"alienation effect of the Brechtian kind"

Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956) was a German playwright and theatre director who was instrumental in the development of a dramatic movement called Epic Theatre.  One aspect of this is Verfremdungseffekt (distancing or alienating effect), which involves devices such as actors directly addressing the audience and is intended to prevent the audience immersing themselves in the illusion that the play is in any way 'real'.