The Theatre and its Double

The Theatre and its Double

Antonin Artaud

Language: English

Pages: 160

ISBN: 2:00007213

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Quote:

My dear friend,
I believe I have found a suitable title for my book.
It will be:
THE THEATRE AND ITS DOUBLE
for if theatre doubles life, life doubles true theatre, but it has nothing to do with Oscar Wilde's ideas on Art. This title will comply with all the doubles of the theatre which I thought I'd found for so many years: metaphysics, plague, cruelty,
the pool of energies which constitute Myths, which man no longer embodies, is embodied by the theatre. By this double I mean the great magical agent of which the theatre, through its forms, is only the figuration on its way to becoming the transfiguration.
It is on the stage that the union of thought, gesture and action is reconstructed. And the double of the Theatre is reality untouched by the men of today.
Artaud, Letter to Jean Paulhan.
25th January, 1936.
(Schumacher 1989, 87-88)

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Since its first publication in 1938, The Theater and Its Double by the French artist and philosopher Antonin Artaud has continued to provoke, inspire, enrage, enliven, challenge, and goad any number of theatrical debates in its call for a "Theater of Cruelty." A trio of theatrical manifestos, the book is an aggressive attack on many of the most treasured beliefs of both theater and Western culture. According to Artaud, the theater's "double" is similar to its Jungian "shadow," the unacknowledged, unconscious element that completes it but is in many ways its opposite. As "culture" inexorably draws the artistic impulse into safe channels, the repressed irrational urges of theater, based on dreams, religion, and emotion, are increasingly necessary to "purge" the sickness of society. Artaud identifies language itself as one of the major cultural culprits, and his attacks on it occasionally makes his text rough going. But his challenge to restore relevance to the heart of the theatrical experience remains fundamental to the vitality of theater, and his insistence on the sensory experience of drama as opposed to the literary (and such innovative ideas as the use of unconventional "found spaces") continues to be the clarion call of the theatrical avant-garde. --John Longenbaugh

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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