Acting styles Absurdism

In which acting styles absurdism should be placed is a bit difficult. It can have elements of all kind of styles and still be absurd. In order to explain absurdism there are some specific elements to be extracted.

In an absurd play you see magnified characters in an abstract situation. Absurdism is about provoking your thoughts with laughter. It has no beginning, middle or end and doesn't look like conventional theater at all. This theater of the absurd subverts all expectations at every turn.

You might even say that if it slightly DOES look like conventional theater it is not really absurd. Absurdism on the other hand is always informative.

Like no other acting styles absurdism puts all reality in weirdness, and still it makes you think. When you get to see an absurd performance, in style, you'll think: what and who I am watching has to be crazy. On the other hand it always has intense moments. It looks like reality but is not the reality we know.

In other words: Absurdism is the philosophy which believes that a human being's attempt to understand the universe and find meaning in it will always fail, because no such meaning actually exists. An interresting but kind of depressing thought. Still Theatre of the Absurd in the 20th century evolved into a certain genre and acting style of the performing arts which represent works of the absurdist philosophy. So for theatre this philosofical approach is quite interesting.

An amazing example is Waiting for Godot, by Samuel Beckett. This is the play that started a trend which became known as "theater of the absurd. Other wellknown absurdist writers are Eugene Ionesco and Harold Pinter.



Theatre of the Absurd

The Theatre of the Absurd was a response to the second world war. With the existential philosophy, combined with dramatic elements as a basis was presented a theatre style that was different. It went about life, without logic, it put to thinking in an absolutely absurd way.

You can imagine that this genre of theatre took quite some time to catch on. It was difficult to understand because it used techniques that seemed to be illogical to the theatre world. From all acting styles absurdism was totally new and at first hard to understand. The plots seem to move in a circle, the ending being the same as the beginning. Absurdist plays often deviate from the more traditional episodic structure. The audience always gets the unexpected. The scenery was often unrecognizable, and to make matters worse, the dialogue never seemed to make any sense.

The "Theatre of the Absurd" is a term made up by Hungarian-born critic Martin Esslin. It was the title of his 1962 book on the subject. According to Esslin the five defining playwrights of the movement are Eugene Ionesco, Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet, Arthur Adamov, and Harold Pinter. It became a wellknown "label" for this artform, although these writers were not always comfortable with it. They sometimes preferred to use terms such as "Anti-Theater" or "New Theater" but in the public mind the term Theatre of the Absurd was settled.