RU  UK  EN
Articles  >  Enjoy  >  Artaud theatre: life is imitation of art

Artaud theatre: life is imitation of art

Author: 29.11.2017 | art
The power of gestures burns the text to ashes, sound deafens and takes to the abyss from which all of us come and where we return upon the accomplishment of a short time period called as the life. Attending the Theatre of Cruelty, a human appears in the centre of performance as there are everything we are hiding from in the everyday routine, particularly, freedom and isolation, life on the border, merging with the crows till self is lost and lonely residing at the top. The drama of being involves in its mineral resources, the echo of tragedy overwhelms publics and spectator without noticing it appears in the trap of the own perception. That is about the so-called ‘Theatre of Cruelty’ (theatre de cruaute), the child of French playwright and director, eccentric and shocking Antonen Artaud.

Antonen Artaud considered that cruelty lied in the foundation of any creativity implying not bloody visual effects aimed at switching off audience’s brain but, rather, soul being naked. Artaud claimed that action of creation is possible only on the edge of a habitual life and abyss of supernatural, imagination from the claws of which it is hard to escape. As the playwright thought, people who closed the doors of their soul and neglected things originated from their hearts, are able to reach the world tops, however, they cannot get the height of art. Not hiding his own anguish and hurting failures, Artaud succeeded in creation of the capable theatre built on the idea of catharsis, mean, cleaning through sufferings. The verily Antonen Artaud worked struggling with the nervous illnesses, hallucinations invaded his consciousness, nevertheless, their burning flame did not touch the intelligence of the playwright.

Antonen Artaud: ‘In Europe nobody knows how to scream’

Since childhood, Artaud had been brought up in the religious family; however, the norms of strictness made him suffocate causing depression. Artaud tried to write poems, but rhythms did not obey to him while words did not comply with the slim lines. The first childish failure encouraged Antonen to the consideration that only non-verbal side of things is worth attention but words are nothing more than dust. Perhaps, verily this extract made influence on the fact that afterwards Artaud dedicated his life to the performances in a style of an unspoken mysticism.

Photo: www.art-gamma.com

Concealing from the reality that was out of tune with worldview of Artaud, the young man took opium, and it caused a long-term addiction. In 1924, he joined the group of surrealists, and here, in the flame of ardent hearts, he reflected the lack of desire to watch the theatre as the bourgeois entertainment for the riches. Artaud saw theatre like the way to release emotions.

Furthermore, several valueless pieces of art made a huge impact on the philosophy of Artaud. For instance, he reacted vehemently at the picture of Lucas van Leyden ‘Lot and his Daughters’ giving it as the example of violent depictions which cause imperishable impression on the audience: ‘It seems, there drama of high intellectual sense is imminent as, sometimes, clouds huddle together quickly being driven by the wind or fortune that is more rectilinear so as to learn the power of their hidden lightings’. The second masterpieces that stimulated definition of the theatre of cruelty is the cycle of movies shot by brothers Marx in the genre of ‘absurd comedy’. Artaud was keen on the sophisticated sense of humor claiming: ‘In order to understand the capable, total, unconditional, absolute originality of such a film as ‘Animal Crackers’, one should add to the humor the realization of something disturbing and tragic, the predeterminacy which shines through it as the shadow of the terrible illness at the absolutely beautiful face’. After, Artaud in the same manner told about the theatre comparing the true acting technique with the plague that takes masks off and reflects the initial essence of the human soul.

