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Theatre of the Absurd

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Presentation on theme: "Theatre of the Absurd"— Presentation transcript:

1 Theatre of the Absurd

2 Theatre of the Absurd u Began in post WW II Europe u Grew out of the existentialist viewpoint u Prominent existentialist thinkers –Jean Paul Sartre –Albert Camus

3 Modern dramatists who adhere to existentialism u View life as meaningless u Believe in an absence of values and Christian absolutes u Emphasize personal feelings over moral values

4 Theatre of the Absurd u Portrays no values as being worthy of commitment u Celebrates the breakdown of language and communication –Empty phrases prevent communication and destroy the sense of personal identity.

5 Theatre of the Absurd u Deliberately baffles the audience –Usually lacks dramatic conflict and sequential plot –Albee varies from this somewhat u Shows the human condition as one of confusion and chaos u Explores the barrenness of life

6 Theatre of the Absurd u Form of play –Interruption –Discontinuity –Incongruity –Senseless logic –Senseless repetition "QUÈ ÉS ABSURD?" Central/Muntatges.html

7 Theatre of the Absurd u Shows man without a basis for meaning in life u Gives an accurate picture of 20th century life without God

8 The Sandbox p By Edward Albee ( ) Written in 1959

9 Plot: Identify conflicts u Person vs. person –Mommy vs. Daddy (power) –Grandma vs. Mommy u Person vs. self –Granny: “I can’t get up” –Angel of Death/Young Man can’t remember lines u Person vs. environment –Daddy is cold –Granny is kept “under the stove” –Thunder and darkness u Person vs. God –God is either absent or personified in the angel—no conflict

10 Setting: a sandbox u Hostile and friendly at once u A beach becomes a grave u Doubles as scene of Grandma’s 2nd childhood and her death u Sand also stands for the desert –Signifies the barrenness of modern civilization csata/foto_idx.html

11 Characterization (closely tied with symbolism) u Young Man –Athletic –Movie Actor –Angel of death u Mommy –Dominating –Selfish –dutiful u Daddy –Passive –Sensitive to cold –Feels compassion

12 Characterization u Granny –Authentic –In second childhood –Perceptive –Soured on life u Musician –Annoying –Obligatory

13 Symbolism u Young Man Represents illusion –Handsome and friendly outside, empty and unintelligent inside –Doesn’t know his name –Smile is vacant –Forgets lines

14 Symbolism u Angel of Death –The closest we get to God in the play –Not powerful or fearsome –The death he brings is welcome although it is as empty and meaningless as the life he represents

15 Symbolism u Mommy and Daddy –Display a common modern marital relationship –Their use of pet names signifies affection when there really is none between them u Mommy - dominating female

16 Symbolism u Daddy’s wealth –Signifies he has fulfilled his social function by getting rich –He is completely subjugated by Mommy u Proprieties toward Grandma –A place in their house –A decent burial –Music –the appearance of mourning

17 Symbolism u The stove –In life, they figuratively bury her alive u The sandbox –A desert t Represents the barrenness of life –A play place t The beach t The scene of Grandma’s second childhood –A grave t In death, they literally bury her alive

18 Symbolism u Animal/sub-human imagery – “my very own dish” –“Graaaa!” u Final words spoken by Granny to Angel of Death –“You’re weclome…dear”

19 The life which Albee depicts in The Sandbox is absurd and meaningless and so, he implies, is much of American life today


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