Who was Bertolt Brecht?
Eugen Berthold Friedrich “Bertolt” Brecht, a German theatre practitioner, playwright, and poet, was born on 10 February 1898. On his birthday Let’s know some facts about the man.
He was the one who started his career as a medical orderly at a military hospital and turns out to be a famous writer.
Brecht wrote an essay in response to the line “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori“ by the Roman poet Horace. He called it Zweckpropaganda (“cheap propaganda for a specific purpose”) and argued that only an empty-headed person could be persuaded to die for their country. For this, he was to be expelled from school but his religious teacher came to his rescue.
In 1933 Mr. Brecht left Nazi Germany fearing persecution.
Brecht once took a small part in the political cabaret of Karl Valentin, a Munich comedian.
Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush and Sergei Eisenstein‘s Battleship Potemkin had a significant impact on Mr. Brecht.
He was one of the main proponents of the Epic Theatre concept. He wanted his theatre to spark an interest in his audiences’ perception of the world. He did not want them to sit passively and enjoy but to make them think and question the world they live in. Thus he encouraged them to be critical of society.
Brecht changed the spelling of his first name to Bertolt just to rhyme with Arnolt with whom he established a joint venture.
During the Cold War, Mr. Brecht was blacklisted by movie studio bosses, interrogated by the House Un-American Activities Committee.
About him playwright David Edgar once said ‘Brecht is part of the air we breathe.’
The house where he was born has been transformed into Brecht Museum.