Theatre of the Absurd

From Academic Kids

"The Theatre of the Absurd" is a phrase used in reference to 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, as illustrated in his work The Myth of Sisyphus.

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.

According to Martin Esslin, the four defining playwrights of the movement are Eugene Ionesco, Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet, and Arthur Adamov. Other writers often associated with The Theatre of the Absurd include Friedrich Drrenmatt, Fernando Arrabal, Harold Pinter, Edward Albee and Jean Tardieu.

Playwrights who served as an inspiration to the movement include Alfred Jarry, Stanislaw Witkiewicz and many more.

See also

Further reading

  • Martin Esslin, The Theatre of the Absurd (Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1962)
  • Martin Esslin, Absurd Drama (Penguin, 1965)

de:Absurdes Theater es:Teatro del absurdo eo:Absurda Teatro fr:Thtre de l'absurde it:Teatro dell'assurdo ja:不条理演劇 pl:Teatr absurdu

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