Historicization

Historicization

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The principle of 'historicisation' is a fundamental part of the aesthetic
Marxist aesthetics
Marxist aesthetics is a theory of aesthetics based on, or derived from, the theories of Karl Marx. It involves a dialectical approach to the application of Marxism to the cultural sphere, specifically areas related to taste such as art, beauty, etc...

 developed by the German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 modernist
Modernism
Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement, its set of cultural tendencies and array of associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society...

 theatre practitioner
Theatre practitioner
Theatre practitioner is a modern term to describe someone who both creates theatrical performances and who produces a theoretical discourse that informs his or her practical work. A theatre practitioner may be a director, a dramatist, an actor, or—characteristically—often a combination of these...

 Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht
Bertolt Brecht was a German poet, playwright, and theatre director.An influential theatre practitioner of the 20th century, Brecht made equally significant contributions to dramaturgy and theatrical production, the latter particularly through the seismic impact of the tours undertaken by the...

.

In his poem "Speech to Danish working-class actors on the art of observation", Brecht offers a vivid portrait of the attitude he suggested an actor should cultivate:
Imagine all that is going on around you, all those struggles
Picturing them just like historical incidents
For this is how you should go on to portray them on the stage:
The fight for a job, sweet and bitter conversations
Between the man and his woman, arguments about books
Resignation and revolt, attempt and failure
All these you will go on to portray as historical incidents.".

For the actor, 'historicisation' constitutes a fundamental interpretative attitude (what Brecht calls a 'grund-gestus
Gestus
Gestus is an acting technique developed by the German theatre practitioner Bertolt Brecht. It carries the sense of a combination of physical gesture and "gist" or attitude...

').