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Theatre of the Absurd (1950’s-Present)

analytical Essay
846 words
846 words
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World War Two spanned six years and claimed countless lives. Some died from gunshot wounds, others from the famine that the war left them, while hundreds of thousands more were eviscerated by atomic fire. The total casualties of the war are estimated to be well over 60 million, which at the time was about 2.5% of the Earth’s population. Many forms of protest arose from the ashes of histories bloodiest conflict, but few were more unusual than the Theatre of the Absurd. I have completed extensive research on this art form and am more than qualified to discuss the history of the aforementioned theatre style. During my research, I have found enticing information in regards to how this art form has evolved over the years, and how it still plays a role in modern society. However, if I may backtrack a little, I would like to start with how this theatre style originated.
It is believed that the Theatre of the Absurd was a reaction to the brutal devastation caused by the modern warfare used in the Second World War. Most of the plots involved in the productions of this theatre style don’t have any connection to the war itself, but rather strive to capture the same feeling that the war caused; hopelessness, emptiness, and the precariousness of life. The Absurdist movement began as an experimental theatre style in Paris. As a result, most of the early Absurdist productions were written entirely in French, even after the theatre style was adopted by other countries. The first wide scale absurdist production was “The Maids” written by Jean Genet in 1947. This play is absurdity at its finest, and follows two maids that are trapped inside a 1940’s mansion while their employer is out of town. “When their employer, only referred to as M...

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...y that it used to have, there is no question that it did have an impact on the modern day theatre.
Through my research I was able to explain the origin of the Theatre of the Absurd, how it evolved over the years, and how it has had an impact on modern day theatre. While interesting, this art form was incredibly difficult to research because there is a vast number of conflicting opinions about the purpose or the true meaning of this theatre genre. That’s when I realized that the question is more important than the answer. To anyone who has ever seen an absurdist play, they are often perplexed and unsure of what they have just saw. However, history will show that confusion such as this is often the start of timeless conversation and debate. You see, no matter how unusual something may seem, there is always meaning behind it. You just have to look hard enough.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that the theatre of the absurd was a form of protest that spanned six years and claimed countless lives.
  • Explains that the theatre of the absurd was a reaction to the brutal devastation caused by modern warfare in the second world war. the first wide scale absurdist production was "the maids" written by jean genet in 1947.
  • Analyzes how the theatre of the absurd gained significant popularity in europe and north america in the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Explains that the absurdist theatre changed the way we think about theatrical productions, and that modern plays aren't quite as strict in following the guidelines as they used to be.
  • Explains that the theatre of the absurd was difficult to research because there are conflicting opinions about the purpose or the true meaning of this theatre genre.
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