Precis: Brecht on Theater

In Brecht's essay on theater, opera in particular, he takes an avant-garde approach to a time old art. What is important to point out is that Brecht does not wish to change opera but wants to take the "apparati" that IS opera and renovate it for a new generation. What is interesting in how he discusses opera is that he compares it to that of culinary elements. He quotes, "Our existing opera is a culinary opera. It was a means of pleasure long before it turned into merchandise" (35). Basically, opera should have a hedonistic taste. Brecht notes that opera's content should be pleasurable and that the pleasure must be provocative at the same time. He brings this point up when discussing the play Mahagonny saying that "In context like these the use of opera as a means of pleasure must have provocative effects today. Though not of course on the handful of opera-goers. Its power to provoke introduces reality once more. Mahagonny may not taste particularly agreeable; it may even make a point of not doing so. But it is culinary through and through" (36-7). His essay continues with the discussion of what constitutes epic theatre and its progress from its Aristotlian roots, the literarization of Theatre and the street scene.

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