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The Theatre of the Absurd (French: Théâtre de l'Absurde) is a designation for particular plays written by a number of primarily European playwrights in the late 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, as well as to the style of theatre which has evolved from their work. Critic Martin Esslin coined the term "Theatre of the Absurd", relating these plays based on a broad theme of absurdity, roughly similar to the way Albert Camus uses the term. The Absurd in these plays takes the form of man’s reaction to a world apparently without meaning or man as a puppet controlled or menaced by an invisible outside force. Though the term is applied to a wide range of plays, some characteristics coincide in many of the plays: broad comedy, often similar to Vaudeville, mixed with horrific or tragic images; characters caught in hopeless situations forced to do repetitive or meaningless actions; dialogue full of clichés, wordplay, and nonsense; plots that are cyclical or absurdly expansive; either a parody or dismissal of realism and the concept of the "well-made play". Playwrights commonly associated with the Theatre of the Absurd include Samuel Beckett, Eugène Ionesco, Jean Genet, Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Fernando Arrabal, and Edward Albee.

Origin of the term

The term was coined by the critic Martin Esslin, who made it the title of a book on the subject first published in 1961 and in two later revised editions; the third and final edition appeared in 2004, in paperback with a new foreword by the author. In the first edition of The Theatre of the Absurd, Esslin saw the work of these playwrights as giving artistic articulation to Albert Camus' philosophy that life is inherently without meaning as illustrated in his work The Myth of Sisyphus. In the first (1961) edition, Esslin presented the four defining playwrights of the movement as Samuel Beckett, Arthur Adamov, Eugène Ionesco, and Jean Genet, and in subsequent editions he added a fifth playwright, Harold Pinter–although each of these writers has unique preoccupations and techniques that go beyond the term "absurd."[1][2] Other writers whom Esslin associated with this group include Tom Stoppard, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Fernando Arrabal, Edward Albee, and Jean Tardieu.[1][2]

Significant precursors

Though the label "Theatre of the Absurd" covers a wide variety of playwrights with differing styles, they do have some common stylistic precursors (Esslin [1961]).


The mode of most "absurdist" plays is tragicomedy.[3][4] As Nell says in Endgame, "Nothing is funnier than unhappiness ... it's the most comical thing in the world".[5] Esslin cites William Shakespeare as an influence on this aspect of the "Absurd drama."[6] Shakespeare's influence is acknowledged directly in the titles of Ionesco's Macbett and Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Friedrich Dürrenmatt says in his essay "Problems of the Theatre", "Comedy alone is suitable for us ... But the tragic is still possible even if pure tragedy is not. We can achieve the tragic out of comedy. We can bring it forth as a frightening moment, as an abyss that opens suddenly; indeed, many of Shakespeare's tragedies are already really comedies out of which the tragic arises."[7]

Though layered with a significant amount of tragedy, the Theatre of the Absurd echoes other great forms of comedic performance, according to Esslin, from Commedia dell'arte to Vaudeville.[3][8] Similarly, Esslin cites early film comedians such as Charlie Chaplin, The Keystone Cops and Buster Keaton as direct influences (Keaton even starred in Beckett's Film in 1965).[9]

Formal experimentation

As an experimental form of theatre, Theatre of the Absurd employs techniques borrowed from earlier innovators. Writers and techniques frequently mentioned in relation to the Theatre of the Absurd include the 19th-century nonsense poets, such as Lewis Carroll or Edward Lear[10]; Polish playwright Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz[11]; the Russians Daniil Kharms[12], Nikolai Erdman[13] and others; Bertolt Brecht's distancing techniques in his "Epic theatre"[14]; and the "dream plays" of August Strindberg.[1][15]

