Eclectic Theatre

Topics: The Caretaker, Harold Pinter, Theatre of the Absurd Pages: 4 (1456 words) Published: November 1, 2009

Transition to Eclectic

Realism provides only amoral observation, while absurdism rejects even the possibility of debate. (Frances Babbage, Augusto Boal). The cynicism of this remark reflects the aberrant attitude towards absurdism, yet there is truth to it. Theatre of the absurd is an esoteric avant-garde style of theatre based on the principles of existentialism that looks at the world without any assumption of purpose. Existentialism and Theatre of the Absurd became identified with a cultural movement that flourished in Europe in the 1940s and 1950s, after the Second World War. The idea that man starts with nothing and ends with nothing is a common theme amongst most absurd plays. Despite this strange philosophy, Theatre of the absurd mimics certain elements of realistic acting to produce an anomalous yet comical and entertaining style of theatre. Emerging in the late 1940’s, authors such as Beckett, Camus and Pinter were pioneers of Theatre of the absurd, who to some extent redefined modern theatre, yet Pinter describes his works as merely “symbolic realism” as opposed to absurd. The plays “The Caretaker” by Harold Pinter and “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams are both classic plays of their genre, truly exploiting the absurd and realistic styles of drama through their similarities and differences to evoke an interesting yet markedly different approach to theatre. Many facets of realistic theatre pertaining to the elements and conventions are openly employed in absurd plays, with no clear distinction separating them. The acting, tension and staging are analogous in both plays, while the plot and language are markedly dissimilar setting the plays apart. Themes and issues are transposable between both realistic and absurd, with each style of theatre often conveying similar messages. The traditional attitudes towards theatre and the conventions of realist drama are distorted by Pinter.

The issues and themes are the engine and...
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