Theatre of Cruelty: violence as the act of creation

People looking after the acting play of Artaud told that he was living out each role he took till the end, particularly, delivering birth with the first seconds of apparition on the stage and dying with the last replica of the character. The performances in the Theatre of Cruelty followed the statement claiming that world around us (as well as theatrical reflection of the reality) needs changes. Artaud saw in the theatre power able to awaken imagination of the public. Moreover, he explained the verily idea to use cruel images at the stage by the fact that shadow part of the identity in each of us is longing for release. Appealing to the irrationality which involved Artaud gravitated to the ancient mythical theatre where action resembled rituals. Putting the sign of equality between what happened at the stage and in the world, Artaud claimed: ‘If the theatre is the double of life, then life is the double of the theatre’. Admittedly, Artaud did not tend to the realism, and his theatre reflected events that could happen only at the unconscious one. Those personal ‘demons’ which pushed good people at the evil actions were crawling out to the stage with the terrifying sincerity. The opponents of this method blamed Artaud for occultism and for not having responsibility in front of the audience. Giving embodiment to the archetypes of the subconsciousness, he had a risk to set free from the human soul an old pain or bare badly shagged wounds which the spectator hardly could cope with.

Photo: www.art-gamma.com

The main part in the theatre of Artaud is given to the gestures and mimics. The words articulated are not so much important as quite often we lie, either consciously or unwittingly, to others and ourselves, and only physical reactions reveal real rights of the case. Artaud took from Balinese theatre the attitude towards the gestures as the hieroglyphs which are about to be solved: ‘All true feeling is in reality untranslatable. To express it is to betray it. But to translate it is to dissimulate it. It happens that this mannerism, this excessively hieratic style, with its rolling alphabet, its shrieks of splitting stones, noises of branches, noises of cutting and rolling of wood, compose a sort of animated material murmur in the air, in space, a visual as well as audible whispering’. Acting techniques proposed by Artaud are called as powerful, exciting, yet not safe, because they reveal the corners of the soul, not so beautiful ones.

In such a way one of the exercises looks: actors had to choose one of the concepts (crave, desire, lust, fear, loathing, rage) and demonstrate intuitive reaction at the exact emotion. Expressing the emotions verbally, Artaud offered to look inside the acting method, exactly, depict the same conditions, however, without usage of the words. It was acceptable to create new sounds which transform human emotions in the unanimated objects if, for instance, a chair could heave painful scream while walls hardly restrained secrets going outside from the prison of physical guise.

One more exercise had a name ‘Two tribes’. According to it, a half of group started ritual movement on the circle creating an image of waterhole or well full with life blood. Other actors came to the stage making as much as possible to interrupt the stable rhythm. They used the power of voice, acted at the hot buttons, sensation of fear and fragility which appears when people of strange views cross the sacred circle of the private space.

The last crazy dance

Artaud felt that came to this world for something significant. He got interested in different spiritual practices of the East, and, according to his own evidence, being in Mexico, made a soul leave the body taking hallucinatory peyote. Returning from this unusual trip, Artaud did not hide anymore that he was a deep inclination to take the place on the Olympus, he compared himself with Nietzsche, saw in his personality the embodiment of Nietzsche’s superhuman, the continuation of the Jesus Christ, united cult figures of civilization with his own searches of the Holy Grail. During the public performances, Artaud openly demonstrated his contempt towards the bourgeois audience, and his monologue resembled a dance of insane person. His ideal of the theatre was of the same passion and all-pervading power: ‘Everything that there is in love, in crime, in war and insanity, theatre should return to us if it wants to become necessary once again… I offer the theatre where the spectator is under the hypnosis of strong physical guises affecting his perception, where he could feel himself as if the whirlwind of the highest forces would spin it… theatre causing trans similar to the one influenced by the dances of dervishes…’

Photo payload.cargocollective.com

It is not surprisingly that rapturous reflections of aggression and eccentric actions were perceived by the others as the challenge to everyday morality. Artaud clamorously ask for a consultation with the psychiatrist, and he put to his patient the diagnosis paraphrenia, the serious disorder during which the ill people have delusion of grandeur and consider themselves being able to cause a valueless impact on the environment. We do not know if this kind of schizophrenia was an ingenuity which was not understood by the contemporaries of the director, or mental disorder. Still, Artaud could create a theatrical style bursting into the world of art with the bright, unforgettable flame.

