World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Gestus

Article Id: WHEBN0003633502
Reproduction Date:

Title: Gestus  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Fabel, Historicization, Epic theatre, Athol Fugard, Bertolt Brecht
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Gestus

Gestus is an acting technique developed by the German theatre practitioner Bertolt Brecht. It carries the sense of a combination of physical gestures and "gist" or attitude. It is a means by which "an attitude or single aspect of an attitude" is revealed, insofar as it is "expressible in words or actions."[1]

Gestus, as the embodiment of an attitude, carries at least two distinct meanings in Brecht's theatre: first, the uncovering or revealing of the motivations and transactions that underpin a dramatic exchange between the characters; and second, the "epic" narration of that character by the actor (whether explicitly or implicitly).

In the first sense, that of anatomizing the character, a Gestus reveals a specific aspect of a character: rather than his [3]

In the second sense, the actor's attitude as embodied in acting as an act of epic narration (the 'showing' that is 'shown' in the 'showing', in Brecht's turn of phrase), Brecht refers to the "political" basis from which an actor interprets his role and its place within the storytelling scheme of the production as a whole. "[T]he choice of viewpoint is also a major element of the actor's art, and it has to be decided outside the theatre" Brecht explains in his "[4] In this sense of the clarification and embodiment of a particular interpretative perspective, Gestus is related to Brecht's other important practical tool, the Fabel.

A Gestus is not a cliché or "rubber stamp"; the actor develops a character's Gestus through a process of exploration of concrete physical behaviour and according to a principle of selective realism. The post-Brechtian German theatre practitioner Heiner Müller (who ran Brecht's Berliner Ensemble for a short while) argues that "[r]eflecting the actions through the figures, mentally as well as emotionally, also has the character of citation. The citation geste (Gestus) must not diminish the intensity and spontaneity of reactions. Identification in the details with estrangement of the whole."[5]

References

  1. ^ Willett (1964, 42).
  2. ^ Wright (1989, 27).
  3. ^ Brecht (1949, 200).
  4. ^ Brecht (1949, 196).
  5. ^ Müller (1978, 177).

Sources

  • Albright, Daniel. 2000. Untwisting the Serpent: Modernism in Music, Literature, and Other Arts. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic. Ed. and trans. John Willett. London: Methuen, 1964. ISBN 0-413-38800-X. 179-205.
  • Fowler, Kenneth. 1991. Received Truths: Bertolt Brecht and the Problem of Gestus and Musical Meaning. New York: AMS Press.
  • Mueller, Roswitha. 2006. "Learning for a new society: the Lehrstück.” In The Cambridge Companion to Brecht. Ed. Peter Thomson and Glendyr Sacks, 2nd. ed., 101-117. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Müller, Heiner. 1978. "The Geste of Citation: Three Points (On Philictetes)". In Germania. Trans. Bernard Schütze and Caroline Schütze. Ed. Sylvère Lotringer. Semiotext(e) Foreign Agents Ser. New York: Semiotext(e), 1990. ISBN 0-936756-63-2. 177.
  • Willett, John, ed. 1964. Brecht on Theatre: The Development of an Aesthetic. By Bertolt Brecht. Trans. and notes John Willett. London: Methuen. ISBN 0-413-38800-X.
  • Wright, Elizabeth. 1989. Postmodern Brecht: A Re-Presentation. Critics of the Twentieth Century Ser. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-02330-0.
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.