One commonly cited precursor is Luigi Pirandello, especially Six Characters in Search of an Author.[15][16] Pirandello was a highly regarded theatrical experimentalist who wanted to bring down the fourth wall presupposed by the realism of playwrights such as Henrik Ibsen. According to W. B. Worthen, Six Characters and other Pirandello plays use "Metatheaterroleplaying, plays-within-plays, and a flexible sense of the limits of stage and illusion—to examine a highly theatricalized vision of identity".[17]

Another influential playwright was Guillaume Apollinaire whose The Breasts of Tiresias was the first work to be called "surreal."[18][19][20]

Pataphysics, Surrealism, and Dadaism

One of the most significant common precursors is Alfred Jarry whose wild, irreverent, and lascivious Ubu plays scandalized Paris in the 1890s. Likewise, the concept of 'Pataphysics–"the science of imaginary solutions"–first presented in Jarry's Gestes et opinions du docteur Faustroll, pataphysicien (Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, pataphysician)[21] was inspirational to many later Absurdists[19], some of whom joined the Collège de 'pataphysique founded in honor of Jarry in 1948 (both Ionesco and Arrabal were given the title Transcendent Satrape of the Collège de 'pataphysique).[18][22] The Alfred Jarry Theatre, founded by Antonin Artaud and Roger Vitrac, housed several Absurdist plays, including ones by Ionesco and Adamov.[23][24]

Artaud's "The Theatre of Cruelty" (presented in The Theatre and Its Double) was a particularly important philosophical treatise. Artaud claimed theatre's reliance on literature was inadequate and that the true power of theatre was in its visceral impact.[25][26][27] Artaud was a Surrealist, and many other members of the Surrealist group were significant influences on the Absurdists.[28][29][30]

Absurdism is also frequently compared to Surrealism's predecessor, Dadaism (for example, the Dadaist plays by Tristan Tzara performed at the Cabaret Voltaire in Zürich).[31] Many of the Absurdists had direct connections with the Dadaists and Surrealists. Ionesco[32][33], Adamov[34][35], and Arrabal[36] for example, were friends with Surrealists still living in Paris at the time including Paul Eluard and André Breton, the founder of Surrealism, and Beckett translated many Surrealist poems by Breton and others from French into English [37][38].

Relationship with Existentialism

The Theatre of the Absurd is commonly associated with Existentialism, and Existentialism was an influential philosophy in Paris during the rise of the Theatre of the Absurd; however, to call it Existentialist theatre is problematic for many reasons. It gained this association partly because it was named (by Esslin) after the concept of "absurdism" advocated by Albert Camus, a philosopher commonly called Existentialist though he frequently resisted that label. Absurdism is most accurately called Existentialist in the way Franz Kafka's work is labeled Existentialist: it embodies an aspect of the philosophy though the writer may not be a committed follower.[39] As Tom Stoppard said in an interview, "I must say I didn't know what the word 'existential' meant until it was applied to Rosencrantz. And even now existentialism is not a philosophy I find either attractive or plausible. But it's certainly true that the play can be interpreted in existential terms, as well as in other terms."[40]

Many of the Absurdists were contemporaries with Jean-Paul Sartre, the philosophical spokesman for Existentialism in Paris, but few Absurdists actually committed to Sartre's own Existentialist philosophy, as expressed in Being and Nothingness, and many of the Absurdists had a complicated relationship with him. Sartre praised Genet's plays, stating that for Genet "Good is only an illusion. Evil is a Nothingness which arises upon the ruins of Good".[41]

