to Asia, not to speak of his ethnically tinged fantasies of Chicago and Mahagonny, simply postcolonial exoticism, a convenient projection screen for negotiating the diminished subject(ivities) of Western power? The short answer is no, but its seeming transparency conceals the way that postcolonial theory and criticism can shift perspectives and complicate critical and performance practices vis-à-vis Brecht. A “postcolonial approach” will help clarify and test four issues: the biographical context of Brecht’s forced diasporic experience; resonances of colonial fantasies in Brecht’s early works where characters’ voices (ventriloquism) and faces (ethnic drag) mimic cultural stereotypes; the overlap between Epic Theatre and popular presentational modes of “marginalized” or “peripheral” societies in East Asia and Africa; Brecht’s interventionist aesthetics as an ongoing contribution to postcolonial modernisms.

Marc Silberman is Professor of German and Affiliate Professor of Theatre/Drama and of Film Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has published on Brecht, Heiner Müller and the tradition of political theatre in Germany as well as on the history of German cinema. He edited the Brecht Yearbook from 1990-1995 and continues to edit the website of the International Brecht Society. He is a member of the organizing committee of the 13th IBS Symposium in Hawaiʻi.

[May 20, 9:00–10:30, Postcolonial and Postimperial Brecht, Webster Hall 103]

Anthony Squiers (Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo)

On Contradiction: a Philosophical Analysis of Mao Tse Tung’s Influence on Bertolt Brecht

In 1954, Bertolt Brecht indicated that Mao Tse Tung’s On Contradiction was the most important thing he read that year. This paper seeks to systematically unravel the philosophical connections between Mao’s and Brecht’s thinking and work. Specifically, it seeks to answer the question, “What is it about Mao’s treatise that made Brecht choose it as the most important reading of an entire year?” This analysis examines two ways Mao’s treatise influenced Brecht. First, Mao’s essay parsimoniously clarified an element of Brecht’s thought which had already been present. It clarified Brecht’s notion of a dialectical antagonism between the individual-being and the species-being (i.e. between “self” and “other”), which most clearly came out in his use of the literary/theatrical technique of the so called “split character.” Second, Mao’s treatment of “dominant” and “secondary” contradictions had a major impact on his approach to and adaptation of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus.

Anthony Squiers is a writer and literary critic. He is currently working on a PhD in Political Theory at Western Michigan University. His research is on the social/political philosophy of Brecht.

[May 22, 11:00–12:30, Brecht and Mao, Webster Hall 103]

Glenn Stanley (University of Connecticut, Storrs)

Brecht and the Classical Opera: Critical Fidelio Performances in Germany, 1968 to the Present

Since the 1960s Brecht’s theories and practice have had a strong influence on operatic productions in the German states. His influence was particularly strong in the Federal Republic in conjunction with the emergence of  “Regietheater” productions of operas in the 1960s. My paper will address Brecht’s influence with respect to a particularly interesting work in this context, Beethoven’s FidelioFidelio is a canonic opera that represents everything “good” in German culture, but its themes of utopian idealism and the triumph of good over evil were met, in the wake of the Holocaust and contemporary injustices, with increasing skepticism by critical artists and intellectuals. Hence Fidelio was ripe for “Verfremdungen” that critiqued both the opera’s ideological message and aspects of its music and dramatic contents. With the help of images and video clips, I will discuss selected productions that 1) delete text and music, 2) add new text that serves as commentary, 3) “actualize” Fidelio through modern sets and costumes, and 4) critique and even negate the “happy-end” conclusion through production strategies. I will also discuss musical style, inquiring into the possibility and reality of a “Brechtian” performance that is critically analytical rather than emotively transcendental, or, in Brechtian terms, “cold” rather than “warm.”

Professor of Music History at the University of Connecticut, Glenn Stanley has published widely on German music and musical thought in English- and German-language journals and books. His recent work includes essays on Fidelio reception (Beethoven-Handbuch, Laaber Verlag forthcoming in 2010) and Parsifal (Cambridge Companion to Wagner, 2007). He is currently working on a monograph about the reception and performance of Fidelio in post-WW II Germany.

