Cary Mandell

Date of Award


First Advisor

Asma Abbas

Second Advisor

Rebecca Fiske


This thesis argues for understanding the work of producing a theatrical space--the stage and its environs--as an act of creating a "political tabernacle." A "political tabernacle" emerges through the efforts of all the people and materials involved in the production of a play, where those parts of the production and those invited into it, can all bring their offerings of their political ideas, concerns, struggles into a physical realm. The tabernacle, thus, becomes symbolic of the historical moment and its anxieties, which are at their peak in times of war. In turning to Bertolt Brecht's famous anti-war play, Mother Courage and Her Children, the thesis examines various elements of the play and many version of its production at different historical moments, on its way to proposing a design and vision for the play that best captures the aspects of theatre as sacred and political space at once, in a way that is relevant to this historical moment. While reading and working with this play, the thesis explores tensions between the idea of the political tabernacle that it proposes, and the purpose of theatre as a location for anti-war struggle outlined in Brecht's theoretical writings.

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