Distancing effect  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The distancing effect, more commonly known (earlier) by John Willett's 1964 translation the alienation effect or (more recently) as the estrangement effect (German: Verfremdungseffekt), is a performing arts concept coined by playwright Bertolt Brecht.

It is a technique which prevents the audience from suspension of disbelief.

Brecht first used the term in an essay on "Alienation Effects in Chinese Acting" published in 1936, in which he described it as "playing in such a way that the audience was hindered from simply identifying itself with the characters in the play. Acceptance or rejection of their actions and utterances was meant to take place on a conscious plane, instead of, as hitherto, in the audience's subconscious." (Brecht on Theatre, 1964, 91)

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Distancing effect" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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