The Theatre of the Absurd (French: "Le Théâtre de l'Absurde") is a designation for particular plays written by a number of primarily European playwrights in the late 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, as well as to the style of theatre which has evolved from their work. French ( français,) is a Romance language spoken around the world by 118 million people as a native language and by about 180 to 260 million people A play, or stageplay, is a form of Literature written by a Playwright, almost always consisting of Dialogue between Fictional characters A playwright, also known as a dramatist, is a person who writes dramatic literature or Drama. The 1940s decade ran from 1940 to 1949 Events and trends The 1940s was a period between the radical 1930s and the conservative 1950s which also leads the period to be The 1950s Decade refers to the years of 1950 to 1959 inclusive The 1960s decade refers to the years from the beginning of 1960 to the end of 1969
The term was coined by the critic Martin Esslin, who made it the title of a book on the subject first published in 1961 and in two later revised editions; the third and final edition appeared in 2004, in paperback with a new foreword by the author. Martin Julius Esslin ( June 6, 1918 &ndash February 24, 2002) was a Hungarian -born English producer and script In the first edition of The Theatre of the Absurd, Esslin saw the work of these playwrights as giving artistic articulation to Albert Camus' philosophy that life is inherently without meaning as illustrated in his work The Myth of Sisyphus. Albert Camus ( (7 November 1913 – 4 January 1960 was an Algerian born French Author, philosopher, and journalist who won the Nobel prize The Myth of Sisyphus is a philosophical essay by Albert Camus. Though the term is applied to a wide range of plays, some characteristics coincide in many of the plays: broad comedy, often similar to Vaudeville, mixed with horrific or tragic images; characters caught in hopeless situations forced to do repetitive or meaningless actions; dialogue full of clichés, wordplay, and nonsense; plots that are cyclical or absurdly expansive; either a parody or dismissal of realism and the concept of the "well-made play". In the first (1961) edition, Esslin presented the four defining playwrights of the movement as Samuel Beckett, Arthur Adamov, Eugene Ionesco, and Jean Genet, and in subsequent editions he added a fifth playwright, Harold Pinter - although each of these writers has unique preoccupations and techniques that go beyond the term "absurd. Samuel Barclay Beckett (13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989 was an Irish Writer, Dramatist and poet Arthur Adamov ( 23 August 1908 – 15 March 1970) was a Playwright, one of the foremost exponents of the Theatre of the Absurd Eugène Ionesco, born Eugen Ionescu ( November 26, 1909 – March 28, 1994 Jean Genet (ʒɑ̃ ʒəˈnɛ in French ( –) was a prominent controversial French writer and later political activist. " Other writers whom Esslin associated with this group include Tom Stoppard, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Fernando Arrabal, Edward Albee, and Jean Tardieu. Sir Tom Stoppard OM, CBE (born 3 July 1937 is a British Screenwriter playwright Friedrich Dürrenmatt ( January 5, 1921 &ndash December 14, 1990) was a Swiss author and dramatist. Fernando Arrabal Terán (born August 11, 1932 in Melilla, Spain) is a Spanish playwright, screenwriter, Edward Franklin Albee III ( "AWL-bee" born March 12 1928 is a three time Pulitzer Prize winning American playwright known for works including Jean Tardieu (born in Saint-Germain-de-Joux, Ain, November 1 1903, died in Créteil, Val-de-Marne, January 27 
Though the label "Theatre of the Absurd" covers a wide variety of playwrights with differing styles, they do have some common stylistic precursors (Esslin ).
The mode of most "absurdist" plays is tragicomedy. Tragicomedy is Fictional work that blend aspects of the Genres of Tragedy and Comedy. Besides his multifaceted influence in other areas, Esslin cites William Shakespeare, the first great playwright to use tragicomedy,, as an influence on the "Absurd drama. William Shakespeare ( baptised " Shakespeare's influence is acknowledged directly in the titles of Ionesco's Macbett and Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Macbett (1972 is Eugène Ionesco 's Satire on Shakespeare 's Macbeth. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is an absurdist, existentialist Tragicomedy by Tom Stoppard, first staged at the Edinburgh Though layered with a significant amount of tragedy, the Theatre of the Absurd echoes other great forms of comedic performance, according to Esslin, from Commedia dell'arte to Vaudeville. Commedia dell'Arte ( Italian: "the comedy of artists" is a form of Improvisational theatre that began in Italy in the 16th century Vaudeville was a Genre of variety entertainment prevalent on the stage in the United States and Canada, from the early 1880s Similarly, Esslin cites early film comedians such as Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, The Marx Brothers, and Buster Keaton as direct influences (Keaton even starred in Beckett's Film in 1965). Laurel and Hardy were the popular American -based comedy team of thin British-born Stan Laurel (1890-1965 and heavy American-born Oliver Hardy (1892-1957 The Marx Brothers were a popular team of sibling Comedians who appeared in Vaudeville, stage plays film and television Joseph Frank "Buster" Keaton ( October 4 1895 &ndash February 1 1966) was an Academy Award -winning American Film is a Film written by Samuel Beckett, his only Screenplay.
