Repertory: Glutton for Sinners

Bertolt Brecht had a touching Teutonic faith in the power of the blow to instruct. Almost all his dramas are displays of belligerent didacticism. The stage was his prize ring. The audience was his sparring partner. There he was—"poor B.B.," as he always liked to think of himself—lashing out with a bruising ideological left to the midriff, jolting the playgoer with some brisk truism to the jaw.

Brecht lived by what he always pretended to suppress: his sentiment bordering on sentimentality, the lyric-cynic play of his heart and mind, a vein of...

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