Theatre of the Absurd • Theatre of the Absurd is an AVANT-GARDE style of theatre • avant-garde = experimental art that pushes the boundaries of what is “normal” ABSURD = logically impossible Hey diddle, diddle The cat and the fiddle. The cow jumped over the moon. The little dog laughed to see such fun, And the dish ran away with the spoon. Yesterday upon the stair I met a man who wasn’t there. He wasn’t there again today. Oh, how I wish he’d go away. What influenced Theatre of the Absurd? • Dadaism = an avant-garde artistic movement that protested war and the “rules” and “traditions” of society anti-art = everything art was not “supposed” to be Theatre of the Absurd = “anti-theatre”!!! Theatre of the Absurd • An avant-garde style of theatre based on the philosophy that life has no meaning, so man must find his own meaning Theatre of the Absurd • Began in Paris, France • Gained popularity after WW II (1940s) Why did it become popular??? the death and destruction of WWII + the threat of nuclear warfare = Life is meaningless. Man is helpless. Man is alone. A LOT OF QUESTIONS. What makes it different (avant-garde)??? 1. unrealistic situations (i.e. people turning into rhinos) 2. non-realistic, one-dimensional characters who do not connect with each other; may become randomly violent 3. meaningless plots, often cyclical; no suspense 4. nonsensical, repetitive dialogue 5. Unclear setting and relationships/identities of characters 6. Use of shock to create laughter as an audience response 23. Typical theatrical conventions (rules) do not apply— everything about it is unrealistic! The play may appear random and meaningless, BUT there is generally an underlying structure and meaning—you just have to figure out what it means to you!!! Goals of Theatre of the Absurd • Create a dream or nightmare-like experience for the audience Goals of Theatre of the Absurd • Show man’s isolation by making audience feel isolated—they cannot identify with the characters or the situation! Goals of Theatre of the Absurd • Keep the audience on their toes—they are not there for entertainment and escape!!! Goals of Theatre of the Absurd • Point out the flaws of “rules” and traditions of “proper” society Goals of Theatre of the Absurd • Use comedy to point out the tragedy of life Goals of Theatre of the Absurd • Point out the meaninglessness of life—force audience to make their own meaning Now for the daddies of Absurdist theatre… Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) • Born in Ireland; lived in Paris during WW II • Endgame • Waiting for Godot Eugene Ionesco (1909-1994) • Born in Romania; lived in France during WW II • The Bald Soprano • The Chairs • Rhinoceros THE END.