Matter and Form

“Simply to comprehend the new areas of subject-matter imposes a new dramatic and theatrical form. Can we speak of money in the form of iambics? ‘The Mark, first quoted yesterday at 50 dollars, now beyond 100, soon may rise, etc.’ – how about that? Petroleum resists the five-act form; today’s catastrophes do not progress in a straight line but in cyclical crises; the ‘heroes’ change with the different phases, are interchangeable, etc.; the graph of people’s actions is complicated by abortive actions; fate is no longer a single coherent power; rather there are fields of force which can be seen radiating in opposite directions; the power of groups themselves comprise movements not only against one another but within themselves, etc., etc.”

Bertolt Brecht, ‘Über Stoffe und Formen’ (1929), in Brecht on Theatre, p. 30.

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