As an experimental form of theatre, Theatre of the Absurd employs techniques borrowed from earlier innovators. Writers and techniques frequently mentioned in relation to the Absurdists include the following: 19th century nonsense poets like Lewis Carroll or Edward Lear; Polish playwright Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz; the Russian Absurdists, Daniil Kharms, Nikolai Erdman and so on; Bertholt Brecht's distancing techniques in his "Epic Theatre"; and the "dream plays" of August Strindberg. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (ˈdɒdsən (27 January 1832 &ndash 14 January 1898 better known by the Pen name Lewis Carroll (/ˈkærəl/ was an English Edward Lear ( 12 May 1812 – 29 January 1888) was an English Artist, Illustrator and Writer known Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz, aka "Witkacy" ( February 24, 1885 – September 18, 1939) was a Polish playwright Daniil Kharms ( Даниил Иванович Хармс; &ndash 2 February, 1942) was an early Soviet -era Surrealist and absurdist Nikolay Robertovich Erdman ( &mdash 10 August, 1970) was a Soviet dramatist and Screenwriter primarily remembered for his work with Vsevolod Meyerhold (born; 10 February 1898&ndash14 August 1956 was a German Poet, Playwright, and Theatre director. ( January 22, 1849  &ndash May 14, 1912) was a Swedish Writer, Playwright, and painter. 
One commonly cited precursor is Luigi Pirandello, especially Six Characters in Search of an Author. Luigi Pirandello ( June 28, 1867 — December 10, 1936) was an Italian Dramatist Novelist, and short Six Characters in Search of an Author ( Sei personaggi in cerca d'autore) is the most famous and celebrated play by the Italian writer Luigi Pirandello. Pirandello was a highly regarded theatrical experimentalist who wanted to bring down the fourth wall utilized by Realism and playwrights like Henrik Ibsen (Jacobus). "Ibsen" redirects here For other people named Ibsen see Ibsen (disambiguation. According to W. B. Worthen, Six Characters, and other Pirandello plays, use "Metatheater—roleplaying, plays-within-plays, and a flexible sense of the limits of stage and illusion—to examine a highly theatricalized vision of identity" (702).
Another influential playwright was Guillaume Apollinaire whose Les Mamelles de Tirésias was the first work to be called "surreal. Guillaume Apollinaire (in French ɡijom apɔliˈnɛʁ ( August 26, 1880 &ndash November 9, 1918) was a French Poet Les Mamelles de Tirésias ("The Breasts of Tiresias " is a surrealist two act opéra bouffe by Francis Poulenc "
One of the most significant common precursors is Alfred Jarry whose wild, irreverent, and lascivious Ubu plays scandalized Paris in the 1890's. Alfred Jarry ( 8 September 1873 &ndash 1 November 1907) was a French Writer born in Laval, Mayenne Likewise, the concept of 'Pataphysics–"the science of imaginary solutions"–first presented in Jarry's Gestes et opinions du docteur Faustroll, pataphysicien (Exploits and Opinions of Dr. 'Pataphysics ( French: 'Pataphysique) a term coined by French writer Alfred Jarry (1873 – 1907 is a Faustroll, Pataphysician) was inspirational to many later Absurdists, some of whom joined the Collège de 'pataphysique founded in honor of Jarry in 1948 (both Ionesco and Arrabal were given the title Transcendent Satrape of the Collège de 'pataphysique). The Alfred Jarry Theatre, founded by Antonin Artaud and Roger Vitrac, housed several Absurdist plays, including ones by Ionesco and Adamov. Antoine Marie Joseph Artaud, better known as Antonin Artaud ( September 4, 1896, in Marseille – March 4, 1948 in Roger Vitrac (1899–1952 was a French surrealist playwright and poet 
Artaud's "The Theatre of Cruelty" (presented in The Theatre and Its Double) was a particularly important philosophical treatise. This article is about the style of drama For the short story see Theatre of Cruelty (Discworld The Theatre of Cruelty is a concept The Theatre and Its Double ( Le Théâtre et son Double) is a collection of Essays French poet and playwright Antonin Artaud and published in Artaud claimed theatre's reliance on literature was inadequate and that the true power of theatre was in its visceral impact. Artaud was a Surrealist, and many other members of the Surrealist group were significant influences on the Absurdists. Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early-1920s and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members
