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Edward Bond’s theatre for social change : its development in relation to a Brechtian standard Tully, Betty Marie 1979

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.9/ EDWARD BOND'S THEATRE FOR SOCIAL CHANGE : ITS DEVELOPMENT IN RELATION TO A BRECHTIAN STANDARD. by BETTY MARIE TULLY B.A. Queen's University, 1964 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Theatre) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October 1979 Q Betty Marie Tul ly , 1979 I n p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f t h e r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r a n a d v a n c e d d e g r e e a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e t h a t t h e L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e a n d s t u d y . I f u r t h e r a g r e e t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by t h e Head o f my D e p a r t m e n t o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l n o t be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . D e p a r t m e n t o f tjijfc *t The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a 2075 W e s b r o o k P l a c e V a n c o u v e r , C a n a d a V6T 1W5 D a t e OtV*. A*"* j tl7f. D E - 6 B P 75-5 I l E i i ABSTRACT T h i s t h e s i s i s p r i m a r i l y concerned w i t h Edward Bond's attempt to use the t h e a t r e to change s o c i e t y . B e r t o l t Brecht attempted to use the t h e a t r e i n the same way and, indeed, to many observers, Bond's work appears to resemble t h a t o f Brecht. T h e r e f o r e as a c r i t i c a l d e v i c e to under-stand Bond b e t t e r , Brecht, w i t h the q u a l i f i c a t i o n s out-l i n e d i n the i n t r o d u c t i o n , i s set up as a k i n d of standard a g a i n s t which Bond's development can be measured. In attempting to use the t h e a t r e to change s o c i e t y , Brecht and Bond are o b l i g e d to w r i t e p l a y s which achieve at l e a s t three b a s i c t h e a t r i c a l g o a l s . F i r s t , the p l a y s must engage the s p e c t a t o r . To do t h i s , Brecht and Bond r e l y on techniques f a m i l i a r to a l l p l a y w r i g h t s . Thus the p l a y s have c h a r a c t e r s w i t h whom the s p e c t a t o r can f e e l empathy, a growing sense of a e s t h e t i c wholeness, and a wide range of sensuous s t i m u l a t i o n . In engaging the s p e c t a t o r , however, Brecht and Bond are always aware t h a t engagement i t s e l f i s not an end. I t i s a means o f g e t t i n g the specta-t o r ' s a t t e n t i o n i n order to guide him towards something more. A l l of t h i s m a t e r i a l c o n s t i t u t e s chapter one. Chapter two concentrates on the second t h e a t r i c a l g o a l . The p l a y s must expose the fundamental problem of s o c i e t y i n such a way as to convince the s p e c t a t o r t h a t s o c i a l change i s necessary and p o s s i b l e . Brecht and Bond agree on the fundamental problem of s o c i e t y : i t i s the c l a s s s t r u c t u r e . i i i Their plays are intended as a accurate characterization of society, stressing both i t s evilness and it's changeabil-i t y . The t h i r d chapter, and the most important i n an apprec-i a t i o n of Brecht and Bond, deals with the t h i r d goal. The plays must provide behavioural models the spectator can use i n working for s o c i a l change. Brecht and Bond work with "attitude models" and "action models". The proper functioning of the attitude model results i n the i d e a l re-sponse both playwrights want: Brecht c a l l s his a c r i t i c a l a ttitude, Bond, a r a t i o n a l understanding. This response begins to develop i n the theatre and i s expected to carry over into the l i f e s i t u a t i o n when the performance i s over. Action models are intended to influence the spectator's l i f e behaviour more d i r e c t l y , providing him with actual models he can imitate or r e j e c t . Both Brecht and Bond try to encourage the transfer of these models from the theatre to the l i f e s i t u a t i o n by considerably modifying the conven-t i o n a l resolution. In the conclusion the influence of Brecht and Bond on the development of dramatic l i t e r a t u r e and the theatre i s discussed. F i n a l l y , some e f f o r t i s made to evaluate the success of their attempt to use the theatre to change society. iv TABLE OF CONTENTS Page Abstract i i Table of Contents iv Introduction 1 Chapter 1 ENGAGING THE SPECTATOR (i) empathy 3 ( i i ) organic wholeness 7 ( i i i ) sensuous stimulation 10 Chapter 2 EXPOSING THE PROBLEM IN ORDER TO CONVINCE THE SPECTATOR SOCIAL CHANGE IS NECESSARY AND POSSIBLE. (i) the problem 20 ( i i ) the nature of society . . . . 22 ( i i i ) changeability 27 Chapter 3 PROVIDING MODELS WHICH THE SPECTATOR CAN USE IN WORKING FOR SOCIAL CHANGE. Part I: Attitude Models 33 (i) episodic plot stucture . . . 40 ( i i ) h i s tor ic iz ing 45 ( i i i ) contradictory characters . . 50 (iv) the writing of comedy . . . 57 Part II: Action Models 65 (i) society models 65 ( i i ) character models &8 Part III: Resolution 76_ Conclusion 82 A Selected Bibliography Plays by Brecht and Bond l i s ted in chronological order 94 Books and Art ic les 95 1 INTRODUCTION The purpose of t h i s t h e s i s i s to examine the dramatic t h e o r i e s and some of the main dramatic techniques of Edward Bond. In order, however, to a v o i d the v a g a r i e s t h a t can occur when a new p l a y w r i g h t i s examined i n a vacuum, some s o r t of c o n t r o l or standard of measurement i s needed. To many observers Bond's work appears i n some impor-tant ways to resemble t h a t o f B e r t o l t Brecht i n h i s fo u r g r e a t p l a y s - Mother Courage and Her C h i l d r e n , The Good  Woman of Setzuan, The L i f e of G a l i l e o and The Caucasian  Chalk C i r c l e . For t h i s reason, I decided to make these p l a y s and Brecht's dramatic t h e o r i e s which r e l a t e to them my standard of measurement. I am aware t h a t such a r e s t r i c -t i o n h a r d l y does j u s t i c e to the e x c i t i n g , e v o l v i n g complex-i t y t h a t i s Brecht. Since my primary i n t e r e s t i s i n Bond's work, however, I have had to s i m p l i f y and e x p l o i t Brecht, as i t were, to g a i n a b e t t e r understanding o f Bond. The s p e c i f i c aspect of t h e i r work I wish to examine i s best expressed i n comments made by each o f the p l a y w r i g h t s . Brecht, near the end of h i s l i f e , summed up the primary purpose o f h i s ca r e e r : " I wanted to take the p r i n c i p l e t h a t i t was not j u s t a matter of i n t e r p r e t i n g the world but of changing i t and apply that to the t h e a t r e . " 1 Bond, i n the p r e f a c e to h i s p l a y The Bundle, e x p l a i n s h i s purpose i n working f o r the t h e a t r e : "... t h e a t r e can co-operate 2 with a l l those who are i n any way involved i n r a t i o n a l l y changing society and evolving a new consciousness." 2 This common aim i s my subject and i s what leads me to c a l l the pa r t i c u l a r kind of theatre Brecht and Bond envisage and work toward a theatre for s o c i a l change. In attempting to use the theatre as an instrument for so c i a l change, Brecht and Bond are obliged to write plays which achieve at least three basic t h e a t r i c a l goals. F i r s t , the plays must engage the spectator, get his atten-tion, prepare him for more than the usual kind of theatre experience. Second, they must expose the fundamental problem of society i n such a way as to convince the specta-tor that s o c i a l change i s necessary and possible. Third, they must provide the spectator with behavioural models useful to him i n changing society. Accordingly, this thesis i s organized into three chapters, each chapter concentrating on how Brecht and Bond try to achieve one of the goals. It i s important to note that some of the techniques which are analyzed simultaneously achieve more than one goal. When this occurs I have a r b i t r a r i l y assigned the analysis of that technique to the chapter where i t seems to c o n t r i -bute most s i g n i f i c a n t l y . John W i l l e t t , ed. and trans., Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic (New York : H i l l and Wang, 1964), p. 89. Edward Bond, The Bundle or New Narrow Road to the Deep  North (London: Eyre Methuen Ltd., 1978), p. x i i i . 3 CHAPTER 1 ENGAGING THE SPECTATOR A l l p l a y w r i g h t s must engage the s p e c t a t o r and the te c h -niques they use to do t h i s are b a s i c a l l y the same. There i s , however, a d i f f e r e n c e i n the purpose v a r i o u s p l a y w r i g h t s want t h i s engagement to serve. For some, engagement i t s e l f i s the only purpose. For ot h e r s , l i k e Brecht and Bond, engagement i s a means to an end, a way o f g e t t i n g the s p e c t a t o r ' s a t t e n t i o n i n order to guide him towards something more. ( i ) empathy. One o f the o l d e s t r u l e s o f the t h e a t r e i s that the p l a y -wright c r e a t e c h a r a c t e r s w i t h whom the s p e c t a t o r can i d e n t i f y , w i t h whom he can f e e l empathy. To the young Brecht, however, a t h e a t r e experience which allowed the s p e c t a t o r o n l y to em-p a t h i z e was "an e n e r v a t i n g , because unproductive, a c t of enjoy-ment." 1 Consequently, Brecht attempted to reduce empathic responses w i t h techniques designed to encourage the s p e c t a t o r ' s reason. Indeed, i t seemed at f i r s t he intended to e l i m i n a t e empathy completely. His remarks on the t o p i c were s t r i d e n t and without compromise: Nowadays the p l a y ' s meaning i s u s u a l l y b l u r r e d by the f a c t t h a t the a c t o r p l a y s to the audience's h e a r t s . The f i g u r e s p o r t r a y e d are f o i s t e d on the audience and are f a l s i f i e d i n the proc e s s . C o n t r a r y to p r e s e n t custom they ought to be presented q u i t e c o l d l y , c l a s s i c a l l y and o b j e c t i v e l y . For they are not matter f o r empathy; they are there to be understood. 2 Over the years, however, Brecht g r a d u a l l y m o d i f i e d h i s e a r l i e r p o s i t i o n , e v e n t u a l l y agreeing t h a t empathy was a necessary and 4 acceptable practice for both actors and spectator. In an appendix to the Short Organum he explained: The contradiction between acting (demonstration) and experience (empathy) often leads the unin-structed to suppose that only one or the other can be manifest in the work of the actor . . . In rea l i ty i t is a matter of two mutually hostile processes which fuse in the actor's work . . . 3 Similarly in a footnote to the Mother Courage Model he com-mented favourably, but with a significant qual i f icat ion, on the spectator's empathy with Kattrin during the drum scene: Members of the audience may identify themselves with dumb Kattrin in this scene; they may get into her skin by empathy and enjoy feeling that they themselves have the same latent strength. But they w i l l not have experienced empathy throughout the whole play, hardly in the opening scenes for instance.1* : There is no doubt Brecht's characters can arouse empathy. Er ic Bentley has described Kattrin's death as "the most moving scene in twentieth-century drama." 5 S t i l l , Brecht believed that creating such characters was only part of his job. In hissnotes on Erwin Strittmatter's play, Kratzgraben, he dis-cussed the idea of a positive hero and the proper way for empathy to develop in relation to him: Empathy alone may stimulate a wish to imitate the hero, but i t can hardly create the capacity. If a feeling is to be an effective one, i t must be acquired not merely impulsively but through the understanding. Before a correct attitude can be imitated i t must f i r s t have been under-stood that the principle is applicable to situations that are not exactly l ike those portrayed. It is the theatre's job to present the hero in such a way that he stimulates con-scious rather than blind imitation. 6 Brecht's awareness of empathy as a means rather than an end 5 is clear. Bond tends to use a positive hero in his plays and, l ike Brecht, wants to stimulate "conscious rather than bl ind imita-tion." Therefore he carefully shapes and guides the develop-ment of empathy towards this end. In order to block immediate, unthinking empathy, Bond usually attempts to make the i n i t i a l appearance of the hero decidedly f la t . Other characters may even overshadow him. Often the hero seems ineffectual, worn out, or inexplicably preoccupied. Gradually, however, he begins to reveal some-thing of the special quality common to a l l Bond's heroes: the "restless curiosity". 7 Such curiosity, as Bond states, "may seem a , minor thing, but i t amounts to the search for truth . . . " 8 - a tradit ional quest which firmly establishes the hero as a good man and, further, inbues him with romantic connotations. Nevertheless, the stage act iv i ty of the hero remains essentially unattractive. As the horrors of society become more obvious to him, he becomes increasingly distracted and withdrawn. He is tormented by the suffering around him, he broods, sometimes he is driven mad. Thus Arthur in Early  Morning talks to Len's corpse: . . . Sh, I gave i t {George's foot} to a dog. I woke up and this brute was slinking off with i ts t a i l down and i ts ears back and his foot in i ts mouth. I threw a stone and i t dropped i t . . . Then I thought no. So I called i t back and gave i t to him. I'm a limited person. I can't face another hungry chi ld , a man with one leg, a running woman, an empty house. I don't go near rivers when the bridges are burned. They look l ike the bones of charred hippopotamuses. I don't l ike maimed cows, dead horses, and wounded sheep. I'm limited. . . . 9 6 Lear s t a r e s : i n t o a m i r r o r and then c r i e s to the assembled c o u r t : ... Who shut t h a t animal i n t h a t cage? L e t i t out. Have you seen i t s face behind the bars? There's a poor animal w i t h b l o o d on i t s head and t e a r s running down i t s f a c e . Who d i d t h a t to i t ? Is i t a b i r d or a horse? I t ' s l y i n g i n the dust and i t s wings are broken. Who broke i t s wings?' Who cut o f f i t s hands so t h a t i t can't shake the bars? I t ' s p r e s s i n g i t s snout on the g l a s s . Who shut t h a t animal i n a g l a s s cage? 0 God, there's no p i t y i n t h i s world. You l e t i t l i c k the b l o o d from i t s h a i r i n the corner o f a cage w i t h nowhere to h i d e from i t s tormentors. No shadow, no h o l e ! L e t t h a t animal out of i t s cagel . .!. 1 0 Wang h o l d i n g the c h i l d he has j u s t bought asks: How many babies are l e f t to d i e by the r i v e r ? How many? For how many c e n t u r i e s ? L e f t ! -Rot! Eaten! Drowned! S o l d ! A l l waste! How many? T i l l when? A l l men are t o r n from t h e i r mother's womb: that i s the law o f nature. A l l men are t o r n from t h e i r mother's arms: t h a t i s the law o f men! Is t h i s a l l ? - one l i t t l e gush of sweetness and I p i c k up a c h i l d ? Who p i c k s up the r e s t ? How can I h o l d my arms wide enough to h o l d them a l l ? Feed them? Care f o r them? A l l o f them? Must the whole world l i e by t h i s r i v e r l i k e a corpse? 1 1 U l t i m a t e l y a l l Bond's heroes, w i t h the e x c e p t i o n o f Scopey i n The Pope's Wedding and Len i n Saved, d i s c o v e r the same t r u t h : the h i g h e s t good i s s o c i a l j u s t i c e . Moreover, the moment a Bond hero commits h i m s e l f to s o c i a l a c t i o n i n order to a t t a i n s o c i a l j u s t i c e , Bond allows him h i s most a t t r a c t i v e a c t i v i t i e s . For example, A r t h u r i n E a r l y 'Morning i s g i v e n a tender l o v e scene, a L a s t Supper and a r e s u r r e c t i o n . Lear becomes a r e c o g n i z e d f o l k hero who preaches p a r a b l e s to crowds of s t r a n g e r s . W i l l y i n The Sea wins the l o v e of Rose and the approval o f Evens, the r a i s o n n e u r of the p l a y . I t would seem 7 from this point on Bond wants the most intense empathy and, considering the careful preparation, i t is quite probable the empathy w i l l be conscious rather than bl ind. To some extent Wang in The Bundle is an exception to the usual Bond pattern. Here, even after Wang begins to work for social change, some of his actions are unattractive. In fact, Wang is responsible for a number of atrocit ies such as drown-ing a baby and standing by while his father, the old ferryman, is tortured and k i l l e d . To empathize with Wang, the spectator must accept these atrocit ies . To accept these, however, the spectator is forced to a new understanding of moral behaviour. Bond admits the lesson is not an easy one: It is a hard lesson but we need to learn that moral behaviour depends more on social practice than in -dividual action. In a society structurally unjust -as is ours - good deeds may in the end only support injust ice. 1 2 Perhaps this is why Wang is Bond's most positive hero to date. ( i i ) organic wholeness During the performance of a play the spectator gets aes-thetic pleasure from perceiving the overall movement of the dramatic action towards wholeness. He gets i t too from being able to relate a mult ip l ic i ty of seemingly separate factors to each other. Playwrights can increase these aesthetic pleasures and the engagement they imply by using a variety of unifying techniques. Much has been written about Brecht's and Bond's episodic plot structure. This characteristic of their work is 8 important and w i l l be d i s c u s s e d i n a l a t e r s e c t i o n . At t h i s p o i n t , however, i t i s a l s o important to r e a l i z e t h a t t h e i r p l a y s are more than a " r e v u e - l i k e sequence of sketches." 1 3 Brecht acknowledged that h i s o r g a n i c p l o t s t r u c t u r e was l a r g e l y the r e s u l t of emphasizing the s t o r y . E v e r y t h i n g hangs on the ' s t o r y ' ; i t i s the h e a r t o f the t h e a t r i c a l performance. ... { i t } i s the t h e a t r e ' s g r e a t o p e r a t i o n , the complete f i t t i n g t ogether o f a l l the g e s t i c i n c i d e n t s , embracing the communications and impulses that must now go to make up the audience' s entertainment. 1 But Brecht a l s o used other u n i f y i n g techniques. Besides the st r o n g c e n t r a l c h a r a c t e r s , he developed a r i c h c o n necting sym-b o l i s m 1 5;and a whole s e r i e s o f i n t e r n a l rhythms such as occur when f a s t moving scenes are f o l l o w e d by more s t a t i c o n e s , 1 6 humour i s juxtaposed w i t h pathos, or language forms - dramatic p o e t r y , more l y r i c a l p o e t r y , songs - are a l t e r n a t e d w i t h each other. In performance, u n i t y was strengthened by techniques such as the e v o l v i n g c o l o u r scheme i n G a l i l e o or the continuous presence of a dominating prop l i k e Mother Courage's wagon. Even sound e f f e c t s c o u l d p r o v i d e a c o n n e c t i o n - K a t t r i n appears p l a y i n g a harmonica and d i e s b e a t i n g a drum. In f a c t , Brecht's p l o t s t r u c t u r e i s a balance of two con-t r a d i c t o r y p r i n c i p l e s of c o n s t r u c t i o n : one s t r e s s e s the e p i s o -d i c p l o t ; the other s t r e s s e s the o r g a n i c p l o t . The r e s u l t i s a d i a l e c t i c a l s t r u c t u r e , a phenomenon which i s not new. Bernard Beckerman observes i t i n Shakespeare: In the advancement of the c l a s s i c a l drama, a l l the scenes are i n t e g r a t e d i n t o a s i n g l e l i n e of a c t i o n . In the p r o g r e s s i o n of the Shake-spearean p l a y , scenes may be regarded as c l u s t -9 ering around the storyline. If this suggests an image of a grapevine, perhaps i t is apt, for the scenes often appear to be hanging from a thread of narrative. 