The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
His ideas on theatrical theory and his famous "alienation effect" have often confused rather than enlightened directors and actors.
Like Chekhov before him, his plays - if produced at all - are often executed with too much earnestness even though most are either comedies or contain strong humorous elements.
It has to be remembered that Brecht was first and foremost a practising man of the theatre with a strong sense of the dramatic and what entertains.
Director Sue Pomeroy and her team of only four actors manage to demonstrate these aspects magnificently in this Brechtian montage.
It combines a potted biography of the man himself in the context of the rise of German fascism, with snippets from some of his best-known plays, interspersed by songs and poems.
Pomeroy has selected carefully and astutely from Brecht's works.
Each item reveals and explains his philosophy, his sense of theatricality and his politics. It is as Brecht would have desired - an entertainment that makes you laugh, think and reflect on life and its theatrical representation.
I caught up with this touring docu-drama at the intimate Phoenix Theatre in Bordon, Surrey. It's a pity that in this village, surrounded by army barracks, there were no soldiers in the audience to see the excerpt from Man Is Man, in which a poor peasant boy is transformed into a killing machine or how the little entrepreneur, Mother Courage, lives like a leech off war.
As apposite today, the excerpt from The Good Person of Szechuan demonstrates the impossibility of surviving under capitalism if you wish to be kind and good.
And the actual recording of Brecht testifying before the House Committee for Un-American Activities when he was exiled in the US is chilling in its fascistic undertone.
The actors, Michael Adams, Judith Paris, Tristan Pate and Charlotte Melissa Tyler, take on the various roles with verve and commitment, revealing their musical as well as acting prowess in the process.
There's an impressive use of sound effects and the photo projections add a sense of historical veracity, in true "Brechtian" style, to the show.
This lehrstuck - "learning play" - is very dense and may be seeking to achieve too much.
But as an introduction to Brecht for an audience that probably knows little if anything about him, it is an excellent starting point.
Tours Chelmsford, Swansea, Wolverhampton, Crawley and Brighton from March 20 until March 31. Details: www.fuschiafilms.com