Absurdism is also frequently compared to Surrealism's predecessor, Dadaism (for example, the Dadaist plays by Tristan Tzara performed at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zurich). For other meanings see Dada (disambiguation DaDa is a Concept album by Alice Cooper, released Tristan Tzara (born Samuel or Samy Rosenstock, also known as S Many of the Absurdists had direct connections with the Dadaists and Surrealists. Ionesco, Beckett, Adamov, and Arrabal for example, were friends with Surrealists still living in Paris at the time including Andre Breton, the founder of Surrealism, and Beckett translated many Surrealist poems by Breton and others from French into English (Knowlson). André Breton (in French ɑ̃dʀe bʀəˈtɔ̃ ( February 19, 1896 &ndash September 28, 1966) was a French Writer,
The Theatre of the Absurd is commonly associated with Existentialism, and Existentialism was an influential philosophy in Paris during the rise of the Theatre of the Absurd; however, to call it Existentialist theatre is problematic for many reasons. Existentialism is a philosophical doctrine which posits that individuals create the meaning and essence of their lives and that this essence follows from their existence It gained this association partly because it was named (by Esslin) after the concept of "absurdism" advocated by Albert Camus, a philosopher commonly called Existentialist though he frequently resisted that label. Albert Camus ( (7 November 1913 – 4 January 1960 was an Algerian born French Author, philosopher, and journalist who won the Nobel prize Absurdism is most accurately called Existentialist in the way Franz Kafka's work is labeled Existentialist: it embodies an aspect of the philosophy though the writer may not be a committed follower. Many of the Absurdists were contemporaries with Jean-Paul Sartre, the philosophical spokesman for Existentialism in Paris, but few Absurdists actually committed to Sartre's own Existentialist philosophy, as expressed in Being and Nothingness, and many of the Absurdists had a complicated relationship with him. Jean-Paul Charles Aymard Sartre (21 June 1905 &ndash 15 April 1980 commonly known simply as Jean-Paul Sartre (ʒɑ̃ pol saʁtʁə was a French Being and Nothingness An Essay on Phenomenological Ontology ( French: L'Être et le néant: Essai d'ontologie phénoménologique) sometimes subtitled Sartre praised Genet's plays, stating that for Genet "Good is only an illusion. Evil is a Nothingness which arises upon the ruins of Good" ("Introduction" ); but Sartre and Ionesco were still at times bitter enemies. Ionesco accused Sartre of supporting Communism but ignoring the atrocities committed by Communists; he wrote Rhinoceros as a criticism of blind conformity, whether it be to Nazism or Communism; at the end of the play, one man remains on Earth resisting transformation into a rhinoceros (Ionesco, Fragments). Rhinoceros ( French original title Rhinocéros) is a play by Eugène Ionesco, written in 1959. Sartre criticized Rhinoceros by questioning: "Why is there one man who resists? At least we could learn why, but no, we learn not even that. He resists because he is there" ("Beyond Bourgeois Theatre" 6). Sartre's criticism highlights a primary difference between the Theatre of the Absurd and Existentialism: The Theatre of the Absurd shows the failure of man without recommending a solution. Samuel Beckett's primary focus was on the failure of man to overcome "absurdity"; as James Knowlson says in Damned to Fame, Beckett's work focuses "on poverty, failure, exile and loss — as he put it, on man as a 'non-knower' and as a 'non-can-er' . Samuel Barclay Beckett (13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989 was an Irish Writer, Dramatist and poet " Beckett's own relationship with Sartre was complicated by a mistake made in the publication of one of his stories in Sartre's journal Les Temps Modernes. Les Temps modernes ( French for Modern Times) is a political literary and philosophical French magazine (named after the Charlie Chaplin film
