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Chapter 9: Contemporary Theatre and Its Diversity

  • Dominant (primarily white, middle-class) cultural

standards have been challenged (since the 1960s)

  • Efforts made:

    • To open mainstream theatres to plays about groups previously marginalized or ignored

    • To establish theatres to give these groups their own voices

  • Companies and directors have championed radical change in theatrical conventions and in ideas about the nature and purpose of theatre

Alternative Theatre Groups

  • The Bread and Puppet Theatre (1961)

    • Used both actors and giant puppets to enact parables denouncing war and materialism

  • The San Francisco Mime Theatre (1966)

    • Performed satirical pieces promoting civil rights and other causes

Alternative Theatre Groups

  • The Living Theatre (1960s)

    • Epitomized rebellion against established authority

    • Most extreme piece = Paradise Now

  • Included nudity, obscene language, provocation of

audience

  • Blurred the boundaries between fiction and reality

  • Company gained notoriety

  • Tested limits of permissibility

Poor and Environmental Theatres

“Poor” Theatres Jerzy Grotowski, director of the Polish Lab Theatre

  • Eliminated all theatrical elements considered unessential

  • Hoped such elimination would lead to the rediscovery of theatre

  • Concluded that only 2 elements are essential: actor and audience

  • Known for methods of actor training

  • Experimented with spatial relationships between actors and audience

Grotowski’s View:

Theatre = Modern Tribal Ceremony

4/15/2009

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