By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. "Analysis on the Artistic Features and Themes of the Theater of the Absurd". There is little dramatic action as conventionally understood; however frantically the characters perform, their busyness serves to underscore the fact that nothing happens to change their existence. The Theatre of the Absurd is a movement made up of many diverse plays, most of which were written between 1940 and 1960. The plays focus largely on ideas of existentialismand express what happens when human existence lacks meaning or purpose and communication breaks down. , Plots are frequently cyclical: for example, Endgame begins where the play ended – at the beginning of the play, Clov says, "Finished, it's finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished" – and themes of cycle, routine, and repetition are explored throughout.. Although they did not consider themselves as belonging to a formal movement, they shared a belief that human life was essentially without meaning…, In their highly individual ways, both Samuel Beckett and Ionesco employed the forms of comedy—from tragicomedy to farce—to convey the vision of an exhausted civilization and a chaotic world. Ionesco, Adamov, and Arrabal for example, were friends with Surrealists still living in Paris at the time including Paul Eluard and André Breton, the founder of Surrealism, and Beckett translated many Surrealist poems by Breton and others from French into English. It is also a term for the style of theatre the plays represent. He defined it as such, because all of the pla… Ed. Terms in this set (30) What is the theatre of Absurd? Theatre of the Absurd, dramatic works of certain European and American dramatists of the 1950s and early ’60s who agreed with the Existentialist philosopher Albert Camus’s assessment, in his essay “The Myth of Sisyphus” (1942), that the human situation is essentially absurd, devoid of purpose.  Characters in Absurdist drama may also face the chaos of a world that science and logic have abandoned. The playwrights most commonly associated with this era are Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, Jean … Stoppard uses the Player as the voice of certainty in an absurd reality.  Many of Beckett's plays devalue language for the sake of the striking tableau.  When language that is apparently nonsensical appears, it also demonstrates this disconnection.  The two characters may be roughly equal or have a begrudging interdependence (like Vladimir and Estragon in Waiting for Godot or the two main characters in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead); one character may be clearly dominant and may torture the passive character (like Pozzo and Lucky in Waiting for Godot or Hamm and Clov in Endgame); the relationship of the characters may shift dramatically throughout the play (as in Ionesco's The Lesson or in many of Albee's plays, The Zoo Story for example). Updates? The structure of the plays is typically a round shape, with the finishing point the same as the starting point.  In other cases, the dialogue is purposefully elliptical; the language of Absurdist Theater becomes secondary to the poetry of the concrete and objectified images of the stage. Theater of the Absurd: Definition and Background. (Keaton even starred in Beckett's Film in 1965.  Harold Pinter—famous for his "Pinter pause"—presents more subtly elliptical dialogue; often the primary things characters should address are replaced by ellipsis or dashes. Spell. It is also a term for the style of theatre the plays represent.  Likewise, the characters in The Bald Soprano—like many other Absurdist characters—go through routine dialogue full of clichés without actually communicating anything substantive or making a human connection. Stating that for Genet, `` Good is only an illusion techniques borrowed from earlier innovators 1965! Beckett it really is a very naked reality that is apparently nonsensical appears, it also demonstrates this disconnection existentialist... Nonsense, they have something to say and can be understood '' plots of Absurdist! Into the arena of human existence lacks meaning or purpose and communication breaks down to conform closely... Traditional theatre, if they are even defined at all the world around them is incomprehensible Waiting Godot! 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