• 2015-2016 Season,  Mother Courage and Her Children

    You’ve Got Guts, I Like That…

    By: Eric Stroud, dramaturg For me, this show spoke leaps and bounds about our tendency as human beings to romanticize war. The first scene of the play consists of two recruiters who are trying to convince Mother Courage’s eldest boy Eilif to enlist. “Next thing you know you’ll have a new cap and boots how bout it,” and “You’ve got guts, I like that,” stand as only two lines in a series of flatteries paid to Eilif. Here at BYU, all students studying dramaturgy are strongly encouraged to create a lobby display for the main stage show they are dramaturging. It is, to an extent, a chance for the dramaturg to show…

  • 2015-2016 Season,  Mother Courage and Her Children

    In March A Tree We Planted. Part 2.

    By: Eric Stroud, dramaturg Last time we discussed Director David Morgan’s usage of a tree in his concept for this show. A representation of “human kind,” the tree is an omen of what might befall those who hold a soft spot for war mongering. However, David’s concept (“any war we have today, is simply evidence that human kind has not learned from its mistakes.”) is not clearly accomplished with just a tree that is center stage. Circles are also an important part in this production of Mother Courage. While the tree may represent “human kind” for David, the circle represents the monotony of human kind’s choices. In this play, killing shows up…

  • 2015-2016 Season,  Mother Courage and Her Children

    In March A Tree We Planted. Part 1.

    By: Eric Stroud, dramaturg (NOTE: Mother Courage and Her Children opened on Friday to a major success. Tickets are still available for other showings, but they are going fast. You can buy them online by visiting this link.) THE SONG OF SHELTER   IN MARCH A TREE WE PLANTED TO MAKE THE GARDEN GAY. IN JUNE WE WERE ENCHANTED: A LOVELY ROSE WAS BLOOMING THE BALMY AIR PERFUMING! BLEST OF THE GODS ARE THEY WHO HAVE A GARDEN GAY! IN JUNE WE WERE ENCHANTED.   WHEN SNOW FALLS HELTER-SKELTER AND LOUDLY BLOWS THE STORM OUR FARMHOUSE GIVES US SHELTER. THE WINTER’S IN A HURRY BUT WE’VE NO CAUSE TO WORRY.…

  • 2015-2016 Season,  Mother Courage and Her Children

    Barta Heiner: Talk With A Three-Time Mother Courage

    by Eric Stoud, dramaturg Not many actresses can say that they have played the role of Mother Courage three times. However, Barta Heiner is not just any actress. A member of the Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA, Heiner has performed more than 100 roles and directed more than 40 productions. Some of her favorite theatrical roles include Lettice in Lettice and Lovage, Florence Foster Jenkins in Souvenir, the title role in King Lear, Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd and Mary Whitmer in The Fourth Witness. Her recent roles in film have been Verlene Bennion in Cokeville Miracle and Sergent Major Nedra Rockwell in Once I was a Beehive. Barta Heiner…

  • 2015-2016 Season,  Mother Courage and Her Children

    Epic Theatre: Honoring Brechtian Alienation with Masks

    by Eric Stroud, dramaturg RECAP: In my last post, I talked about what the definition of Brechtian Theatre actually is. We discussed that it is an altered version of Epic Theatre. Brecht wanted his audience to “engage” with the theatre on a political level. For Brecht, “engaged” meant that his audience was able to think critically about what they were seeing. According to Brecht, a production succeeded when the audience felt “alienated” from the performance. Brecht called his alienation process Verfremdungseffekt (in America we often refer to it as the V-Effect). Brecht used the V-Effect to jolt the audience from becoming too emotionally involved the production. I made the statement that the…

  • 2015-2016 Season,  Mother Courage and Her Children

    “Brechtian”: A Clarification

    by Eric Stroud, dramaturg Everyone loves to throw around the term “Brechtian”. When most people use the term it is in their description of a piece of theatre. Often, they are implying that piece of theatre is non-traditional, and in fact, acknowledges that it is theatre. It has become a sort of blanket statement for all theatre that is different than traditional. However, when people use “Brechtian” in these ways, they are using it incorrectly. What we must understand is that Brecht subscribed to a very specific type of theatre, called Epic Theatre, and then added elements that were unique to his needs and wants for theatre. So what is Epic Theatre? First…

  • 2015-2016 Season,  Mother Courage and Her Children

    Mother Courage: Shattered Beyond Repair

    By: Eric Stroud, dramaturg Hello there. Will you do something for me? Close your eyes for a moment, and imagine your most prized possession. Picture it as clearly as you can. Now, imagine that possession is in the middle of the road. As you watch your possession in the middle of the road, imagine a giant, speedy diesel truck runs over it and smashes it to pieces. As you try and gather up the pieces of your possession, you realize it is useless. It is destroyed beyond repair.             Mother Courage and Her Children is the story of prized possessions being destroyed beyond repair. It is gritty, and dark, and unpleasant. As…