Liminal Theatre – Antonin Artaud


~ The theater, which is in no thing, but makes use of everything — gestures, sounds, words, screams, light, darkness — rediscovers itself at precisely the point where the mind requires a language to express its manifestations. To break through language in order to touch life is to create or recreate the theatre.

~ All true language is incomprehensible, like the chatter of a beggar’s teeth.

~ No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modeled, built, or invented except literally to get out of hell.

~ When we speak the word ”life’,’ it must be understood we are not referring to life as we know it from its surface of fact, but to that fragile, fluctuating center which forms never reach.

~ You are outside life, you are above life, you have miseries which the ordinary man does not know, you exceed the normal level, and it is for this that men refuse to forgive you, you poison their peace of mind, you undermine their stability. You have irrepressible pains whose essence is to be inadaptable to any known state, indescribable in words. You have repeated and shifting pains, incurable pains, pains beyond imagining, pains which are neither of the body nor of the soul, but which partake of both. And I share your suffering, and I ask you: who dares to ration our relief? We are not going to kill ourselves just yet. In the meantime, leave us the hell alone.

~ The race of prophets is extinct. Europe is becoming set in its ways, slowly embalming itself beneath the wrappings of its borders, its factories, its law-courts and its universities. The frozen Mind cracks between the mineral staves which close upon it. The fault lies with your moldy systems, your logic of 2 + 2 = 4. The fault lies with you, Chancellors, caught in the net of syllogisms. You manufacture engineers, magistrates, doctors, who know nothing of the true mysteries of the body or the cosmic laws of existence. False scholars blind outside this world, philosophers who pretend to reconstruct the mind. The least act of spontaneous creation is a more complex and revealing world than any metaphysics.

A. Artaud

The ‘sacred theatre of absurd’, the ‘theatre of cruelty’, theatre of non-identity, non-existence – mind-blowing, weirdo, genius, in parts completely nuts…

Beckett-sque, Kafka-sque… Sartre, Camus, Dada, Surreal…

Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard, Tadeusz Kantor…

Creating void in thought, a gap between words and thoughts, language and ideas, a silent beyond-ness hovering between a creator and the creation, ‘me’ and ‘them’…

Stage drama and the very personal drama, sacred and profane, opening wounds as spaces of healing and the risk of even deeper harm… No retreat from life, no cheap escapism, no straight-faced moralism, no mere subversion…

But one huge effort, experiment, ferment, fever, game, challenge – to make sense of life here and now – by the most nonsensical means there have been invented yet…

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About kasia

Born in Poland. Lives in Ireland, Cork. Visual artist. View all posts by kasia

2 responses to “Liminal Theatre – Antonin Artaud

  • bessfones

    none other than the “eminent” Jacques Lacan threw Artaud into the insane asylum and threw away the key.

  • Elmo Serravalli

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