Book 60 – Mother Courage and Her Children

Book – Mother Courage and Her Children
Author – Bertolt Brecht
Year – 1939
Genre – Play
Pages – 93

Finishing 2011 on a nice round number is my book number sixty – the play Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht.  Brecht is one of the biggest names in theatre, and anyone who has studied drama will be very aware of him and what he bought to the table in terms of advancing the form, but if I am completely honest, I have never read nor seen any of his plays.  Picking this up in a little bookshop in Suffolk, I thought it may be a chance to change that.

Mother Courage is an anti war play.  It follows the life of the eponymous character, a lady who makes her profit from the war.  However, it causes a series of massive personal losses to her, and all combines to portray a rather bleak idea of war.  This is of course, exactly what Brecht was aiming for in this piece, and no doubt when performed can be very effective.  I found that as a play to read however, a lot was lost.  I spent too much time at the beginning trying to remember who was who, and an unfair amount of time being confused that one of the characters is called Swiss Cheese – not really too hard to get your head around when his name is written alongside his lines all along, but something I struggled with nonetheless.

There is a big bit of me that realises that I am wrong here.  This play is widely regarded as one of the best and most important of the past one hundred years.  But this is my blog, and if I want to not enjoy a piece of classic theatre writing, then I will.


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