Stylistic Features and Dramatic Elements of Absurdist Plays Edit 1 0 7…

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The Theatre of the Absurd, or Theater of the Absurd (French: "Le Théâtre de l'Absurde") is a designation for particular plays written by a number of primarily European playwrights in the late 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, as well as to the style of theatre which has evolved from their work. The term was coined by the critic Martin Esslin, who made it the title of a 1962 book on the subject. Esslin saw the work of these playwrights as giving artistic articulation to Albert Camus' philosophy that life is inherently without meaning, and so one must find one's own meaning as illustrated in his work The Myth of Sisyphus.OriginsThe 'Theatre of the Absurd' is thought to have its origins in Dadaism, nonsense poetry and avant-garde art of the 1910s – 1920s. Despite its critics, this genre of theatre achieved popularity when World War II highlighted the essential precariousness of human life. It is also often known as theatre intended to shock the audience. Most exemplary is Beckett's Waiting for Godot, a play about two bums that would have shocked the French audience, to say the least, attending the premiere performance at the Theatre de Babylone. The expression "Theater of the Absurd" has been criticized by some writers, and one also finds the expressions "Anti-Theater" and "New Theater". According to Martin Esslin, the four defining playwrights of the movement are Eugène Ionesco, Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet, and Arthur Adamov, although each of these writers has entirely unique preoccupations and techniques that go beyond the term "absurd". Other writers often associated with this group include Tom Stoppard, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Fernando Arrabal, Harold Pinter, Edward Albee and Jean Tardieu. Playwrights who served as an inspiration to the movement include Alfred Jarry, Luigi Pirandello, Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, Guillaume Apollinaire, the surrealists and many more. The "Absurd" or "New Theater" movement was, in its origin, a distinctly Paris-based (and Rive Gauche) avant-garde phenomenon tied to extremely small theaters in the Quartier Latin; the movement only gained international prominence over time.

Essential traits In practice,
The Theatre of the Absurd departs from realistic characters, situations and all of the associated theatrical conventions. Time, place and identity are ambiguous and fluid, and even basic causality frequently breaks down. Meaningless plots, repetitive or nonsensical dialogue and dramatic non-sequiturs are often used to create dream-like, or even nightmare-like moods. There is a fine line, however, between the careful and artful use of chaos and non-realistic elements and true, meaningless chaos. While many of the plays described by this title seem to be quite random and meaningless on the surface, an underlying structure and meaning is usually found in the midst of the chaos. • Human condition is meaningless, absurd, illogical (Jacobus 1804). Humans are lost and floating in an incomprehensible universe and they abandon rational devices and discursive thought because these approaches are inadequate (Watt, Richardson 1154).

and a flexible sense of the limits of stage and illusion—to examine a highly theatricalized vision of identity‖ (702). useless‖ (qut. . Audience questions existence and absurdity of life Plot may be illogical Often no resolution at the end Relationships are nebulous and audience wonders about the characters‘ relationships Juxtaposition of contradictory elements. He wanted to bring down the fourth wall that was created by Realism and playwrights like Ibsen and Strindberg (Jacobus 920). friends who destroy each other. Pace. Plot is both comic and tragic – two aspects of the same situation. make his own errors‖ (20). Characteristics of Style: Forms and Conventions Theory: Script considerations Language. Intends to disturb and surprise by creating a new unpredictable form Intends to shatter preconceived notions of theatre conventions Audience relationship Play structure Playwright’s Intention Range from clowns to realistic characters Creation: Acting Requirements Types of Characters Since the dialogue is sometimes illogical. man is lost.g. That which is devoid of purpose. rhythmical. opening up a wide range of toying with it. • Absurdist Dramas asks its audience to ―draw his own conclusions. ―It is sometimes said to express the ‗human condition‘ in a basic or ‗existential‘ way‖ (Worthen 1639). • Characteristics: no plot.• Language: Words often appear to have lost their denotative function.• Esslin makes a distinction between the dictionary definition of absurd (―out of harmony‖ in the musical sense) and Drama‘s understanding of the Absurd: ―Absurd is that which is devoid of purpose. . bewilderment absurdist drama initially created was because critics and reviewers were used to more conventional drama: realism . Theatre of the Absurd Language is often fragmented Non-sequitors Word play–new meaning or double meaning Pauses Audience often alienated. plays-within-plays. • Though Theatre of the Absurd may be seen as nonsense. Movement. Volume critical that the actors speak very clearly Physical Requirements: Gesture. babbling. and purpose‖ (Esslin 24). • Pirandello was one of the first experimentalists. abstract setting. Cut off from his religious. they have Most of the◊something to say and can be understood‖ (Esslin 21). teased. • Absurdism is ―the inevitable devaluation of ideals. thus creating misunderstanding among the characters. puzzled. and other Pirandello plays. and transcendental roots. arbitrary illogical action (Worthen 1639). . use ―Metatheater—roleplaying. absurd. • ―Pirandello was caught between his own sense of himself and the role he was given in this domestic tragedy‖ (Worthen 702).. almost musical quality. sometimes for the mere purpose of whiling away the time of waiting for something that is not to come (as in Beckett's Waiting for Godot). minimal staging. e. and disturbed. rhythm. Ionesco. Pace Contrasts of extremes are often employed in characterization and pace . language frequently gains a certain phonetic. Instead. purity. Esslin 23). • Six Characters. metaphysical. all his actions become senseless. • The language and poetry of Absurdist Theater emerges from concrete and objectified images of the stage (26). it is Vocal Requirements Pitch.

bleak open spaces to naturalistic Analysis: Universal Concepts Themes Origins Fragments of meaning character‘s inability to communicate results in a dark view of the world Emerged out of Existential French Philosophy Began in the early part of the 20th century but was named in the 1950s Eugene Ionesco: The Chairs. Endgame Harold Pinter: Pinter Sketches. Space.Pauses are used to heighten tensions Characteristics of Style: Forms and Conventions Actor’s External Appearance Hair. Mask Theatre of the Absurd Ranges from naturalistic to clown-like Range from minimal and symbolic/stylized sets and props Stage Requirements Colour Set Design. The Sand Box Alfred Jarry: Ubu Roi Major Playwrights and Plays . to naturalistic Lights. The Birthday Party: Edward Albee: The Zoo Story. The Lesson Samuel Beckett: Waiting for Godot. Music Colour can range from colourless. Makeup Costume.