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⊸ Brechtian Nights: Hastings Memory Theatre


///// (2012)

Preliminary equipment and proof-of-concept tests for an architectural projection at Pigeon Park in the downtown eastside of Vancouver. Project is currently under development with completion set for Summer 2012.

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"Brechtian Nights" Concept

Brecht is perhaps best known for his influential theory of epic theatre. With this, Brecht proposed that a work of theatre should privilege rational self-reflection and critical distance from the action on stage over emotional identification with the characters. By exposing the artificial nature of the theatrical event, Brecht invited the audience to see that social reality itself was an artifice and, as such, was mutable.

Brecht provoked his audiences to adopt a critical perspective in order to recognize social injustice and exploitation and to be sufficiently motivated to effect change in the world outside of the theatre. Famously, Brecht employed the use of techniques that remind the spectator that the play is a representation of reality and not reality itself.

One of Brecht's most important principles was what he called the Verfremdungseffekt often translated as a "defamiliarization effect" or "distancing effect". Brecht wrote that he wished to "[strip] the event of its self-evident, familiar, obvious quality and [create] a sense of astonishment and curiosity about them".

Brecht would thus have actor's directly address to the audience, employ obnoxious stage lighting and have songs suddenly interrupt the action. He would sometimes employ explanatory placards, and, in rehearsals, the transposition of text to the third person or past tense, or speak stage directions out loud.

With "Brechtian Nights" Goodweather seeks to employ a host of Brechtian techniques to 'break the fourth wall', in this case the screen, and extend the ideas of the work beyond the imaginary boundary between the projection and its audience in an immersive, unpredictable and unorthodox urban intervention.