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The goal of Brecht and others who wrote plays considered "epic theater" was detachment. He wanted audiences to know they were watching a play; he did not want the audience to become fooled into thinking that they were part of the action. This style and technique of playwriting was common after WWI, when playwrights wanted to show the cost of middle and lower class human life and quality of life lost. These plays are written with short, self-contained scenes that depict one incident with no scenery changes. The actors would practice being "distant" with their characters, they would be the character but then break out of character to perhaps explain the action or foretell the next scene. Enotes has excellent notes on this play.
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