Saturday, June 18, 2011

I'm no fan ...

... but that's not what this blog is about: A good man is hard to find: Carl Weber, Tony Kushner, and Bertolt Brecht onstage in Texas | The Book Haven.

I think Brecht was a genuinely bad man-- I think he treated women horrendously -- and I don't especially like his plays.


  1. Here's Charles Spencer's unambiguous lede grafs:

    "One of the incidental benefits of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism was that for a time we were spared the cruelly punishing plays of Bertolt Brecht.

    Suddenly a writer who curried favour with the regime in East Germany and whose plays were often little more than an advertisement for Marxism didn't seem so attractive even to Left-wing directors.

    Mother Courage's bloody cart began to gather dust, those ghastly tuneless songs were no longer sung by theatre-in-education companies and the wearisome alienation effects of Brecht's epic theatre were consigned to the dustbin of history."

  2. Well, that just about says it all. Paul Johnson says in Intellectuals that Brecht was the only one of the figures profiled in the book regarding whom he could find no redeeming features. The only play I have reviewed was what I think was Brecht's last play, Trumpets and Drums, and adaptation of Farquhar. It was terrible. No real dialogue, just slogans.

  3. It's entirely possible I missed Brechtian snark, or that Carl Weber underplayed it.

    Certainly this play is not short of straw men, but I see something else at work.

    You can't avoid some eternal questions – even if you're a dogmatic Marxist (and I can't claim to know Brecht's oeuvre at all; the little I had seen decades ago didn't turn me on).

    As the cliche goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day.