Ionesco, however, hated Sartre bitterly.[42] Ionesco accused Sartre of supporting Communism but ignoring the atrocities committed by Communists; he wrote Rhinoceros as a criticism of blind conformity, whether it be to Nazism or Communism; at the end of the play, one man remains on Earth resisting transformation into a rhinoceros [43][44] Sartre criticized Rhinoceros by questioning: "Why is there one man who resists? At least we could learn why, but no, we learn not even that. He resists because he is there".[45][46] Sartre's criticism highlights a primary difference between the Theatre of the Absurd and Existentialism: The Theatre of the Absurd shows the failure of man without recommending a solution.[47] In a 1966 interview, Claude Bonnefoy, comparing the Absurdists to Sartre and Camus, said to Ionesco, "It seems to me that Beckett, Adamov and yourself started out less from philosophical reflections or a return to classical sources, than from first-hand experience and a desire to find a new theatrical expression that would enable you to render this experience in all its acuteness and also its immediacy. If Sartre and Camus thought out these themes, you expressed them in a far more vital contemporary fashion". Ionesco replied, "I have the feeling that these writers -- who are serious and important -- were talking about absurdity and death, but that they never really lived these themes, that they did not feel them within themselves in an almost irrational, visceral way, that all this was not deeply inscribed in their language. With them it was still rhetoric, eloquence. With Adamov and Beckett it really is a very naked reality that is conveyed through the apparent dislocation of language".[48]

In comparison to Sartre's concepts of the function of literature, Samuel Beckett's primary focus was on the failure of man to overcome "absurdity"; as James Knowlson says in Damned to Fame, Beckett's work focuses "on poverty, failure, exile and loss — as he put it, on man as a 'non-knower' and as a 'non-can-er' ."[49] Beckett's own relationship with Sartre was complicated by a mistake made in the publication of one of his stories in Sartre's journal Les Temps Modernes.[50] Beckett said, though he liked Nausea, he generally found the writing style of Sartre and Heidegger to be "too philosophical" and he considered himself "not a philosopher".[51]


The "Absurd" or "New Theater" movement was originally a Paris-based (and a Rive Gauche) avant-garde phenomenon tied to extremely small theaters in the Quartier Latin. Some of the Absurdists were born in France such as Jean Genet[52], Jean Tardieu[53], and Boris Vian[54]. Many other Absurdists were born elsewhere but lived in France, writing often in French: Samuel Beckett from Ireland[53]; Eugène Ionesco from Romania[53]; Arthur Adamov from Russia[53]; and Fernando Arrabal from Spain[55]. As the influence of the Absurdists grew, the style spread to other countries–with playwrights either directly influenced by Absurdists in Paris or playwrights labeled Absurdist by critics. In England some of whom Esslin considered practitioners of "the Theatre of the Absurd" include: Harold Pinter[53], Tom Stoppard[56], N. F. Simpson[53], James Saunders[57], and David Campton[58]; in the United States, Edward Albee[53], Sam Shepard[59], Jack Gelber[60], and John Guare[61]; in Poland, Tadeusz Różewicz[53], Sławomir Mrożek[53], and Tadeusz Kantor[62]; in Italy, Dino Buzzati[63]; and in Germany, Peter Weiss[64], Wolfgang Hildesheimer[53], and Günter Grass[53]. In India, both Mohit Chattopadhyay[65] and Mahesh Elkunchwar[65] have also been labeled Absurdists. Other international Absurdist playwrights include: Tawfiq el-Hakim from Egypt[66]; Hanoch Levin from Israel[67]; Miguel Mihura from Spain[68]; José de Almada Negreiros from Portugal[69]; Yordan Radichkov from Bulgaria[70]; and playwright and former Czech President Václav Havel[53], and others from the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Major productions


Echoes of elements of "The Theatre of the Absurd" can be seen in many later playwrights, from more avant-garde or experimental playwrights like Suzan-Lori Parks–in The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World and The America Play,[94] for example–to relatively realistic playwrights like David Mamet–in Glengarry Glen Ross, which Mamet dedicated to Harold Pinter.[95][96]

