The Theater of the Absurd

2016-12-23
By: blindmime
Posted in: Blog
The Theater of the Absurd

I was searching the web for information about some of the past work I had created in collaboration at Tapegerm Collective, typing in "Herr Elsewhere," a composition I recorded in 2002 ish.

 

The phrase is not a common one. It's a play on words, having lost a good portion of my hair. Google turns up on a reference here from blindmime.com and then comes up wanting.

But sometimes an interesting idea floats to the surface of a search and provides some insight into a tangential thought and takes you somewhere else. I guess that's the idea of the Internet being a world wide web.

The tangent this search led me toward was the Theater of the Absurd in the form of a book of the same name written by Martin Essline and published by Pelican in 1963 whose complete text is now housed on archive.org.

https://archive.org/stream/TheTheatreOfTheAbsurd/The_Theatre_of_the_Absurd_djvu.txt

The following is from the preface:

"Moreover, an understanding of this kind of theatre, which is still misunderstood by some of the critics, should, I believe, also cast light on current tendencies of thought in other fields, or at least show how a new convention of this sort reflects the changes in science, psychology, and philosophy that have been taking place in the last half-century. The theatre, an art more broadly based than poetry or abstract painting without being, like the mass media, the collective product of corporations, is the point of intersection where the deeper trends of changing thought first reach a larger public. There has been some comment on the fact that the Theatre of the Absurd represents trends that have been apparent in the more esoteric kinds of literature since the nineteen-twenties (Joyce, Surrealism, Kafka) or in painting since the first decade of this century (Cubism, abstractpainting) . This is certainly true. But the theatre could not put these innovations before its wider public until these trends had had time to filter into a wider consciousness. And, as this book hopes to show, the theatre can make its own very original contribution to this new type of art. This book is an attempt to define the convention that has come to be called the Theatre of the Absurd ; to present the work of some of its major exponents and provide an analysis and elucidation of the meaning and intention of some of their most important plays; to introduce a number of lesser-known writers working in the same or similar conventions; to show that this trend, sometimes decried as a search for novelty at all costs, combines a number of very ancient and highly respect- able modes of literature and theatre ; and, finally, to explain its significance as an expression - and one of the most representative ones - of the present situation of Western man*"

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Blind Mime Studio is an absurdist audio and visual arts journal and studio based in Salt Lake City, USA.

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