V Effeckt (verfremdungs effekt)
Emphasise that this is all a form of 'V Effeckt' - (Making the normal seem strange by applying alienation), a technique that forms the basis of Brecht's work.
Archetypes and GestusAsk the students to create a series of images based on different stereotypes such as 'the mad scientist' 'the model' 'the hero'.
These ar pure stereotypes of those character traits as they stand when the students first try this activity. Get the students to add a change in gesture such as a change in pose so that the image can became a true archetype.
For example in 'the model' image, Ask the students to place one arm across their body or behind their head. This instantly transformed the image into not purely a model, but a page 3 or glamour model. This now adds meaning to the piece, thus creating gestus (getting the gist across to the audience by exaggerating or making clearer what we have established and by using the language of gesture and facial expression). This still allows the character to be an archetypal character, as the character image never reveals any other information to the audience other than you know it was a glamour model. Brecht doesn't want the audience to relate to the characters on stage, but wants to merely see a representation of such character, free from intricate details regarding emotion.
This work is suitable for A Level Drama or Performing Arts students. Some ideas taken from a workshop of Practioners Unplugged by The Touring Theatre.
Suitable PLays for Brechtian Style Drama:
Brecht LinksiTheatre Studies
A wonderful multimedia resource and directory for Theatre Studies
students, focusing on Artaud, Stanislavski and Brecht
My Brecht and Artaud Page
International Brecht Society
Brecht & Related Playwrights