Theatrical Features

Plays with in this group are absurd in that they focus not on logical acts, realistic occurrences, or traditional character development; they, instead, focus on human beings trapped in an incomprehensible world subject to any occurrence, no matter how illogical.[97][98][99] The theme of incomprehensibility is coupled with the inadequacy of language to form meaningful human connections.[18] According to Martin Esslin, Absurdism is "the inevitable devaluation of ideals, purity, and purpose"[100] Absurdist drama asks its viewer to "draw his own conclusions, make his own errors".[101] Though Theatre of the Absurd may be seen as nonsense, they have something to say and can be understood".[102] Esslin makes a distinction between the dictionary definition of absurd ("out of harmony" in the musical sense) and drama's understanding of the Absurd: "Absurd is that which is devoid of purpose.... Cut off from his religious, metaphysical, and transcendental roots, man is lost; all his actions become senseless, absurd, useless".[103]


The characters in Absurdist drama are lost and floating in an incomprehensible universe and they abandon rational devices and discursive thought because these approaches are inadequate.[104] Many characters appear as automatons stuck in routines speaking only in cliché (Ionesco called the Old Man and Old Woman in The Chairs "uber-marrionettes").[105][106] Characters are frequently stereotypical, archetypal, or flat character types as in Commedia dell'arte.[107][108][109]

The more complex characters are in crisis because the world around them is incomprehensible.[109] Many of Pinter's plays, for example, feature characters trapped in an enclosed space menaced by some force the character can't understand. Pinter's first play was The Room – in which the main character, Rose, is menaced by Riley who invades her safe space though the actual source of menace remains a mystery – and this theme of characters in a safe space menaced by an outside force is repeated in many of his later works (perhaps most famously in The Birthday Party). Characters in Absurdist drama may also face the chaos of a world that science and logic have abandoned. Ionesco's recurring character Berenger, for example, faces a killer without motivation in The Killer, and Berenger's logical arguments fail to convince the killer that killing is wrong. In Rhinocéros, Berenger remains the only human on Earth who hasn’t turned into a rhinoceros and must decide whether or not to conform. Characters may find themselves trapped in a routine or, in a metafictional conceit, trapped in a story; the titular characters in Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, for example, find themselves in a story (Hamlet) in which the outcome has already been written.[110]

The plots of many Absurdist plays feature characters in interdependent pairs, commonly either two males or a male and a female. The two characters may be roughly equal or have a begrudging interdependence (like Vladamir and Estragon in Waiting for Godot[110] or the two main characters in Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead); one character may be clearly dominant and may torture the passive character (like Pozzo and Lucky in Waiting for Godot or Hamm and Clov in Endgame); the relationship of the characters may shift dramatically throughout the play (as in Ionesco's The Lesson or in many of Albee's plays, The Zoo Story for example).[111][112]


Despite its reputation for nonsense language, much of the dialogue in Absurdist plays is naturalistic. The moments when characters resort to nonsense language or clichés–when words appear to have lost their denotative function, thus creating misunderstanding among the characters, make Theatre of the Absurd distinctive[18][113]. Language frequently gains a certain phonetic, rhythmical, almost musical quality, opening up a wide range of often comedic playfulness.[114] Distinctively Absurdist language will range from meaningless clichés to Vaudeville-style word play to meaningless nonsense.[112][115] The Bald Soprano, for example, was inspired by a language book in which characters would exchange empty clichés that never ultimately amounted to true communication or true connection.[116][117] Likewise, the characters in The Bald Soprano–like many other Absurdist characters–go through routine dialogue full of clichés without actually communicating anything substantive or making a human connection.[118][119] In other cases, the dialogue is purposefully elliptical; the language of Absurdist Theater becomes secondary to the poetry of the concrete and objectified images of the stage.[120] Many of Beckett's plays devalue language for the sake of the striking tableau.[121] Harold Pinter–famous for his "Pinter pause"–presents more subtly elliptical dialogue; often the primary things characters should address is replaced by ellipsis or dashes. The following exchange between Aston and Davies in The Caretaker is typical of Pinter:

ASTON. More or less exactly what you...
DAVIES. That's it ... that's what I'm getting at is ... I mean, what sort of jobs ... (Pause.)
ASTON. Well, there's things like the stairs ... and the ... the bells ...
DAVIES. But it'd be a matter ... wouldn't it ... it'd be a matter of a broom ... isn't it?[122]

Much of the dialogue in Absurdist drama (especially in Beckett's and Albee's plays, for example) reflects this kind of evasiveness and inability to make a connection.[111] When language that is apparently nonsensical appears, it also demonstrates this disconnection. It can be used for comic effect, as in Lucky's long speech in Godot when Pozzo says Lucky is demonstrating a talent for "thinking" as other characters comically attempt to stop him:

LUCKY. Given the existence as uttered forth in the public works of Puncher and Wattmann of a personal God quaquaquaqua with white beard quaquaquaqua outside time without extension who from the heights of divine apathia divine athambia divine aphasia loves us dearly with some exceptions for reasons unknown but time will tell and suffers like the divine Miranda with those who for reasons unknown but time will tell are plunged in torment...[123]

Nonsense may also be used abusively, as in Pinter's The Birthday Party when Goldberg and McCann torture Stanley with apparently-nonsensical questions and non-sequiturs:

GOLDBERG. What do you use for pyjamas?
STANLEY. Nothing.
GOLDBERG. You verminate the sheet of your birth.
MCCANN. What about the Albigensenist heresy?
GOLDBERG. Who watered the wicket in Melbourne?
MCCANN. What about the blessed Oliver Plunkett?
GOLDBERG. Speak up Webber. Why did the chicken cross the road?[124]

As in the above examples, nonsense in Absurdist theatre may be also used to demonstrate the limits of language while questioning or parodying the determinism of science and the knowability of truth. In Ionesco's The Lesson, a professor tries to force a pupil to understand his nonsensical philology lesson:

PROFESSOR. ... In Spanish: the roses of my grandmother are as yellow as my grandfather who is Asiatic; in Latin: the roses of my grandmother are as yellow as my grandfather who is Asiatic. Do you detect the difference? Translate this into ... Romanian
PUPIL. The ... how do you say "roses" in Romanian?
PROFESSOR. But "roses", what else? ... "roses" is a translation in Oriental of the French word "roses", in Spanish "roses", do you get it? In Sardanapali, "roses"...[125]


Traditional plot structures are rarely a consideration in The Theatre of the Absurd. Plots can consist of the absurd repetition of cliché and routine, as in Godot or The Bald Soprano.[126] Often there is a menacing outside force that remains a mystery; in The Birthday Party, for example, Goldberg and McCann confront Stanley, torture him with absurd questions, and drag him off at the end, but it is never revealed why.[127] Another example of this kind of plot is in Albee's A Delicate Balance: Harry and Edna take refuge at the home of their friends Agnes and Tobias because they suddenly become frightened[128]. They have difficulty explaining what has frightened them:

HARRY: There was nothing ... but we were very scared.
EDNA: We ... were ... terrified.
HARRY: We were scared. It was like being lost: very young again, with the dark, and lost. There was no ... thing ... to be ... frightened of, but ...

Absence, emptiness, nothingness, and unresolved mysteries are central features in many Absurdist plots[130]: for example, in The Chairs an old couple welcomes a large number of guests to their home, but these guests are invisible so all we see is empty chairs, a representation of their absence.[131] Likewise, the action of Godot is centered around the absence of a man named Godot, for whom the characters perpetually wait. In many of Beckett's later plays, most features are stripped away and what's left is a minimalistic tableau: a woman walking slowly back and forth in Footfalls[132], for example, or in Breath only a junk heap on stage and the sounds of breathing.[133][134]

The plot may also revolve around an unexplained metamorphosis, a supernatural change, or a shift in the laws of physics. For example, in Ionesco's Amédée, or How to Get Rid of It, a couple must deal with a corpse that is steadily growing larger and larger; Ionesco never fully reveals the identity of the corpse, how this person died, or why it's continually growing, but the corpse ultimately – and, again, without explanation – floats away.[135][136]

