What are performance styles associated with Absurdism?

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Absurdism lends itself to theatrical expression because theatre has a logic and language of its own that, when violated, underlines the absurdity of the message.  Beckett’s Waiting for Godot , can serve as an example of the gradual shift from rational theatre to absurdism – the audience enters the theatre...

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Absurdism lends itself to theatrical expression because theatre has a logic and language of its own that, when violated, underlines the absurdity of the message.  Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, can serve as an example of the gradual shift from rational theatre to absurdism – the audience enters the theatre expecting to see the psychological dramatization of the tribulations of two tramps as they struggle to survive on meager food, regular beatings, and a routine of activity.  Instead, they (the audience members) are taken through a series of nonsensical activities with little “sense” whatsoever, and are then exposed to the truth that their own lives are equally “absurd” – meaningless, directionless, unpurposed, because they too are “waiting for Godot,” that is, waiting for some “other” force to “order” their existence.  A purer form of absurdity can be found in Eugene Ionesco’s plays, which feature a proliferation of objects – chairs, rhinoceroses, kings – to demonstrate the absurdity of individuality and personality.  One of the most effective means of getting the Absurdist message across is to penetrate the illusion of order, of cause-effect reality.  On stage, this is done by convoluting the automatic assumption that one action will lead logically to a result – Scribe’s centuries old skeleton of “exposition, complication, development, denouement” is set aside to present instead a seies of accumulating non-sequitors, as in Allan Kaprow’s Happenings, seeming arbitrary events following their own non-structure.  Absurdism, a grandson of Dada, Expressionism, Futurism, and Surrealism, seeks to do the opposite of Realism, and ever since Ibsen and Chekhov, the stage is the best platform to “eff the ineffable.”

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