Theatre of the Absurd - Wikipedia
Theater of the absurd - The Free Dictionary
The plays that we have classed under the label of the Theatre of the Absurd, on the other hand, express a sense of shock at the absense, the loss of any such clear and well-defined systems of beliefs or values.
There can little doubt that such a sense of disillusionment, such a collapse of all previously held firm beliefs is a characteristic feature of our own times.
Definition of THEATER OF THE ABSURD - Merriam-Webster
I could tell you more about radishes."
-Samuel Beckett The Theatre of the Absurd presents an existentialist point of view of the world and reality, and forces the audience to "consider the meaning of their existence in a world where there appears to be no true order or meaning"
Driven by the basis of existentialism, it expands the role of philosophy and metaphor in theatrical drama.
Existentialism sprung out directly after the Great Depression and World War Two, a period of despair and hopelessness.
It seeks to find and define meaning and identity in a world of chaos and meaninglessness.
Famous existentialists include Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Sartre, and of course, Camus The Theatre of the Absurd has forever altered theatre by enriching the traditional dramatic technique and "contributing to an enlargement of human perception"
The movement has produced some of the most brilliant and original works of the twentieth century, and has presented thought-provoking ideas for its audiences and for the entire world Most importantly, the Theatre of the Absurd and Existentialism has brought philosophical growth and revolutionized the way in which the world viewed and understood (or better yet, attempted to understand) existence and conciousness.
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It is no coincidence that one of the masters of the Theatre of the Absurd, Jean Genet, regards his plays as attempts at recaturing the riual element in the Mass itself, which, after all, can be seen as a poetic image of an archetypal event brought to life through a sequence of symbolical actions.
It is against this background that we must see the history of the movement which culminates in Beckett, Ionesco, or Genet.
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It is surprising and shocking merely because of the unusual nature of the combination and the increased emphasis on aspects of drama that, while present in all plays, rarely emerge into the foreground.
The ancient traditions combined in a new form in the Theatre of the Absurd are: the tradition of miming and clowning that goes back to the of Greece and Rome, the of Renaissance Italy, and such popular forms of theatre as the pantomime or the music-hall in Britain; the equally ancient tradition of nonsense poetry; the tradition of dream and nightmare literature that also goes back to Greek and Roman times; allegorical and symbolic drama, such as we find it in medieval morality plays, or in the Spanish ; the ancient tradition of fools and mad scenes in drama, of which Shakespeare provides a multitude of examples; and the even more ancient tradition of ritual drama that goes back to the very origins of the theatre where religion and drama were still one.