1 7 Brecht himself recognized and used the dialectics of the E l i z a -bethan plot structure: In primitive critiques i t is often described as the picturebook technique. One picture appears after the other, without the plot being pulled together or the suspense being directed. Natur-a l ly this is a stupid lack of appreciation of the great dramaturgical constructs of our c lass ical authors and the art of the Elizabethan playwrights. The plot (storyline) of these plays is r i c h , but the individual situations and incidents, as picturesque as they may be, are in no way simply loosely linked together, but each demands the other. Every scene, long or short, pushes the plot along. There is atmosphere in this , but i t is not that of milieu; there is also suspense here, but i t is not that of a cat and mouse game with the audience. 1 8 Bond's plot structure is a complication on Brecht's. It w i l l be argued later that Bond's episodic structure is more multifaceted than episodic. Further, his organic structure results only in part from his emphasis on the story. Bond appreciates the organic quality of the story and claims the playwright w i l l s t i l l have to present the story coherently, just as the painter must achieve a likeness, because that represents the experience, the anecdotal autobiography the audience brings to the theatre. . . . ^ 9 However, Bond no longer trusts the ab i l i ty of the spectator to interpret the meaning of a story correctly. Modern society has been too corrosive. Stories cannot present their own interpretation, can no longer teach us how they should be 10 understood. The dramatist cannot confront the audience with truth by te l l ing a story. The interpretation is counterfeited by society. 2 0 Therefore Bond undertakes to dramatize the analysis 2 - of the story. Dramatizing the analysis, of course, involves i t s own unifying techniques. Bond describes his as embodying "cause and effect in a coherent way"2 2 - not to be confused with the cause and effect construction of the story in a well-made play. Bond's cause and effect is thematic. Occasionally the thema-t i c unity intrudes on the story unity but Bond seems remark-ably successful at balancing the two. Thus he writes of The  Bundle; The play is not best understood as a story of hero Wang but as a demonstration of how the words 'good' and 'bad 1 , and moral concepts in general, work in society and how they ought to work i f men are to l ive rat ional ly with their technology, with nature and with one another. 2 3 ( i i i ) sensuous stimulation Another means of engaging the spectator in the theatre is to provide a wide range of sensuous stimulation. Consequently, playwrights make use of a number of techniques which are spec-i f i c a l l y designed to please or pain the spectator's senses. Brecht's approach, especially in his later work, was to use techniques which tended to please the senses. At the be-ginning of the Short Organum he wrote that the theatre would "run the r isk of being debased . . . i f i t fa i led to make i ts moral lesson enjoyable, and enjoyable to the senses at that."2'* To increase visual pleasure, Brecht invited stage 11 designers, mask-makers, costumiers and choreographers to "unite their various arts for the j o i n t operation ... to en-t e r t a i n the children of the s c i e n t i f i c age, and to do so with sensuousness and humour." 2 5 Science was brought into the theatre "not to make i t ' s c i e n t i f i c ' but i n order to provide new t h e a t r i c a l pleasures for man" 2 6 - pleasures l i k e the demonstration of the Ptolemaic model i n Galileo or the use of the revolving stage i n Mother Courage and The Caucasian Chalk  C i r c l e . Props were c a r e f u l l y b u i l t to show the beauty of usage. Some of Brecht's favourites were The copper vessels with the bumps and dented edges, The knives and forks whose wooden handles are Worn down by many hands ... 2 7 Colour was an important aspect of a Brecht production, frequen-t l y suggesting the palette of the Elder Breughel. For Galileo, Each scene had to have i t s basic tone: the f i r s t , e.g., a delicate morning one of white, yellow and gray ... The s i l v e r and pearl-gray of the fourth (court) scene led into a nocturne i n brown and black ... then on to the seventh, the cardinals' b a l l with the delicate and f a n t a s t i c i n d i v i d u a l masks ... moving about the cardinals' crimson figures ... Then came the descent into d u l l and somber colors ... 2 8 Unique gestures were encouraged and praised by Brecht. In one of the l a t e r performances {of Mother Courage) Weigel, when st a r t i n g o f f again, tossed her head and shook i t l i k e a t i r e d draft horse getting back to work. It i s doubtful whether this gesture can be imitated. 2 9 For auditory pleasure Brecht included music i n his productions. Some of the songs were es p e c i a l l y appealing: John Feugi comments on the " b i t t e r yet achingly lovely 'Song 12 of St. Nevercome's Day'" 3 0 and the "moving song" in Mother Courage which "formally opens, l inks, and closes the p l a y . " 3 1 Brecht's dialogue was constructed with the sound of i t s deliv-ery always in mind . 3 2 As Martin Ess l in claims, "Brecht was a poet, f i r s t and foremost." 3 3 His dramatic poetry had no rhyme or regular rhythm but i t did maintain an irregular rhythm.31* Sometimes i t even moved into the purely l y r i c a l as when Grusha pledges her love to Simon: Simon Shashava, I shall wait for you. Go calmly into battle, soldier The bloody battle, the bi t ter battle From which not everyone returns: When you return I shall be there. I shal l be waiting for you under the green elm I shall be waiting for you under the bare elm I shall wait unt i l the last soldier has returned And longer. When you come back from the battle No boots w i l l stand at my door The pillow beside mine w i l l be empty And my mouth w i l l be unkissed When you return, when you return You w i l l be able to say: It is just as i t was . 3 5 In 1952 one of Brecht's co-workers concluded - "On Brecht's stage everything must be beautiful ." The remark is an appropriate summary of Brecht's stated intention of making the theatre "enjoyable to the senses." 3 6 Bond's approach in attempting to stimulate the spectator's senses is to use both pleasure and pain inducing techniques. His purpose is to present the spectator with things that he "would normally run from in fear, turn from in embarrassment, prevent in anger, or pass by because they are hidden." 3 7 A Bond play in production often appears visual ly cold. 13 Director William Gaskill observes: Bond has an extraordinary visual sense. When you actually put on the stage the things that he has said you must do in the stage directions you do get fantastic pictures. Jack Shepherd once said about Early Morning that i t was pure Magritte (the Magritte exhibition was on at that time); and i t ' s absolutely true - strange things, like some-body holding a leg or an arm; and the thing is very cold like Magritte. It isn't sensual, i t ' s rather a c l i n i c a l q u a l i t y . 3 8 The predominate colour on stage is usually grey - the grey cyclorama in Lear, the canvas snowfield in Bingo, the numerous characters who end up wrapped in white sheets. Occasionally, however, Bond permits an explosion of vivid colour. A good example of this occurs in The Sea when Hatch, the draper, madly cuts up yards and yards of blue velvet cloth. While Bond's sets tend to be rudimentary, the objects on stage are always very real. This mode of staging is established in the preface to his f i r s t play, The Pope's Wedding: In these sixteen scenes the stage is dark and bare to the wings and the back. Places are indicated by a few objects and these objects are described in the text. The objects are very real, but there must be no attempt to create the il l u s i o n of a 'real scene'. 3 9 Seeing the violence of a Bond play can be physically up-setting. During Saved, Penelope G i l l i a t t , a favourable c r i t i c , reported, "I spent a lot of the f i r s t act shaking with claus-trophobia and thinking I was going to be sick." **0 Yet there are moments in Bond's plays which are almost i d y l l i c : the carpenter giving Cordelia the cradle in Lear, Joan and Jerome sharing a picnic lunch in Bingo, John and Mary meeting in the a 14 woods for the f i r s t time in The Fool. Indeed these moments often seem more profound just because they arise out of what is sensuously tormenting. Sound is used at times to shattering effect. A baby cries incessantly through an entire scene in Saved. Pig squeals reinforce the visual horror of the Gravedigger's Boy's death in Lear. Continual laughter which f ina l ly "becomes hysterical - l ike sobbing"1*1 lasts through most of the prison scene in The Fool. But sound is also used to create some of Bond's most enjoyable effects. Ess l in claims that Bond also is a poet having "the glorious power, conciseness, p i th , and poetic impact . . . {which} is the f irst , hallmark of quality, the most i n f a l l i b l e indicator of greatness in any art form employing the spoken word."1*2 Bond agrees that he writes poetry. ... I think my plays are poetry. You see this is what I dis l ike about the poetic drama that one gets nowadays; i t ' s added something to prose. Poetry is what you have left when you take the prose away. Poetry is a simplified form of prose. And that's the other way round you see, because most people try to make their prose clever poetically, and I hate that. k 3 His poetry, l ike Brecht's, has no rhyme and::, as Harry Andrews discovered in learning his lines for the role of Lear, "no metre to help you along."1*1* There i s , however, a rhythm which Bond develops by s k i l f u l l y using what in essence are B ib l i ca l constructions: "the juxtaposition of contrasted half-sentences, parallel ism, repetit ion, and inversion." 1* 5 This technique of Bond's is perhaps most obvious when he chooses to parody i t , as 15 he does with the Son's sermon in Bingo, emphasizing the under-lying rhythm with stage directions to the actor to rock sl ight-Rich thieves plunderin' the earth. Think on the poor trees an' grass an' beasts, a l l neglect an' stood in the absence a god. One year no harvest'11 come, no seed'11 grow in the plants, no green, no cattle yont leave their s t a l l , stand huddled- to in the hovel, no hand'11 turn water in their trough, the earth'11 die an' be covered with scars : the mark a dust where a beast rot in the sand. Where there's no lord god there's a wilderness. **6 Like Brecht, Bond periodical ly moves his dialogue into l y r i c a l poetry. Lear, just before his death, is given these haunting l ines: I see my l i f e , a black tree by a pool. The branches are covered with tears. The tears are shining with l ight . The wind blows the tears in the sky. And my tears f a l l down on Bond's use of dialect, a feature of a l l his plays, adds an im-portant depth and fullness to his dialogue. Characters such as the Old Woman in Bingo gain a special dignity when they speak. We had seven good year f i r s t off. Then the press men come t' church one Sunday mornin' an' hid back a the tomb stones. . . . He, were gone three year. Then two men bot him hwome. He'd bin hit top the yead with an axe. . . . Now he hev the mind of a twelve year o l ' an' the needs on a man. I'm mother an' wife to him. . . . He's a boy that remember what's l ike t'be a man. He s t i l l hev a proper fee l in' for his pride, that yont gone. Hard, that is - l ike bein' t ied up to a clown. Some nights he come hwome an' cry a l l hours. I git on with my work now. You hear him a l l over the house. Every room. An' the garden. **8 16 Bond's approach to the senses, h i s use of both p l e a s u r e and p a i n i n d u c i n g techniques, demonstrates one of h i s b e l i e f s about a r t : " A r t i s b e a u t i f u l only i n the broadest sense be-cause i t can i n c l u d e death and u g l i n e s s . " 4 9 D e s p i t e the i n n o v a t i o n s Brecht and Bond make i n c r e a t i n g a t h e a t r e f o r s o c i a l change, both p l a y w r i g h t s continue to a p p r e c i a t e and observe many o f the t r a d i t i o n a l r u l e s o f thea-t r e . Brecht admitted a l l h i s changes were " w i t h i n the frame-work of the t h e a t r e , so that o f course a whole mass of o l d r u l e s remained wholly u n a l t e r e d . " 5 0 Bond, w r i t i n g to Pe t e r H o l l a n d , p o i n t s out the need f o r " a g g r o - e f f e c t s " or " p o s i t i v e V - e f f e c t s " 5 1 - h i s new words f o r the o l d techniques t h e a t r e has always used to engage the s p e c t a t o r . Willett, Brecht on Theatre, p. 89. Ibid., p. 15. Ibid., pp. 277-8. Ibid., p. 221. John Fuegi, The Essential Brecht (Los Angeles: Hennessey and Ingalls, Inc., 1972), f i g . 40. Willett, Brecht on Theatre, p. 247. Malcolm Hay and Philip Roberts, Edward Bond: A Companion  to the Plays (London: TQ Publications, 1978), p. 43. Ibid. Edward Bond, Early Morning (London: Calder and Boyars Ltd., 1968), pp. 67-8. Edward Bond, Lear (London: Eyre Methuen Ltd., 1972), p. 35. Edward Bond, The Bundle, p. 29. Hay, Roberts, A Companion, p. 25. Willett, Brecht on Theatre, p. 46. Ibid., p. 200. Fuegi, Essential Brecht, pp. 136-7. F.N. Mennemeier, "Mother Courage and Her Children," in Brecht: A Collection of C r i t i c a l Essays, ed. Peter Demetz (Englewood C l i f f s , N.J. "Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1962), p. 148. Bernard Beckerman, Shakespeare at the Globe: 1599-1609 (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1962), p. 46. Fuegi, Essential Brecht, p. 23. Bond, The Bundle, pp. xiv-xv. Ibid., p. xv. Ibid., p. x v i i i . 18 Ib id . , p. xx. Ib id . , p. xv i i iy Wil le t t , Brecht on Theatre, p. 180. Ib id . , pp. 202-4. Herbert Witt, ed., Brecht As They Knew Him, trans. John Peet (New York: International Publishers, 1974), p. 240. Peter Holland, "Brecht, Bond, Gaski l l and the Practice of P o l i t i c a l Theatre." Theatre Quarterly 8 (January 1978): 26. Bertolt Brecht, Bertolt Brecht: Plays, Poetry and Prose. The Collected Plays, ed. John Wil lett and Ralph Manheim, vo l . 5 (London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1970), p. 235. Ib id . , p. 377. Fuegi, Essential Brecht, p. 137. Ib id . , p. 86. Wil le t t , Brecht on Theatre, p. 116. Martin Ess l in , "Brecht's Language and Its Sources," in Brecht: A Collection of C r i t i c a l Essays, ed. Peter Demetz (Englewood C l i f f s , N . J . : Prentice-Hall , Inc., 1962), p. 171. Wi l le t t , Brecht on Theatre, p. 120. Bertolt Parables for the Theatre: The Good Woman of  Sezuan and The Caucasian Chalk Circ l e , revised English versions by Eric Bentley (Harmondsworth, Hiddlesex: Penquin Books L t d . , 1966), p. 133. Witt, ed. , Brecht, p. 127. Bond, The Bundle, p. x i i i . I. Wardle, "Interview with William Gaski l l , "Gambit 17 (October 1970): 41. Edward Bond, The Pope's Wedding (London: Methuen and Co. L t d . , 1971), introduction. Richard Scharine, The Plays of Edward Bond (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1976), p. 48. 19 Edward Bond, The Fool: Scenes of Bread and Love and We  Come to the River (London,:. E.yre Methuen Ltd. , 1976) , p. 34. Martin Ess l in , "Nor Yet a 'Fool' to Fame," Theatre  Quarterly 6 (Spring 1976): p. 44. Edward Bond, "A Discussion with Edward Bond," Gambit 17 (October 1970): pp. 34-5. Gregory Dark, "Edward Bond's Lear at the Royal Court: a Production Casebook," Theatre Quarerly 2 (January 1972): p. 28. Ess l in , "Brecht's Language," p. 173. Edward Bond, Bingo: Scenes of Money and Death (London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1974), p. 35. Bond, Lear, p. 86. Bond, Bingo, p. 11. Bond, The Fool, p. xv i . Wil le t t , Brecht on Theatre, p. 248. Edward Bond, "On Brecht: a Letter to Peter Holland," Theatre Quarterly 8 (January 1978): p. 35. 20 CHAPTER 2 EXPOSING THE PROBLEM IN ORDER TO CONVINCE THE SPECTATOR SOCIAL CHANGE IS NECESSARY AND POSSIBLE. (i) the problem Both Brecht and Bond dedicate their theatre for social change to the elimination of the same social problem: the class structure of society. More specifically they want to eliminate the exploitation inherent in that class structure and the subsequent loss of what Brecht calls human product-i v i t y 1 and Bond calls personal self-knowledge and self- , consciousness.. 2 Characters in their plays voice these sent-iments repeatedly. Galileo in conversation with the L i t t l e Monk condemns a class society: Why is the orderliness in this country merely the order of an empty cupboard, and the necessity merely that of working oneself to death? Among bursting vineyards, beside the ripening cornfields! ... Virtues are not linked with misery, my friend. If your people were prosperous and happy, they could develop the virtues derived of prosperity and happiness. But now these virtues come from exhaus-ted men on exhausted acres, and I reject them. ...3 In Early Morning, Arthur, almost mad with despair, describes his society using a ho r r i f i c metaphor: There are men and women and children and cattle and birds and horses pushing a mill.. They're grinding other cattle and people and children: they push each other in. Some f a l l in. It grinds their bones, you see. The ones pushing the wheel, even the animals, look up at the horizon. They stumble. Their feet get caught up in the rags and dressings that slip down from their wounds. They go round and round. 21 At the end they go very fast. They shout. Half of them run in their sleep. Some are trampled on. They're sure they're reaching the horizon.1* One of the major concerns of Brecht and Bond is to find the most effective way of exposing this social problem to the spectator. From the early eighteenth century, drama began increasingly to concentrate on the individual and to view society from an individual's perspective. For a short time, this perspective remained broad enough to include a comprehensive overview of society. In Schi l ler 's William  T e l l , for example, the individual as Romantic hero could sur-vey the social scene from his mountain, descend to direct the movement for social reform and then return to his lofty retreat. Gradually, however, playwrights began to incorpor-ate the Romantic hero into society. This process jeopard-ized the hero's comprehensive overview of society and further encouraged him to see his own social situation as a kind of fate, inescapable and unchangeable. Eventually a l l the hero was expected to do was suffer; he had become a helpless victim. The idea of man as a helpless victim always angered Brecht. As late as 1955, in the essay Gan the Present-day World be Reproduced by Means of Theatre? he wrote: In an age whose science is in a position to change nature to such an extent as to make the world seem almost habitable, man can no longer describe man as a victim, the object of a fixed but unknown en-vironment. It is scarcely possible to conceive of the laws of motion i f one looks at them from a tennis ba l l point of view. 5 22 Clearly i n his theatre Brecht intended to focus on the "laws of motion" of society. To do this he was forced to give up the usual dramatic and t h e a t r i c a l focus on the i n d i v i d u a l . Edward Bond i s as i n s i s t e n t as Brecht on the need for a so c i a l focus. He explains why i n a l e t t e r to Tony Coult: ... I f e e l I must deal with problems always more and more from a s o c i a l point of view. The burdens of ego and introspection, which seem so overwhelming when you're twenty, are r e a l l y aspects of s o c i a l problems. Our most private experiences are intermingled with our s o c i a l l i f e - and i n the end an in d i v i d u a l can only resolve his own c o n f l i c t s by helping to solve those of society. Human nature i s an abstraction that has an e x i s t e n t i a l r e a l i t y only i n a s o c i a l context. It's only when an ind i v i d u a l understands the nature of his society that he begins to understand; himself and i s able to make judgements about himself... 