Avant Garde Theatre: 1892-1992 by Christopher Innes

By Christopher Innes

Interpreting the improvement of avant garde theatre from its inception within the Nineties correct as much as the current day, Christopher Innes exposes a imperative paradox of contemporary theatre; that the motivating strength of theatrical experimentation is primitivism. What hyperlinks the paintings of Strindberg, Artaud, Brook and Mnouchkine is an idealisation of the fundamental and a wish to locate ritual in archaic traditions. This frequent primitivism is the major to realizing either the political and aesthetic features of recent theatre and gives clean insights into modern social traits.
the unique textual content, first released in 1981 as Holy Theatre, has been totally revised and up-dated to take account of the latest theoretical advancements in anthropology, severe thought and psychotherapy. New sections on Heiner Muller, Robert Wilson, Eugenio Barba, Ariane Mnouchkine and Sam Shepard were additional. for that reason, the e-book now offers with all of the significant avant garde theatre practitioners, in Europe and North America.
Avant Garde Theatre can be crucial studying for a person trying to comprehend modern drama.

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Theatrical conventions are only effective when they appear the natural form for a particular concept of existence, when the medium is so well integrated with the message that it goes unnoticed. By contrast these techniques tend to attract attention to themselves and, partly because of the expressionist fixation on emotional absolutes, frequently seem to be used with all the subtlety of sledgehammers. Paradoxically then, the attempt to abolish form, to turn it into a transparent conductor, makes the formal elements obtrusive.

In short the general stylistic effect is one of pretentious imprecision while, as Eric Bentley has put it, the thematic tone is‘unconvincing religiosity’. It is rather A Dream Play—given striking productions in Germany by the expressionist director Rudolph Bernauer (1916) and by Max Reinhardt (1921), and in France by Antonin Artaud (1928)—or The Ghost Sonata, which Artaud also worked on, that were directly influential. In these plays the same qualities that made To Damascus so innovative recur, but in progressively subtler and better-integrated forms.

Instead of abstract concepts recurring, physical objects are reused from scene to scene: the doorkeeper’s shawl or the secret door. And these expand in meaning with each change in their function or shape, taking on continually new symbolic connotations, like the castle that grows, blooms and bursts into flames. Although scenes are again repeated and inverted, there is no sense of an artificial and superimposed geometry. The Fairhaven/Foulstrand reversal has an internal logic, based on the identity of opposites, with misery being the common denominator.

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