Fear and Misery of the Third Reich

For their Drama production this year, Year 11 recently tackled one of Bertolt Brecht’s most famous plays, Fear and Misery of the Third Reich. Rehearsed as part of the curriculum, this often-performed work explores the paranoia rippling through Germany as Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party start to overthrow German democracy.

As part of the Year 11 curriculum, the students are assessed during the opening night’s performance as part of their mid-term Drama assessment.

Fear and Misery of the Third Reich is one of Brecht’s openly anti-Nazi works and uses humour to highlight the tragic nature of this time. The story, told in a series of vignettes, highlights the many points of view of the people affected by Hitler and shows 1930s Germany as a land of poverty, fear and violence. There is also a great deal of Nazi anti-semitism depicted in this play, reminding the audience of the ugliness of the era.

Set in a boxing ring, the set heightens the awareness of the sparring and pain inflicted as each section of society fight to come out the victor in a bout they cannot win. Brecht refers to his plays as ‘lehrstuck’ meaning ‘learning play’ and it is a wonderful way for the Ascham Drama students to learn that brutally ‘real’ messages can be delivered in a highly stylised and non-realistic way. It also engages the audiences, allowing them to question the nature of the work and forcing them to be active participants in the performance.

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