Like Pirandello, many Absurdists use meta-theatrical techniques to explore role fulfillment, fate, and the theatricality of theatre. This is true for many of Genet's plays: for example, in The Maids, two maids pretend to be their masters; in The Balcony brothel patrons take on elevated positions in role-playing games, but the line between theatre and reality starts to blur. Another complex example of this is Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead: it's a play about two minor characters in Hamlet; these characters, in turn, have various encounters with the players who perform The Mousetrap, the play-with-in-the-play in Hamlet.[110][137]

Plots are frequently cyclical[112]: for example, Endgame begins where the play ended[138] – at the beginning of the play, Clov says, "Finished, it's finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished"[139] – and themes of cycle, routine, and repetition are explored throughout[140].

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Martin Esslin, The Theatre of the Absurd (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1961). (Subsequent references to this ed. appear within parentheses in the text.)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Martin Esslin, The Theatre of the Absurd, 3rd ed. (New York: Vintage [Knopf], 2004). (Subsequent references to this ed. appear within parentheses in the text.)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Esslin, pg. 323-324
  4. J. L. Styan. Modern Drama in Theory and Practice. Cambridge University Press, 1983 ISBN 0521296293, pg. 125
  5. Samuel Beckett. Endgame: a play in one act, followed by Act without words, a mime for one player. Grove Press, 1958. ISBN 0802150241. pg. 18-19.
  6. Esslin, pg. 321-323
  7. Friedrich Dürrenmatt. "Problems of the Theatre". The Marriage of Mr. Mississippi. Grove Press, 1964. ISBN 394171985. pg. 30-31.
  8. Styan, pg. 126
  9. Esslin, pg. 325
  10. Esslin, pg. 330-331
  11. Esslin, pg. 382-385
  12. Neil Cornwell. The absurd in literature. Manchester University Press ND, 2006. ISBN 071907410X. pg. 143.
  13. John Freedman. The major plays of Nikolai Erdman: The warrant and The suicide. Routledge, 1995.ISBN 3718655837. xvii.
  14. Esslin, pg. 365-368
  15. 15.0 15.1 J. L. Styan. The dark comedy: the development of modern comic tragedy. Cambridge University Press, 1968. ISBN 0521095298. pg. 217.
  16. Annette J. Saddik. Ed. "Experimental Innovations After the Second World War". Contemporary American Drama.Edinburgh University Press, 2007. ISBN 28
  17. Worthen, pg. 702
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Allan Lewis. "The Theatre of the 'Absurd' -- Beckett, Ionesco, Genet". The Contemporary Theatre: The Significant Playwrights of Our Time. Crown Publishers, 1966. pg. 260
  19. 19.0 19.1 Rupert D. V. Glasgow. Madness, Masks, and Laughter: An Essay on Comedy. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 1995. ISBN 0838635598. pg. 332.
  20. Deborah B. Gaensbauer. The French theater of the absurd. Twayne Publishers, 1991. ISBN 0805782702. pg. 17
  21. Jill Fell. Alfred Jarry, an imagination in revolt. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 2005. ISBN 0838640079. pg. 53
  22. Esslin, pag. 346-348
  23. Esslin, pg. 373.
  24. Neil Cornwell. The Absurd in Literature. Manchester University Press ND, 2006. ISBN 071907410X. pg. 107.
  25. Antonin Artaud The Theatre and Its Double. Tr. Mary Caroline Richards. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1958., pg. 15-133.
  26. Styan, Modern pg. 128
  27. Saddik, pg. 24-27.