The "Absurd" or "New Theater" movement was originally a Paris-based (and Rive Gauche) avant-garde phenomenon tied to extremely small theaters in the Quartier Latin. For other uses see Left Bank. La Rive Gauche (The Left Bank is the left bank of the Seine River in Paris, as one Some of the Absurdists were born in France such as Jean Genet, Jean Tardieu, Boris Vian, and Romain Weingarten. This article is about the country For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic France topics. Jean Genet (ʒɑ̃ ʒəˈnɛ in French ( –) was a prominent controversial French writer and later political activist. Jean Tardieu (born in Saint-Germain-de-Joux, Ain, November 1 1903, died in Créteil, Val-de-Marne, January 27 Boris Vian ( March 10, 1920 &ndash June 23, 1959) was a French Polymath: Writer, Poet, Romain Weingarten ( 5 December 1926 &mdash 13 July 2006) is a French playwright Many other Absurdists were born elsewhere but lived in France, writing often in French: Samuel Beckett from Ireland; Eugene Ionesco from Romania; Arthur Adamov from Russia; and Fernando Arrabal from Spain. Samuel Barclay Beckett (13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989 was an Irish Writer, Dramatist and poet Ireland (pronounced /ˈaɾlənd/ Éire) is the third largest island in Europe, and the twentieth-largest island in the world Eugène Ionesco, born Eugen Ionescu ( November 26, 1909 – March 28, 1994 Romania ( dated: Rumania, Roumania Arthur Adamov ( 23 August 1908 – 15 March 1970) was a Playwright, one of the foremost exponents of the Theatre of the Absurd Russia (Россия Rossiya) or the Russian Federation ( Rossiyskaya Federatsiya) is a transcontinental Country extending Fernando Arrabal Terán (born August 11, 1932 in Melilla, Spain) is a Spanish playwright, screenwriter, Spain () or the Kingdom of Spain (Reino de España is a country located mostly in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. As the influence of the Absurdists grew, the style spread to other countries–with playwrights either directly influenced by Absurdists in Paris or playwrights labeled Absurdist by critics. In England some of whom Esslin considered practitioners of "the Theatre of the Absurd" include: Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard, N. F. Simpson, James Saunders, and David Campton; in the United States, Edward Albee, Sam Shepard, Jack Gelber, and John Guare; in Poland, Tadeusz Różewicz, Sławomir Mrożek, and Tadeusz Kantor; in Italy, Dino Buzzati and Ezio d'Errico; and in Germany, Peter Weiss, Wolfgang Hildesheimer, and Günter Grass. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland Sir Tom Stoppard OM, CBE (born 3 July 1937 is a British Screenwriter playwright Norman Frederick Simpson (born 29 January, 1919) is an English Playwright closely associated with the Theatre of the Absurd. James Saunders may refer to James Saunders (cricketer (1802-1832 English cricketer James Saunders (playwright (1925-2004 English David Campton ( June 5, 1924 &ndash September 9, 2006) was a prolific British dramatist who wrote plays for the stage radio and cinema The United States of America —commonly referred to as the Edward Franklin Albee III ( "AWL-bee" born March 12 1928 is a three time Pulitzer Prize winning American playwright known for works including Sam Shepard (born November 5, 1943) is an American artist who worked as an award-winning Playwright, Writer and Actor. Jack Gelber (b 1932 - May 09, 2003) was a Chicago -born US American playwright best known for his 1959 drama ''The Connection'' John Guare (pronounced gwâr born 5 February 1938 is an American Playwright. Poland (Polska officially the Republic of Poland Tadeusz Różewicz (b October 9, 1921 in Radomsko, Poland) is a Polish poet and writer Sławomir Mrożek (born June 29, 1930) is a Polish Dramatist and Writer. Tadeusz Kantor ( April 6, 1915 &ndash December 8, 1990) was a Polish painter, assemblage artist set designer Italy (Italia officially the Italian Republic, (Repubblica Italiana is located on the Italian Peninsula in Southern Europe, and on the two largest Dino Buzzati Traverso ( October 16, 1906 - January 28, 1972) was an Italian Novelist, Short story writer Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany ( ˈbʊndəsʁepuˌbliːk ˈdɔʏtʃlant is a Country in Central Europe. Peter Ulrich Weiss ( November 8, 1916 – May 10, 1982) was a German Writer, painter, and Artist Günter Wilhelm Grass (born 16 October 1927 is a Nobel Prize -winning German Author and Playwright. In India, both Mohit Chattopadhyay and Mahesh Elkunchwar have also been labeled Absurdists. India, officially the Republic of India (भारत गणराज्य inc-Latn Bhārat Gaṇarājya; see also other Indian languages) is a country Mohit Chattopadhyaya (also spelled Mohit Chattopadhyay) is a famous Bengali Indian Playwright screenplay writer dramatist & poet Mahesh Elkunchwar (born October 9 1939) is an Indian Playwright with more than 15 plays to his name in addition to his theoretical writings Other international Absurdist playwrights include: Tawfiq el-Hakim from Egypt; Miguel Mihura from Spain; José de Almada