Theatre of the Absurd Conventions | The Drama Teacher

In fact the Theatre of the Absurd can best be understood as a new combination of a number of ancient, even archaic, traditions of literature and drama.

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He had also been visiting Professor of Theatre at Florida State University (1969-1976).

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A strong surrealist influence was present in Poland even before the war (Gombrowicz and Witkiewicz are two dramatists who might be regarded as among the most important immediate precursors of the Theatre of the Absurd) so that the soil was fertile for a development which was further fostered by the ability of drama of this kind to express political comment in a suitably oblique form.

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Yet there is one country where the influence of the Theatre of the Absurd has produced some astonishingly successful plays: Poland, an area of relative artistic freedom since the defeat of the Stalinists by Gomulka in the autumn of 1956.

Pinter, who acknowledges Kafka and Beckett among his literary heroes, combines realism with an intuition of the absurdity of human existence.

A Video of the History of the Theatre of the Absurd - YouTube

Tardieu is an experimenter who has systematically explored the possibilities of a theatre that can divorce itself from discursive speech to the point where language becomes mere musical sound.

Theatre of the Absurd - Revolvy

In we see the servants bound in a mixture of hatred and erotic dependence to their mistress, re-enacting this love-hate in an endless series of ritual games; in society itself is symbolized in the image of a brothel providing its customers with the illusions of power; and in we are back with the underdog acting out his hatred for his oppressor (which is also a form of love) in an endless ritual of mock-murder.

Jean Tardieu (born 1903) and Boris Vian (1920-59) are among the best of the French dramatists of the Absurd.

Theatre of the Absurd - The Free Dictionary

Vian, a devoted follower of Jarry, wrote a play, , which shows man fleeing from death and loneliness in the image of a family moving into ever smaller flats on higher and higher floors of a mysterious building.

In Italy Dino Buzzati and Ezio d'Errico, in Germany Günter Grass (known as a novelist for his monumental ) and Wolfgang Hildesheimer are the main exponents of the Theatre of the Absurd.

Jarry's , first performed in 1896, might in fact be called the first modern example of the Theatre of the Absurd.

The Drama and Theater of The Absurd – NEOEnglish

And equally, in its emphasis on the basic absurdity of the human condition, on the bankruptcy of all closed systems of thought with claims to provide a total explanation of reality, the Theatre of the Absurd has much in common with the existential philosophy of Heidegger, Sartre, and Camus.

It is true that basically the Theatre of the Absurd attacks the comfortable certainties of religious or political orthodoxy.

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And that is why, in the last resort, the Theatre of the Absurd does not provoke tears of despair but the laughter of liberation.


- Martin Esslin, Introduction to "Penguin Plays - Absurd Drama" (Penguin, 1965)




Clearly the situation in which several moral laws are in contradiction exposes the absurdity of the system of values that accommodates them all.

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In his later work he has shed some of the allegorical symbolism of his beginnings, but even in seemingly realistic plays like there is an absense of motivation and solution, a multple ambiguity and a sense of non-communication which transforms the seemingly realistic account of humdrum adultery into a poetic image of the human condition.

Behind the Iron Curtain, where socialist realism is the official creed in the theatre, there would appear to be no room for an avant-garde trend of this type.