“Sometimes it’s more important to be human, than to have good taste”. Bertolt Brecht
The scene opens in a pub somewhere in Swansea. Reeco, David and Darren are discussing political strategy. They are concerned that the ordinary voter is being led astray. They have just heard the latest policy idea from UKIP`s central committee in TorfaenA UKIP spokesman has declared that the observation was true until proved otherwise. They said that until immigrants were directly observed they could not comment and that there was a dire need for further studies on the phenomenon.
UKIP’s Tommy Robinson explained, “These people clearly need further observation. EU bureaucrats in Brussels have somehow introduced ambiguous and confusing red tape that threatens our widely held lazy stereotypes.”
Reeco comments “Some bloke down the pub who knows – for definite – told me that Muslims in particular have been stealing his job, and if that’s not bad enough, they’re also too lazy to work because they’re all on the dole.”
Young Dave said “So it’s tricky.” “They need to be studied extensively, secure and in isolation for a prolonged period of time for objective results. Many people are surprised how closely these scientific conditions resemble a prison cell in Strangeways.”
Momentum tried to verify these allegations with several migrant workers, though all claimed to be unable to follow Dave’s ` line of thinking. One worker who wished to remain anonymous stated, “He is stupid prick, yes?”Darren said that he fully supported UKIP’s latest thought experiment. He knows a bloke who told him the following. His friend said
“I employ a couple of Europeans, yes. And sure, they certainly put a shift in when they’re at work. But they could equally be at home at the same time being lazy and claiming benefits, couldn’t they?”
“I don’t see what the issue is?”
Then Reeco experiences a epiphany. ”I have the perfect proof of a Schrodingers immigrant, there is this old woman, she is 92, they say she lives in the Melin. Her names Mrs Saxe-Coberg-Gotha. Her family are migrants from Hanover and she is married to a Greek Bloke. They have numerous houses paid for by the Benefits Agency and they took our Monarchs job. They have a large family. She got five great grand children and another on the way . That will show those lefty bastards in Monentum how clever we are .”
Dave says “That’s brilliant Reeco”.
A man enters from the left. He is in his early sixties and is wearing a hat. He enters the pub and tells this story to the audience.
“There was a banker, a migrant and an ordinary voter sitting at a table. On the table was a plate with twenty biscuits on it. The banker takes nineteen of them and shouted over at the ordinary voter. “hey that migrant is after your biscuit`“
Bertolt Brecht, born in Augsberg Germany 1898, was a highly influential playwright, director and innovative performance theorist, making a major contribution to dramaturgy and theatrical production that continues to be portrayed within theatres and on stage to this date. His ideas and theories regarding political theatre reject the naturalistic ‘system’ put forward many years before by Konstantin Stanislavski and attempted to persuade an audience to want to make a difference in society. In his early twenties, Brecht began to have an aversion to the capitalist society he was brought up in and sought after a more equal approach to the world and people around him. This was when he began his exploration into Marxism: a political philosophy, often referred to as a form of socialism, which emphasises the importance of the class struggle in society and maintains the belief that everyone is equal. This is a viewpoint that Brecht remained loyal to throughout the rest of his life and career with a certain level of Marxist influence being noticeably present in each of his plays and productions.
Marxists believe in a socialist society that does not distinguish between classes of people. Marxists tend to be working class people or the proletariat and these fellow Marxists, i.e. the proletariat, were the people Brecht intended his plays for. He wanted to use his talent within the theatre to connect with the working class people in order to change the capitalist oppression under which he lived. His plays rejected the naturalistic stage style and portrayed the world at the time in a way that would enable each spectator to adopt a critical awareness of the action they saw on stage. Brecht laid down a system of performance and production techniques in order to create an atmosphere within the theatre that would prevent the audience from ‘hanging their brains up with their hats in the cloakroom’ (Anon; www.delamere-arts.com.) The use of these techniques within theatre production is now formally known as Epic Theatre.
Brecht intended his theatre to be both didactical (though not dull or boring) and dialectical, and believed that in order to make an audience pay attention to what they are seeing and hearing from the stage they must be distanced from the action (i.e. the audience see the stage as a stage and the actors as actors.) Epic theatre aims to create this production of thought in the spectators, creating a distance between them and the action through the use of a technique known as verfremdungseffekt or V-effekt. Roughly translated as the ‘making strange’ effect, the V-effekt is a technique which solely intends to make the audience aware they are in a theatre at all times, enabling them to adopt an attitude of inquiry and criticism in their approach to the action. The audience must at no time during an epic play be seen to be ‘in a trance’ or take what they see on stage for granted. Richard Schechner (2006) claims that the best way to think of the V-effekt is ‘as a way to drive a wedge between the actor, the character, the staging (including blocking, design, music and any other production element) so that each is able to bounce off, and comment upon, the others’. In this an actor may pay a complete disregard for the fourth wall (a naturalistic staging and acting technique) directly addressing the audience in speeches, there may also be the use of a narrator (such as the Street Singer in The Threepenny Opera), songs and explanatory placards to interrupt the action and thus distance the audience from what they are watching.