[May 20, 9:00–10:30, Brechtian Negotiations of East/West Traditions, Webster Hall 112]

Vera Stegmann (Lehigh University, Bethlehem)

Concepts of Fremde and Fremdheit in Yoko Tawada’s Writings

Yoko Tawada is a contemporary writer who was born in Tokyo, Japan, and who has been living in Germany since 1982, first in Hamburg and since 2006 in Berlin. She publishes in German and in Japanese and has received numerous literary prizes, both in Germany and in Japan. She also spent years studying Russian. Several of her literary texts are situated in post-communist territory and deal with East Berlin and the GDR as seen through the alienating lens of an Asian author. One aspect of Tawada’s literature brings to mind a Brechtian concept: Verfremdung (“estrangement,” “alienation”). Tawada has performed at a Brecht and Chekhov festival in Japan, together with Jazz pianist Aki Takase. Recurring ideas on Fremde (“[the] strange,” “stranger[s],” “foreign parts”), Fremdheit (“strangeness,” foreignness,” “alienness”), and Verwandlung (“transformation,” “metamorphosis”) weave themselves throughout her writings. “Fremdsein ist eine Kunst” (“to be strange/a stranger is quite an art”), Tawada stated recently. I will outline Tawada’s notions of Fremdheit and compare them with Brecht’s ideas on Verfremdung.

Vera Stegmann is Associate Professor of German at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. She specializes in modern German literature and theatre, in contemporary intercultural writing in Germany, and in comparative arts, particularly the relationship between literature and music. She edited
Communications from the International Brecht Society from 1991 until 1995, and she authored the book Das epische Musiktheater bei Strawinsky und Brecht.

[May 20, 2:00–3:30, Brechtian and Asian “Go-Betweens”, Webster Hall 112]

Alexander Stillmark (director, Berlin)

An Unrepeatable Model 1968-1985, or, Looking Back into Utopia: Integrating Brecht into Traditional Vietnamese Theatre

The Vietnam War: “We will bomb you back into the Stone Age!” / the culture of war in a planned economy / traditional epic theatre in crisis / dissertation as combat mission (1968-72) / Vietnam’s traditional theatre and a possible integration of Brecht’s method / two forms of epic theatre: Eastern culture meets the West / preparing the project and assessing the situation / why Cheo—a traditional “singing-theatre”? / the subsequent proof of dissertation hypotheses: staging The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Hanoi 1983 / back to basics / the stage / the configuration of Cheo / the language / translation problems / the language of gestures / a people’s theatre: servants have no specific language of gestures / two forms of music / the clown as Azdak / censorship / reception of the play and guest performance / theoretical conference / Brecht and the people’s theatre / and what about today?

Alexander Stillmark: professional actor / director at Berliner Ensemble, Deutsches Theater Berlin, Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater Schwerin / Professor at College of Performing Art “Ernst Busch,“ Berlin / theatre productions and workshops in Germany and abroad / guest professor at numerous universities / lives in Berlin.

[May 21, 2:00–3:30, Asian National Theatre Traditions Encounter Brecht, Webster Hall 112]

Marianne Streisand (University of Applied Sciences Osnabrück)

“Sei stille, mein Herz, dieses Asien hat ein Loch, durch das man hineinkriechen kann“ (Uria in Brechts
Mann ist Mann): Die Entdeckung der Massen in Brechts Mann ist Mann

