About The Book
The story of a charming, ruthlessly amoral young poet, Baal (1918) is Brecht’s first play and “a passionate acceptance of the world in all its sordid grandeur” (Martin Esslin). A Man’s A Man (1926), Brecht’s first excursion into “epic theater,” traces the terrifying transformation of the sweet, good Galy Gay into a bloodthirsty “human fighting machine.” Galy reappears in the brief, sardonic Elephant Calf, a sort of coda. Powerful stage works in their own right, these three early plays also provide crucial insights into Brecht’s dramatic techniques and preoccupations before the decisive embrace of Marxism in 1928.
“The first thing we recognize in the Brecht productions is their reality: an utterly engrossing reality. . . . We—with all its sense of festival and fun—and soberly in the midst of life.” —Harold Clurman
“The Eric Bentley versions of Brecht, in thought and feeling, language and theatricality, have proved themselves again and again ideally suited to convey the power of the originals to American audiences.” —Rolf Fjelde