Negreiros from Portugal; Yordan Radichkov from Bulgaria; and playwright and former Czech President Václav Havel, and others from the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Tawfiq al-Hakim or Tawfik al-Hakim ( October 9, 1898 - July 26, 1987 ( توفيق الحكيم) was a prominent Egyptian This article is about the country of Egypt For a topic outline on this subject see List of basic Egypt topics. Miguel Mihura Santos ( July 21, 1905 &ndash October 27, 1977) was a Spanish Playwright. Spain () or the Kingdom of Spain (Reino de España is a country located mostly in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. José Sobral de Almada Negreiros ( São Tomé e Príncipe, São Tomé, Mé-Zóchi District, Trindade, Roça Saudade April 7, Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic (República Portuguesa is a country on the Iberian Peninsula. Yordan Radichkov (Йордан Радичков ( October 24, 1929 - January 21, 2004) was a famous Bulgarian writer and The state of Bulgaria (България transliterated bg-Latn ''Balgaria'' The country preserves the traditions (in ethnic name language and alphabet of the First Bulgarian Václav Havel, GCB, CC, ( (born October 5, 1936) is a Czech Playwright Writer and Politician The Czech Republic ( ˈt͡ʃɛskaː ˈrɛpuˌblɪka short form in Česko ˈt͡ʃɛskɔ also called Czechia, Slovakia (long form Slovak Republic; Slovak:, long form, is a Landlocked country in Central Europe with a population of over five million
Jean Genet’s The Maids (Les Bonnes) premiered in 1947. Jean Genet (ʒɑ̃ ʒəˈnɛ in French ( –) was a prominent controversial French writer and later political activist. Eugene Ionesco’s The Bald Soprano (La Cantatrice Chauve) was first performed on May 11, 1950 at the Théâtre des Noctambules. Eugène Ionesco, born Eugen Ionescu ( November 26, 1909 – March 28, 1994 Ionesco followed this with "The Lesson" ( "La Leçon") 1951 and The Chairs (Les Chaises) in 1952. Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot was first performed on the 5th of January 1953 at the Théâtre de Babylone in Paris. Samuel Barclay Beckett (13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989 was an Irish Writer, Dramatist and poet Waiting for Godot is a play by Samuel Beckett, in which two characters wait for someone named Godot who never arrives In 1956 Genet’s The Balcony (Le Balcon) was produced in London at the Arts Theatre. The Balcony is a French play ( Le Balcon) by Jean Genet that was first produced in 1956 The following year, Beckett’s Endgame was first performed, and that may Harold Pinter’s The Room was presented at The Drama Studio at the University of Bristol. Endgame by Samuel Beckett, is a one-act play with four characters Pinter’s The Birthday Party premiered in the West End and Edward Albee’s The Zoo Story premiered in West Berlin at the Schiller Theater Werkstatt – both in 1958. Edward Franklin Albee III ( "AWL-bee" born March 12 1928 is a three time Pulitzer Prize winning American playwright known for works including The Zoo Story is American Playwright Edward Albee's first play written in 1958 and completed in just three weeks On the October 28th of that year, Krapp's Last Tape by Beckett was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre in London. Krapp's Last Tape is a one-act play, written in English by Samuel Beckett. Fernando Arrabal's Pique-nique en campagne (Picnic on the Battlefield) also came out in 1958. Fernando Arrabal Terán (born August 11, 1932 in Melilla, Spain) is a Spanish playwright, screenwriter, Genet’s The Blacks (Les Nègres) was published that year but was first performed at the Théatre de Lutèce in Paris on the 28th October, 1959. The Blacks A Clown Show ( Les Nègres) is a play by the French Dramatist and Novelist Jean Genet. 1959 also saw the completion of Ionesco’s Rhinocéros. Beckett’s Happy Days was first performed at the Cherry Lane Theatre in New York on the 17th of September 1961. Happy Days is an American Television sitcom that originally aired from 1974 to 1984 on ABC. Albee’s Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? also premiered in New York the following year, on October 13th. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a play by Edward Albee that opened on Broadway at the Billy Rose Theater on October 13, Pinter’s The Homecoming premiered in London in 1964. The Homecoming is a two-act award-winning play written in 1964 by Nobel laureate, Harold Pinter. Peter Weiss's Marat/Sade (The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade) was first performed in West Berlin in 1964 and in New York City a year later. The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade (Die Verfolgung und Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1966. Sir Tom Stoppard OM, CBE (born 3 July 1937 is a British Screenwriter playwright Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is an absurdist, existentialist Tragicomedy by Tom Stoppard, first staged at the Edinburgh Arrabal's Le Cimetière des voitures (Automobile Graveyard) was also first performed in 1966. Beckett’s Catastrophe–dedicated to then-imprisoned Czech dissident playwright Václav Havel, who became president of Czechoslovakia after the 1989 Velvet Revolution–was first performed at the Avignon Festival on July 21, 1982; the film version (in Beckett on Film ) was directed by David Mamet and performed by Harold Pinter, Sir John Gielgud, and Rebecca Pidgeon. Václav Havel, GCB, CC, ( (born October 5, 1936) is a Czech Playwright Writer and Politician Czechoslovakia may also refer to what is now the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The " Velvet Revolution " (sametová revoluce nežná revolúcia ( November 16 &ndash December 29 1989) refers to a non-violent Events 356 BC - Herostratus sets fire to the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the Seven Wonders of the World Year 1982 ( MCMLXXXII) was a Common year starting on Friday (link displays the 1982 Gregorian calendar) Beckett on Film was a project aimed at making Film versions of all nineteen of Samuel Beckett 's plays with the exception of the early and unperformed David Alan Mamet (born November 30, 1947) is an American Author, Essayist, Playwright, Screenwriter and Sir Arthur John Gielgud, OM, CH ( 14 April, 1904 – 21 May 2000) known as Sir John Gielgud, was an Rebecca Pidgeon (born October 10 or October 25, 1963 or 1965) is a Scottish-American actress singer and songwriter and the
Echoes of elements of "The Theatre of the Absurd" can be seen in many later playwrights, from more avant-garde or experimental playwrights like Susan-Lori Parks–in The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World and The America Play, for example–to relatively realistic playwrights like David Mamet–in Glengarry Glen Ross, which Mamet dedicated to Harold Pinter. Avant-garde (avɑ̃gaʁd in French) means "advance guard" or "vanguard Suzan-Lori Parks (born 1964 is an award-winning American Playwright and Screenwriter. The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World is a 1990 play by Suzan-Lori Parks. The America Play is a two-act play by Suzan-Lori Parks first produced in 1994 in San Francisco David Alan Mamet (born November 30, 1947) is an American Author, Essayist, Playwright, Screenwriter and Glengarry Glen Ross is a 1982 play written by David Mamet. The play shows parts of two days in the lives of four desperate Chicago Real estate
Most of the bewilderment absurdist drama initially created was because critics and reviewers were used to the Realism of more conventional drama. In practice, The Theatre of the Absurd departs from realistic characters, situations and all of the associated theatrical conventions. Time, place and identity are ambiguous and fluid, and even basic causality frequently breaks down. Meaningless plots, repetitive or nonsensical dialogue and dramatic non-sequiturs are often used to create dream-like, or even nightmare-like moods. A non sequitur (ˌnɒnˈsɛkwɨtɚ is a conversational and literary device often used for comical purposes (as opposed to its use in formal logic) There is a fine line, however, between the careful and artful use of chaos and non-realistic elements and true, meaningless chaos. While many of the plays described by this title seem to be quite random and meaningless on the surface, an underlying structure and meaning is usually found in the midst of the chaos. According to Martin Esslin, Absurdism is "the inevitable devaluation of ideals, purity, and purpose" (Esslin  24). Absurdist Drama asks its audience to "draw his own conclusions, make his own errors" (Esslin  20). Though Theatre of the Absurd may be seen as nonsense, they have something to say and can be understood" (Esslin  21). Esslin makes a distinction between the dictionary definition of absurd ("out of harmony" in the musical sense) and Drama’s understanding of the Absurd: "Absurd is that which is devoid of purpose. . . . Cut off from his religious, metaphysical, and transcendental roots, man is lost; all his actions become senseless, absurd, useless" (Esslin  23).