6 ( i i ) the nature of society What do Brecht and Bond mean by society? Brecht's de-f i n i t i o n i s accurately summed up by his student, Werner Mittenzwei: "Society does not consist of indi v i d u a l s , but expresses the sum of the connections and rel a t i o n s i n which these individuals stand to one another." 7 Bond implies a similar d e f i n i t i o n i n a verse from his poem, Culture: No man eats sleeps or loves for himself alone Harvest and dreams and teaching the young Don't take place i n a small room But i n the spaces of other men's l i v e s 8 Generally, then, when Brecht and Bond r e f e r to society, they refer to the relationships between ind i v i d u a l s . I t i s these relationships, the society i t s e l f , that they attempt to put 23 on stage. This task i s not an easy one. F i r s t i t commits both playwrights to writing large scale plays. Brecht's The Cau- casian Chalk C i r c l e has over one hundred parts. Bond's Lear has some eighty speaking parts - parts which include a king, other members of royalty, church, j u d i c i a r y and m i l i t a r y as well as various public o f f i c i a l s , an engineer, craftsmen, farmers and labourers. Moreover, although Brecht and Bond sympathize with the working class, they agree i t i s essenf-t i a l to depict the members of the other classes without prejudice. Brecht stressed this point i n his notes on Gal i l e o : For the theatre i t i s important to understand that t h i s play must lose a great part of i t s e f f e c t i f i t s performance i s directed c h i e f l y against the Catholic Church. Of the dramatis personel, many wear the church's garb. Actors who, because of that, try to portray these characters as odious would be doing wrong. But neither, on the other hand, has the church the ri g h t to have the human weaknesses of i t s members glossed over. It has a l l too often encouraged: these weaknesses and suppressed th e i r exposure. But i n this play there i s also no question of the church being admonished ... the church functions, even when i t opposes free investigation, simply as authority. 9 Further evidence of Brecht's honesty i s given i n an anecdote which Martin E s s l i n recounts: While rehearsing the play {The L i f e of Galileo} i n East Germany shortly before he died, Brecht argued so passionately for getting his actors to put the Church's standpoint with such t o t a l conviction that he suddenly stopped himself and smilingly remarked: 'I seem to be the only person i n this country s t i l l arguing for the Pope.' S t i l l some c r i t i c s see serious flaws i n Brecht's charac-t e r i z a t i o n of society. Robert Brustein claims that "no 24 wealthy bourgeois ever appears on stage ... the capitalist is merely a lumpenproletariat or petit bourgeois with-. money." 1 1 F.N. Mennemeier observes that in Mother Courage "the much-maligned instigators of the catastrophe in the play never become dramatically tangible themselves." 1 2 Even Bond cri t i c i z e s Brecht for his portrayal of the ruling class in The Caucasian Chalk Circle. In Bond's opinion characters which are created as caricatures capable of being masked dur-ing a performance distort reality. Instead he believes We have to show the mask under the face not the mask on i t . Perhaps we should show members of the ruling class in the way they see themselves: i t is this good light which is so corrupting ... 1 3 Bond attempts a more accurate portrayal of the ruling class in his play The Fool. Certainly the actors during re-hearsals for the original production notice his attempt at impartiality. Nicholas Selby (playing Lord Milton) comments that "Bond has been very kind to the aristos. He's not made them into v i l l a i n s ... He's not set them up as targets." 1 ** Isabel Dean (playing Mrs. Emerson) adds: Years ago when I did Sugar in the Morning by Donald Howarth, I realized that from that time onward I was going to play parts where upper and upper middle class people were poked fun at. But the difference with this play is that Edward Bond shows you the reasons why the middle and upper classes appear unsympathetic to the lower classes. Even though he makes you say things that are unsympathetic, he has so written the play that the audience understands why you behave like that ... 1 5 As i t happens, however, Bond's characterization of society is also considered flawed. Actor Peter Myers points out 25 ... there's an interesting gap in the play. I mean the tenant farmers. They're the only class you never see. People like Farmer Fab are men-tioned, but you never see them - these people -in - between. 1 6 Since Brecht and Bond intend to characterize society accurately, these omissions and over-simplifications which others remark on probably result from the d i f f i c u l t y of the job at hand; nevertheless, both men remain convinced the job can be done, indeed must be done. They are encouraged by new scientific advances in fields like behavioural psychology which make social relationships increasingly accessible. Their own research becomes consciously more specific. Mittenzwei reports the extent to which Brecht was prepared to go: Man was not sufficiently informative for him either as an individual or as a social character, a type. How people behave to each other under different circumstances appeared to him to be much more interesting; how they speak about p o l i -ti c s , how they handle their tools, how they react to new ideas, how they assess actions, how they master l i f e . In this manner Brecht developed a high degree of realism in details, produced a contradictory many-layered individuality ... He liked to have this sort of individuality imparted even to the gestures and the rhythm of speech of his characters. ... He demanded the a r t i s t i c creation of complicated reactions and movements of the individual produced by the movements of social forces, and this in the smallest detail, gesture, nuance. No amount of work, no amount of observa-tion was too much for him in catching the individ-ual in the multiplicity of his relationships. ... 1 7 Bond implies the same careful study in a note concerning his observations during a writers' seminar he gave in 1977: 26 I wanted to make the p a r t i c i p a n t s look at the stage i n a d i f f e r e n t way. To see i t as an area t h a t has the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of s o c i e t y , and doesn't merely r e p r e s e n t i t . ... I c r e a t e d i f f i c u l t i e s f o r the p a r t i c i p a n t s - j u s t as s o c i e t y c r e a t e s d i f f i c u l t i e s f o r i n d i v i d u a l s . I make a g i r l t e l l about the l o s s of her c h i l d w h i l e she i s p r e p a r i n g the cooking, or w h i l e she i s working i n a f a c t o r y : i t i s necessary that she works, i t ' s a l s o necessary t h a t she speaks h o n e s t l y about her bereavement. S o c i e t y does not r e g a r d her as an a c t r e s s who can take ten minutes o f f f o r a dramatic s o l o . The s i t u a t i o n must be made concrete i n i t s s o c i a l s e t t i n g . I a l s o make people argue over money wh i l e they are c u t t i n g bread: we stop l i s t e n i n g so much to t h e i r words; i n s t e a d the way the bread i s cut, the k n i f e h e l d , the crumbs c o l l e c t e d - analyse the words f o r us. T h e y l 8 t e l l us the t r u e s i g n i f i c a n c e of what i s b e i n g s a i d . They demand actors, do s i m i l a r r e s e a r c h - to i n t e r p r e t t h e i r r o l e s as s o c i a l r o l e s or s o c i a l f u n c t i o n s , to ask not 'Who am I ? 1 but 'What am I ? ' not 'Who does t h i s a c t i o n ? ' but 'What i s t h i s a c t i o n ? , ' to d e f i n e themselves i n r e l a t i o n to other c h a r a c t e r s , to c o n s i d e r the nature of the a c t i o n r a t h e r than the nature of the s e l f . 1 9 In these ways Brecht and Bond expect to p r e s e n t an i n c r e a s -i n g l y a c curate c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of s o c i e t y . Because o f the care taken to present s o c i e t y a c c u r a t e l y , i t i s not s u r p r i s i n g t h a t the s o c i e t i e s Brecht and Bond succeed i n p u t t i n g on stage r e f l e c t some o f the d i f f e r e n c e s between Germany and England over twenty years a p a r t . One of the most important of these i n v o l v e s t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e por-t r a y a l s of v i o l e n c e . Brecht i n c l u d e d v i o l e n c e i n h i s p l a y s but he never allowed i t to become the ce n t r e of a t t e n t i o n . U n c o n s c i o u s l y he was r e f l e c t i n g a v i o l e n t s o c i e t y which had yet to r e c o g n i z e the problem of v i o l e n c e i t s e l f . Bond, on 27 the other hand, b e l i e v e s , " V i o l e n c e j u s t is_ the b i g problem of our s o c i e t y . " 2 0 As a r e s u l t every Bond p l a y c o n t a i n s main scenes which are p h y s i c a l l y v i o l e n t : Scopey f o r c i n g A l e n to s i n g i n The Pope's Wedding, the s t o n i n g . o f the baby i n Saved, the b e a t i n g o f Len i n E a r l y Morning, the s l a u g h t e r -in g of the c h i l d r e n i n Narrow Road, the t o r t u r e o f Warring-ton i n Lear, the stabbing o f C o l i n ' s corpse i n The Sea, the g i b b e t i n g o f the Young Woman i n Bingo, the s t r i p p i n g o f the parson i n The F o o l , the k i l l i n g o f the o l d ferryman i n The  Bundle, the b r i c k i n g up o f Ismene i n The Woman. Bond i s u n r e l e n t i n g about the need f o r t h i s p o r t r a y a l o f v i o l e n c e : V i o l e n c e shapes and obsesses our s o c i e t y , and i f we do not stop being v i o l e n t we have no f u t u r e . People who do not want w r i t e r s to w r i t e about v i o l e n c e want to stop them w r i t i n g about us and our times. I t would be immoral not to w r i t e about v i o l e n c e . 2 1 ( i i i ) c h a n g e a b i l i t y A s o c i e t y which i s presented as changing can be more e a s i l y understood as changeable. A c c o r d i n g l y , both Brecht and Bond choose t h e i r s u b j e c t matter from changing l i f e s i t u a t i o n s . Bond e x p l a i n s : A r t o f t e n turns to the s t r e e t , b a t t l e f i e l d , market, modern a r c h i t e c t - d e s i g n e d slum, f a c t o r y , because these are p l a c e s where s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s , shared r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s , are brea k i n g down and have to be r e - c r e a t e d : p l a c e s where the remedies of the past can't h e a l the wounds of the pre s e n t , and there has to be something new. 2 2 At f i r s t the two pl a y w r i g h t s attempt to present the l i f e s i t u a t i o n s as a c c u r a t e l y as p o s s i b l e . An o l d e r Brecht r e -c a l l e d w i t h wry amusement h i s own y o u t h f u l e f f o r t s to cram i n t o a p r o d u c t i o n as much a u t h e n t i c data p e r t a i n i n g to the 28 s i t u a t i o n as he could. 2 3 The s i t u a t i o n s i n Bond's f i r s t two plays seemed so r e a l i s t i c the c r i t i c s complained that they were too l i f e - l i k e and, consequently, b o r i n g . 2 4 Gradually, however, Brecht and Bond discover s i t u a t i o n s can be presented more a b s t r a c t l y but j u s t as e f f e c t i v e l y . Bond w r i t e s of The Bundle: The people i n The Bundle l i v e by a r i v e r . D i r e c t l y or i n d i r e c t l y , they a l l l i v e from i t . From time to time i t floods and destroys them. I f , as the pl a y i n v i t e s , you s u b s t i t u t e f a c t o r i e s and o f f i c e s -a l l i n d u s t r i a l i s m - f o r the r i v e r , then my purpose i s p l a i n . 2 5 I t i s the discovery and developing of t h i s technique of ab-s t r a c t i n g the s i t u a t i o n (while maintaining the r e a l i s m of the s o c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s ) which allows Brecht and Bond to challenge those c r i t i c s who argue modern s o c i e t y i s too com-p l i c a t e d to be put on stage. Brecht and Bond a l s o t r y to s t i m u l a t e change by present-ing change i n t h e i r dramatic a c t i o n , i n t h e i r p l a y s i t u a t i o n s . Brecht, according to Walter Benjamin, was d e l i g h t e d that "man can be changed by h i s surroundings and can h i m s e l f change "the surrounding world, i . e . can t r e a t i t w i t h consequence." 2 6 Brecht, however, was a l s o of the o p i n i o n that "man" was more e f f e c t i v e i n a group. As he expressed i t , "To depend only upon your own strength means u s u a l l y to depend a l s o and main-l y upon the sudden emergent strength of strangers." 2 7 Presumably t h i s i s one of the reasons Brecht s t r e s s e d c o l l a -b o r a t i o n i n h i s theatre. I t may a l s o account f o r the way i n -d i v i d u a l s are presented i n h i s p l a y s . Generally (there are 29 qualifications which w i l l be discussed later), his indivi-duals on their own prove incapable of changing society. Consequently, change in Brecht's dramatic action more often involves the individual being changed by society. Bond, on the other hand, puts considerable faith in the strength of the individual, so much so that c r i t i c s remark on feeling a "kind of strained romanticism" 2 8 in his work. Bond, however, maintains that there is nothing romantic in his dramatic action. His heroes are practical heroes, arising from within the social structure and created out of their own suffering. Using Willy in The Sea as an example, he explains: The ideal hero, the man too good for this world, is drowned. The limited man, who has, ih fact, to recreate the world survives. ... Willy has to lose the illusions of simplicity, and learn the d i f f i c u l t i e s of living, and of changing the world. He has to come to terms with the limita-tions of the possible, and with other people's fantasies and madnesses. But he is not destroyed by recognizing his limitations. He is streng-thened by i t , because then he becomes truly p r a c t i c a l . . . . 2 9 Bond's concentration on the individual must not be seen as a contradiction of his primary decision to focus on society. In fact, Bond's presentation of the individual comes surprisingly close to f u l f i l l i n g a prediction made by Mittenzwei in 1973 as to the way new playwrights would pro-ceed "beyond Brecht". There is nothing disquieting in this tendency {of seeking to go beyond Brecht}; this is the unrest needed by every art searching for new paths .... {Today}, however, the main thing is to give 30 stronger expression to the i n d i v i d u a l i t y of a f i g u r e , without f o r g e t t i n g that every f i g u r e l i v e s amidst a s o c i e t y which i n f l u e n c e s him to a greater or l e s s e r degree. In t h i s way contemporary s o c i a l i s t a r t p r a c t i c e , w i t h i n the framework of the d i a l e c t i c , guides i n t e r e s t away from the i n d i v i d u a l and the s o c i a l , and more towards the other side of the d i a l e c t i c a l process: the p r e s e n t a t i o n of i n d i v i d u a l i t y . 3 0 I n . c o n c l u s i o n i t i s important to understand that despite t h e i r d e d i c a t i o n to s o c i a l change and t h e i r own personal p o l i t i c s , which support the working c l a s s and the eventual goal of a c l a s s l e s s s o c i e t y , Brecht and Bond seek to keep s o c i a l change i n t h e i r theatre n o n - p o l i t i c a l . They conscious-l y r e j e c t overt p o l i t i c a l propaganda along w i t h the sugges-t i o n of a d e t a i l e d Utopia. Bond gives h i s reasons i n the preface to Lear. I have not t r i e d to say what the f u t u r e should be l i k e , because that i s a mistake. I f your p l a n of the f u t u r e i s too r i g i d you s t a r t to coerce people to f i t i n t o i t . We do not need a p l a n of the f u t u r e , we need a method of change. 3 1 I t would appear that i n t h e i r theatre f o r s o c i a l change both men subscribe to the idea of change expressed i n Brecht's poem: Real progress Is not to have progressed But progression. Real progress i s What makes progression p o s s i b l e 3 2 Or enforces i t . 31 ENDNOTES Brecht, Bertolt Brecht: Plays, Poetry and Prose, vo l . 7, p. 3or: Bond, The Bundle, p. x i i i . Bertolt Brecht, The Li fe of Gali leo, trans, by Desmond I. Vesey (London"! Eyre Methuen Ltd. , 1974), pp. 77-8. Bond, Early Morning, p. 68. Wil le t t , Brecht on Theatre, p. 275. Hay, Roberts, A Companion, p. 74. Witt, ed. , Brecht, p. 237. Edward Bond, Theatre Poems and Songs, ed. Malcolm Hay and Phi l ip Roberts (London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1978), p. 59. Brecht, Bertolt Brecht: Play, Poetry and Prose, vo l . 5, p. 216. Martin Ess l in , An Anatomy of Drama (New York: H i l l and Wang, 1976), p. 99. Robert Brustein, The Theatre of Revolt (Boston: L i t t l e , Brown, 1962), p. 266. Mennemeier, "Mother Courage", p. 140. Bond, The Bundle, p. x v i i . Walter Donohue, "Edward Bond's The_Fool at the Royal Court Theatre," Theatre Quarterly 6 (Spring 1976): : •• p. 14. Ibid. , pp'. 15-16. I b i d . , pp. 14-15. Witt, E d . , Brecht, p. 238. Hay, Roberts, A Companion, p. 49. Bond, "On Brecht", p. 35. Edward Bond, "Drama and the Dialetics of Violence," Theatre Quarterly 2 (January 1972): p. 9. Bond, Lear, p. v. 32 2 2 Hay, Roberts, A Companion, p. 69. 2 3 Willett, Brecht on Theatre, p. 66. l h Scharine, The Plays of Edward Bond, p. 59. 2 5 Hay, Roberts, A Companion, p. 26. 2 6 Walter Benjamin, Understanding Brecht, trans. Anna Bostock (London: New Left Books, 1973), p. 13. 2 7 Witt, ed., Brecht, pp. 233-4. 2 8 Donohue, "The Fool," p. 25. 2 9 Hay, Roberts, A ''Companion, p. 54. 3 0 Witt, ed., Brecht, p. 235. 3 1 Bond, Lear, p. x i i i . 3 2 Witt, ed., Brecht, p. 104. 33 CHAPTER 3 PROVIDING MODELS WHICH THE SPECTATOR CAN USE IN WORKING FOR SOCIAL CHANGE Since their intention is to activate the spectator both in the theatre and in society, Brecht and Bond are concerned with the spectator's behaviour during and after the perform-ance. For this reason, the behavioural models they provide in their drama are of two kinds: "attitude models", intended to influence the spectator's attitude and response both in the theatre and in l i f e , and "action models', intended more specifically to influence the spectator's actual l i f e behaviour. PART I: ATTITUDE MODELS It is impossible for the playwright to provide the spec-tator with an ideal model of theatre behaviour. At best the playwright imagines a sort of desired response and constructs his play using techniques which he thinks w i l l cause this response'to occur. Both Brecht and Bond are very specific about the kind of theatre response they want. Brecht described his as a " c r i t i c a l attitude" and over and over again in his later writ-ing explained that such an attitude was achieved by the integ-ration of the spectator's reason and emotion. His defence of Mother Courage against Friedrich Wolf's charge that the play was objective is one example of his attempt to establish this position: 34 The chronicle play Mother Courage and her Children... does not of course represent any kind of attempt to persuade anybody of anything by setting forth bare facts. Facts can very seldom be caught with-out their clothes on, and, as you rightly say, they are hardly seductive. It is however necessary that chronicles should include a factual element, i.e. should be r e a l i s t i c . ... I don't believe that i t {Mother Courage}' leaves the audience in a state of objectivity (i.e. dispassionately balancing pros and cons). I believe rather - or let's say I hope - that i t makes them c r i t i c a l . 