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 constantly, in dialogue, implications, and actions. Davod felt that the cyclical cycle of killing that has existed since the dawn of time can easily be represented with a circle.
Additionally, watch as Mother Courage pulls her cart around the tree, over and over. Pay attention to how her lack of progress makes you feel. Does it frustrate you? Did you even notice it? As you watch the show, ask yourself whether or not you agree or disagree with Mother Courage’s choices and write about it in the space allotted in your program.
However, perhaps David draws his circle concept from Brecht’s play on the idea of repetition through dialogue. One of my favorite examples of this comes in the scene proceeding the intermission. Mother Courage’s daughter Katrin has just been attacked. She stumbles into camp with a dazed and downtrodden look to her. Mother Courage makes an attempt at consoling her, but is unsuccessful. In her frustration she exclaims, “curse this war!” However, this exclamation is quickly followed by this line at the start of the next scene, “I won’t have my war all spoiled for me!”
One second Mother Courage is cursing the war and the next she is claiming it fondly as her own, “my war.” This hypocrisy is Brecht’s showing of repetition. There are countless times in this play where characters act opposite to what they claim. It is easy to see that Davod’s concept draws from this inclusion of confusion by Brecht. It plays on the idea that just as Brecht’s characters never learn, or progress, neither does the human race.
In my next post I will explore my lobby display. Tune in to read about where I got my ideas and how it ties in with the show.