A Comparison of Max Frisch's Conception of Theater with Epic Theater based on the Play The Arsonists

The aim of this work is to organically determine the theatrical conception of the Swiss author and playwright Max Frisch using examples from one of his most famous plays, Herr Biedermann und die Brandstifter [The Arsonists]. Since the piece in question is not so well known in Turkish, a short summary is given first. In the following investigation it is shown that Frisch basically has a theatrical conception which, through the application of the element of comedy, leaves the solution to the audience in the end. It is also shown how he abstracts both the place of action and - above all - the protagonist from their distinguishing features and thereby generalizes them anonymously to the whole of humanity. Then the epic theatre and the characteristics of the Aristotelian theatre against which he rebelled are described. Based on the concepts of open and closed theatre forms coined by Volker Klotz, the Aristotelian drama, also called classical drama, is viewed as closed due to the unity of plot, time and place, but the form for which Brecht spoke is viewed as open, since the latter ignores the three units. Even if Brecht did not create the open form, he made his contribution by adding the epic element and the alienation effect. In contrast to the organic method used by Frisch, the epic theatre was treated as given in this study because it represents the benchmark. Finally, the projections of the epic theatre, based in particular on the alienation effect, were determined on Frisch's work and the small difference between the two, which can be reduced to the dichotomy of an alternative solution or the solution of the viewer, was considered Frisch's contribution to epic theatre.


Max Frisch, epic theatre, alienation effect, Brecht

Author : M. Sami TÜRK
Number of pages: 403-411
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.29228/ijla.46190
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International Journal of Language Academy
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