1 In general-, Brecht tried to achieve his c r i t i c a l a t t i -tude by introducing an element of reason into the overly emotional theatre of his day. His essay Theatre for Pleasure  or Theatre for Instruction is helpful in ill u s t r a t i n g the difference he imagined the reason would make. Fir s t , Brecht mimicked the usual emotional response: Yes, I have f e l t like that too - just like me -It's only natural - I t ' l l never change - The sufferings of this man appal me, because they are inescapable - That's great art; i t a l l seems 'the most obvious thing in the world -I weep when they weep, I laugh when they laugh. Then, more importantly, he presented a response integrating reason and emotion - a c r i t i c a l attitude: I'd never have thought i t - That's not the way -That's extraordinary, hardly believable - i t ' s got to stop - The sufferings of this man appal me because they are unnecessary - That's great art; nothing obvious in i t - I laugh when they weep, I weep when they laugh. 3 The problem with Brecht's approach was that, i n i t i a l l y , he overstated the case for reason. Early remarks such as "I aim at an extremely classical, cold, intellectual style of performance. I'm not writing for the scum who want the cockles of their hearts warmed" ** seemed to leave l i t t l e 35 room for emotion. As Brecht explained later in the prologue to the Short Organunr, opposition from the press made this ex-aggeration necessary. The battle was for a theatre f i t for the scientific age, and where its planners found i t too hard to borrow or steal from the armoury of aesthetic con-cepts enough, weapons to defend themselves against the aesthetics of the Press they simply threatened 'to transform the means of enjoyment into an in-strument of instruction, and to convert certain / amusement establishments into organs of mass communication' ... 5 However, confusion over the role of emotion in his theatre persisted and towards the end of his career Brecht made several further efforts to c l a r i f y the situation. The follow-ing candid discussion was typical: ... our mistakes are different from those of other theatres. Their actors are liable to display too much spurious temperament; ours often show too l i t t l e of the real thing. Aiming to avoid a r t i f i c i a l heat, we f a l l short in natural warmth. We make no attempt to share the emotions of the characters we portray, but these emotions must none the less be fu l l y and movingly represented, nor must they be treated with coldness but like-wise with emotion of some force. 6 To summarize, Brecht wanted his spectator to develop a c r i t i c a l attitude in the theatre, an attitude which was an integration of reason and emotion. It is not true, though i t is sometimes suggested, that epic theatre ... proclaims the slogan: 'Reason this side, Emotion (feeling) that." It by no means renounces emotion, least of a l l the sense of justice, the urge to freedom, and righteous anger; i t is so far from renouncing them that i t does not even assume their presence, but tries to arouse or to reinforce them. The 'attitude of criticism' which i t tries to awaken in i t s audience cannot be passionate enough for i t . 7 36 Bond describes the theatre response which he wants the spectator to develop as a "rational understanding". Like Brecht's c r i t i c a l attitude, i t is achieved by the integration of the spectator's reason and emotion. Significantly, the emotions Bond tries to arouse or reinforce are very similar to Brecht's "sense of justice, the urge to freedom, and right-eous anger" - they are the emotions of social relationships. In a program note to The Sea, Bond writes: What gives living a meaning and stops i t being absurd? : our happiness and pain, the happiness we feel when others are happy, the pain we feel when others despair. It's a natural human reflex to smile when others smile. It's also naturally human to shudder when they suffer... we, who live with other men and women, never get away from moral involvement with them. 8 He summarizes his position in a letter to one of his German translators: "... my theatre isn't emotional or intellectual -i t is both, at one and the same time, which is why i t is a rational theatre." 9 Bond gives a more detailed explanation of "rational theatre" when he discusses an ideal response to his play Saved: Well, i f they {the spectators} come out saying, oh, what dreadful people, they a l l ought to be locked up, that's not what I'm after. Perhaps they should be asking, are these facts really so? And i f they are, we must find out more about them, and do some-thing about them. ... 1 0 Unfortunately, the immediate response to Saved was not Bond's ideal one. In fact, i t s f i r s t performance inspired some of the most virulent comments in recent theatre history. J.C. Trewin's attack in The Illustrated London News reflected the 37 general c r i t i c a l reception: It may not be the feeblest thing I have seen on any stage, but i t is certainly the nastiest, and contains perhaps the most horrid scene in the contemporary theatre. (Even as I write that hedging "perhaps" I delete i t : nobody can hedge about Saved).1 * Jane Howell, Bond's director for Narrow Road to the Deep North and Bingo, surmises i t was the c r i t i c ' s immediate emotional responses to Saved that sent the young Bond searching for ways to stimulate more reason in the theatre response. I think that Bond was upset about the hysterical attacks on Saved - particularly over the baby business. He thought that i f he put the same problems into a cooler, more distant context then people might be ready to view those pro-blems with much less immediate prejudice. 1 2 Further, these i n i t i a l l y unfavourable responses to his play (which were followed by later retractions and praise) may have convinced Bond that although the rational understanding begins in the theatre i t does not have to be completely developed by the time the performance is over. Certainly he implies this in the preface to The Bundle. What an audience says when i t leaves a theatre is less important than what i t thinks six months later. Some people angrily walk out of a theatre but six months later know that the play was voic-ing views they had already started to accept. 1 3 This willingness of Bond's to let the rational understand-ing come to maturity outside the theatre underlines the fi n a l important aspect about the theatre responses both Brecht and Bond seek to arouse. They intend that the c r i t i c a l attitude or the rational understanding carry over into the l i f e 38 situation and prove equally useful there. This idea is fundamental to the Short Organum. What is that productive attitude in face of nature and of society which we children of a scientific age would like to take up pleasurably in our theatre? The attitude is a c r i t i c a l one. Faced with a river, i t con-sists in regulating the river; faced with a fr u i t tree, in spraying the f r u i t tree; faced with movement, in constructing vehicles and aeroplanes; faced with society, in turning society upside down. Our representations of human social l i f e are designed for river-dwellers, f r u i t farmers, builders of vehicles and upturners of society, whom we invite into our theatres and beg not to forget their cheerful occupations while we hand the world over to their minds and hearts, for them to change as they think f i t . 1 1 * Similarly, Bond states: ... I would like people to have seen something {in the theatre} that they might have read about in a newspaper, or even have been in-volved in, but not really understood - because they see i t from a partial point of view, or whatever - suddenly to be able to see i t whole, and to be able to say, well, now I can under-stand a l l the pressures that went into the making of that tragedy. When I come to judge that situation, my judgement w i l l he more accurate, and therefore the action I take more appropriate. And I would like them to be so strongly moved as to want to take action. The techniques that Brecht used to encourage an element of reason in the spectator's response were eventually labelled alienation techniques or, after the German word Verfremdungseffekt, "V-effects". Many of them are well known today. In Brecht's productions they included the strong illumination of the stage, the use of a half curtain, placards, projections, masks, music, even actors walking off 39 the stage to order drinks at the bar in the auditorium. 1 6 In his plays V-effects included the use of prologues and epilogues, a narrator, choruses, interpolated songs, charac-ters providing exposition by direct address to the audience and devices (often a trial-scene) which summarized the drama-t i c action. Interestingly, Bond in his search for V-effects rejects many of Brecht's. Bond also experiements with V-effects un-used by Brecht. One of Bond's favourites involves the sim-ultaneous presentation on stage of two or more points of focus 1 7 - Kiro in Narrow Road committing r i t u a l hara-kiri while the man from the river dries himself off or the prize-fight in The Fool occurring while John Clare is being intro-duced to London's literary society. For a similar purpose, time is often manipulated in Bond's plays to serve the argu-ment rather than the story. 1 8 Peter Holland observes that "Bingo divides into two acts at the very point at which a temporal liaison of scenes is possible for the f i r s t time." 1 9 In The Fool characters are made to age at different rates. Director Peter G i l l implies the distancing effect of this technique by pondering the production problems i t causes: ... the ageing throughout the play is not r e a l i s t i c . By any r e a l i s t i c calculation, Lord Milton must be about 150 in the last scene. ... He {Bond} gives you these characters specifically drawn with a part-icular accent, who are quite clearly meant to re-present actual personages, as opposed to aspects of personages and then you have the task of them age-ing, some of them ageing to an incredible age, and one or two certainly not. And that's the style of the play. 2 0 40 S i g n i f i c a n t l y , however, both Brecht and Bond use a number of the same V - e f f e c t s . Four of the more b a s i c ones are ana-l y z e d i n the f o l l o w i n g pages. S i m i l a r i t i e s and d i f f e r e n c e s between Brecht and Bond are noted i n the set-up of the t e c h -nique as w e l l as i n the s p e c i f i c way the technique i s i n -tended to work to produce the d e s i r e d response. ( i ) e p i s o d i c p l o t s t r u c t u r e . Many p l a y w r i g h t s remain b i a s e d towards the k i n d of " w e l l -made" p l o t seen at i t s b e s t , perhaps, i n the p l a y s o f Ibsen. T h i s s t r u c t u r e i s c h a r a c t e r i z e d by a l i n e a r development of the a c t i o n b e g i n n i n g w i t h a p r e c i p i t a t i n g s i t u a t i o n and i n -c l u d i n g c a r e f u l e x p o s i t i o n . Succeeding i n c i d e n t s are arranged on the b a s i s of cause and e f f e c t i n a p a t t e r n of r i s i n g sus-pense. The a c t i o n ends w i t h a r e s o l u t i o n which o f t e n i n v o l v e s a d i s c o v e r y and/or a s t a r t l i n g r e v e r s a l . Brecht f o r m a l l y r e j e c t e d t h i s k i n d of a p l o t s t r u c t u r e i n the notes to Mahoganny, 1930, advocating i n s t e a d a more e p i s o d i c s t r u c t u r e . E i g h t e e n years l a t e r i n the Short Organum, he d e s c r i b e d h i s choice more f u l l y : As we cannot i n v i t e the audience to f l i n g i t s e l f i n t o the s t o r y as i f i t were a r i v e r and l e t i t s e l f be c a r r i e d vaguely h i t h e r and t h i t h e r , the i n d i v i d u a l episodes have to be k notted together i n such a way t h a t the knots are e a s i l y n o t i c e d . ... The p a r t s of the s t o r y have to be c a r e f u l l y set o f f one a g a i n s t another by g i v i n g each i t s own s t r u c t u r e as a p l a y w i t h i n the p l a y . ... 2 1 H i s remarks confirmed what had a l r e a d y become an obvious f e a -t u r e of both h i s dramatic w r i t i n g and h i s p r o d u c t i o n s . 41 Brecht wrote with a strong sense of scene composition: one scene was a Grundgestus. Martin Esslin translates: ... each scene ... should embody just one Grundgestus (basic gestus), no more and no less. 7. TKe writing of a play ... would con-sist in evolving a sequence of scene-titles indicating the basic gestus of each scene (e.g., "Hamlet confronts his father's ghost" or "Three Witches foretell Macbeth's rise to the throne") 2 2 The concept of the Grundgestus was also fundamental to Brecht's rehearsal procedure. As recorded in the Mother Courage Model, Brecht began by dividing a play into scenes, each scene being one Grundgestus. For example, the f i r s t scene of Mother Courage was determined as The business woman Anna Fierling, known as Mother Courage, encounters the Swedish army. This was followed by a more detailed account of the indivi-dual events making up the Grundgestus: Recruiters are going about the country looking for cannon fodder. Mother Courage introduces her mixed family, acquired in various theatres of war, to a sergeant. The canteen woman de-fends her sons against the recruiters with a knife. She sees that her sons are listening to the recruiters and predicts that the ser-geant w i l l meet an early death. To make her children afraid of the war, she has them too draw black crosses. Because of a small busi-ness deal, she nevertheless loses her brave son. And the sergeant leaves her with a prophecy: "If you want the war to work for you, you've got to give the war its due." 2 3 Brecht then concentrated on these individual events in re-hearsal, perfecting each of them in the context of the scene, The result, as Brecht intended, was a scene which was almost 42 an autonomous play. During a performance, Brecht used additional techniques to stress the separateness of the scenes. Some of these techniques have become famous - the introductory placards, songs, film clips, Helene Weigel clapping her hands "each time when things had to start up again. " 2 1 f Brecht's purpose in setting parts of the story "one against another" was, of course, to create interruptions in the overall flow of the dramatic action. The interruptions were important to him because, in theory, they encouraged the spectator to detach himself periodically and evaluate the progress of the dramatic action, thus developing a better c r i t i c a l attitude. As Brecht put i t : "The episodes must not succeed one another indistinguishably but must give us a chance to interpose our judgment." 2 5 Bond also rejects the structure of the well-made play. During an interview for Gambit magazine in 1979, he says: ... I think a well-made play is death anyway, simply because i t t e l l s l i e s , that sort of competent structure deforms the content so that you can't make a play well in that sense. 2 6 In i t s place he uses a "great f l u i d i t y of scenic structure." 2 7 His structure, like Brecht's, stresses each scene. Bond consciously writes this way: ... I know exactly what I'm going to say. I know exactly the order of the scenes and what's going to happen in them.28 He does not admit to writing whole scenes which are later 43 discarded but he often finds that he has "to write one more scene to make the action clear, because... the audience needs some help." 2 9 Directors of Bond's plays have discovered the need to emphasize each scene as a distinct unit. During the rehear-sals for Lear, B i l l Gaskill repeatedly advised his cast: "Never play the character, play the situation." 3 0 In her production of Narrow Road to the Deep North, Jane Howell used the same approach: ... i t was only when we played each scene for what we thought i t was intended, just played-the actions of the scene, just concentrated on what was done, i t seemed to solve a l l our problems and in fact Narrow Road was one of the easiest plays, easy and most d i f f i c u l t , because i t ' s very simple and therefore very d i f f i c u l t and when you get i t , i t ' s very easy. 3 1 • Peter G i l l would seem to agree with his fellow directors. Anticipating d i f f i c u l t y with the dual focus of the fight scene in The Fool, G i l l learned the scene worked well when i t was treated as a single unit. I didn't know that the Hyde Park scene would work which i t did. But my ego was taken with the idea of i t - a scene with a sp l i t action, in which you have literary London downstage and a prize-fight upstage. ... We rehearsed them as two scenes to begin with, so that the starting of the destruction of Clare the poet in the literary London had a kind of continuum for the performers... then we had to do the boxing upstage, and people had to actually be seen to be knocked about since the boxer is an important element in the play. Then we found when we put i t a l l together that one was not really going to be able to do that clever thing of - 'Now you shut up and now you do that, at that point.' I went through a whole 44 rather interesting process in which i t suddenly dawned on me that a l l the actors in the scene (and that was quite a lot, but Edward can put a lot of characters on the stage and h e ' l l usu-ally bring i t off, handle it) are in the scene together and one found that one had to play the whole scene as a scene, that everybody had to realize that they were in a l l the scene. 3 2 But Bond's plot structure is different from Brecht 1s structure in at least one primary aspect. Brecht arranged his scenes along a single horizontal axis; Bond arranges his scenes with more than one axis in mind. Simultaneously, he develops a story line and an analysis of the story line. The result, as he moves back and forth between them, is a kind of mosaic progression. During an interview with the editors of the Theatre Quarterly, Bond discusses his struc-tural c r i t e r i a : I think I started by writing a three-acter - one would have done - but I soon discovered that I couldn't t e l l the truth in that long-winded sort of way anymore. It didn't relate to my exper-ience at a l l , which was much more a series of sudden reverses and changes. And I f e l t i t was important not only to know what was happening in the room I might happen to be in, but also what was happening in that room over there, that house down the road. So that in order to say something useful about experience now, one has to keep track of a l l these things. The plays keep an eye on what's going on, you know -I think that's what my structure does. 3 3 For this reason, Bond's plot structure is more multifaceted than episodic. A multifaceted structure tends to interrupt the flow of the dramatic action even more strongly than the episodic structure. The interruptions are s t i l l intended to encourage 45 the spectator's rational understanding; yet, sometimes with this structure the juxtaposition of the scenes may be con-fusing. Bond acknowledges that in The Bundle "the decision to dramatize the preparation for the fight and the conse-quences of i t and not the fight i t s e l f ... {left} some c r i -tics ... so confused by this that they thought the r i f l e s were not used ... " 3 ** However, as actress Bridget Turner warns, the confusion may have more serious repercussions: The audience react in a very strange way to Edward Bond. You feel that very strongly. You get no help from the audience. No feed-back in the normal sense. You never feel you're in control of them. It's an odd ex-perience. They don't seem to know how to react to Bond. They seem to be in awe of him. ... 3 5 Under such circumstances, Bond can only remain hopeful that the spectator w i l l continue to develop his rational under-standing after the performance is over. He writes: Of course, the psychology of the audience is very complex, and the immediate response to a play is less important than the decision about i t six months later. But there is a sense in which one often has to work for a 'bad' response, given the society we live in. The immediate approval of an audience is often no more important than the immed-iate approval of most c r i t i c s . 