Big photo meduza.io

It will be interesting:
STEP OVER THRESHOLD: THE MAGICAL ART OF THE HUICHOL PEOPLE
Dazzling flashes of ancient knowledge manifested in colourful shimmering beads and in elaborated yarn mosaics by Huichol Indians, captivate the imagination calling for an endless journey through branches of the world tree. Spiritual images take on flesh in intricate ornaments that accompany a Mexican peasant throughout his life. Twilight land of legends always have a shelter for a weary traveller: no one is alone on the paths of spirits.
Departure: Yemen
Many scientists and historians unanimously agree that Middle East, particularly, Arabian semi-island is the cradle of human civilization because almost every nation among those present there is one of the most ancient on our planet. In this list there are citizens of Yemen who created the interesting in a travelling way country bounded by two seas and Indian Ocean simultaneously.
Sri Lankan Masks: Guides to the Kingdom of Spirits
Traditional carved mask is a desired souvenir for a tourist fascinated by distinctive bright tropical color of a wonderful island of Sri Lanka. Painted faces of monsters from fairy tales win hearts with liveliness and straightforwardness of emotions that our rational world so desperately lacks – and your hand surrenders to an impulse to reach for the wallet, owner of a shop is lavish in his praise of your taste… Congratulations: you’ve invited a demon into your house.
Divine mugham: the music of Azerbaijan
There is music which brings us back to life. It happens even if the tears are falling when one listens to it. The musical genre mugham talks to the audience using the right language. Everyone has lived out unhappy love, loss of a close person or ruin of ideals. These topics became the source of inspiration for the musicians of Azerbaijan movement mugham. OUTLOOK will tell about this unique style of music.
Made In Sweden: Dalecarlian Horse
And since winged horses of Valkyries darted away to Valhalla forever, Dalecarlian horse has remained the guardian of Vikings’ traditions – painted folk toy, first mentioned in chronicles of 17th century. Dalecarlian horse serves as an amulet of non-touristic Sweden by saving from oblivion ancient fables and beliefs.
Ours Made the Grade: Anatoliy Kokush
Cinematography is probably the most "technological" art form that mankind has ever come up with – no matter how much talent, imagination and energy creators of a movie have, almost every stage of creation process one way or another comes to technologies; and without them ideas will remain just ideas. Today Outlook tells you about probably the most famous Ukrainian "technician" from the world of moviemaking – winner of as many as two aspired Oscars, Anatoliy Kokush.
Yonge Street: the story of some road
People who for the first time arrive in Toronto have every likelihood to face the local surprises. For example, you may be offered to reach your destination across Yonge Street. When you agree to have this affair, you will be asked once again: ‘Are you going to cross the whole street?' Being astonished you will try to look at the details only to find out that the length of this mysterious street is 1896 kilometers. Then, if you express a bit more curiosity and decide to read the history of the longest street in the world, the adventurous travel in the world in Indians, Europeans occupiers and encountering of the cultures are waiting for you. So, let’s start…
From Dusk till Dawn: TOP-5 Capitals of Europe’s Night Life
Each one has own notion of a perfect rest: some need ocean, beach and an exotic cocktail for a perfect relaxation; others are drawn to conquer new mountain peaks; some people live in anticipation of acquaintance of ancient ruins… But there are people who dream of cutting loose at full throttle, forgetting everything and anything else!
INCHEON: KOREAN CITY OF THE FUTURE
Incheon is considered to be sea and air gateway to South Korea since it has one of the country's largest seaports and the most spacious, world-class airport in the region. The city is growing rapidly: within just a hundred years it developed from a modest port settlement to an ultramodern industrial and tourist hub.
Fado: gentleness and deftness of Portuguese romances
Twelve-string guitar, the twilight of Portuguese nights, candles, and soul-gripping voice… Dramatic incentives of fado song tell about unrequited love. It cannot appear in the crossroads of destinies; however, it enables feelings to embody into the touching sounds of Portuguese romances.
