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:
Kabuki: thorny path of flower
Traditional Japanese kabuki theatre has always been a mystery to the European mentality: only an expert on the culture of the Land of the Rising Sun can understand a play without guide’s tips. The word kabuki is sometimes translated as "the art of singing and dancing". Why not an operetta? The essence of performance is not confined to musical presentation only...
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...
Mehndi – instead of a thousand tattoos
Every other person has considered having a tattoo, maybe not permanent but at least a temporary one. Absolutely painless application of drawings that can be altered in a couple of weeks is offered by Mehndi art – henna painting.
Kintsugi. Japanese art of restoration
The Japanese are one of those peoples who zealously respect the ancient traditions. They respect old age, being interested in ancestors and often know the family ancestry by heart. With such a worldview, it is not surprising that a unique technique for the restoration of kintsugi appeared exactly there. Read about it in OUTLOOK.
Azulejo: Story of tiles
You often got convinced that skilful hands of a master who puts life into his creation, can transform humble tree stump into a charming violin, piece of plaster becomes an ancient sculpture, and even clay tile looks like a work of fine art.
Filthy creativity
Dirty cars are like a host for an artist. One may treat such art differently. Someone will wrinkle his nose and disdainfully wrestle his clothes. Others necessarily want to put a finger in such a picture in order to check the fragility of the "canvas" and smear its outlines. However, others will definitely make a selfie. However, nobody can pass by.
Handicraft: persian carpets
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.
Michelangelo Antonioni: a Poet of the Desert of Human Soul
Complicated spiritual world of the people of the 20th century has become a fruitful topic for many cinematographers but a special place in its exploration belongs to Antonioni. The director has gained global fame with the movies that display inner world of his contemporaries, their loneliness and lack of social connections(the concept that has become crucial in the art of the master).
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 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.
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...
METRO beauty
Residents of big cities almost daily use the subway as a transport means. Alas, in the rapid pace of modern life a few people can afford to enjoy the design of these transit hubs. OUTLOOK is not able to stop time, but allow us to highlight fifteen of the most mesmerizing underground subway station from all around the world.
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.
Houses that they build…Unusual houses
Treehouses, dug-outs and secret shelters – all the things we used to build when children. Unfortunately, as we grow older, fantasy fades and most of us now live in uncomfortable grey “boxes”. However, there are people who have created dwellings of their dreams by themselves.
Let's have a seat! Part two
Some time ago we wrote about the unusual benches adorning streets of various cities. One article was not enough to "fit" all the benches we liked, so today meet the second part of the review.
The Ambassador Elena Leticia Teresa Mikusinski held a diplomatic reception, the world-famous Argentine singer Gerónimo Rauch became an honored guest
The Column Hall of the Kyiv City State Administration on June 11 welcomed guests of the Embassy of the Argentine Republic to Ukraine on the occasion of a national day. The Ambassadors Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, representatives of the government and its agencies, partners of the embassy, the business community and the media lined up to congratulate the head of a foreign diplomatic institution and express their greetingss to friendly Argentina.
Let's have a seat!
Walking along the Kyiv Landscape Alley, you always notice amazing benches created by Ukrainian masters. My favorite one is with a blanket and a pillow, because it seems comfortable even in inclement weather. Sitting on it, I remembered a picture from my childhood: the grandmothers take a long board out of the house, put it at one end on the stump, the other - on the railing of the entrance, and it turns out to be a bench. Wasn't it a design miracle?
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.
Step over threshold: The magical art of the huichol
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.
White gold of Tianxia. Chinese porcelain
The civilization of ancient China was one of the first to discover porcelain. It is established that back in II millennium BC the firing temperature of pottery found in the Yellow River was close to 1200 ° C. According to some researchers, the invention of porcelain was dictated by the desire to find a replacement for greenstone and jade.
Belgian lace: Waltz of a thousand threads
At the sight of Flemish lacework it is hard to shake the feeling that miraculous flowers, artfully braided into a wreath of a pattern, were born from loose sparks that had escaped a magic wand. On the inside of the beauty there are efforts and days of jetsam girls, stolen from life by labyrinth of openwork loops.
Close
Outlook facebook page