Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Brecht et Platon : théâtre comme révolution. Défamiliarisation vs. répétition

Abstract : Would we be able to think about staging—or stage—a revolution as an event connected with the revolutionary process itself, rather than as a theatrical performance, repeatable and repeated every evening? In his attempt to answer the question, Leszek Brogowski wrote an article for the Brecht symposium in Rennes in 2010. In fact, the question is of going beyond the content of the dramatic presentation of revolutionary history because Brecht himself was interested in theater.Even Saint-Just was aware of the necessity to add to social revolu-tion, aimed at creating a just society, an element of transformation of con-sciousness (revolution of consciousness). This kind of revolution is irrevers-ible: when we realize something, we are not able to go back, therefore we cannot behave as if it had no place, as if we still lived in ignorance. Unless we accept the hypocrisy and conformism.Participation of modern art in revolutionary processes is based on pro-voking this kind of ‘revolution of consciousness’. Leszek Brogowski defends Brecht’s intuition because he is aware that Brecht thought of Platonic re-flection on theater. Plato did not condemn art, as is often written— he only condemned certain artistic ‘ways’. His criticism of theater ncludes identify-ing the unique experience that defies poetic and theatrical mimesis (imita-tion), namely: thoughts. Imitation of thought is not a thought . Plato believed that the weakness of the Greek theatre was connected with that factor and Brecht’s criticism contributes to strengthening of Pla-to’s criticism. Brecht said many times that that on-lookers’ identification with the characters of the play can no longer serve as an aesthetic principle of theater. In order to o arouse thought and encourage to act, theater must use more and more stimuli which interfere with, delay or even prevent this type of aesthetic identification and form critical distance between audi-ence and stage. Brecht described all theatrical elements which are con-nected with critical attitudes in his theory of Verfremdung or ‘alienation effect’. In his own theatrical productions, he used, for example, banners as parts of dramatic actions and also as props in workers’ street demon-strations.Brechtian model of critical distancing leading to a revolution of con-sciousness is in opposition to both mimesis and catharsis. Brecht often used the idea when he spoke against the bourgeois theater, which to this day still overwhelms us. Brecht believed that successful theatrical perfor-mance, an adequate staging of dramatic action, relied on the advent of a new social order.Based on three examples: 1. sensu stricto revolutionary event, name-ly, the funeral of Marat, 2. the staging of Zola’s Germinal at the Châtelet Theater in Paris in 1885 by William Busnach and 3. the premiere of Brecht’s Mother, Leszek Brogowski analyzed the complex set of questions connect-ed with theater and its role in formation of critical attitudes (transfor-mation of consciousness), sovereign thinking and revolutionary processes. Brogowski tried to identify both the barriers of aesthetic theory and dif-ficult problems connected with Brecht’s own theatrical experience. In con-clusion, Brogowski offered a surprising solution: he wrote that scientific character of Brecht’s Verfremdung theory should be revindicated as the starting point of further discussion on the subject.
Complete list of metadata
Contributor : Laurence Leroux <>
Submitted on : Monday, April 5, 2021 - 8:27:38 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, April 7, 2021 - 3:15:04 AM


Explicit agreement for this submission


  • HAL Id : hal-01689593, version 1



Leszek Brogowski. Brecht et Platon : théâtre comme révolution. Défamiliarisation vs. répétition. Dyskurs : Pismo Naukowo-Artystyczne ASP we Wrocławiu, Akademia Sztuk Pięknych im. Eugeniusza Gepperta we Wrocławiu, 2014, Dyskurs, pp.7-25. ⟨hal-01689593⟩



Record views


Files downloads