„Brecht probt Galilei 1955/56“ – english

Stephan Suschke

>> Festival headquarter at the Staatlichen Textil- und Industriemuseum (tim)
>> live: Sunday, 27.2.2022, 5 p.m.
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Original sound recordings chosen and commented on by Stephan Suschke

 

To many, Brecht and his “epic theatre” sometimes seems old fashioned and almost mummified. Dry treatises in textbooks and academic discussions which render their subject matter anodyne are to blame. It is also easy to forget that Brecht wasn’t just a perceptive writer, he was also a passionate playwright who strove at rehearsals to get the very best out of the Ensemble for his plays. This is illustrated by original recordings of the rehearsals for the “Life of Galileo” in 1955/56. Stephan Suschke has sifted through them, or rather listened through them: his impressive audio document shows Brecht at work with the Berliner Ensemble – including shortly before he died – in the midst of the creative process with his actors and actresses:
“Galileo: I believe in man and that means I believe in reason. Without that belief I wouldn’t have the strength to get out of bed in the morning.
Sagredo: Then let me tell you this: I don’t believe in reason. (agitated:) Forty years’ experience has taught me that human beings …
Brecht interjects: Calm down! Now, turn icy cold: Say (coldly): I want to tell you something. I don’t believe in reason. You can say what you like. Very cold, very dismissive. This drivel, this modern drivel!”

 

Biography of Stephan Suschke:

Stephan Suschke is a director and drama producer at the Landestheater Linz. As a close collaborator with Heiner Müller, he worked on several productions at the Deutsches Theater and the Berliner Ensemble, which he directed from 1997 until 1999. He doesn’t subscribe to the belief that Brecht has recently become more topical: „The problem is rather that reality has caught up with Brecht’s writing since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Brecht’s texts are expansive, huge formats of projection, which require description. Everything he did was characterised by considerable mental flexibility and levity. What consistently fascinates me is his exceptionally precise and very materialistic view of people and relationships: people think how they live! He despised the ideologies which today, in their various sectarian manifestations, are again reminiscent of those of the 20th century. Exploitation is not a phenomenon of ethnicity or gender. And that is yet another area in which this “old white man” was ahead of his time: “Black or white or brown or yellow, Leave your old disputes behind, Once start talking with your fellow men, You’ll soon be of one mind.”

Picture:

unknown, Akademie der Künste, Berlin, Bertolt-Brecht-Archiv, Fotoarchiv 02053

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