Bertold Brecht was born in Augsburg. His popularity came with the
'Threepenny Opera' in 1928.
Early on Brecht became a critic of the capitalist system and a Marxist. He proposed a new type of theater - the 'epic theater'. He did not like the people to identify with his actors but rather encouraged his audiences to think independently. He achieved this through 'alienation effects' - whereby a play is removed from familiar surroundings.
Some of his greatest plays, include Mother Courage and her Children - a Thirty Years War story showing that even simple people are responsible for war's brutality if they contribute to the war's conduct;
The Good Woman of Sechuan - a parable on the question wether it is possible to be good in a society on greed; and
The life of Galileo- which deals with the question if scientists owe their loyalty to science alone or to society as a whole.
During the Nazi era Brecht lived in exile for 15 years, chiefly in the USA. After his return to East Berlin in 1948, his directorial work on these plays with the Berliner Ensemble firmly established his influence as a major figure in 20th century theatre.
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