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Representation and Reception

Brechtian 'Pedagogics of Theatre' and Critical Thinking

Shehla Burney

Representation and Reception: Brechtian ‘Pedagogics of Theatre’ and Critical Thinking deploys German playwright Bertolt Brecht’s theory of drama and performance, what he calls "the pedagogics of theatre", to create modes of critical thinking in the classroom. Extrapolating on Brecht’s estranged forms of representation—narrative, story, montage, Verfremdüngseffeckt or alienation, tableaux, ostension (showing), gestus, masks and music—Burney constructs an original "3-R Pedagogy" or "spiral of semiosis"—"Rethinking/Replaying/Re-cognition"—that is designed to create critical thinking and "complex seeing". Her dramatic production of Brecht’s Lehrstück, or learning-play, The Exception and the Rule, for a non-literate, working-class audience in Hyderabad, India, critically analyses how audiences make meaning through image, word and ideology, gesture, memory, collective experience and personal
(hi)stories.

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