3 6 ( i i ) historiclzing. In the theatre past events are made present by the strong sense of immediacy that performing, the doing of something here and now, generates. Historicizing is the process by which present events are rendered past. At f i r s t glance i t 46 would appear that historicizing is impossible in the theatre and, in a way, this observation is valid. Brecht discovered that to historicize he had to rely on non-dramatic techniques i.e. techniques more common to narrative than to drama. These techniques included plays with prologues and epilogues, narrators, other characters who spoke in the third person, directly to the audience. When Brecht did set a play in the past, he wanted the historical detail presented as accurately as possible. ... we must drop our habit of taking the different social structures of past periods, then stripping them of everything that makes them different; so that they a l l look more or less like our own ... Instead we must leave them their distinguishing marks ... 3 7 His notes on Building up a Part : Laughton's Galileo show the extent to which Brecht personally was prepared to go for historical realism: For quite a while our work embraced everything we {Bertolt Brecht, Charles Laughton} could lay our hands on. If we discussed gardening i t was only a digression from one of the scenes in Galileo; i f we combed a New York museum for technical drawings by Leonardo to use as back-ground pictures in the performance we would digress to Hokusai's graphic work ... ... we had to look through works on costume and old pictures in order to find costumes that were free of any element of fancy dress. We sighed with r e l i e f when we found a small six-teenth-century panel that showed long trousers. Then we had to distinguish the classes. There the elder Brueghel was of great service ... {We agreed} furniture and props (including doors) should be r e a l i s t i c and above a l l be of social'. and historical interest ... The characters' groupings must have the quality of historical paintings, ... 3 8 47 The result of Brecht's historicizing was to strengthen the sense of pastness in the theatre. At the same time, however, theatre being theatre, the strong sense of immed-iacy continued. Brecht anticipated this temporal contradic-tion and assumed i t would stimulate the spectator's c r i t i c a l attitude. First , a sense of pastness inhibited impulsive empathy: If we ensure that our characters on the stage are moved by social impulses and that these differ according to the period, then we make i t harder for our spectator to identify him-self with them. He cannot' simply feel: that's how I would act, but at most can say: i f I had lived under those circumstances. And i f we play works dealing with our own times as though they were historical, then perhaps the circum-stances under which he himself acts w i l l strike him as equally odd ... 3 9 Then, reason, thus encouraged, was introduced to two time periods and a "delight in comparisons" activated: When our theatres perform plays of other periods they like to annihilate distance, f i l l in the gap, gloss over differences. But what comes then of our delight in comparisons, in distance, in dissimilarity - which is at the same time a delight in what is close and proper to ourselves. **0 Finally, the c r i t i c a l attitude aroused, Brecht hoped that his theatre was the type which not only releases the feelings, insights and impulses possible within the particular historical f i e l d of human relations in which the action takes place, but employs and encourages those thoughts and feelings which help transform the f i e l d i t s e l f . "*1 Bond's method of historicizing is different - so much so i t may merit another label. Like Brecht, he sets plays in the past as a simple V-effect. 48 The Bundle is set in a primitive Asian community. It w i l l be said that this is another way of 'exporting your conscience' - just as i t has been said I ignore the present when I ' sometimes write about the past. ... In art, {however,} distance sometimes lends clarity. k 2 Unlike Brecht, he makes no effort to intens.i-fy a sense of pastness by using narrative techniques. In fact, Bond pur-posely intrudes on the past with a number of anachronisms. The anachronisms may be minor ones like the guns, light bulb or aerosol can in Lear. Often, however, they are major ones involving whole scenes. The Victorian world of Early  Morning, for example, includes Len's very modern t r i a l : LEN. I swear to t e l l the truthwholetruthnothingbut-truth. > CHAMBERLAIN. Amen. JOYCE. Go on LEN. We -JOYCE. Louder. (LEN. We was stood in the queue for the State -(JOYCE. • LEN. T'see 'Buried Alive on 'Ampstead' Eath' -JOYCE. No, 'Policeman in Black Nylons'. 'Buried Alive' was the coming attraction. LEN. Fair enough. We was stood in the queue for -(LEN. 'Policeman in Black Nylons' -(JOYCE. JOYCE. f an I'd like t'know why chair accommodation ain provided. They don't wan 'a know yer in this country. Thass 'ow yer get yer trouble. Yer pays enough ... 4 3 In either case, Bond considers the anachronisms to be impor-tant. As he explains to B i l l Gaskill, I think we should keep the anachronisms. They're rather important and part of my style ... The anachronisms must increase and not lessen the seriousness. They are like a debt that has to be paid. Or as i f a truth clutched at anything to save i t s e l f from drowning. So the anachronisms aren't careless or frivolous touches - they are like desperate facts. '*'* 49 The result of Bond's historicizing is a kind of nagging time dislocation which is intended to upset the spectator and, like an unpleasant dream, cause him to wake up and sort things out, rationally. In this process the anachronisms become clues from the present which, hopefully, contribute to a rational understanding of the past - to Bond, a v i t a l step in the progress towards social change. Understanding the past, the real past, exposes the way in which society dis-torts i t , moralizes i t and turns i t into a weapon. Under-standing the past frees the spectator from the social brain-washing Bond detests and describes in the following passage: How can an American drop bombs on peasants in a jungle . . . 1 It takes a lot of effort, years of false education and lies ... before men w i l l do that. The ruling morality teaches them they are violent, dirty and destructive ,.. and that men in jungles are even worse because they' re as savage as animals and as cunning as men - history proves i t . So he drops bombs because he believes i f the peasant ever rowed a canoe across the Pacific and drove an ox cart over America t i l l he came to his garden, he'd steal his vegetables and rape his grandmother -history proves i t . And history like the Bible w i l l prove anything. "*5 Thus Bond concludes: ... a dramatist need not always deal with the present. The past is also an institution owned by society. Our understanding of the past w i l l change with our developing self-consciousness. This is not a partisan re-writing of history but a moral discovery of i t . * 6 50 ( i i i ) contradictory characters Both Brecht and Bond create characters which are f u l l of contradictions. Brecht's Shen Te is also Shui Ta. Mother Courage curses the war in one scene and praises i t in the next. Galileo enjoys a warm fatherly relationship with his housekeeper's son Andrea while cruelly ignoring his own daughter. Bond's Arthur in Early Morning contradicts his other self, his Siamese twin, George. Cordelia in Lear, is so contradictory that casting her may prove d i f f i c u l t . Gregory Dark, the assistant director of the original pro-duction, remembers: The part of Cordelia posed special problems -to find an actress sentimental and feminine enough to cry at the slightest provocation during her pregnancy, and yet hard and mascu-line enough to lead a revolution, overthrow the government and become the leader of a totalitarian state. The part required an actress of great s k i l l as there are only four short scenes in which she has to establish a complex and ever-changing charac-ter. " 7 Wang in The Bundle f i r s t sells himself into slavery for his parents' sake and then lets his father be tortured and k i l l e d when the old man is caught helping Wang's revolutionaries. Contradictions exist even in the minor characters. The L i t t l e Monk announces his decision to give up astronomy and almost simultaneously becomes Galileo's pupil. Mr. Shu Tu burns Wang's hand and later gives Shen Te a blank cheque so she may continue as the Angel of the Slums. Grusha's "spineless brother cannot say boo to his kulak of a wife, 51 but is overbearing with the peasant woman with whom he fixes up the marriage contract.'" 1 8 Bond's gentle carpenter in Lear k i l l s a man with a cold chisel. Isabel Dean says of Mrs. Emerson in The Fool: "{She} is ludicrous... She wants to help Clare. She's twice as old as'he i s , she's potty about him, and yet she ends up being partly responsible for having him 'put away' in an asylum."1*9 The greedy Water Sellers in The Bundle find themselves to their amazement giving water away. Brecht and Bond attach considerable importance to the contradictions within their characters. F i r s t , as Brecht noted, they are r e a l i s t i c : The bourgeois theatre's performances always aim at smoothing over contradictions, at creating false harmony, at idealization. Conditions are reported as i f they could not be otherwise; characters as individuals, in-capable by definition of being divided, cast in one block, manifesting themselves in the most various situations, likewise for that matter existing without any situation at a l l . If there is any development i t is always steady, never by jerks; the developments a l -ways take place within a definite framework which cannot be broken through. None of this is like reality, so a re a l i s t i c theatre must give i t up. 5 0 Second, the character contradictions, like the obvious knot-ting of the scenes in the plot structure, are intended to block impulsive empathy and stimulate the spectator's reason. Why does Galileo hand over the Discorsi and then refuse to shake Andrea's hand? Why does Patty wait twenty-three years before v i s i t i n g Clare in the asylum and then come bringing him a jar of jam? 52 In the theatre, answers to questions concerning charac-ter contradictions are made easier for the spectator by the presence of the actor who has already asked the same ques-tions and shaped his character accordingly. Brecht ex-plained the general process: ... the actor masters his character by f i r s t mastering the 'story'. It is only after walking a l l round the entire episode that he can, as i t were by a single leap, seize and fi x his character, complete with a l l i t s in-dividual features. Once he has done his best to let himself be amazed by the inconsisten-cies in the various attitudes, knowing that he w i l l in turn have to make them amaze the audience, then the story as a whole gives him a chance to pull the inconsistencies to-gether ... 5 1 More specifically, the actor begins to shape his charac-ter by determining i t s motivation. Both Brecht and Bond are adamant that their characters are socially motivated. What is social motivation? How does i t differ from the psycholo-gical motivation so common in drama today? Director B i l l Gaskill answers these two questions in a detailed description of the f i r s t rehearsal for his production of The Caucasian  Chalk Circle in 1962. The description deserves repeating at length. And then I was faced with the problem of how to start rehearsing, i f you like, the Brechtian method as opposed to the Stanislavski method. So I started with a quite simple example. I asked the company for a cigarette, I said 'I'm out of cigarettes, I want a cigarette.' And one of the actresses, Mavis Edwards, gave me one. Then I asked, 'Why was I given this ciga-rette? ', and the actors a l l gave reasons. One of the f i r s t was, 'Mavis is a generous person', and someone else said, 'No, she's not. You are 53 the producer, and she's trying to get on your good side'. This went on, with various other suggestions, the interesting thing being that the f i r s t twenty or so answers were a l l based on emotional or psychological reasoning, in-volving the generosity of the actress and so on. The f i r s t , in fact the only, thing which went through the actors' minds was that i t must be personally motivated. Eventually I got them to understand that this was only their way of looking at action in the theatre, that they automatically put an emotional stress on i t . We discussed this ... and eventually they agreed that the giving of the cigarette was really a quite usual, habitual social action, that because we were director and an actress , working together, there was nothing extra-ordinary in my asking for, or her giving of, a cigarette. I then pointed out that i f we were to play this scene, and conveyed only the impression of generosity by the actress or of scrounging by me, we would not be truthful: because the giving of the cigarette was simply a social action, involving l i t t l e or no emotion. 5 2 Despite their insistence on social motivation, Brecht and Bond do not ignore the universally human. As H.E. Holthusen observes of Brecht's characters ... {they} know much more about themselves and their state of being in the world than is im-p l i c i t in their sociological and historical situation. Death and love, nature and fellow feeling, and the unfathomable mystery of the world as a whole : a l l this is immediately given to them. 5 3 Indeed Brecht u t i l i z e d the resulting contradiction between social determinism and the universally human to give his characters an extra richness. Mother Courage, Galileo, and Shen Te a l l know what they must do to survive in society but they a l l regret what i t costs them in terms of their human-ity. George Steiner vividly recalls one such poignant 54 moment in the Berliner Ensemble's production of Mother  Courage: As the body of her son was laid before her, she {Mother Courage} merely shook her head in mute denial. The soldiers compelled her to look again. Again she gave no sign of recognition, only a dead stare. As the body was carried off, Weigel looked the other way and tore her mouth wide open. The shape of the gesture was that of the screaming horse in Picasso's Guernica. The sound that came out was raw and terrible beyond any description I could give of i t . But, in fact, there was no sound. Nothing. The sound was total silence. It was silence which screamed and screamed through the whole theatre so that the audience lowered i t s head as before a gust of wind. And the scream inside the silence seemed to me to be the same as Cassandra's when she divines the reek of the blood in the house of Atreus. It was the same wild cry with which the tragic imagination f i r s t marked our sense of l i f e . 5 4 Perhaps i t is Walter Benjamin who best understands Brecht's dialectical reasoning on the nature of mankind. In an essay, What is Epic Theatre?, Benjamin writes: The simple fact that man can be recognized in a certain way creates a sense of triumph, and the fact, too, that he can never be recognized com-pletely, never once and for a l l , that he is not so easily exhaustible, that he holds and conceals so many possibilities within himself (hence his capacity for development), is a pleasurable recog-nition . 5 5 Bond implies his acceptance of the universally human when he says, "My plays are about the quest for freedom of one man."56 Unlike Brecht, however, Bond does not u t i l i z e the resulting contradiction between social determinism and the universally human in his characters as much as he tries to reconcile i t . Thus the one man during his quest discovers 55 that he is free only when his fellow-man is free. In other words, as Bond says elsewhere, "our species always strives for justice and happiness. Justice, social justice, be-cause without that there is no reliable happiness." 5 7 Lear understands his struggle: ... I've suffered so much, I made a l l the mistakes in the world and I pay for each of them. I cannot be forgotten. I am in their minds. To k i l l me you must k i l l them a l l . Yes, that's who I am ... I'm old, but I'm as weak and clumsy as a child, too heavy for my legs. But I've learned this, and you must learn i t or you'll die. Listen,' Cordelia. If a God had made the world, might would always be right, that would be so wise, we'd be spared so much suffering." But we made the world - out of our smallness and weakness. Our lives are awkward and fragile and we have only one thing to keep us sane: pity, and the man without pity is mad. 5 8 The two playwrights refer to both kinds of motivation in their acting theories. Late in his career Brecht wrote: However dogmatic i t may seem to insist that self-identification with the character should be avoided in the performance, our generation can listen to this warning with advantage. However determinedly they obey i t they can hardly carry i t out to the letter, so the most likely result is that truly rending contradiction between ex-perience and portrayal, empathy and demonstra-tion, ju s t i f i c a t i o n and criticism, which is what is aimed at. 5 9 In a letter to one of his German translators, Bond states his position: My plays won't work i f they're acted in a 'method' style. The use of language must be r e a l i s t i c but controlled, entrances and exits need perfect tim-ing. Skinner {a character} isn't a l l business men, he is a particular business man and the actor must create his business man out of his own ego, but only to authenticate the business man as a social mechanism. 6 0 56 English actors, especially, have d i f f i c u l t y with social motivation. During the original production of The Fool there were problems. Mick Ford (playing Lawrence) complained: But I feel that I can't develop the character. A l l I can do is get better at what I'm doing. A l l I can do is get better at crawling around the stage. And that's technique. 6 1 Similarily, -Roderick Smith (playing Bob) joined in: I can't think of i t in terms of character. I have to work off every moment. That's the way the scenes are built up. It's a play of moments, instead of character. Of course, I can invent reasons for the things I do, but they're only inventions. I feel like I'm a piece of moving scenery, doing i t s thing in the right place. I can do what's wanted, but i t becomes hard work and nothing else. To do i t night after night, i t becomes technique. 6 2 These two young actors should be more familiar with the work of Helene Weigel. In the Mother Courage Model, Brecht con-tinually praised his wife for her a b i l i t y to play the charac-ter, complete with a l l i t s contradictions, as well as the situation. For example, In giving the peasants the money for Kattrin's burial, Weigel quite mechanically puts back one of the coins she has taken out of her purse. What does this gesture accomplish? It shows that in a l l her grief the business woman has not wholly forgotten how to reckon - money is hard to come by. This l i t t l e gesture has the power and suddenness of a discovery - a dis-covery concerning human nature, which is molded by conditions. To dig out the truth from the rubble of the self-evident, to link the parti-cular strikingly with the universal, to capture the particular that characterizes a general process, that is the art of the r e a l i s t . 