Trumpets and Drums

Trumpets and Drums (German: Pauken und Trompeten) is an adaptation of an 18th-century English Restoration comedy by Farquhar, The Recruiting Officer. It was written by the German dramatist Bertolt Brecht in collaboration with Benno Besson and Elisabeth Hauptmann.[1]

Trumpets and Drums
Written byBertolt Brecht
Date premiered19 September 1955 (1955-09-19)
Place premieredBerliner Ensemble
Original languageGerman
GenreEpic comedy

It was first performed in 1955 in a production directed by Besson, with music by Rudolf Wagner-Régeny (whose songs for the play have been called "Weill-like" by John Willett).[2] It was the first premiere of Brecht's final season at the Berliner Ensemble.[3] Willett identifies an instance of Brecht's lifelong indebtedness to Rudyard Kipling in the play's "Song of the Women of Gaa."[4]

The production strongly influenced the English director William Gaskill's reinterpretation of Farquhar's original play for the National Theatre.[5]


Brecht offers the following account of the first scene of the play:[6]


  1. Willett (1967, 63).
  2. Willett (1967, 63, 139).
  3. Willett and Manheim (1972, xviii).
  4. Willett (1967, 91).
  5. Willett and Manheim (1972, xix).
  6. Willett and Manheim (1972, 414).


  • Willett, John. 1967. The Theatre of Bertolt Brecht: A Study from Eight Aspects. Third rev. ed. London: Methuen, 1977. ISBN 0-413-34360-X.
  • Willett, John and Ralph Manheim, eds. 1972. Collected Plays: Nine. By Bertolt Brecht. Bertolt Brecht: Plays, Poetry, Prose Ser. New York: Vintage. ISBN 0-394-71819-4.

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