Brecht hat 1927 sein Stück
Mann ist Mann kommentiert mit den Worten, Galy Gay werde “erst der Stärkste, nachdem er aufgehört hat, eine Privatperson zu sein, er wird erst in der Masse stark.“ Für Brecht rückt im Zusammenhang mit dem Asien-Stoff das von Le Bon bereits 1895 so diagnostizierte 20. Jahrhundert als das “Zeitalter der Massen“ ins Blickfeld. Der Hauptfigur widerfährt in diesem Stück bekanntlich das “Glück,“ zum Teil von Hunderttausenden der britischen Armee in Indien “wie ein Auto ummontiert“ zu werden. Was hier vor dem Hintergrund von Fordismus und Reflexologie mechanistisch aus-gelöscht wird, ist das “Ich“ mit ihren Implikationen Individualität, (Selbst-)Reflexivität, Authentizität, Empathie. Gerade diese Begriffe haben die europäische Kultur seit dem 18. Jahrhundert entscheidend geprägt. An ihre Stelle soll nun in Mann ist Mann das Bild des “neuen Menschen“ treten, ein distanzierter Souverän jenseits von Herkunftsfamilie und Genealogie. Er propagiert Entfremdung, Trennung und Kälte als Überlebenstechniken und lobt die Flüchtigkeit und das Nomadisieren als neuer Charakter der Massengesellschaft.

Brechts Sehnsucht nach den Massen, aber auch sein zunehmendes Erschrecken vor deren Machtpotential im permanenten Wachstum (“Die Masse will immer wachsen,“ Canetti) zeigt der Versuch des Stückeschreibers an, in den späteren Fassungen nach immer anderen Anschlussmöglichkeiten der Hauptfigur an ein domestiziertes Kollektiv zu suchen.

Marianne Streisand, studierte Germanistik und Theaterwissenschaften an der Humboldt-Universität, Berlin. Promotion 1983 mit der Arbeit Frühe Stücke Heiner Müllers—Werkanalysen im Kontext der zeitgenössischen Rezeption. Habilitation 2000 mit der Schrift Intimität. Begriffsgeschichte und die Entdeckung der Intimität auf dem Theater um 1900. 1976 bis 1987 wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin am Zentralinstitut für Literaturgeschichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften; 1987 bis 1999 wissen-schaftliche Assistentin am Institut für deutsche Literatur der Humboldt-Universität; 2000/01 Gastprofessorin an der Hochschule der Künste, Berlin, Fachbereich Darstellende Kunst; 2001 bis 2003 wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin am Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung Berlin. Seit 2003 Professorin für Angewandte Theaterwissenschaft an der Fachhochschule Osnabrück.

[May 20, 11:00–12:30, Brecht-”Vermittlungen” in Asien, Webster Hall 113]

Gudrun Tabbert-Jones (Santa Clara University)

The "Lord of the South See” and his "Maori Woman”: The Function of the Tahiti Metaphor in Brecht's In the Jungle of Cities and Other Early Works
"Der Herr des Südmeers an den Herrn des Nordmeers" (“From the master of the Southern Ocean to the master of the Norvegian Sea“), this is how Brecht begins a letter to Arnold Bronnen (1922). He refers to Marianne Zoff as his Maori woman, his attic room is his “island,” his “Kral” (“kraal”)—exotic images inspired by Paul Gauguin, Verlaine, Rimbaud and others who had turned their backs on civilized society. A close reading of Brecht's early works, particularly of In The Jungle of Cities reveals that he did not consider an escape from the pressures of civilization to a remote island a viable option. In the opening scene, Garga fantasizes about going to Tahiti. At the end of the play he mocks such dreams as juvenile: “Dummheiten” (“fooleries”). Instead of Tahiti he heads for Chicago, the big city jungle. In my paper, I shall explore the function of Tahiti and other exotic images in the context of Brecht's early works.
Gudrun Tabbert-Jones is Associate Professor of German, at Santa Clara University, California. She teaches German Language and Literature courses. From 1995 until 2003 she edited Communications from the International Brecht Society.

