Epic theatre and political theatre

Epic theatre

Bertolt Brecht sits playing chess.
Bertolt Brecht

Bertolt Brecht is closely linked with the Epic theatre style, and there are a range of elements associated with it. Epic theatre often features a non-linear plot and episodic moments that, when put together, would create a montage effect. A montage is a series of short and separate scenes grouped immediately after each other, with the contrast between scenes highlighting important issues in the story and allowing for a focus on small details. It can be useful in this style to experiment with the order of scenes to find what works best.

The narrative communicated might be told from the viewpoint of a single storyteller and the choice of viewpoint can appeal to different groups. Within Epic theatre, audiences should remain distant, not becoming emotionally involved in the performance, so that they can make rational judgements about the social or political issues involved.

There are several dramatic elements that distance the audience from the emotion of the action and allow them to think rationally about the conflict that is presented before them:

Political theatre

Political theatre can be used to present a campaign or show an injustice to an audience in the hope of making changes to the situation shown. It can be a useful style in raising awareness about a particular subject but it is important to research a range of issues, and establish the message that will be conveyed to the audience, at the outset of the devising process.

Political satire is a genre of theatre in which political themes are made fun, often with the intent to create change in a situation through the shaming of individuals or governments.