The characters in Absurdist drama are lost and floating in an incomprehensible universe and they abandon rational devices and discursive thought because these approaches are inadequate (Watt and Richardson 1154). Many characters appear as automatons stuck in routines speaking only in cliché (Ionesco called the Old Man and Old Woman in The Chairs "uber-marrionettes"). Les Chaises ( English: The Chairs) is an absurdist " tragic Farce " by Eugene Ionesco. Characters are frequently stereotypical, archetypal, or flat character types as in Commedia dell'arte. An archetype ( pronounced: /ˈɑːkɪtaɪp/ (Brit or /ˈɑrkɪtaɪp/ (Amer Commedia dell'Arte ( Italian: "the comedy of artists" is a form of Improvisational theatre that began in Italy in the 16th century
The more complex characters are in crisis because the world around them is incomprehenisible. Many of Pinter's plays, for example, feature characters trapped in an enclosed space menaced by some force the character can't understand. Pinter’s first play was The Room – in which the main character, Rose, is menaced by Riley who invades her safe space though the actual source of menace remains a mystery – and this theme of characters in a safe space menaced by an outside force is repeated in many of his later works (perhaps most famously in The Birthday Party). The Room is the title of the first play written by Harold Pinter. The Birthday Party (1958 is the first full-length play by Harold Pinter and one of Pinter's best-known and most-frequently performed plays Characters in Absurdist drama may also face the chaos of a world that science and logic have abandoned. Ionesco’s reoccurring character Berenger, for example, faces a killer without motivation in The Killer, and Berenger’s logical arguments fail to convince the killer that killing is wrong. The Killer (French title Tueur sans gages) is a play written by Eugene Ionesco in 1958 In Rhinocéros, Berenger remains the only human on Earth who hasn’t turned into a rhinoceros and must decide whether or not to conform. Rhinoceros ( French original title Rhinocéros) is a play by Eugène Ionesco, written in 1959. Characters may find themselves trapped in a routine or, in a metafictional conceit, trapped in a story; the titular characters in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, for example, find themselves in a story (Hamlet) in which the outcome has already been written. Sir Tom Stoppard OM, CBE (born 3 July 1937 is a British Screenwriter playwright Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is an absurdist, existentialist Tragicomedy by Tom Stoppard, first staged at the Edinburgh Hamlet is a Tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601
The plots of many Absurdist plays feature characters in interdependent pairs, commonly either two males or a male and a female. The two characters may be roughly equal or have a begrudging interdependence (like Vladamir 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). Waiting for Godot is a play by Samuel Beckett, in which two characters wait for someone named Godot who never arrives Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is an absurdist, existentialist Tragicomedy by Tom Stoppard, first staged at the Edinburgh Waiting for Godot is a play by Samuel Beckett, in which two characters wait for someone named Godot who never arrives Endgame by Samuel Beckett, is a one-act play with four characters " The Lesson " or " La Leçon " is a short one-act play from 1951 by French-Romanian playwright Eugène Ionesco. The Zoo Story is American Playwright Edward Albee's first play written in 1958 and completed in just three weeks
Despite its reputation for nonsense language, much of the dialogue in Absurdist plays is naturalistic. The moments when characters resort to nonsense language or clichés–when words appear to have lost their denotative function, thus creating misunderstanding among the characters (Esslin  26)–make Theatre of the Absurd distinctive. Language frequently gains a certain phonetic, rhythmical, almost musical quality, opening up a wide range of often comedic playfulness. Distinctively Absurdist language will range from meaningless clichés to Vaudeville-style word play to meaningless nonsense. The Bald Soprano, for example, was inspired by a language book in which characters would exchange empty clichés that never ultimately amounted to true communication or true connection. 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. 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. Many of Beckett's plays devalue language for the sake of the striking tableau. Harold Pinter–famous for his "Pinter pause"–presents more subtly elliptical dialogue; often the primary things characters should address is replaced by ellipsis or dashes. The following exchange between Aston and Davies in The Caretaker is typical of Pinter:
- ASTON. The Caretaker is a play by the Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter, first published in 1959. More or less exactly what you. . .
- DAVIES. That's it . . . that's what I'm getting at is . . . I mean, what sort of jobs . . . (Pause. )
- ASTON. Well, there's things like the stairs . . . and the . . . the bells . . .
- DAVIES. But it'd be a matter . . . wouldn't it . . . it'd be a matter of a broom . . . isn't it?