[May 23, 9:00–10:30, Race, Class and Sexuality in Brecht’s Plays, Webster Hall 103]

Neelima Talwar (Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay)

The Brechtian Paradigm in Science-Drama

Reassessment of Brecht in the era of knowledge economies is crucial for political theatre and its varied tendencies. In the ongoing process of postcolonial theatre praxis, Brecht’s theatre provides a new paradigm for politically engaged theatre in India. A crucial aspect of this paradigm relates to the active engagement of the audience in complex viewing. Despite the pervasive impact of Brecht’s experimental epic theatre, crucial Brechtian elements have been modified in the process of translating, adapting or recreating Brecht’s plays. This paper will problematize Brecht’s influence by analyzing his Life of Galileo through the lens of Science-Drama.

Neelima Talwar is Professor of English at the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay. She is currently involved in generating and teaching undergraduate and post-graduate Literature courses that actively explore creativity. In addition to her sustained research on Science-Drama, she is a writer of short fiction and drama.

[May 20, 11:00–12:30, Contemporary Political Theatre, Webster Hall 103]

Yuan Tan (Huazhong University of Science and Technology)

Verehrung oder Maskierung? Neue Studien zu Brechts Sechs chinesischen Gedichten

Dieser Vortrag vergleicht die im Exil entstandenen
Sechs chinesischen Gedichte Brechts mit der englischen Vorlage aus der Feder Arthur Waleys. Er konzentriert sich in erster Linie darauf, wie Brecht mit Bedacht von der Vorlage abweicht und in den Übertragungen seine eigene Exilerfahrung reflektiert. Bereits in der ersten Anmerkung zu Po Chü-yis Leben hebt Brecht absichtlich die kritisierende Neigung des chinesischen Dichters hervor und verleiht ihm das vergleichbare Profil moderner Exilanten und unbeugsamer Sozialkritiker. Auch bei der Übersetzung der Gedichte weicht Brecht immer wieder zugunsten seiner Selbstreflexion von der Vorlage ab. Durch die gezielte Abänderung formuliert er die alten chinesischen Gedichte in moderne Zeitgedichte um und macht Po zum idealen sozialkritischen Dichter, der trotz der mehrmaligen Verbannungen auf seiner Kritik an den Herrschenden besteht. Unter der chinesischen Maske entdeckt man schließlich das idealisierte Selbstporträt von Brecht selbst.

Yuan Tan, PhD of German literature from Göttingen University, Germany, is Associate Professor in the German Department at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology (Wuhan 430074, China). His academic fields are German literature and translation history.

[May 20, 11:00–12:30, Brecht-”Vermittlungen” in Asien, Webster Hall 113]

Michiko Tanigawa (Tokyo University of Foreign Studies)

Die Stellung des Black Tent Theaters (BTT) in der japanischen Brecht-Rezeption

Bekannterweise entstand Ende der 60er Jahre die Bewegung des Untergrundtheaters als Opposition gegen das seit der Meiji-Ära bestehende Shingeki (“neues Theater”), welches hauptsächlich auf der Übersetzung und Rezeption des westlichen Theaters beruhte. Vermutlich markiert diese Untergrund-Theatergeneration einen Wendepunkt in der japanischen Theatergeschichte der Nachkriegszeit, und entspricht in diesem Sinne wohl der “68er Generation” in Westdeutschland. So entwickelte sie abseits des Theatersystems ein eigenwilliges modernes freies Theater in Japan, das sich mit Problemen der japanischen Modernisierung thematisch und dramaturgisch auseinandersetzte und auch im internationalen Theater zur Geltung kam.

Shuji Terayamas “Tenjo Sajiki (Galerie)” z.B. zeigte auf Theaterfestivals wie der Experimenta 3 (Frankfurt 1969) eigene Stücke wie z.B.
Marie im Pelzmantel und ging in Europa auf Tournee. Mit eigenen Werken öffnete sich Juro Kara in den 70er Jahren mit “Red Tent” durch seine Aufführung z.B. in Palästina der arabischen Welt. Tadashi Suzuki und seine Truppe “Waseda Kleines Theater” veranstalteten ein internationales Theaterfestival im japanischen Dorf Toga. Fast gleichzeitig begannen Sato Makoto und sein Black Tent Theater (BTT) eine Zusammenarbeit mit den philippinischen Theaterleuten PETA (Philippines Educational Theater Association).

