What are performance styles associated with the theatre of cruelty?

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coachingcorner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The concept of theatre of cruelty was conceived firstly by Artaud to illustrate a kind of drama that he wanted to invent - one that would unlock subconcious feelings from the audience watching - often in a very close and intense way as they were close to the performers.  He hoped that an honest and intense performing style would reach feelings normally out of reach. He was against drama that was just based on revered classic texts or popular literature because he believed they were not relevant any more as they had been constructed artificially around worlds that were not ours and was keen for performers to engage with audiences close up in their acting style. The style should not allow members of the audience to fantasise or dream away their time but confront their worst fears about the downside of humanity 'in their face.' Artaud advocated a performing style that would upset and be provocative as performers were to be educators in style and delivery. This would hopefully unlock the primeval instincts and fears of the audience.Designed to be energetic and shocking, the style was very novel and shocking and dark - a theatre to educate through fear. The suffering and pain of our impulses he believed could be used to heighten emotions of danger, violence and confusion in the theatre-goers. 

alejandrogalarce | Student

Theatre Of cruelty is a style of acting that plays on the audience senses via smell, tastes, sounds and imagery.

A Theatre of cruelty piece would be staged "in the round" as it is very intimate and the audience can feel part of the action and is easier for them to connect with the actors on stage. Theatre of Cruelty was first introduced by the practitioner Artaud “It is a dangerous theatre, which threatens the identities and bodies of both participants and spectators. It aims for immediacy" It is a form of theatre that Artaud hoped would unleash unconscious responses in audiences and performers that were normally inaccessible. He wanted audiences to find in the theatre not an area to escape from the world, but the realisation of their worst nightmares and deepest fears. He therefore tried to provoke conditions that would force the release of primitive instincts he believed were hidden beneath the civilised social veneer masking all human behaviour.He proposed to do so by shocking them with mythic spectacles that would include groans, screams, pulsating lights, and oversized stage puppets.