Bertolt Brecht theatre productions were enhanced and influenced by his lifelong friend and collaborator, John Heartfield. Heartfield’s theatrical design experience was needed to produce the extremely complex screen projections required for this 1951 production of Brecht’s Die Mutter ( Mother Courage ).
Shown above is Heartfield’s production design for the epic 1951 production of Bertolt Brecht’s picturesque visual tale of revolutionaries of all stripes. The play revolves a woman attempting to be a good mother. But being a good mother involves more than just concerns with the condition of her own family. The heroine realizes that the fate of her family is tied to the fate of all working families. She must struggle not only for those around her, but to ensure that the world around them is just.
A combination of transparent material and film allowed the slide projections to flutter down and shimmer. It provides the audience with the illusion of movement and turmoil.
Brecht insisted on the best version of the vision he had for his plays. He relied on Heartfield’s energy and commitment to excellence in all his work. It was one reason the Brecht and Heartfield were collaborators in the German theater and good friends for decades.