What would Bertolt Brecht have made of Donald Trump? Brecht’s “epic theatre” was sparked by the rise of Nazism in 1930s Germany. Many pundits have likened the political period we’ve now entered – with Trump in the Oval Office, Brexit under way and hard-right populism on the rise across Europe – with that dark decade of the twentieth century. Are modern theatremakers up to the Brechtian challenge? And can theatre actually make a difference in the face of such upheaval?
After an acclaimed season at Brockley Jack last January, Lazarus Theatre’s inventive ensemble production of Brecht’s politically charged modern classic The Caucasian Chalk Circle returned for eight performances only at Greenwich Theatre – and Lazarus artistic director Ricky Dukes invited me back to chair a re-run of our post-show panel debate on politics in theatre. There was so much more to talk about this year.
I was joined for last night’s Q&A by Dukes as well as Lazarus dramaturg Sara Reimers; director and Brecht authority Stephen Unwin, who makes his long-overdue playwriting debut at the Jermyn Street Theatre in May with his Brecht-inspired and Nazi regime-set play All Our Children; and political activist, theatremaker and commentator Zack Polanski.
— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) March 30, 2017