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

Artaud theatre: life is imitation of art

Author: 27.01.2017 | 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:
The magnificent world of land-art: Patrick Dougherti
Land-art is not simply the landscape design but also the whole direction in art which in thee 21-st century considered one of the most important when only lazy people do not speak about the ‘green technologies’ and environment. The names of stars of such an activity have sturdily come into the speech of the tutors, critics, and connoisseurs, especially they outline Patrick Dougherti with his unbelievable works.
WHERE TO GO? TOP FIVE OF THE MOST INTERESTING MUSEUMS OF MODERN ART IN EUROPE
Françoise Barbe-Gall teaches how to talk to children about art. She gives practical advices in her books, teaches to see things invisible to many people, to notice details and forget about labels. But we have to admit that among adults there are very few people who can boast with expertise in this area. If you want to change this order of things, today we offer you to go with us to the museums. Yes, it's a good idea, since we have chosen the best.
A jewelry approach to perfection
Behind the window sad eyes of old man peered at Petrograd engulfed by revolutionary fire. This fire spread on his life's work: a proud four-story building was invaded by noisy commissioners and sailors, whose presence seemed a cruel joke after regular customers. Workshop owner Carl Gustavovich Fabergé, apparently, noticed in this chaos approaching decay of his career. However, he could have a secret gleam of hope for another life of his heritage. If only he knew that it would come true, maestro would hardly have lost his spiritual strength...
The Embassy of Turkey opened in Kyiv the exhibition ‘Water drawing. The sophisticated art ebru’
The Embassy of Turkey in Ukraine and personally Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Yonet J. Tezel opened in National museum named after Taras Shevchenko exhibition ‘Drawing on the water. The sophisticated art ebru’ by the painter Hikmet Barutchugil.
The Embassy of Egypt in collaboration with Picasso East Art Gallery and Museum of history of Kyiv will open the exhibition of Egyptian art
On the 4-th of April in Museum of history of Kyiv the exhibition project of the modern visual art Egyptian Vision is about to open. For the first time in Kyiv the works of selected collection will be represented, particularly, nearly forty pictures of famous Egyptian masters among whom there are Munir Escander, Gergis Lotfi, Gamil Shafik, Hasan Abd Elfatah, Aayed Saad Eddin, Karim Abd El Malak, Hasan Rashed, etc.
Hailey King and her pictures: New Zealand on the border of beauty
The artist from New Zealand Hailey King working under the brand FLOX is well-known all over the world for the fascinating pictures showing the enlightened beauty of wild nature. Her colorful birds, picturesque landscapes, and fairy-tale-like animals remind us about the necessity to get united with the primordial nature. Hailey King creates the type of art giving inspiration and vitality. She is concentrated onto recognition of ancient heritage of the sacral places and making it spread among the wide publics. In the interview the artist told us about her social projects, travels and the modern cultural trends inherent to New Zealand.
"AN HOUR BEFORE" ballet
OUTLOOK is proceeding with publishing series of articles "An Hour Before" and specially for World Dance Day snuck behind the scenes of National Opera of Ukrainek! What happens off-stage while guests are taking their seats in the hall? How are ballet dancer getting ready? We also were interested to follow all those steps...
BRAND HISTORY. SUKHISHVILI GEORGIAN NATIONAL BALLET: CONQUERED SUMMITS OF SMALL GEORGIAN DREAM
Iliko, who devoted all his life to dancing, actually bequeathed to his descendants to do everything possible for his family name remained on posters forever. 70 years later, millions of people in hundreds of countries are buying tickets where in different languages, without translation one can easily read the name of Sukhishvili.
WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE AUSTRALIAN EMBASSY, AN EXHIBITION OF AUSTRALIAN ABORIGINAL ART OPENED IN KIEV
The Australian Embassy in Ukraine and personally Australian Chargé d'Affaires Bruce Edwards presented in Kiev gallery Triptych: Global Arts Workshop, an exhibition featuring outstanding artworks from some of the finest Australian Indigenous artists of the twentieth century Old Masters: Australia's Great Bark Artists
THE MINISTRY OF THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF UKRAINE HOSTED A PHOTO EXHIBITION DEDICATED TO THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF ESTABLISHMENT OF DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS BETWEEN UKRAINE AND THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
On January 12, in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine took place the opening ceremony of a photo exhibition on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between Ukraine and the People's Republic of China.
ART OF TOPIARY
When I, as a little girl, for the first time passed my hand over trimmed bush, my palm got scratched with sharp edges of twigs and lasting arborvitae fragrance hit my nose. Mesmerized, I was not able to take my eyes away from the cones, balls and squares that surrounded me in the park of a small resort town. I felt like being inside a fairy tale, where behind the leaves I could notice a smile of the Cheshire Cat.
Handicraft: persian rugs
In those days when the Persian soldiers were second to none, and both the Roman Empire and the Arabian Peninsula were conquered by their power, skilful fingers of winner nation craftswomen created their first masterpiece. The carpet called The Springtime passed into history as the most precious of all time. It symbolized powerful rule of the Persians, and its beauty told about the divine origin of the king Khosrow I.
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.
Glass Handmade
Exclusive glass vases and Christmas tree decorations that only exist in one or two samples, aside from high price, most often also have in common unique production technology that is mastered by representatives of a rare profession – glass-blower. The history of the craft has lasted for a couple of millennia with some old secrets of handmade production still kept under seal.
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.
In Kyiv it was the concert dedicated to the memory of Heydar Aliev
Under the auspices of embassy of Azerbaijan in National musical academy of Ukraine named after P.I. Chaykovskyy there was a concert dedicated to the memory of national leader of Azerbaijan nation Heydar Aliev.
Art of Tattoo: Mesmerizing Magic of On-body Drawings
Coin jar of history of this art accounts for about 6 thousand years. Notably, this currently popular trade owes its emergence to happenstance... A prehistoric man once noticed that after any natural colorant had gotten into a place of a burn or a cut, very lasting drawings stayed on skin. From that moment on people began inflicting slight damage to themselves in order to decorate own bodies with ornamentation and stand out among others. Researchers discovered the oldest samples of tattoos during excavations of sacred Egyptian pyramids.
Flamenco: guitar crying and fierce stomping
What most people know about flamenco, is that this dance is manifestation of neither love and affection, nor entertainment and revelry fun. Fiery expressive flamenco is reflection of suffering and pain of an individual within nation, always persecuted and deprived of home. The dance itself, which has become a global symbol of Spain, is not only its national heritage, but aesthetic mix of cultures of Spanish, Roma, Jewish and Arab peoples.
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.
200-th anniversary of Argentina’s Independence. In Kyiv the exhibition of artist Nora Iniesta
In the course of celebration of 200-th anniversary of the Independence of Argentina in Argentinean house in Kyiv the exhibition of the prominent painter Nora Iniesta has been opened. The leading motive of her creativity is love towards her birth place which she tries to express creating the images of her motherland in different genres of the visual art.
Close
Outlook facebook page