Much of the dialogue in Absurdist drama (especially in Beckett's and Albee's plays, for example) reflects this kind of evasiveness and inability to make a connection. When language that is apparently nonsensical appears, it also demonstrates this disconnection. It can be used for comic effect, as in Lucky's long speech in Godot when Pozzo says Lucky is demonstrating a talent for "thinking" as other characters comically attempt to stop him:
LUCKY. Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and Wattmann of a personal God quaquaquaqua with white beard quaquaquaqua outside time without extension who from the heights of divine apathia divine athambia divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell and suffers like the divine Miranda with those who for reasons unknown but time will tell are plunged in torment. . .
- GOLDBERG. The Birthday Party (1958 is the first full-length play by Harold Pinter and one of Pinter's best-known and most-frequently performed plays A non sequitur (ˌnɒnˈsɛkwɨtɚ is a conversational and literary device often used for comical purposes (as opposed to its use in formal logic) What do you use for pyjamas?
- STANLEY. Nothing.
- GOLDBERG. You verminate the sheet of your birth.
- MCCANN. What about the Albigensenist heresy?
- GOLDBERG. Who watered the wicket in Melbourne?
- MCCANN. What about the blessed Oliver Plunkett?
- GOLDBERG. Speak up Webber. Why did the chicken cross the road?
As in the above examples, nonsense in Absurdist theatre may be also used to demonstrate the limits of language while questioning or parodying the determinism of science and the knowability of truth. In Ionesco's The Lesson, a professor tries to force a pupil to understand his nonsensical philology lesson:
- PROFESSOR. . . . In Spanish: the roses of my grandmother are as yellow as my grandfather who is Asiatic; in Latin: the roses of my grandmother are as yellow as my grandfather who is Asiatic. Do you detect the difference? Translate this into . . . Romanian
- PUPIL. The . . . how do you say "roses" in Romanian?
- PROFESSOR. But "roses," what else? . . . "roses" is a translation in Oriental of the French word "roses," in Spanish "roses," do you get it? In Sardanapali, "roses". . .
Traditional plot structures are rarely a consideration in The Theatre of the Absurd. Plots can consist of the absurd repetition of cliché and routine, as in Godot or The Bald Soprano. The Bald Soprano or The Bald Prima Donna (original French title La Cantatrice Chauve) is the first play Often there is a menacing outside force that remains a mystery; in The Birthday Party, for example, Goldberg and McCann confront Stanley, torture him with absurd questions, and drag him off at the end, but it is never revealed why. Absence, emptiness, nothingness, and unresolved mysteries are central features in many Absurdist plots: for example, in The Chairs an old couple welcomes a large number of guests to their home, but these guests are invisible so all we see is empty chairs, a representation of their absence. Likewise, the action of Godot is centered around the absence of a man named Godot, for whom the characters perpetually wait. In many of Beckett's later plays, most features are stripped away and what's left is a minimalistic tableau: a woman walking slowly back and forth in Footfalls, for example, or in Breath only a junk heap on stage and the sounds of breathing. Footfalls is a play by Samuel Beckett. It was written in English between 2 March and December 1975 and was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre Breath is a notably short stage work by Samuel Beckett. An altered version was first included in Kenneth Tynan 's Revue
The plot may also revolve around an unexplained metamorphosis, a supernatural change, or a shift in the laws of physics. For example, in Ionesco’s Amédée, or How to Get Rid of It, a couple must deal with a corpse that is steadily growing larger and larger; Ionesco never fully reveals the identity of the corpse, how this person died, or why it’s continually growing, but the corpse ultimately – and, again, without explanation – floats away. Amédée or How to Get Rid of It ( 1954) (Original French title Amédée ou comment s'en débarrasser) is a play written by Eugene Ionesco based on his
Like Pirandello, many Absurdists use meta-theatrical techniques to explore role fulfillment, fate, and the theatricality of theatre. This is true for many of Genet's plays: for example, in The Maids, two maids pretend to be their masters; in The Balcony brothel patrons take on elevated positions in role-playing games, but the line between theatre and reality starts to blur. Another complex example of this is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead: it's a play about two minor characters in Hamlet; these characters, in turn, have various encounters with the players who perform The Mousetrap, the play-with-in-the-play in Hamlet. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is an absurdist, existentialist Tragicomedy by Tom Stoppard, first staged at the Edinburgh Hamlet is a Tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599 and 1601
Plots are frequently cyclical: for example, Endgame begins where the play ended – some lines at the beginning responding to some lines at the end – and it can be assumed that each day the same actions will take place.