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He was an indifferent student, however, and was very nearly expelled from Augsburg Grammar School for taking a dismissive, anti-patriotic tone when given an assignment to write an essay with the title "It is a sweet and honourable thing to die for one's country."In 1917 Brecht enrolled as a medical student at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, where he would attend Arthur Kutscher's theatre seminar.Although Kutscher had a reputation as something of a theatrical guru, Brecht was unimpressed. The impetuous young Brecht suggested that he himself could write a better play on the same subject.
In 1932 he worked on a script for a semi-documentary feature-length film about the suffering caused by the then-rampant mass unemployment that was plaguing Germany.
This film, Kuhle Wampe was effective in its subversive humor and still provides a vivid insight into the final years of the Weimar Republic.
There Brecht and Wuolijoki wrote the play Mr Puntila and his Man Matti (1940). visa and relocated to Santa Monica, California, where he attempted to become a Hollywood screenwriter, but his unusual concepts were mostly dismissed by Hollywood producers who couldn't seem to comprehend his artistic visions (or, as a result, take him seriously).
During this period of exile, while Brecht awaited a pending visa to the United States, he also completed the plays Mother Courage and her Children (1939), The Good Person of Szechwan (1941), and The Resistible Rise of Arturo Uri (1941). His only comparitively successful Hollywood film was Hangmen Also Die (1943), an apocryphal version of the assassination of Nazi leader and "Hangman" Reinhard Heydrich, who died from the bullets of unidentified resistance fighters.
No one could predict which Brecht would predominate at any given moment.
But somehow, out of the cacophony of the Brechts arguing with one another would come a production that worked as a unified artistic whole as each contributed a valuable piece to the final mosaic" (Bertolt Brecht: Chaos, According to Plan).Each day the text would be viewed afresh as Brecht the director denounced (half in jest but half seriously) Brecht the playwright. " he would ask rhetorically, and would scribble new lines, new scenes, new acts and insist these be learned immediately.So changing would the chameleon be, that Brecht the theorist would openly fight with Brecht the director, Brecht the poet, Brecht the playwright and Brecht the blatant womanizer.In fact, The Threepenny Opera would go on to become the biggest theatrical hit in Berlin during the 1920s and helped lead the way in a worldwide resurgence of the popularities of musicals in general.(It would also do much to fatten the playwright's checkbook!The new couple also had a daughter, Barbara, who was born shortly after the wedding and who, like Brecht's other daughter, would go on to become an actress (she would also inherit the copyrights to all of Brecht's literary work).During this period, he also formed an influential writing collective which aspired to create a new theatre for participants rather than for passive audiences.The following year (1923) saw a production of Baal, the play Brecht had written for Arthur Kutscher's theatre seminar.John Fuegi paints a picture of Brecht's mindset during this early production: "Typical of Brecht's working method in Leipzig, and indeed of what was to become a lifetime practice, were his individual sessions with actors outside the formal rehearsal period and his disregard for the original text of the play.During this period, he wrote his second play, Drums in the Night, which tells the story of a soldier who returns home from the war to find his fiancée engaged to a war profiteer.This was the first of Brecht's plays to be performed, and his theatrical theories had, apparently, already begun to take shape, for he filled the auditorium with banners instructing the audience not to become too emotionally involved in the proceedings.