6 3 In this way, then, an actor with a c r i t i c a l attitude to his character, rationally understanding i t , can provide the 57 spectator with a whole character which in turn helps the spectator to develop his own c r i t i c a l attitude or rational understanding. (iv) the writing of comedy Traditionally, comedy as compared to tragedy is the dramatic form which is more socially oriented, more objective in presenting i t s characters, and more practical in i t s effect. Thus, both Brecht and Bond, early in his career, attempt to write comedy, believing i t is better suited to their theatre for social change. As a young man Brecht rejected tragedy because i t seemed impractical. Let us assume I see {Hauptmann' s} Rose Bernd or Ghosts in the theatre. Why do I find these plays boring and why do I feel nothing? ... because I am to see here as tragic something that could be immediately or easily dispatched by a few c i v i l i z e d methods or a measure of enlightenment. The distress of un-married mothers could be resolved by a bit of enlight-enment, and the consequences of clap eliminated by salvarsan. The presentation of Rose Bernd's suicide does not interest us, because we do not see the necessity for i t ... 6 h By the time he wrote the Short Organum, however, Brecht's outlook had become more tolerant. He confessed that since pleasure was the "noblest function" 6 5 of the theatre, tragedy was acceptable entertainment for the Greeks, cathar-sis being a purification performed "not only in a pleasurable way, but precisely for the purpose of pleasure." 6 6 Never-theless, as he quickly pointed out, the modern concept of pleasure was much different than the Greek one and that, 58 consequently, a n c i e n t tragedy p r o v i d e d p l e a s u r e now onl y i n i n c i d e n t a l ways. 6 7 Brecht had a p r e c i s e i d e a of "modern p l e a s u r e " and de-f i n e d i t i n the f o r t y - s i x t h s e c t i o n o f the Short Organum: Our own p e r i o d , which i s tra n s f o r m i n g nature i n so many and d i f f e r e n t ways, takes p l e a s u r e i n understanding t h i n g s so that we can i n t e r f e r e . There i s a g r e a t d e a l to man, we say; so a gre a t d e a l can be made out o f him. He does not have to stay the way he i s now, nor does he have to be seen as he i s now, but a l s o as he might become. We must not s t a r t w i t h him; we must s t a r t on him. 6 8 A c c o r d i n g l y as l a t e as 1955, Brecht continued to m a i n t a i n The problems of today can onl y be grasped by the t h e a t r e i n so f a r as they are problems of comedy. . . Comedy allows o f solutions.; tragedy, i f you s t i l l b e l i e v e i n i t s p o t e n t i a l i t y , does not. 6 9 With h i s f i r s t p l a y s , Bond a l s o r e s t r i c t s h i m s e l f to w r i t i n g comedy because i t "allows of s o l u t i o n s " . He d e s c r i b e s Saved as a comedy: By not p l a y i n g h i s t r a d i t i o n a l r o l e i n the t r a g i c Oedipus p a t t e r n of the p l a y , Len turns i t i n t o what i s f o r m a l l y a comedy. The f i r s t scene i s b u i l t on the young man's sexual i n s e c u r i t y - he e i t h e r i n v e n t s i n t e r r u p t i o n s h i m s e l f or i s i n t e r -r u pted by the o l d man. Len has to ch a l l e n g e him, and get him out of the house, b e f o r e he can con-t i n u e . L a t e r he helps the o l d man's w i f e , and t h i s i s g i v e n a sexual i n t e r p r e t a t i o n by the on-loo k e r s . L a t e r s t i l l the o l d man f i n d s him w i t h h i s w i f e i n a more o b v i o u s l y sexual s i t u a t i o n . The Oedipus outcome should be a row and death. There is_ a row, and even a s t r u g g l e w i t h a k n i f e -but Len p e r s i s t s i n t r y i n g to h e l p . The next scene s t a r t s w i t h him s t r e t c h e d on the f l o o r w i t h a k n i f e i n h i s hand, and the o l d man comes i n dressed as a ghost - but n e i t h e r o f them i s dead. They t a l k , and f o r once i n the p l a y someone apart from Len i s as honest and f r i e n d l y as i t i s p o s s i b l e f o r him to be. The o l d man can onl y g i v e 59 a widow's mite, but in the context i t is a victory - and a shared victory. It is t r i v i a l to talk of defeat in this context. ... 7 0 Gradually, however, as Bond becomes "more conscious of the strength of human beings to provide answers" 7 1 and as definite heroes begin to emerge in his plays, he realizes a need for a more tragic dramatic form. In a program note to The Sea, he makes his f i r s t theoretical statements: We even need a sense of tragedy. No democracy can exist without that. But tragedy as some-thing to use in our lives, that gives us sym-pathy and understanding of other people. Only a moron wants to grin a l l the time, and even he weeps with rage in the night. Tragedy in this sense is necessary for moral maturity, i t doesn't lead to despair, and i t certainly has nothing to do with a catharsis that makes us accept abominations to which there should be p o l i t i c a l solutions. It leads to knowledge and action. 7 2 The implications in Bond's redefining of tragedy are in-teresting and pertinent to an appreciation of his more mature work. First, he implies an understanding empathy with the hero; as the hero suffers, so should the spectator. More-over, because the suffering of the hero is endured for the sake of others, to gain for them some measure of social justice, Bond believes the dramatic action is a moral action - social justice being an absolute good. Finally, Bond envisages a catharsis that leads to "knowledge and action." Today, most c r i t i c s would agree that tragic catharsis leads to knowledge, even self-knowledge, which is socially useful. Humphry House explains: 60 A tragedy rouses the emotions from potentiality to activity by worthy and adequate stimuli; i t controls them by directing them to the right objects in the right way; and exercises them within the limits of the play, as the emotions of the good man would be exercised. When they subside to potentiality again after the play is over, i t is a more "trained" potentiality than before. This is what Aristotle calls catharsis. Our responses are brought nearer to those of the good man. 7 3 The uniqueness of Bond's definition of tragedy is in the idea of a catharsis leading to social action. For this reason his most recent heroes remain alive, practical men by virtue of their terrible suffering and capable of directing effec-tive social change. Bond sums up his a r t i s t i c ideals in the preface to The Bundle. A l l societies have used art. It is a biological requirement of the orderly functioning of human beings. But other societies have used art not in the way tired business-men want to use our theatre, to escape from labour which denies them self-respect and self-knowledge, but in order to learn how to live and work so that we may be happy and our moral concern for one another is not wasted. 7 4 61 PART I ENDNOTES 1 Wil le t t , Brecht on Theatre, p. 266 2 I b i d . , p. 71. 3 Ibid. h Ib id . , p. 14. 5 Ib id . , p. 179. 6 Ib id . , p. 248. 7 Ib id . , p. 227. 8 Edward Bond, The Sea (London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1973), pp. 6.6-7. 9 Hay, Roberts, A "Companion, p. 73. 1 0 Bond, "Drama and Violence," p. 13. 1 1 Scharine, The Plays of Edward Bond, p. 48. 1 2 Ib id . , p. 154. 1 3 Bond, The Bundle, pp x x i i i - x i v . l h Wil le t t , Brecht on Theatre, p. 185. 1 5 Bond, "Drama and Violence," p. 13. 1 6 Ronald Gray, Brecht the Dramatist (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976), "PP• 67-8. 1 7 Bond, "On Brecht," p. 34. 1 8 Ibid. 1 9 Holland, "Brecht, Bond, Gask i l l ," p. 31. 2 0 Donohue, "The Fool ," p. 28. 2 1 Wi l le t t , Brecht on Theatre, p. 201. 2 2 Martin Ess l in , Bertolt Brecht (New York and London: Columbia University Press, 1969), p. 24. 2 3 Brecht, Bertolt Brecht: Plays, Poetry and Prose, vo l . 7, p. 342. l h Witt, ed. , Brecht, p. 155. 2 5 Wi l le t t , Brecht on Theatre, p. 201. 62 2 6 Bond, "A Discussion," p. 33. 2 7 Bond, "Drama and Violence," p. 11: 2 8 Ib id . , p. 12. 2 9 Ib id . , p. 11. 3 0 Ib id . , p. 31. 3 1 Bond, "A Discussion," p. 29. 3 2 Donohue, "The Fool ," p. 27. 3 3 Bond, "Drama and Violence," p. 11. 3 , 1 Bond, The Bundle, p. xx. 3 5 Donohue "The Fool ," p. 16. 3 6 Bond, "On Brecht," p. 34. 3 7 Wi l le t t , Brecht on Theatre, p. 190. 3 8 Brecht, Bertolt Brecht: Plays, Poetry and Prose, vo l . 5, pp. 234-236,. 3 9 Wi l le t t , Brecht on Theatre, p. 190. •*a Ibid. , p. 276. Ib id . , p. 190. Hay, Roberts, A Companion, p. 25-6. * s . \ Bond, Early Morning , p.p. 20-1. Dark, "Lear," p. 22. "*5 Bond, Bihgo, p . x i i . "*6 Bond, The Bundle, p. xiv. * 7 . ' Dark, "Lear,-" p. 22. 5 0 Brecht, Bertolt Brecht: Plays, Poetry and Prose, vo l . 7, p. 302. Donohue, "The Fool ," p. 16. Wil le t t , Brecht on Theatre, p. 277. 63 s 1 5 2 5 3 Ibid 22 5 it 5 5 ' 5 6 5 7 5 8 5 9, 6 U 61 6 2 6 3 6 l* 6 5 6 6 6 7 6 6 6 9. 7 0 7 n 7 2 Holland, "Brecht, Bond, Gask i l l ," p. 28. H.E. Holthusen, "Brecht's Dramatic Theory," in Brecht: A Collection of C r i t i c a l Essays, ed. Peter Demetz (Englewood C l i f f s , N . J . : Prentice-Hall , Inc. , 1962), p. 116. George Steiner, The Death of Tragedy (New York: Knopf, 1963), pp.-353-4. Benjamin, Understanding Brecht, p. 13. Hay, Roberts, A Companion, p. 14. I b i d . , P. 55. Bond, Lear, p. 84. Wi l le t t , Brecht oh Theatre, p. 277. Hay, Roberts, A Companion, p. 73. Donohue, "The Fool ," p. 22. Ibid. Brecht, Bertolt Brecht: Plays, Poetry and Prose, vo l . 5, p. 384. James McFarlane, ed., Henrik Ibsen: A C r i t i c a l Anthology (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books L t d . , 1970), p. 198. Wi l le t t , Brecht on Theatre, p. 180. Ibid- , p. 181. Ibid,', p, 182. Ib id . , p. 193. Witt, ed. , Brecht, p. 221. Edward Bond, Saved (London: Erye Methuen Ltd . PP- 5-6. Hay, RpBerts," A Companion, p. 75. Bond The Sea, p. 68. 1969), 64 7 3 G r a y , B r e c h t t he D r a m a t i s t , p p . 8 3 - 4 . 1 U > Bond , The B u n d l e , p . x x i . 65 PART II : ACTION MODELS On stage any event or any character is potentially an action model. The specific kind of action model that a character becomes is determined by the way the playwright chooses to present him. An attractive character which the playwright wants the spectator to imitate is a positive action model; an unattractive character which the playwright wants the spectator to reject is a negative action model. As well, the playwright may present characters singly or in groups as character models or as society models. (i) society models A l l of Brecht's great plays show vigorous, central char-acters being progressively destroyed by their societies. These characters, however, are not destroyed easily. They are tough fighters, quick witted, expedient - attractive because of their i n i t i a l v i t a l i t y . Yet, despite their many positive attributes, they are unable to save themselves. Thus, Mother Courage, who makes such a juanty entrance seated on a f u l l wagon and accompanied by her three children, exits slowly, dragging an empty wagon, alone. Lusty Galileo, who f i r s t appears as "a powerful physicist ... a vociferous, full-blooded man with a sense of humor ... earthy, a great teacher", 1 becomes a blind, imprisoned glutton. Shen Te, who hates impersonating Shui Ta and begins by having to do i t only occasionally, finishes by having to impersonate him 66 regularly for the rest of her l i f e . Grusha, who starts out healthy, practical, happily in love, ends up miserably married and under arrest for kidnapping. Brecht's purpose in concentrating on such situations was to provide negative society models which the spectator would reject. In Brecht's own words his plays disclosed without trouble and without possibility of evasion how shabby and imperfect a society is in which a man can only be good and decent when he is regularly bad. Without i t being stated, everybody is forced to the conclusion that this society deserves to be changed, indeed that i t must be changed. 2 C r i t i c Ronald Woodland's review of a production of Mother Courage supports Brecht's prediction: In each major episode of the narrative, Mother Courage, to assure her economic survir val, has to deny some good instinct that threatens by ramification that survival. The narrative of her struggle for survival thus becomes also the narrative of the loss of what-ever goodness Mother Courage might once have had within her. ... Physically she is reduced from the human being riding on the wagon to the animal pulling i t ... The thought behind this action is that the condition of human society makes necessary the sacrifice of innate human goodness to the exig-encies of economic j_substistence in the world . . . It is ... a condemnation of each of us who contributes to the society in which the require-ment of such sacrifice becomes inevitable. 3 Brecht hoped, of course, that because the society model was a representation of the spectator's real society, i t s rejec-tion would lead to a rejection of the" spectator's l i f e society and, thereby, encourage action for social change. Not a l l of Brecht's society models are negative. There 67 are glimpses of positive models: one in the prologue to The Caucasian Chalk Circle and one in the play i t s e l f during the "brief golden age" created by Azdak. Edward Bond, how-ever, takes exception to Brecht's positive society modelling. Importantly, Bond does not argue with the idea of using such models. His objection is that Azdak1s "brief golden age" is handed over by a deus ex machina - i t is produced by magic. This short-circuits what in his opinion is one of the funda-mental principles of art: to show "the desire, the possi-b i l i t y , the action necessary to achieve i t {a Utopia}, and the practical standards that can be used to assess this action and the moral standards that can be used to judge i t . " -Bond attempts to remedy Brecht's "shortcomings" in his o w n play, The Bundle. Here Wang attains a U t o p i a n society, but there is nothing magical in the process. The play care-ful l y demonstrates Wang's desire, the possibility of a Utopia and the painful actions necessary to achieve i t . Further, Wang's actions are practical, given the society in which he lives. His actions are morally right, considering the social alternatives. It is the old ferryman w h o proves Wang's Utopia real by his decision to die for i t . Why are our lives wasted? We have minds to see how we suffer. Why don't we use them to change the world? A god would wipe us off the board with a cloud: a mistake. But as there is only ourselves shouldn't we change our lives so that we don't suffer. Or at least suffer only in changing them? 568 ( i i ) character models In the fi n a l analysis a l l of Brecht's main characters -Mother Courage, Galileo, Shen Te, Grusha, even Azdak to some extent - are victims of society. As such their actions tend to be reactive rather than active and, in a theatre for social change, they are negative models rather than positive ones. However, there are varying degrees of nega-t i v i t y . Mother Courage suffers and learns nothing. She " i s reduced from the human being riding on the wagon to the animal pulling i t " ; yet, she is s t i l l "hoping to get back into business." 6 Her failure to do anything more positive bothered a number of c r i t i c s . Friedrich Wolf's comments during a debate with Brecht were typical: ... I think Courage would have been even more effective i f at tne end the mother had given her curse on the war some visible expression in the action ... and drawn the logical con-clusions from her change of mind.7 But Brecht knew exactly why he had written Mother Courage the way he did. A number of people remarked at the time that Mother Courage learns nothing from her misery, that even at the end she does not understand. Few realized that this was the bitterest and most meaningful lesson of the play ... They did not see what the playwright was driving at: that war teaches people nothing. 8 Brecht's other characters are more positive. Eventually Galileo and Shen Te come to understand their predicaments although they prove incapable of taking the necessary steps 69 to change i t . This personal failure accounts for much of the self-loathing Galileo expresses near the end of the play: Welcome to the gutter, brother in science and cousin in treachery! Do you eat fish? I've got fish. What stinks is not fish but me ... Can you bring yourself to take a hand such as mine? 9 Shen Te is forced to beg the gods for her rescue: Oh, don't, illustrious ones! Don't go away! Don't leave me! How can I face the good old couple who've lost their store and the water seller with his s t i f f hand? And how can I defend myself from the barber whom I do not love and from Sun whom I do love? And I am with child. Soon there'll be a l i t t l e son who'll want to eat. I can't stay here. 1 0 Walter Sokel points out the tragedy of Shen Te's situation: "In her fi n a l despairing gesture she represents humanity in its tragic greatness: impotent, helplessly caught in the web of circumstances, in the perennial frustration of human aspirations, but honestly facing the truth instead of hiding behind make-believe, and therefore great." 1 1 The same might be said of Galileo. Grusha, after the most careful deliberation ( i t takes her part of a day and a l l night to decide), picks up the child and by her action challenges society. She is almost destroyed. Only the intervention of the "good, bad judge" Azdak - Brecht's equivocal hero - saves her. Like Grusha, Azdak knows the kind of social action which is necessary and when his situation allows i t , he acts accordingly. 70 And he broke the rules to save them. Broken law like bread he gave them, Brought them to shore upon his crooked back. At long last the poor and lowly-Had someone who was not too holy To be bribed by empty hands: Azdak. But Azdak is a victim too. Brecht makes this point very powerfully by having the character beaten up on stage. Thus, as Azdak is judge and prisoner by chance, so he is hero and victim. Moreover, Azdak disappears at the end of the play, an action Bond condemns as socially irresponsible: Azdak the judge in The Caucasian Chalk Circle, vanishes like a deus ex machina after showing that i t is possible for judgement to be wise. ... He does not stay to show that wisdom is prac-t i c a l . In Cymbeline a god descends so that we may understand (he t e l l s us not to ask questions), and Azdak seems to vanish so that we may believe! For a l l his earthiness he is a voice shouting from an upper window, not someone we met in the street. ... 1 3 Generally, Brecht seems uneasy with the idea of a posi-tive hero. Azdak is not one. Neither is Galileo. Even after he hands over the Discorsi and confesses, Brecht re-sists the impulse to create a hero. In his notes on the play, he compliments Laughton's acting of the moment: Certainly nothing could have been more horrible than the moment when L. has finished his big speech and hastens to the table saying "I must eat now", as though in delivering his insights Galileo has done everything that can be expected of him. 1 4 At this point i t is perhaps valuable to recall a remark of Brecht's quoted earlier: "To depend only upon your own strength means usually to depend also and mainly upon the 71 sudden emergent strength of strangers." 1 5 Possibly, for Brecht, an adequate positive hero was a collective hero, like the working class. In fact he experimented with this kind of a hero in his adaptation of Shakespeare's Coriolanus, but the adaptation was shelved. A conversation recorded by one of his students gives a probable reason: ... a great contemporary subject w i l l necessarily include the working class element, either actively or passively. And there you immediately have an enormous d i f f i c u l t y . 'The workers, in contrast to the bourgeoisie, have never taken the stage as a type, but as a mass, and they w i l l always remain a mass. ... But for the theatre you need types: quantity, that very particular form of quality, can only be shown with the greatest d i f f i c u l t y ... how can masses be shown except as a chorus?... The representatives of the working class must at least have a face, that is clear. I shall have to give more thought to this. 1 6 In conclusion, Brecht's position on the positive hero seems to be most accurately expressed by the contradiction in Galileo: Unhappy the land that has no heroes! Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes. 1 7 Bond's position on the positive hero is expressed by Wang's speech in The Bundle: We live in a time of great change. It is easy to find monsters - and as easy to find heroes. To judge rightly what is good - to choose be-tween good and e v i l - that is a l l that i t is to be human. 1 8 Bond's main characters resemble Brecht's in their struggle against an overpowering society. Eventually, however, a l l of Bond's main characters come to understand their predica-ment and mankind's need for social justice. Willy in The 72 Sea consoles Rose with this understanding: WILLY. If you look at l i f e closely i t is un-bearable. What people suffer, what they do to each other, how they hate themselves, anything good is cut down and trodden on, the innocent and the victims are like dogs digging rats from a hole, or an owl starv-ing to death in a city. It is a l l unbear-able but that is where you have to find your strength. Where else is there? ROSE. An owl starving in a city. WILLY. To death. Yes. Wherever you turn. So you should never turn away. If you do you lose everything. Turn back and look into the f i r e . Listen to the howl of the flames. The rest is l i e s . ROSE. How just. How sane. 1 9 From the understanding, most of Bond's characters go on to accomplish some form of positive social action. In fact Bond's characters from play to play have shown an increas-ing capacity for social action. Scopey in The Pope's  Wedding, "can't see how he can act." 2 0 Len in Saved begins to act positively by living "with people at their worst and most helpless." 2 1 Arthur in the last act of Early Morning "sees clearly what his position is and is then able to act. In other words, he wants to get out of heaven and escape from society." 2 2 Lear makes the f i r s t attack on society by start-ing to tear down his wall but he is quickly shot. Willy and Rose in The Sea, young, strong and united, go off determined to change the world. Wang in The Bundle actually manages to successfully change his society. Bond admits the increasing capacity of his characters for social action is directly related to his own increasing 73 confidence in humanity's strength to effect change. We mustn't write only problem plays, we must write answer plays - or at least plays which make answers clearer and more practical. When I wrote my f i r s t plays, I was, naturally cons-cious of the weight of the problems. Now I've become more conscious of the strength of human beings to provide answers. 2 3 It is interesting to speculate whether Brecht might have worked out the problem of the working class as hero and i f it s "face" might have looked like one of Bond's practical heroes. Bond remains convinced: The tragedy of twentieth century drama is that Brecht died before he could complete a last period of plays: the plays he would have written as a member and worker of a marxist society. The loss is very severe-;. But we have to write the plays he l e f t unwritten. 2 ** 74 PART II ENDNOTES Brecht, Bertolt Brecht: Plays, Poetry and Prose, vo l . 5 p. 218. Witt, ed. , Brecht, p. 224. Ronald Woodland, "The Danger of Empathy in Mother  Courage," Modern Drama 15 (1972-3): p. 128. Bond, The Bundle, p. x i i . Ib id . , p. 64. The paraphrase of Bond's comment in the introduction to Lear - "Act three shows a resolution of this , in the world we prove real by dying in i t" - is intentional. There are many s imilari t ies between Lear and the old ferryman at this point. Brecht, Bertolt Brecht: Plays, Poetry and Prose, vo l . 5 p. 381. Wil le t t , Brecht on Theatre, p. 229. Brecht, Bertolt Brecht: Plays, Poetry and Prose, vo l . 5 pp. 388-9. Brecht, Gali leo, pp. 116-119-Brecht, The Good Woman, p. 107. Walter Sokel, "Brecht's Spl i t Characters and His Sense of the Tragic," in Brecht: A Collection of C r i t i c a l  Essays, ed. Peter Demetz (Englewood C l i f f s , N . J . : Prent ic-Hal l , Inc. , 1962), pp. 130-1. Brecht, The Caucasian Chalk C i r c l e , p. 190. Bond, The Bundle, pp.. xix-xx. Brecht, Bertolt Brecht: Plays, Poetry and Prose, vo l . 5 p. 262. Witt, ed. , Brecht, pp. 233-34, Ib id . , pp. 221-2. Brecht, Gali leo, pp. 107-8. Bond, The Bundle, p. 78. Bond, The Sea, p. 44. Bond, "A Discussion," p. 14. Bond, Saved, p. 5. Bond, "A D i s c u s s i o n , " p. 15 Hay, Roberts, A Companion, Bond, "On Brecht", p. 34. 76 PART III: RESOLUTION One of the most crucial moments in the theatre for social change occurs when the performance ends. At this point, i f the theatre is to be successful, the spectator must begin to apply the c r i t i c a l attitude or rational under-standing to his own society. He must begin to imitate or reject the action models. Both Brecht and Bond try to guide this v i t a l movement from theatre to l i f e by considerably modifying the conventional kind of resolution. They offer instead a resolution that seems incomplete: the main con-f l i c t is not quite settled. Indeed, given the problems presented, how could i t be? In the struggle between man and his society, Brecht and Bond firmly believe that the f i n a l resolution must be the spectator's responsibility. Both playwrights experiment with a variety of incomplete resolutions. Probably the simplest one is in Brecht's The Good Woman. The play concludes with an epilogue which comes right to the point: How could a better ending be arranged? Could one change people? Can the world be changed? It is for you to find a way, my friends, To help good men arrive at happy ends. You write the happy ending to the play! There must, there must, there's got to be a way! 1 Galileo concludes with a careful reconstruction of the beginning of the play. Andrea, himself a scientist, uses a young boy's question to i n i t i a t e a lesson and introduce a 77 new age: ... You must learn to open your eyes. The milk is paid for and so is the jug. The old woman can have i t . Yes, and I haven't yet answered your question, Giuseppe. One cannot f l y through the air on a broomstick. It must at least have a machine on i t . And as yet there is no such machine. Perhaps there never w i l l be, for man is too heavy. But, of course, one cannot t e l l . We don't know nearly enough, Giuseppe. We are really only at the beginning. 2 Evan when the Berliner Ensemble omitted the scene where the Discorsi crosses the border, the conclusion s t i l l recalled the beginning. The following chart from Brecht's notebook shows how carefully the symmetry was planned. similia in 1) and 12). there is a morning in 1), and an evening in 12) there is a gi f t of an astronomical model in 1), of a goose in 12) There i s t {sic} a lecture for Andrea, the boy in 1), and a lecture for Andrea, the man in 12) there is a woman going around watching in 1), and a woman going around watching in 12). 3 This sense of a new beginning at the end of the play is im-portant to Brecht. He believed that the sense of a new be-ginning stimulated work for social change. In the foreward to Galileo he wrote: It is well known how beneficially people can be influenced by the conviction that they are poised on the threshold of a new age. At such a moment their environment appears to be s t i l l entirely unfinished, capable of the happiest improvements, f u l l of dreamt-of and undreamt-of pos s i b i l i t i e s , like malleable raw material in their hands. They themselves feel as i f they have awakened to a new day, rested, strong, resourceful. Old beliefs are dismissed as superstitions, what yesterday seemed a matter of course is today subject to fresh examination. We have been ruled, says mankind, but now we shall be the rulers. 4 78 The conclusion of Mother Courage also recalls the beginning. Fuegi points out ... A l l the themes sounded in the opening scene are sounded once again. A l l the prophecies are f u l f i l l e d . The f u l l wagon is now empty. The family is reduced'to- one... The wheel has come f u l l c i r c l e . 5 Moreover, in production Brecht intensified the continuous quality of the dramatic action by using the revolving stage. He explained the intended effect in the Mother Courage Model: At the end as at the beginning the wagon must be seen r o l l i n g along. Of course the audience would understand i f i t were simply pulled away. When i t goes on ro l l i n g there is a moment of i r r i t a t i o n ("this has been going on long enough"). But when i t goes on s t i l l longer, a deeper under-standing sets in. 6 The deeper understanding i s , of course, that Mother Courage learns nothing by her ordeal - war teaches people nothing. It is unproductive and only changing the nature of society could eliminate i t . Brecht comes close to giving The Caucasian Chalk Circle a conventional resolution. Azdak saves Grusha; however, this settles the main conflict only temporarily. In order to recapture Azdak's "brief golden age", the spectator must find his own Azdak, his own solution to social problems. Possibly in his search he w i l l refer back to the workers' society depicted in the prologue of the play. Bond's plays offer more of a conventional resolution with the emergence of a positive hero who demonstrates a "method of change." Yet, Bond does not intend this action 79 to be conclusive. He says of Lear My Lear (as opposed to Shakespeare's Lear) makes a gesture in which he accepts responsibility for his l i f e and commits himself to action... My Lear's gesture mustn't be seen as f i n a l . That would make the play a part of the theatre of the absurd ... Lear is very old and has to die anyway. He makes his gesture only to those who are learning how to liv e . 7 Bond ends The Sea in mid-sentence because the play can have no satisfactory solution at that stage. Rose and Willy have to go away and help to create a sane society - and i t is for the audience to go away and complete the sentence in their own lives. 8 He calls Bingo and The Fool 'Scenes of Money and Death' and 'Scenes of Bread and Love' respectively. He explains his purpose: ... I see the play as a much more open-ended enterprise, presenting several possible out-comes or solutions. ... These scenes of some-thing don't just t e l l a story, they also, I hope, make a statement to those watching, a statement the audience is invited to finish. 9 In The Bundle Bond experiments with a more complicated kind of conclusion. Simultaneously Basho exits through the auditorium while Wang addresses the audience. Both gestures violate the aesthetic distance set up between actor and spectator. In fact, i t is Oscar Budel's opinion that the gestures "elevate the audience to ... {the actor's} level." 1 0 Assuming Biidel to be correct, these moments of unity which are established seem especially appropriate for meaningful teaching. Accordingly Wang gives explicit instructions for behaviour outside the theatre: 80 We live in a time of great change. It is easy to find monsters - and as easy to find heroes. To judge rightly what is good - to choose between good and evil - that is a l l that i t is to be human. 1 1 The use of an incomplete resolution tends to make a play, in Bond's words, "a more open-ended enterprise." Raymond Williams observes that the play is a "process rather than a product." 1 2 The relationship between theatre and l i f e be-comes very close. The mirror art holds to nature is cracked The glass-maker and quicksilver-painter can't mend i t But look closely at the broken mirror To see where nature is broken Hopefully, i t is this closeness which w i l l encourage the spectator to move from the theatre "process" to the l i f e process. Bond's poem continues: Art that t e l l s you only who you are Creates the past It must t e l l you who you.are So that you see what you must do 1 3 81 PART III ENDNOTES Brecht, The Good Woman, p. 109. Brecht, Gali leo, p. 122. Fuegi, Essential Brecht, p. 170. Brecht, Bertolt Brecht: Plays, Poetry and Prose, vo l . 5 p. 213. Fuegi, Essential Brecht, p. 90. Brecht, Bertolt Brecht: Plays, Poetry and Prose, vo l . 5 pp. 383-4. Hay, Roberts, A Companion, p. 54. Ib id . , p. 57. Ib id . , p. 21. e0scar Budel, "Contemporary Theatre and Aesthetic Distance," in Brecht: A Collection of C r i t i c a l Essays, ed. Peter Demetz> (Englewood C l i f f s , N . J . : Prentice-Hall , Ince., 1962),'p. 66. Bond, The Bundle, p. 78. Raymond Williams, Drama from Ibsen to Brecht (London: Chatto and Windus, 1971), p. 288-9. Bond, Theatre Poems, pp. 84-5. 82 CONCLUSION In their attempt to create a theatre for social change Brecht and Bond influence the development of dramatic l i t e r a -ture, the theatre, and possibly even of society i t s e l f . They influence dramatic literature by their conscious use of techniques designed to encourage the spectator's c r i t i c a l attitude or rational understanding. Unfortunately, the techniques do not always function as designed. Mother Courage, for example, seldom encouraged the response Brecht wanted. In the Mother Courage Model, he wrote: ... certain reviews and many discussions with persons who had seen the play showed that a good many people regarded Mother Courage mere-ly as a representative of the " l i t t l e people" who "become involved in the war in spite of themselves," who are "helpless victims of the war,':' and so on. 1 Similarly a German c r i t i c , apparently aware of how Brecht wants him to respond to Galileo, cannot comply: I see a man who has weakened his eyes at the telescope and who is now almost blind as a result of working, i l l e g a l l y , by moonlight, in order to make a copy of a work extremely useful to mankind. This is not merely spok-en; this is demonstrated. I see further, a man ruined by the burden of thought and work that has driven him like an uncontrollable itch into ever more dangerous situations, while, a l l the time, he is being spied upon by his shrewish and stupid daughter. And I am supposed to hate this man? To condemn him? I don't care how many directives are issued demanding that I do so, I simply cannot! 2 Partly Brecht blamed this failure on "a deeply engrained habit {which.} leads the theatre-goer to pick out the more 83 emotional utterances of the character and overlook everything else." 3 Partly he blamed himself. He rewrote parts of Mother Courage over and over again and as late as 1954 was s t i l l curious "to know how many of those who see Mother  Courage and Her Children today understand i ts warning." ** He added an epilogue to The Good Woman, a prologue to The  Caucasian Chalk Circle and his death in 1956 interrupted the rehearsing of a new production of G a l i l e o . 5 Bond seeks to avoid some of Brecht's problems by making his main characters less v i t a l , less attractive at the be-ginning of the play. Usually they emerge as watchers -brooding, withdrawn, often mad and essentially passive. But Bond's approach has i ts problems too. F i r s t , i t contradicts a generally accepted dramatic principle: "a passive central character does not work." 6 Second, and perhaps part ia l ly explaining the f i r s t point, actors find such characters d i f f i cu l t to play. During the Lear rehearsals Gaski l l gives the following note to the cast: Don't try and relate to everything that happens on stage. This affects everybody, but Lear especially. He lives for much of the play in his own world, much of the time he doesn't re-late at a l l to people coming and going. This applies to everybody - i f you relate too much you ' l l break up the scene. Just find your own identity. Now that's a very odd note to give an actor - you're usually told the opposite. But i t is true that in this play you should l ive in your own world. 7 Tom Courtenay comments on playing John Clare: One of the most important things is your voice. As an actor, you've got to try to put yourself 84 in situations where you stretch your voice, because i f you don't stretch your voice, you don't grow. It's interesting that my voice is better in the second half than in the f i r s t . That's because i t ' s d i f f i c u l t to get centred in the f i r s t half. There's really very l i t t l e opportunity for the audience to get to know me until the scene with Patty in the garden. ...8 Of course once a main character begins to understand his predicament and to contemplate the social action neces-sary for his freedom, Bond intends him to be more attrac-tive. Often, however, audiences f a i l to immediately appre-ciate the shift to hero. Certainly the c r i t i c s found noth-ing heroic in the Lear premiere. Gregory Dark sums up the c r i t i c a l response: Most of the company grim with hangovers, grimmer after seeing the reviews. We searched for a few intelligent remarks for our front-of-house quote-boards, but these were not a l l that forthcoming. On the whole, we f e l t that the c r i t i c s were scared of giving an outright condemnation - they had been caught out that way with Saved - but obviously did not like the play, so they chose a middle road which satisfied nobody, and really meant nothing. 9 The c r i t i c s also failed to see the hero in mad John Clare. In fact, their reviews were so uniformly deprecating that Martin Esslin f e l t compelled to take them to task. He con-cludes his blistering ar t i c l e : I have only come across one review which does justice to this aspect {Bond's language} as well as the many other beauties of what un-doubtedly w i l l , in due time, be regarded as a major work by one of the century's greatest playwrights. It is by John Lahr, and appears in the January 1976 issue of Plays and Players. Needless to say, that one really adequate appreciation of The Fool, which might have helped an audience to understand and appreciate 85 i t , came out just after the play i t s e l f had closed. The Fool w i l l soon' be seen a l l over Europe. When shall we have another chance to see a produc-tion in England? Our daily and weekly c r i t i c s have done their best to delay that chance for God knows how long. 1 0 Bond does not like theatre c r i t i c s . ... Critics annoy me. If a house is on f i r e and I shout 'Fire! Fire'.' I don't want people to commend my shouting a b i l i t y , I want them to join in the firefighting. * 1 He responds to audience confusion about his characters by giving patient explanations of his work. In The Bundle he experiments with a more consistently active hero, Wang. He also rewrites plays. Lear necessitates Bingo; The Bundle is sub-titled New Narrow Road to the Deep North. Brecht cannot alienate his characters enough while Bond finds i t easy to alienate his characters perhaps too much. It would seem that V-effects are harder to control in prac-tice than in theory. Some c r i t i c s even question the theory. For example, Peter Demetz thinks ... the audience w i l l again and again try to overcome the most violent shocks of alienation; ironically, the audience's desire for theatrical i l l u s i o n may well be more richly gratified by Brecht's ingenious "counter-actions" than by the mechanical illusions of the " r e a l i s t i c " stage. Resistance does not necessarily make enjoyment impossible; i t may even add to i t s charms. 1 2 Yet given that alienation shocks may work in the way antici-pated by Brecht and Bond, there is s t i l l a problem. Any shock over time loses i t s potency. Brecht suspected that the power of his plays to stimulate reason would fade quickly, 86 ... human nature knows how to adapt i t s e l f just as well as the rest of organic matter. Man is even capable of regarding atomic war as something normal, so why should he not be capable of dealing with an affair as small as the alienation effect so that he does not need to open his eyes. I can imagine that one day they w i l l only be able to feel their old pleasure when the alienation effect is offered. 