Wonderful Chad. Ten facts about the country
Africa, the huge continent, for the majority of citizens of the Earth looks as one global region without special differences. Certainly, it is not like that! Today we share the most interesting facts about Republic Chad. Its existence is known for everybody though there 11 million people live while its territory is 20-th largest in the world.
In Kyiv the Embassies of Lithuania and Australia demonstrated the photo exhibition ‘Olegas Truchanas – legend of Lithuania and Australia’
The Embassy of Lithuanian Republic to Ukraine, the Embassy of Australia to Ukraine and National Museum of Taras Shevchenko represented in Kyiv the photo exhibition ‘Olegas Truchanas – legend of Lithuania and Australia’.
WE WERE THERE: GUDAURI
In Gudauri it is easy to feel time, pinch it between your fingers and stretch it in space, tuning up your inner rhythm to a sensation mode. There are no deadlines, annoying neighbours and reckless guys driving out to oncoming traffic lane. All this hustle and bustle seem illusory and momentary. Here, in Gudauri values are different. The mountains do not tolerate fuss, inner dialogue and self-criticism. The greatest pleasure is just to contemplate at them.
History of a Brand: Cirque du Soleil
Spectacular show project Cirque du Soleil rocked the world of circus art to remind that circus can not only entertain but also create new reality. Crazy experiments on human body defy any power on gravity and miracle-plays of sound and light lure the audience into a twilight labyrinth of philosophical dramas letting them get to the sun together with characters of stagings.
On catwalk: Argentina
Every people has its folklore heroes that both children and adults want to look like. In Argentina legendary gaucho are considered ones and their outfits nowadays are believed to be traditional costumes of the country.
MUST-WATCH VIDEO: And some tea to Room 13, please!
This beverage became so deeply ingrained in the life of humans that we sometimes even fail to notice putting a kettle on a stove. There are thousands ways of best-loved beverage brewing in the world. OUTLOOK offers the best of them to your attention.
What they eat: Albania
Flavorous Çömlek, refreshing Tarator and warming Skanderbeg – what is it that we’re talking about? If Balkan countries are far from you and you didn’t spend your latest vacation by Adriatic Sea, today we’ll fill in the gaps and invite you to Albania but not for a simple tour but to the kitchen so if you manage to come back without extra kilograms, you can be safely awarded a self-mastery medal.
Not just black
November 3, 2008, at the auction Sotheby's with a result of $ 60 million was sold one of the rarest works in the history of Russian art - Kazimir Malevich's Suprematist Composition. Malevich is still considered to be one of the most difficult to understand artists of the 20th century.Kazimir Malevich is still one of the most difficult to understand artists of the 20th century. As if mocking at the public, he signed some of his early works: The content of the paintings unknown to the author. OUTLOOK collected stories connected with personality, creativity, and the name of the artist and hopes that it will bring readers to understand the suprematist.
The Sistine Chapel Illusions
More than fifteen hundred years ago Romans were awe struck when they caught the very first sight of the Sistine Chapel. After that masters of painting were born and dead as well as whole pictural art styles. And contemporaries of you and me gape on the distinguished temple. However, while admiring another line intricacy and allusive painting theme, bear in mind that beneath the plot of glossy surface, as per usual, stand painfully familiar disputes with an impatient client, unpleasant surprises from nature and damaged health of painters-executants.
Mandala Therapy
Yesterday I created a Universe. I took some peas, rice, buckwheat, millet, black and white pepper seeds and cardamom. Grabbed a handful of coffee and aniseeds. Then it all acquired a centre. It kept growing and calming my thoughts. When the last seed landed in the circle, I felt forgotten harmony again, heard birds singing through the noise of cars on the avenue, sensed fragrance of violets that a neighbor of mine was growing on her balcony and a recollection of Funtik from floor 5 and his tail evoked a flush of tenderness towards the shaggy monster.
Close
Outlook facebook page