Brecht called the type of theater he would develop “epic.” It differed significantly from the traditional theater, which he considered no longer useful to the modem age. The setting of a drama written for epic theater could change rapidly from country to country. One scene might be lengthy, the next brief.Scene were often disconnected in time and place. Brecht provided directors with specific rules on how to direct plays. He instructed actors how to act and sing and musicians how to play the jazz music and lyrics, often written by Kurt weill, reinforced the play’s political position. Actors, not trained vocalists, were cast in singing roles-actors would be able to distance themselves from a melody in a way musicians would not. “there is a kind of speaking against-the-music which can have strong effects,” he wrote. Such speaking-singing “is independent of music and rhythm.”
Moreover, in his attempt to keep audiences from becoming too involved with the events portrayed onstage, Brecht intended to make those events seem strange to them this play would prompt audiences to think about what they were watching. The safe emotional distance they maintained in the traditional theater would no longer be allowed. Accordingly, Brecht set his plays in distant locations often during earlier historical periods. Galileo takes place in seventeenth-century
, far away in time and place from wartime Italy . St. Joan of the stockyards (die heilige Johanna der schlachthofe), published in 1.932 in Germany though not produced until 1959 in Berlin , is set in Hamburg . Brecht hoped German theatergoers would ask themselves, how would I act if lived in that distant place or in that earlier time? Would I have tried to change the in justices seen onstage? Chicago
In epic theater, stagecraft, too differed from that in the traditional theater. Stage lights were kept in full view of the audience, with no attempt to hide them. Still pictures, even films, appeared on screens above the stage. These visual devices provided the playwright another way to comment on the action. Such innovative techniques for using the physical space of the theater influenced the direction of modem drama.