Während die meisten Gruppen des Untergrundtheaters absichtlich dem europäischen Drama—und insbesondere Brecht—den Rücken kehrten und zumeist ihre originären japanischen Stücke auf die Bühne brachten, versuchte Sato Makoto mit dem BTT Brecht auf die Bühne zu bringen und auch in seine Dramaturgie produktiv aufzunehmen. Dies möchte ich am Beispiel seiner “Brecht-Renaissance” (seit 1989), u.a. im Hinblick auf die
Mutter Courage-Inszenierung des BTT (2002), in Augenschein nehmen und damit zugleich den Stellenwert des BTT in der japanischen Brecht-Rezeption der Nachkriegszeit aufzeigen.

Michiko Tanigawa is a Professor of German Studies at Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. Her research focus is on modern German theatre (Heiner Müller, Elfriede Jelinek, Pina Bausch, and Brecht). She has translated many texts from German into Japanese and is often involved in theatre productions.

[May 21, 9:00–10:50, Brecht and das japanische Gegenwartstheater, Webster Hall 112]

Antony Tatlow (Trinity College, Dublin)

Brecht and East Asia: A Conspectus

Brecht’s interest in East Asian, especially Chinese, culture stimulated many responses, both productive and less helpful. When most stimulating, such encounters develop forgotten cultural knowledge in a dialectic of acculturation that observes transformations and situates critique.

Aligned with a discredited politics, Brecht has virtually disappeared from theatres worldwide. Yet, paradoxically, his too familiar work has been narrowly interpreted. It must be re-read through, not against, apparent antipodes, and with a socio-psychological instead of a simplified economic anthropology. At its most productive, alienation does not confront the subjectively unknown with the objectively knowable but reveals a deeper ignorance as estrangement questions theory.

The effect on theatre should not be divorced from the response to poetry, painting and thought, because this repositions Brecht within cultural theory. No superceded modernist, his work encodes a pre-post-structuralist critique that resituates the narrative of history and reason, which post-structuralism rejects. More than ever do we need interventionary thought, which does not instrumentalize but explores the parameters of a progressive cybernetic. The alternative is a telos of disaster.

Antony Tatlow: IBS President 1982-90; Consultant to the Central Academy of Drama, Beijing 1985- ; Editorial Board Brecht Yearbook 1991-; Honorary Professor, Drama Department, University of Dublin. Organized the first encounter between Chinese and Western practitioners, Hong Kong 1981; IBS 7th Symposium, Hong Kong 1986; Brechts Ost Asien, Exhibition in the Brecht-House, Berlin 1998; Brecht and Beckett Symposium, Dublin 2001. Attended the First Chinese Brecht Seminar, Beijing and Shanghai 1985. Relevant books: Brechts chinesische Gedichte. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp 1973; The Mask of Evil. Brecht’s Response to the Poetry, Theatre and Thought of China and Japan. Berne: Peter Lang 1977; Brecht and East Asian Theatre, Hong Kong: HKU Press 1982; (ed.) Brecht in Asia and Africa, Brecht Yearbook 14, 1989. Beijing: Peking University Press 1996; Shakespeare, Brecht and the Intercultural Sign. Durham NC: Duke University Press 2001; (ed.) Where Extremes Meet, Rereading Brecht and Beckett, Brecht Yearbook 27, 2002.

[May 23, 1:00–1:45, wrap-up session, Art Auditorium]

Florian Vaßen (University of Hanover)

