The Modern Theatre Is the Epic Theatre

"The Modern Theatre Is the Epic Theatre" is a theoretical work by the twentieth-century German theatre practitioner Bertolt Brecht. It was composed in 1930 as a set of notes to accompany his opera Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. In it, he outlines his ideas for a "refunctioning" of the theatre, his principle of the "separation of the elements" (conceived in opposition to Wagner's principle of the "integrated work of art"), and the "shifts of accent" involved in the move from traditional "dramatic" theatre to his own "epic" theatre. It also contains one of the earliest formulations of "Gestus".[1]


  1. Brecht, Bertolt. 1950. "The Modern Theatre Is the Epic Theatre: Notes to the Opera Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny". Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic. Ed. and trans. John Willett. London: Methuen, 1964. ISBN 0-413-38800-X. pp. 33–42.
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