1 3 Bond confirms Brecht's suspicions. I've seen good German audiences in the stalls chewing their chocolates in time with Brecht's music - and they were most certainly not seeing the world in a new way. 1 4 This means new alienation techniques must be discovered and used constantly - a demanding job. Moreover, there is the further complication that when an author establishes a re-putation for shocking the audience, the audience w i l l tend to react to his new plays with obstinate equanimity. Peter G i l l hints at the phenomenon: You tend to want to protect your actors, because you don't know how a new play's going to go. You just plough on and hope for the best. I don't know to what extent the audience that comes are Bond freaks, so to speak, who are not going to find certain things as odd, laughable, resible etc., as they might have done a few years ago. Anyway, one was prepared for quite a lot of things that didn't happen. 1 5 There is no doubt Brecht and Bond have influenced the development of the theatre. Bond writes that today, "We live in a time of theatrical v i t a l i t y . One can see many younger writers emerging and developing now who could certain-ly change the nature of drama." 1 6 As Bond suggests, Brecht deserves credit as the pioneer who began the reviving process. 87 His vigorous exploration of the theatricality of the theatre, his encouragement of the sister arts- - design, music, choreo-graphy - to again participate in the theatrical event, re-tired the confining middle-class drawing room from the stage. After 1949, the exceedingly liberal financial support of the East German government17 allowed Brecht and Helene Weigel to gather "the greatest assemblage of theatre talent in the world, to form the nucleus of the Berliner Ensemble."1 Through this vehicle, Brecht influenced many. A young Bond was deeply impressed. I didn't get my 'Brechtianism' from the Court but from seeing the Berliner Ensemble in Lon-don in the late ' f i f t i e s . They were speaking a foreign language and I had no theatrical education, but I recognized his importance then as I'd only done with one other writer, Shakespeare. ... 1 9 Bond, too, has contributed to the new v i t a l i t y of the theatre. His fight, strongly supported by B i l l Gaskill, against the Lord Chamberlain for his early plays Saved, Early Morning and Narrow Road, helped abolish theatre censor-ship. Since then Bond has continued to assist the Royal Court Theatre and its young writers. He is generous with advice to directors, translators and students. His own work keeps opening up new theatrical territory. How effective, however, is theatrical v i t a l i t y in advan-cing Brecht's and Bond's basic cause? Both playwrights appeal to the working class as "changers of society". In 1954 Brecht described his plays as "based on ... the aims 88 and outlook of the working class, which is trying to raise human productivity to an undreamt-of extent by transform-ing society and abolishing exploitation." 2 0 Bond des-cribes his working class focus in a poem, On Art 2 : Shall I paint the dead? No use, they made their w i l l long ago You weren't in i t Shall I write odes to a known beauty? No, she rotted She has no favours to give Shall I write marches for the emperor's armies? No use Their dirges have been written Write for a new age Of a path that leads away from violence And isn't guarded at every mile post By a Class Garrison Write for the working class Which needs no chains Which does not forge the world To give currency to li e s 2 1 But the theatre today, especially in England, is usually re-garded as a middle and upper class institution. How can i t be used to reach the working class? Brecht considers some possibilities in the Short  Organum: ... The bare wish, i f nothing else, to evolve an art f i t for the times must drive our theatre of the scientific age straight out into the suburbs {working class districts} ... They {the workers} may find i t hard to pay for our art, and immediately to grasp the new method of entertainment, and we shall have to learn in many respects what they need and how they need i t ; but we can be sure of their interest. 2 2 Significantly, Brecht's personal experience with working class theatres was not always as productive in practice as 89 his intentions sounded i n theory. The New York production of The Mother i s a case i n p o i n t . 2 3 Eventually Brecht< i n -tended that his Model Books be used to encourage and improve working class theatres. Bond depends on "people of good w i l l " who do attend the theatre - teachers, s o c i a l workers, etc. - to f i l t e r his message down to the working class. 2 ** Certainly at this stage i n his career he has no desire to work i n t e l e v i s i o n -the recognized working class medium. In his opinion most t e l e v i s i o n i s ... a load of old rubbish, and i f you're going to write a load of old rubbish you might j u s t as well do i t for films. Everything that goes out on the screen has to be i n f a n t i l e or innoc-uous writing. It's a time for very strenuous writing. I can imagine periods when i t was possible for writing to serve as a kind of s o c i a l lubricant, but i t ' s c e r t a i n l y not so now. Tele-v i s i o n always deals with pseudo-problems, and t r i e s to magnify small things into great issues, knowing that i t can make a l o t of noise without r e a l l y treading on anybody's toes or upsetting anyone. The theatre ought always to be treading on people's toes. 2 5 F i n a l l y , how much have Brecht and Bond influenced the development of society? To what degree have they achieved a theatre for s o c i a l change? F a i t h f u l supporters of Brecht claim a high degree of success. In 1973 Werner Mittenzwei reports that Everywhere i n the world where people are strug-gling for the i r l i b e r a t i o n , to improve th e i r l i v e s , his writings bring a i d and impulse. The conditions of struggle i n the a n t i - i m p e r i a l i s t l i b e r a t i o n f i g h t vary greatly i n in d i v i d u a l countries, but Brecht may always be found i n the armoury. One of the main reasons for the 90 international function and effectiveness of this writer is the close connection between Brecht and the revolutionary party of the working class. 2 6 S t i l l in Brecht 1s later plays there is a growing sense of stoicism which could undermine the working for social change. Increasingly, "change is welcomed for i ts own sake." 2 7 The world becomes "a very noble and admirable place in view of a l l the different changes and generations that con-stantly occur in i t . " 2 8 At the same time there is the suggestion that man's ab i l i ty to direct the processes of change has dwindled. Characters of the calibre of Galileo misjudge the times and lose their opportunity to act: Moreover, I am now convinced, Sart i , that I never was in real danger. For a few years I was as strong as the authorities. 2 9 In the face of continuous change, considering man's capacity for error, perhaps endurance is a l l that can be expected of man. Perhaps i t is the inevitable conclusion of a man who served in World War I, fled Hi t l er ' s Germany where his books were burnt by the Nazis, l ived fourteen years in p o l i t i c a l exile, was interrogated by the Committee on Un-American Act iv i t ies and, in 1948, returned to East Germany to develop one of the most famous theatre companies in the world. Bond has absolutely no faith in stoicism. Indeed i t is because he rejects the idea so strongly that he writes Lear. Shakespeare's Lear is usually seen as an image of high, academic culture. The play -is seen as a sublime action and the audience 91 are expected to show the depth of t h e i r c u l t u r e by the extent to which they penetrate i t s mysteries... But the s o c i a l moral of Shakespeare ' s Lear i s t h i s : endure t i l l i n time the world w i l l be made r i g h t . That's a dangerous moral f o r us. We have l e s s time than Shakespeare. Time i s run-ning out. We have to have a c u l t u r e that i s n t an escape from the sordidness of s o c i e t y , the ' n a t u r a l ' s i n f u l n e s s or v i o -lence of human nature., that i s n ' t a way of l e a r n i n g how to endure our problems - but a way of s o l v i n g them. 3 0 How s u c c e s s f u l has Bond's work been i n h e l p i n g to change soci e t y ? Simon T r u s s l e r o f f e r s the f o l l o w i n g e s t i m a t i o n : Since he {Bond} began w r i t i n g ' t e c h n o l o g i c a l advance' has been transformed i n most minds from an e l e c t i o n - winning slogan to a con-t r i b u t i n g cause of world c r i s i s , and 'growth' i s i n c r e a s i n g l y recognized as a p o l i t e euphem-ism f o r unchecked m a t e r i a l greed, and wastage of precious resources. I f recognize t h e i r dangers i n time, i t w i l l not be d i r e c t l y due to Bond or, f o r that matter, to any a r t i s t : but i t w i l l be p a r t l y due to the climate of o p i n i o n h i s work has helped to create. 3 1 Such p r a i s e may be extravagant. I t would be a mistake, however, to underestimate Edward Bond. His a b i l i t y , h i s s i n c e r i t y , h i s d e d i c a t i o n are a l l impressive. His reputa-t i o n increases s t e a d i l y . Yet personal success does not seem to deter him from h i s o r i g i n a l purpose of changing s o c i e t y . I f anything, Bond has become more determined as he has become more aware of the strength of mankind. The t r e e endures the changing seasons We cannot wait f o r s p r i n g or l i v e long i n winter We cannot We must change. 3 2 ENDNOTES B r e c h t , B e r t o l t B r e c h t : P l a y s , P o e t r y and P r o s e , v o l . p . 3 4 1 . F u e g i , E s s e n t i a l B r e c h t , p . 175 . B r e c h t , B e r t o l t B r e c h t : P l a y s , P o e t r y and P r o s e , v o l . p . 3 4 1 . I b i d . , p . 389 . F u e g i , E s s e n t i a l B r e c h t , p . 3 3 1 . E s s l i n , " N o r Y e t a ' F o o l ' t o Fame , " p . 44 . D a r k , " L e a r , " p . 27 . Donohue, "The F o o l , " p . 24 . D a r k , " L e a r , " p . 3 1 . E s s l i n , "Nor Y e t a ' F o o l ' t o Fame ," p . 44 . Hay , R o b e r t s , A Companion , p . 27 . Demetz , e d . , B r e c h t : A C o l l e c t i o n o f E s s a y s , p . 4 . W i t t , e d . , B r e c h t , .pp. .227-8., B o n d , "On B r e c h t . , " p . 34 . Donohue, "The F o o l , " p . 3 1 . Bond , "On B r e c h t , " p . 34 . F u e g i , E s s e n t i a l B r e c h t , p . 82 . I b i d . Bond, ' ' "On B r e c h t , " p . 35 . W i l l e t t , B r e c h t on T h e a t r e , p . 269 . Bond , T h e a t r e Poems, p p . 8 3 - 4 . W i l l e t t , B r e c h t on T h e a t r e , p . 1 8 6 . . J a y W i l l i a m s , S tage L e f t (New Y o r k : S c r i b n e r , 1 9 7 4 ) , p p . 1 7 9 - 1 8 2 . Edward B o n d , a m o r n i n g s e m i n a r h e l d a t t he R o y a l C o u r t T h e a t r e , 19 J u l y 1977 . 93-2 5 Bond, "Drama and Violence," p. 14. 2 6 Witt, ed., Brecht, p. 232. 2 7 Gray. Brecht the Dramatist, p. 87. 2 8 Ibid. 2 9 Brecht, Gali leo, p. 118. 3 0 ' Hay, Roberts. A Companion, p• 53. 3 1 Simon Trussler, Edward Bond, ed. Ian Scott-Ilvert (Harlow: Longman Group L t d . , 1976), p. 34. 3 2 Bond, The Bundle, p. 79. 94 A SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY PLAYS BY BRECHT AND BOND l i s ted in chronological order Bond, Edward. The Pope's Wedding. London: Methuen L t d . , 1971 -'Saved. London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1969. • Early Morning. London: Calder and Boyars L t d . , 1968. Narrow Road to the Deep North. London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1968.— Lear, London; Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1972. The Sea. London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1973. Bihgo: Scenes of Money and Death. London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1974. A-A-America! and Stone. London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , vm-. The .Fool; Scenes of Bread and Love and We Come to the  RiVer. London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1976. The Bundle or New Narrow Road to the Deep North. London Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1978. Brecht, Bertolt . Mother Courage and her Children. Tran-slated by Eric Bentley. London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1975. • The Li fe of Gali leo. Translated by Desmond I. Vesey. London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1974. • Parables for the Theatre: The Good Woman of Setzuan and The.Caucasian Chalk Circle" Revised English Versions by Er ic Bentley, Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin :Boqks L t d , , 19,66, 95 BOOKS AND ARTICLES Arnold, Arthur. "Lines of Development in Bond's Plays." Theatre Quarterly 2 (January 1972): 15-19. Beckerman, Bernard. Shakespeare at the Globe: 1599-1609. New York: The Macmillan Co. , 1962. Benjamin, Walter. Understanding Brecht. Translated by Anna Bostock. London: New Left Books, 1973. Bensky, Lawrence M. "Harold Pinter: An Interview." Pinter: A Collection of C r i t i c a l Essays. Edited by Arthur Ganz. Englewood C l i f f s , N . J . : Prentice-Hall , 1972. Bentley, E r i c . In S earch of Theatre. New York: Vintage Books. 1953. —• The Li fe of the Drama. New York: Atheneum, 1967. Bond, Edward. "Beating Barbarism."" Sunday Times, 25 November 1973. -—• "Drama and the Dialectics of Violence." Theatre Quarterly 2 (January 1972): 4-14. =—• "On Brecht: A Letter to Peter Holland." Theatre Quarterly 8 (January 1978): 34-35, : —• Theatre Poems and Songs. Edited by Malcolm Hay and Phi l ip Roberts. London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1978. • et a l . "A Discussion with Edward Bond." Gambit 17 (October 1970): 5-38. Brecht, Bertolt. Bertolt Brecht: Plays Poetry and Prose. The Collected Plays. Edited by John Wil lett and Ralph Manheim. Vol . 5. London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1970. • Bertolt Brecht: Plays Poetry and Prose. The Collected Plays. Edited by John Willett and Ralph Manheim. Vol . 7. London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1970. • Bertolt Brecht: Plays, Poetry and Prose. Poems 1913 -1956. Edited by John Wil lett and Ralph Manheim. London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1976. 9& B r u s t e i n , Robert. The Theatre of Revolt. Boston: L i t t l e , Brown, 1962. Bryden, Ronald. The U n f i n i s h e d Hero and Other Essays. London: Faber and Faber, 1969. Budel, Oscar. "Contemporary Theatre and A e s t h e t i c Distance." Brecht: A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays. E d i t e d by Peter Demetz. Engelwood C l i f f s , N.J.: P r e n t i c e -h a l l , 1962. Dark, Gregory. "Edward Bond's Lear at the Royal Court: a Production Casebook." Theatre Q u a r t e r l y 2 (January 1972): 20-31. Demetz, Peter., ed. Brecht: A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: P r e n t i c e - H a l l , Inc., 1962. Donohue, Walter. "Edward Bond's The Fool at the Royal Court Theatre." Theatre Q u a r t e r l y 6 (Spring 1976): 12-44. Durbach, E r r o l . "Herod i n the Welfare State: Kindermord i n the Plays of Edward Bond." Educational Theatre  J o u r n a l , 27, 4 ( D e c , 1975), 480-7. E s s l i n , M a r t i n . An Anatomy of Drama. New York: H i l l and Wang, 1976? •-- • B e r t o l t Brecht. New York and London: Columbia U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1969. • Brecht: The Man and h i s Work. New York: Doubleday, 1961. "Brecht's Language and i t s Sources." Brecht : A  C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays. E d i t e d by Peter Demetz. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: P r e n t i c e - H a l l , 1962. •—' "Nor Yet a 'Fool' to Fame." Theatre Q u a r t e r l y 6 (Spring 1976): 39-44. Fradki n , I . "On the A r t i s t i c O r i g i n a l i t y of B e r t o l t Brecht's Drama." Brecht: A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays. E d i t e d by Peter Demetz. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: P r e n t i c e - H a l l , 1962. Fuegi, John. The E s s e n t i a l Brecht. Los Angeles: Hennessey and I n g a l l s , Inc., 1972. G i l l , P eter. "Coming Fresh to The Fool,," Theatre Q u a r t e r l y 6 (Spring 1976): 25-32. 97 Gray, Ronald. Brecht the Dramatist. Cambridge: Cambridge U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1976. Hattaway, Michael. "Marlowe and Brecht." Mermaid C r i t i c a l  Commentaris: Christopher Marlowe. E d i t e d by B r i a n M o r r i s . London: Ernest Benn L t d . , 1968. Hay, Malcolm and Roberts, P h i l i p . Edward Bond : A Companion  to the P l a y s . London: T Q P u b l i c a t i o n s , 1978. Holland, Peter. "Brecht, Bond, G a s k i l l and the P r a c t i c e of P o l i t i c a l Theatre." Theatre Q u a r t e r l y 8 (January 1978): 24-34. Holthusen, Hans Egon. "Brecht's Dramatic Theory." Brecht:  A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays. E d i t e d by Peter Demetz. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: P r e n t i c e - H a l l , 1962. Marowitz, C. Confessions of a C o u n t e r f e i t C r i t i c . London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1973. McFarlane, James., ed. Henrik Ibsen: A C r i t i c a l Anthology. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books L t d . , 1970. Mennemeier, Franz Norbert. "Mother Courage and her C h i l d r e n . " Brecht: A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays. E d i t e d by Peter Demetz. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: P r e n t i c e - H a l l , 1962. M i l e s , Humphrey. "The Concept of Man i n B e r t o l t Brecht." U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto.Quarterly 32 (1962-3): 217-228. Mulryne, J.R. and Fender, Stephen. "Marlowe and the 'Comic Distance.'" Mermaid C r i t i c a l Commentaries.::::Christo- pher Marlowe. E d i t e d by B r i a n M o r r i s . London: Ernest Benn L t d . , 1968. Parker, R.B. "Dramaturgy i n Shakespeare and Brecht." U n i v e r s i t y of Toronto Q u a r t e r l y 32 (1962-3): 229-246. Peter, John. "Edward Bond, Violence and Poetry." Drama (Autumn 1975): 28-32. Rohrmoser, Gunter. "Brecht's G a l i l e o . " Brecht: A C o l l e c t i o n  of C r i t i c a l Essays. E d i t e d by Peter Demetz. Engle-wood C l i f f s , N.J.: P r e n t i c e - H a l l , 1962. Scharine, Richard. The Plays of Edward Bond. Lewisburg: Bu c k n e l l U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1976. 98 Schumacher, E r n s t . " P i s c a t o r ' s P o l i t i c a l T h e a t r e . " Brecht: A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays. E d i t e d by P e t e r Demetz. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: P r e n t i c e - H a l l , 1962. Sokel, Walter H. "Brecht's S p l i t C haracters and h i s Sense of the T r a g i c . " Brecht: A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays. E d i t e d by Peter Demetz. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: P r e n t i c e - H a l l , 1962. S t e i n e r , George. The Death of Tragedy. New York: Knopf, 1963. T a y l o r , J.R. The.Second Wave: B r i t i s h Drama f o r the Seven- t i e s . London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1971. T r u s s l e r , Simon. Edward Bond. E d i t e d by Ian S c o t t - K i l v e r t . Harlow: Longman Group L t d . , 1976. Wardle, I. " I n t e r v i e w w i t h W i l l i a m G a s k i l l . " Gambit 17 (October 1970): 38-43. W i l l e t t , John., ed. and t r a n s . Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an A e s t h e t i c . New York: H i l l and Wang, 1964. W i l l i a m s , Jay. Stage L e f t . New York: S c r i b n e r , 1974. W i l l i a m s , Raymond. Drama from Ibsen to Brecht. London: Chatto and Windus, 1971. W i t t , Hubert, ed. Brecht As They Knew Him. T r a n s l a t e d by John Peet. New York: I n t e r n a t i o n a l P u b l i s h e r s , 1974. Woodland, Ronald. "The Danger of Empathy i n Mother Courage." Modern Drama 15 (1972-3): 125-129. Worth, K a t h a r i n e J . R e v o l u t i o n s i n Modern E n g l i s h Drama. London: G . . B e l l and Sons, 1973. Wprtheny John. "Endings and Beginnings: Edward Bond and the ^ Shock of R e c o g n i t i o n . " E d u c a t i o n a l Theatre J o u r n a l 27 (December 1975): 466-79. 


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