Fremdheit und Verfremdung bei Brecht

Schon Brechts und Nehers Baal ist nicht nur ein Fremder in der Gesellschaft, er trägt auch deutlich sichtbar fremde Gesichtszüge. Dominieren in einigen Prosatexten des jungen Brecht noch exotistische Tendenzen und bricht das Fremde in Trommeln in der Nacht und Im Dickicht der Städte noch von außen herein, so macht sich der Einzelne im Lesebuch für Städtebewohner selber zum Fremden, indem er seine “Spuren verwischt.” Wohl mit Mann ist Mann beginnt Brechts Auseinandersetzung mit dem Problem der Identität und damit mit dem Fremden im Eigenen, wie es auch in den Widersprüchen der Johanna- und Mauler-Figur, im Puntila und in Der gute Mensch von Sezuan zu finden ist. Eine besonders radikale Form der Fremdheit nicht als Selbstentfremdung, sondern als Selbstfindung entwickelt Brecht in den Lehrstücken, vor allem im Ein-Verständnis und der “kleinsten Größe.” Zu untersuchen ist schließlich, inwiefern Brechts theatrale Kategorie der Verfremdung mit dem produktiven Fremd-Sein korreliert.

Florian Vaßen studied German, French, Philosophy and History at the universities of Frankfurt, Aix-en-Provence and Marburg, where he was awarded a PhD in 1970. He was Assistant Lecturer at the University of Giessen. In 1982, he took up his current position as Professor for German Literature at the University of Hanover where he is director of the “Arbeitsstelle Theater/Theaterpädagogik” (Centre of Theatre/Theatre Pedagogy) and co-editor of “Zeitschrift für Theaterpädagogik. Korrespondenzen”
(Journal of Theatre Pedagogy. Correspondences). His research interests include: drama and theatre, theory and practice of theatre pedagogy, literature of the “Vormärz,” Brecht, Heiner Müller.

[May 22, 11:00–12:30, Fremdheit und Verfremdung, Webster Hall 113]

Devika Wasson (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa)

Proximity and Distance in Kutiyattam: The Social Implications of the Role of the Vidusaka and Brecht's Concept of Gestus

At first glance, using Brecht’s concepts of alienation effect and gestus on south India’s traditional dance-drama kutiyattam seems a perfect fit: a curtain held and removed by stage hands in between character entrances; performers looking at an oil lamp and not each other; complex codification of gestures that signal an immediate distance from the subject; and the vidusaka or jester, who directly comments on current society. However, the art form is far from a simple example of epic political theatre. This ancient form of Indian dance-drama encompasses the Hindu aesthetic concepts of proximity and distance, which have been an essential element on stage for centuries. The vidusaka is the only character on the kutiyattam stage who speaks in the vernacular Malayalam and addresses the audience. Often, he has more freedom in his movements and gestures. While most stories and themes in kutiyattam are considered general knowledge to the public, it is believed that the vidusaka often acts as a bridge between the world of mythology and the world of society. He therefore gives the audience a proximity to as well as a distance from the subject matter. Gestus, as defined by Brecht, is the combination of gist and gesture, and relates to people as social beings and the habits and attitudes of people in society as (re)presented on stage. Although the vidusaka’s presentation on stage could be considered characteristic of gestus, it also directs attention to the deeply interwoven concepts of proximity and distance of Hindu aesthetics. My paper will investigate the vidusaka’s presence on the kutiyattam stage through a combination of Brecht’s concept of gestus and the more traditional concepts of distance and proximity.

Devika Wasson is currently a third-year PhD Candidate in Asian Theatre at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. She received her MA at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, and her Honors BA at the University of Ottawa, Canada. Her primary research area is Indian theatre, specifically contemporary women artists in kutiyattam and nangiarkoothu. Over the last three years, she has attended and presented at several conferences, the most recent being the 2009 International Federation of Theatre Research in Lisbon, Portugal. Her most recent publication was in Bhartiya, an online journal for the study of Indian culture. She is a trained bharatanatyam dancer and is currently training in kutiyattam with the renowned Usha Nangiar.

