Bertholt Brecht got an idea in his head for a play. He had read the Ten Commandments and got the joke, so he thought if he just turned the other cheek the idea would go away. But it didn’t. So he got out his typewriter and began typing his imaginary idea. When the idea stopped being an idea, he would have a bunch of papers that he would call a play, a poem, an essay, a journal. Thus Bertholt Brecht brought his idea into existence through his typewriter. When he was finished, he was many steps away from the original idea in his brain. The idea had been converted into a poem, a play, an essay, a journal.
What follows is from the time of the typewriter, which, for a short while, was the primary way that people converted brain ideas into printed language.
Bertholt Brecht rolled a piece of paper into the typewriter. The paper was held in place by a rubber roll called a platen that squeezed into close contact with the paper. When Bertholt Brecht hit a key, a lever rose, pushing a bar of type attached to the other end of the lever. The pressure of the bar of type pressing through an ink ribbon against the paper inked the letter onto the paper. Every time Brecht hit a key, part of his idea was inked onto the paper he had rolled into the typewriter. When the paper was covered to its end with the letters of his idea, a bell went off and he rolled another piece of paper in. Bertholt Brecht did this for hours and hours every day.
This is how Bertholt Brecht converted the idea in his brain into a bound book of letters of the alphabet. The Three-Penny Penny Opera was one of the ideas from his brain. A big problem for Brecht was that the people who came to see his play could not understand that it was an artificial construction. They had not lived through his experience – how could they ?- of writing it, which was the only thing that was not artificial. Bertholt Brecht was stubborn. He wanted the audience to see that his play was an artifice, had gone from his brain through a typewriter. He didn’t care if they understood that the only thing that wasn’t artificial was his original idea, but he definitely did not want them to think that what came from his brain was real life. But the audience had such trouble seeing this, seeing that everything was an artifice. Except for the actors who acted the roles. They were not artifices. They were having the experience of acting, pretending that they were not pretending.
But the audience just didn’t get it. They had such a hard time of it. Not knowing how to react. Not knowing if they should feel or think or experience. Not knowing what was expected of them, what was wanted of them. So they laughed when they thought they should, and cried when they thought they should. Sometimes they just stared when they weren’t sure what they should be doing.
Bertholt Brecht went out into the starry night and looked up at the sky, at the silent white stars. They winked at him.