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Drums in the Night


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A: Bertolt Brecht Pf: 1922; Munich Pb: 1922; rev. 1955 Tr: 1966 G: Drama in 5 acts; German prose S: Berlin, 1919 C: 13m, 6fAnna Balicke has been engaged to a soldier, who has not been heard of for four years. Persuaded by her smug middle-class parents, and since she is now pregnant by him, she agrees to marry a repulsive war-profiteer, who has been courting her. During the celebrations for the engagement in the Piccadilly Bar, Andreas Kragler, Anna's former fiancé, suddenly appears. A prisoner of war from North Africa, he is now smelly, dishevelled, and emaciated. Kragler argues with Anna's parents and new fiancé, and Anna sends him away. She soon relents however and follows him out on to the streets. Kragler, now drunk, has found himself actively involved in the left-wing Spartacist uprising. When Anna confesses her love to him and admits that she is pregnant, Kragler abandons the revolution to take her to bed. Warning the audience not to be won over by this ‘romantic’ ending, Kragler tears down the stage moon to show that it is all just ‘theatre’.

A: Bertolt Brecht Pf: 1922; Munich Pb: 1922; rev. 1955 Tr: 1966 G: Drama in 5 acts; German prose S: Berlin, 1919 C: 13m, 6f

The later Brecht with his Marxist views found his first play Baal and this, his first play to be staged and winner of the Kleist Prize, somewhat uncomfortable in their refusal to adopt a political or moral stance. However, he never repudiated them, and one can see in Baal and Andreas Kragler materialist protagonists, ready to dismiss the hypocrisy of the bourgeoisie, whose energy and cynicism would provide an admirable foundation for radical revolution. The final tearing down of the scenery also points forward to Brecht's concept of Verfremdung (‘distanciation’).

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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Bertolt Brecht (1898—1956) German dramatist, producer, and poet


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