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Theatre Of Cruelty
Transcript of Theatre Of Cruelty
Theatre Of Cruelty Conventions
The Theatre of Cruelty attempts to penetrate far deeper than naturalistic theatre.
Artaud welcomed the irrational impulses (often madness and perversion) that could be stimulated by suffering and pain this was to increase a sense of danger, violence and disorientation in the audience.
Minimizes the text by emphasizing screams, inarticulate cries, and symbolic gestures, movement & facial expression were key elements as it was more effective to communicate with an audience than words
Assaulting the senses-
the audiences would be shocked into confronting themselves, their way of life and the meaning of all existence. (Lights music and sound)
Creating a dream world-
Through the use of masks, objects and costumes, to remove his audience from their everyday lives no scenery just symbolic objects strangely distorted into nightmare and dreamlike shapes, working directly on the emotion and unconscious mind.
Involving the audience
– Center with the action taking place all around them.
Was an attack on emotional and designed to shock the audience and totally involve them in the drama. He used violent and terrifying actions and images.
How it all began
During the early 1930s, the French dramatist and actor Antonin Artaud put forth a theory for a Surrealist theatre called the Theatre of Cruelty.
Antonin Artaud is the father of cruelty – the gut-wrenching, spine-squirming discomfort that only a direct confrontation with physical reality can produce. His ideas about the Theatre of Cruelty redefined the limits to which an audience could be pushed, and the horrors to which they could be subjected.
Originally he was from the surrealist movement and was well known as an actor, playwright, and essayist of avant-garde theatre, he practiced surrealism methods well, but soon enough he began to work on his own theory, he took the words cruelty and theatre to finally create the experience. Artaud believed that civilization had turned humans into sick and repressed creatures and that the true function of the theatre was to rid humankind of these repressions and liberate each individual’s instinctual energy. He proposed removing the barrier of the stage between performers and audience and producing mythic spectacles that would include verbal incantations, groans and screams, pulsating lighting effects, and oversized stage puppets and props.
He exploited sexuality, rapist, serial killers , psychopaths , sociopaths and showed the world the raw reality of cruelty and torture within his plays. One of Artaud’s original plays is Les Cenci, a play which recounts the ferocity and corruption of the Italian Renaissance. Another is Jet of Blood (Jet de Sang), also known as Spurt of Blood, is an extremely short play completed in Paris, on January 17, 1925
Artaud was with ill health, pain and nervous depression. He was continually admitted and discharged from hospitals and sanatoria and developed addictions to hallucinatory and pain-reducing drugs like opium. His addiction and abuse of these substances began to have permanent effects and his mental health gradually deteriorated. He has been said to be on hallucinations whilst writing many of his theatre of cruelty plays.
How is it used throughout today?
Arthur Artaud works & concept he had created continued to circulate. His work and ideas only began to receive further attention after his death in 1948, his visions began to inspire and intrigue a new generation of theatre critics and practitioners.
The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) also conducted experiments with Artaud's theatre of cruelty in a series of workshops directed by Peter Brook. These sessions stimulated much discussion and resulted in very confronting but stimulating productions such as their celebrated version of Weiss's Marat/Sade.
In the 1950s, the concept of Theatre of Cruelty was used to describe some of the dark views of human existence evident in the plays of writers like Albert Camus and Jean Genet (their work was also described as Theatre of the Absurd).
*In the 1960s, a number of influential directors began to explore his recommendations and the celebrated Polish director Jerzy Grotowski began to employ many of his ideas with the actors he worked with at his Theatre Laboratory in Poland.
Theatre of cruelty is also brought out in many movies, Tree of life, The Dark Knight, 12 years a slave
They are not a complete example of Artauds theatre of Cruelty although it does provide a much better example than the ones we see on YouTube.
Both have a concept of beaming through the false demarcations of reality.