03 May 2012

Mother Courage and Her Children

For the past 12.5 months, I've been working on a score for a show at UCI.  Mother Courage and Her Children is a staple of the Western canon, written in the early 20th century by Bertolt Brecht. The play takes place during the 30-years war, and it primarily concerns one women's life as she tries to survive the war as a merchant. Over the course of the play, she has success and failure, but ultimately (surprise, surprise), the war takes its toll on her.

Brecht is synonymous in the theatre world with the phrase 'alienation effect,' which, briefly, means that the theatre makers should take steps to ensure that the audience remains aware that they're watching actors in a room, not real humans named Mother Courage, Kattrin, etc. Brecht wanted the audience to have to juggle sympathy for the characters with an objective analysis of the theatrical mechanisms by which they're being manipulated.  One of the ways that Brecht achieves this goal is by writing about a dozen songs into the text (the theory being that the break with reality caused by actors breaking into song will remind the audience that they're watching a play, not real life).  Thousands of pages have been written on alienation effect, and I'm just touching the surface.

At any rate, our production, directed by 2nd-year MFA student Ryanne Laratonda, ran last weekend, and during tech rehearsals, I made some videos of the songs.  I'm posting them here for you!

If you want to read more about this production, head on over to the UCI Sound Design page, where I'm cross-posting this post with a good deal more information about the process and the songs.

Mother Courage Theme:

The Song about The Soldier and His Wife:

The Song of Fraternization:

The Song of the Hours:

The Song of Great Capitulation:

From Ulm to Metz:

The Cook's Song

The Anonymous Song

Eia Popeia


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