May 12, 2008

My Theatrical Kindred Spirit: Artaud

I've been devouring Theater and Its Double recently, and I think I found my "soul mate" in Antonin Artaud. I know that he's old news for a lot of Theater People, but he's new to me, and it's been thrilling to finally find someone who would "get" my work if he read it. A lot of people think Artaud is incomprehensible, but I find him quite lucid. Reading "The Conquest of Mexico" has been particularly affirming in light of the difficulties I have with writing, especially with regards to certain theatrical dogma about playwrights using didascaliae (non-dialogue text elements; aka "stage directions"). This article is a pretty good overview.

In the meantime, I found my "dolls." They're cheap little plastic chess pieces you can find at Walmart and the like. Despite the squares, it's great to have a 3-D "stage" where I can position things and have some concept of scale. Since my work will incorporate movement more than dialogue, it's pretty important to me to have an idea of where things are in relation to one another. I bought an extra set for about $3.50 to have more pieces.

I might post some of my work so far, particularly as a creative exploration of Artaud's ideas in a vein similar to "The Conquest of Mexico." I don't think my piece will be quite that short, and there may be some speaking (mostly for effect). It might be a week or two before I feel comfortable posting anything. It's not up for critiquing or review so much as exploring ways and methods of understanding and staging non-traditional texts (God, I hate that word).


  1. Oh my gosh. OK, on Easter Sunday in 1998 I went to see this Chilean theatre company performing this avant piece about Artaud under a big-top style circus tent someplace in Paris. The piece had hardly any speaking, mostly just movement and sound. It was one of the most unbelievably fascinating things I've ever seen, and I think you would love it... Now must go home and dig through my old albums and see if I can find the name of it...