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  4. Free Will and the Absurdist Chasm | Daniel Miessler

But it would take a catastrophic world event to actually bring about the birth of the new movement. The global nature of this conflict and the resulting trauma of living under threat of nuclear annihilation put into stark perspective the essential precariousness of human life. Suddenly, one did not need to be an abstract thinker in order to be able to reflect upon absurdity: the experience of absurdity became part of the average person's daily existence. Antonin Artaud rejected realism in the theatre, calling for a return to myth and magic and to the exposure of the deepest conflicts within the human mind.

He demanded a theatre that would produce collective archetypes and create a modern mythology. It was no longer possible, he insisted, to keep using traditional art forms and standards that had ceased being convincing and lost their validity. Although he would not live to see its development, The Theatre of the Absurd is precisely the new theatre that Artaud was dreaming of.

It openly rebelled against conventional theatre. It was surreal, illogical, conflictless and plotless. The dialogue often seemed to be complete gibberish. The characters of the play are strange caricatures who have difficulty communicating the simplest of concepts to one another as they bide their time awaiting the arrival of Godot.

The language they use is often ludicrous, and following the cyclical patter, the play seems to end in precisely the same condition it began, with no real change having occurred. It is mere gibberish, they cry, eyes nearly bulging out of their head--a prank on the audience disguised as a play. Whereas traditional theatre attempts to create a photographic representation of life as we see it, the Theatre of the Absurd aims to create a ritual-like, mythological, archetypal, allegorical vision, closely related to the world of dreams.

The focal point of these dreams is often man's fundamental bewilderment and confusion, stemming from the fact that he has no answers to the basic existential questions: why we are alive, why we have to die, why there is injustice and suffering. The Absurd Theatre hopes to achieve this by shocking man out of an existence that has become trite, mechanical and complacent.

Thomas Self.

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John Farley. Tom Tremewan. Charlotte Forrester. Leif Healy. Some of the chief authors of the Absurd have sought new directions in their art, while others continue to work in the same vein. Theatre of the Absurd. Article Media. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback.

Free Will and the Absurdist Chasm | Daniel Miessler

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Read More on This Topic. The postwar mood of disillusionment and skepticism was expressed by a number of foreign playwrights living in Paris. Although they did not….