Mother Courage and Her Children is widely regarded as Brecht's best work, a theatrical landmark and one of the most powerful anti-war plays in history. This translation by Michael Hofmann was published to coincide with the UK tour by English Touring Theatre in 2006. In this chronicle of the Thirty Years War of the seventeenth century, Mother Courage follows the armies back and forth across Europe, selling provisions and liquor from her canteen wagon. As the action of the play progresses between the years 1624 and 1646 she loses her children to the war but remains indomitable, refusing to part with her livelihood - the wagon. The play is one of the most celebrated examples of Epic Theatre and of Brecht's use of alienation effect to focus attention on the issues of the play above the individual characters. It remains regarded as one of the greatest plays of the twentieth century and one of the great anti-war plays of all time. The Berlin production of 1949, with Helene Weigel as Mother Courage, marked the foundation of the Berliner Ensemble. Translated by the celebrated, German-born translator Michael Hofmann who has won multiple awards for his translation of works from German into English, the stage production was acclaimed for his 'gutsy,colloquial translation' (The Stage).
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In this chronicle of the European Thirty Years War and taking place between the years 1624 and 1636, Mother Courage follows the armies back and forth across Europe, selling provisions and liquor from her canteen wagon to whomever she can. One by one she loses her children to the war but will not part with her livelihood - the wagon. The Berlin production of 1949, with Helene Weigel as Mother Courage, marked the foundation of the Berliner Ensemble. Considered by many to be one of the greatest anti-war plays ever written and Brecht's masterpiece, the play is a powerful example of Epic Theatre and Brecht's use of alienation effect to focus attention not on individual characters but on the issues of the play. This edition published in Methuen Drama's Modern Classics series offers a full introduction as well as Brecht's own notes and textual variants, setting it apart from all other editions available in the English language. The play is presented in John Willett's trusted translation. 'One of the greatest poets and dramatists of our century' (Observer).Product Description:
Mother Courage was first performed in Zurich in 1941 and is usually seen as Brecht's greatest work. Remaining a powerful indictment of war and social injustice, it is an epic drama set in the 17th century during the Thirty Years' War. The plot follows the resilient Mother Courage who survives by running a commissary business that profits from all sides. As the war claims all of her children in turn, the play poignantly demonstrates that no one can profit from the war without being subject to its terrible cost also. This translation by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tony Kushner is contemporary and lively, with accessible and humour language, an easy conversational flow, sympathetic, understandable characters and humour. Kushner makes a classic play which is notoriously difficult to perform both stage and reader friendly. National Theatre production, directed by Deborah Warner and starring Fiona Shaw (Sept 2009).
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