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Thursday, August 26, 2021

The absurd and The Theater of absurd


The absurd,The Theater of absurd,EXISTENTIALISM,Harold Pinter,EXPRESSIONISM,

The absurd and The Theater of absurd

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The absurd: 

A  term derived from the *EXISTENTIALISM of Albert Camus, and often applied to the modern sense of human purposelessness in a universe without meaning or value. Many 20th century writers of prose fiction have stressed the absurd nature of human existence: notable instances are the novels and stories of Franz  Kafka, in which the characters face alarmingly incomprehensible predicaments. The critic Martin Esslin coined the phrase theatre of the absurd in 1961 to refer to several dramatists of the 1950s (led by  Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco) whose works evoke the absurd by abandoning logical form, character, and dialogue together with realistic illusion. The classic work of absurdist theatre is Beckett's En attendant  Godot (Waiting! or Godot, 1952), which revives some of the conventions of clowning and *PARCE to represent the impossibility of purposeful action and the paralysis of human aspiration. Other dramatists associated with the theatre of the absurd include Edward Albee, Jean Genet, Harold  Pinter, and Vaclav Havel. For a fuller account, consult Arnold P.  Hinchliffe, The Absurd (1969). 


The theater of absurd

A kind of DRAMA growing out of the philosophy of EXISTENTIALISM and flourishing in Europe and America in the 1950s and 1960s. Absurdist dramas present CHARACTERS struggling to find order and purpose in irrational and incomprehensible situations. In the dramas of Eugène Ionesco, Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet, Harold Pinter, Fernando Arrabal, Edward Albee, and Arthur Kopit, characters find themselves buried in sand up to their armpits, submerged in a room full of proliferating furniture, standing interminably and for no purpose in a line, worked over by an interrogation team for no reason, or visited by friends who insist on staying with them indefinitely. Influenced by DADA, EXPRESSIONISM, and SURREALISM, the FORM and STYLE of absurdist plays reflect their subject matter. INCIDENTS do not tell a connected story; characters lack motivation; even the language is cryptic. There is an odd kinship between absurdist drama and FARCE-as if, in the theater of the absurd, the merciless and abusive situations of farce have been transformed into nightmares about the human condition. Like farces, absurdist plays are terribly funny-until they are suddenly profoundly sad.


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