[May 20, 2:00–3:30, Brecht and Traditional Indian Theatre, Webster Hall 103]

Friedemann J. Weidauer (University of Connecticut, Storrs)

Brecht’s (Brush with) Maoism

The paper investigates the scant textual evidence that links Brecht to Mao. As I would like to show, Mao’s “affirmation of perpetual change” (Tatlow) attracted Brecht on the basis of the structural similarity to his own way of thinking, while the promise of a “return to revolutionary authenticity” (Jameson) in Maoism could by no means have provided Brecht with a vision of a political strategy for the Germany he lived in since he must have seen that the material conditions in China and (East) Germany allowed for no such transfer. It seems much more logical that for any kind of vision for the future of Germany Brecht would turn to Trotsky, and there are various hints in this respect in his notes (e.g. in “Perspektive für Deutschland”). Ultimately, the paper argues that not much is to be gained by assigning any kind of “-ism” to the Brecht of the post-War years.

Friedemann Weidauer is Associate Professor of German at the University of Connecticut. He has served as the editor of the Brecht Yearbook since fall 2008. Recent publications include articles on Brecht, Christoph Hein, and Jurek Becker.

[May 22, 11:00–12:30, Brecht and Mao, Webster Hall 103]

Markus Wessendorf (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa)

“Fear and Misery” Post-9/11: Mark Ravenhill’s Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat

This paper will focus on the Brechtian aspects of a recent play dealing with the “War on Terror”: Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat (2008) by British playwright Mark Ravenhill. Ravenhill’s play suggests various structural, intertextual and thematic parallels to Brecht’s Fear and Misery of the Third Reich: not only is Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat subtitled An Epic Cycle of Short Plays but two of the 16 scenes are called “Fear and Misery” and “The Mother.” Whereas Brecht attacks fascism, however, Ravenhill targets the hypocrisies of liberalism that allow the West to treat a supposedly non-tolerant enemy culture “intolerantly” while still claiming the moral high ground. The presentation will link Ravenhill’s dramaturgy to critiques of liberalism by Wendy Brown, Talal Asad, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, and Samuel Weber.

Markus Wessendorf holds a PhD in Applied Theatre Studies from the University of Giessen and is currently Associate Professor at the Department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. His publications include a monograph on Richard Foremanʻs Ontological-Hysteric Theatre and a co-edited volume on interdisciplinary relationships between theatre and the other arts. He has also written essays and articles on Brecht, The Wooster Group, Richard Maxwell, and various other theatre artists and dramatists. As a director, he has staged Heiner Müller’s Germania Death in Berlin (New York, 1989), Norman Price’s Barking Dogs (Brisbane 1998), and Laurent Gaudé’s Battle of Will (Honolulu 2005). He is the main organizer of the 13th IBS Symposium in Honolulu.

[May 21, 9:00–10:30, Brecht and the Middle East, Webster Hall 103]

Sophie Witt (University of Potsdam)

Between Appropriation and Expropriation: Reading Brecht with Artaud

The focus of this paper lies on Antonin Artaud’s appropriation/expropriation of Asian acting in his The Theatre and Its Double. My question is how the tension and the entanglement between presence and absence can be read as essence of the theatrical itself. In Artaud’s work the emphasis on the duplicity and ex-centricity of theatre develops from his readings of the constellation “Europe-Asia.” This constellation opens up a new perspective on Brecht’s engagement with “Asia“ and his deconstructions of his “own“ “European“ tradition of theatre and representation. With this perspective Brecht’s theory of the didactic play (Lehrstück) as well as such texts as The Measures Taken and his “Asian“ concept of theatrical gestures can be questioned in a new way. How this “doubled“ Brecht and the area of conflict Artaud/Brecht is received and re-appropriated in contemporary theatre and performance practice, will be eventually discussed with the work of the Latin American artist Guillermo Gómez-Peña.

Sophie Witt studied Theatre, German, and Spanish/Latin American Literature in Leipzig and Barcelona. She is currently a PhD student in the Post-Graduate Program on “Lebensformen und Lebenswissen” (“ways of life and knowledge of life”) at the University of Potsdam. Her fields of interest include modern theatre and literature, theories of literature, as well as media culture and performance art.

[May 22, 11:00–12:30, Brecht’s Asian Turn(s) and the Theory of Cultural Flexions, Webster Hall 112]