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Visual Aids in the Productions of the First Piscator-Bühne 1927-28

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Sheila Mcalpine

This analysis of four major productions by Erwin Piscator, Hoppla, Rasputin, Schweik and Konjunktur (1927/28), examines the nature of his pioneering visual effects. The films, projections, cartoons, elaborate sets and machinery - here designated 'visual aids' - are shown to have a didactic function. They 'frame' the action politically, thus evolving a sophisticated new theatrical method. Comparison with Brecht's work establishes differences of emphasis in the approach to a common goal. Piscator's montage of disparate elements is seen as a vital contribution to epic theatre.
Contents: Stages of politicisation: New methods - Sichtbarmachung - Hoppla: detailed analysis of the production - Rasputin: didactic film, dramatic film, film commentary - Schweik: cartoons - Konjunktur: the construction of the set.