The Sedgefield Players are not normally known for performing different types of theatre, but their June production, entitled ‘The Jewish Wife and Other Plays’ sees just that. Written by Bertolt Brecht, this is a series of small plays played by members of the Players. The group also change sets, read stage directions, male parts played by women etc. The play is also set mainly in the round – on the floor of the hall, which give the audience a different view and also makes it more intimate. The plays are taken from a larger play called ‘Fear and Misery of the Third Reich.
Written just before the Second World War, the play very openly, and very bravely for the time it was written, looks at the rising difficulties that the people of Germany were facing with the growing Nazi Party and the rise of the Third Reich.
Brecht developed a very specific style of theatre for his productions, aimed at education rather than entertainment, allowing an audience to see the whole rather than the individual, and known internationally as the ‘Epic Theatre’. His Verfremdungseffekt, roughly translated as distancing techniques, allow an audience to examine their own thoughts and feelings about a specific event or subject, but with Brecht’s own political and social views very much at the forefront.
This was a completely different type of production for the group and also includes members of the SPYS, which was a great opportunity for them. It was a bold move by Thomas Guest, or director to produce this type of theatre, and we have been really pleased with the feedback it has received.