- Theatre of CrueltyThe idea of a theatre of cruelty was first introduced by Antonin Artaud to describe a form of theatre that he hoped would unleash unconscious responses in audiences and performers that were normally inaccessible. Artaud was opposed to theatrical productions based on venerated classical texts or established literary forms and thought they merely represented worlds that were irrelevant and highly artificial constructions. He wanted audiences to find in the theatre not an area for escape from the world, but the realisation of their worst nightmares and deepest fears. He therefore tried to provoke conditions that would force the release of primitive instincts he believed were hidden beneath the civilised social veneer masking all human behaviour. Describing the energy and impact of a radical new way of performing and responding in strong and often dark imagery, he envisioned a theatre that rejected rational interpretation. Instead, he welcomed the irrational impulses that could be stimulated by suffering and pain and argued that every facet of theatricality should be employed to increase a sense of danger, violence and disorientation in the audience. However, Artaud argued that his concept of cruelty was not sadistic. He wanted to stimulate what was honest and true and the cruelty he envisaged required a rigour and determination that was necessary if performers and audiences were to confront and experience the dark and terrifying responses that lay at the heart of each human being.
I've always been drawn to extremes and this appeals to me on many levels. From one of my posts on another thread (and admittedly not at my healthiest, which probably shows):
There's this impulse to commit violence onto the environment whether that be physical, psychological, or metaphysical. There's the need to tear down sacred structures and unmask facades. I want to come into contact with other people's underbellies. To uncover their wounds and boils and let them surface whether they want to or not. To smash their walls and destroy their beloved foundations. To delve into the depths of darkness and decay. To travel down the rabbit hole and never come back. It's ontological terrorism at its most violent and disruptive.