The Collective

Cast - minimum of 9 with doubling; 6 w and 3 m; maximum around 32.
ISBN 1 877319 10 4
Teachers' discount $17
RRP $22.50

The Collective
(based on Brecht & Co. By John Fuegi)
(published in association with The Women's Play Press)
Jean Betts

"Brecht - The secret is to hold contradictory ideas in your head at the same time.

Bess - Oh. You mean, like have your cake and eat it too?"

Over a period of years and after being given special access by the Brecht family to the archives, American John Fuegi, devoted fan of famous German playwright Bert Brecht, discovered to his distress more and more evidence suggesting that much of the work that bore Brecht's name wasn't written by him at all. He wrote a book about his discoveries called Brecht & Co., which caused considerable controversy.

Jean Betts, moved by the stories of the unknown, mostly female playwrights who seemed to be responsible for so much of Brecht's reputation (Elisabeth Hauptmann, Ruth Berlau, Grete Steffin) wrote this play to try to help them find their rightful place in history, and also to encourage us to think harder about the nature of creative relationships, and to reconsider our obsession with the absurd idea of 'genius'. Why did these clever women stay with him and allow themselves to be exploited for so long?

Finalist Susan Smith Blackburn Prize 2003/4
Finalist NZ Radio Drama Awards, 2005
Invited Women Playwrights' Conference, Galway 

From reviews of The Collective :-

"... an extraordinary piece of writing and a dynamic and powerful piece of theatre ... " Dominion Post

"... remarkable material, fascinating and courageous; an epic work filled with raw energy ..." The Capital Times

"Fast, furious and funny."Sunday Star Times

From reviews of Brecht & Co :-

"If one follows closely Fuegi's philological and economic detective thriller, one cannot escape the conclusion that Brecht ... systematically plundered women authors both in bed and on the stage, from The Threepenny Opera in 1928 until his death in Berlin in 1956."Rudiger Schaper, Suddeutsche Zeitung

"The plagiarism [Fuegi] describes in such detail amounts to cultural theft on a breathtaking scale."The Times (London)

"One of the most important critical studies of the century."John Simon, New York Magazine

"... Fuegi's main thesis, that many of Brecht's best known works owed much to collaborators whom he failed to acknowledge and repeatedly swindled, seems to remain valid, much as his disciples would have it otherwise."
                      Michael Meyer, New York Review of Books 

                  Bertolt Brecht: Genius - or Misogynist Fraud?  

                 Dr Jack Ross