  28. Esslin, pg. 372-375.
  29. Mel Gussow. Theatre on the edge: new visions, new voices. Hal Leonard Corporation, 1998. ISBN 1557833117. pg. 303.
  30. Eli Rozik. The roots of theatre: rethinking ritual and other theories of origin. University of Iowa Press, 2002. ISBN 0877458170. pg. 264.
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  32. Eugene Ionesco. Present past, past present: a personal memoir. Da Capo Press, 1998. ISBN 0306808358. pg. 148.
  33. Lamont, pg. 41-42
  34. Esslin, pg. 89
  35. Justin Wintle. Makers of modern culture. Routledge, 2002. ISBN 0415265835. pg. 3
  36. C. D. Innes. Avant garde theatre, 1892-1992.Routledge, 1993. ISBN 0415065186. pg. 118.
  37. Knowlson, pg. 65
  38. Daniel Albright. Beckett and aesthetics.Cambridge University Press, 2003. ISBN 0521829089. pg. 10
  39. Wesley Barnes. The Philosophy and Literature of Existentialism. Barron's Educational Series, 1968. ISBN 0764191543. pg. 31-32.
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  41. Jean-Paul Sartre. "Introduction to The Maids; and Deathwatch" The Maids; and Deathwatch. Grove Press, 1962. ISBN 080215056X. pg. 11.
  42. Eugene Ionesco. Present Past, Past Present. Da Capo Press, 1998. ISBN 0306808358. pg. 63.
  43. Eugène Ionesco. Fragments of a Journal. Tr. Jean Stewart. London: Faber and Faber, 1968. pg. 78.
  44. Rosette C. Lamont. Ionesco's imperatives: the politics of culture. University of Michigan Press, 1993. ISBN 0472103105. pg. 145.
  45. "Beyond Bourgeois Theatre" 6
  46. Lewis, pg. 275.
  47. Lamont, pg. 67.
  48. Claude Bonnefoy. Conversations with Eugene Ionesco. Trans. Jan Dawson. Holt, Rinehard and Winston, 1971. pg. 122-123.
  49. Knowlson, pg. 319
  50. Knowlson, pg. 325.
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  62. Cody, pg. 1343
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  68. Gies, pg. 258
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  73. Lamont, pg. 3
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  75. Plunka, pg. 29, 309
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  79. Smith, pg. 28-29
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  81. Graver, xvii
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  85. Lamont, pg. 275
  86. Graver, pg. xviii
  87. Peter Raby. The Cambridge companion to Harold Pinter. Cambridge University Press, 2001. ISBN 052165842X. pg. xv.
  89. Peter Weiss, Robert Cohen. Marat/Sade ; The investigation ; and The shadow of the coachman's body. Continuum International Publishing Group, 1998. ISBN 0826409636. pg. xxvi.
  90. Anthony Jenkins. The theatre of Tom Stoppard. Cambridge University Press, 1989. ISBN 0521379741. pg. 37.
  91. Knowlson, pg. 741.
  92. Enoch Brater. Beyond Minimalism: Beckett's Late Style in the Theater. Oxford University Press US, 1990. ISBN 0195066553. pg. 139.
  93. Chris Ackerley, S. E. Gontarski. The Grove companion to Samuel Beckett: a reader's guide to his works, life, and thought. Grove Press, 2004. ISBN 0802140491. pg. 44
  94. Enoch Brater. "After the Absurd". Around the Absurd: Essays on Modern and Postmodern Drama. Ed. Enoch Brater and Ruby Cohn. University of Michigan Press, 1990. ISBN 9780472102051. pg. 293-301.
  95. David Mamet. Glengarry Glen Ross. Grove Press, 1984. ISBN 0394538579. pg. 2
  96. Michael Hinden. "After Beckett: The Plays of Pinter, Stoppard, and Shepard". Contemporary Literature. Fall 1986, Vol. 27, Issue 3. pg. 408.
  97. Styan, Dark 218
  98. Saddik, pg. 29
  99. Norrish, pg. 2-8.
  100. Esslin, pg. 24
  101. Esslin, pg. 20
  102. Esslin, pg. 21
  103. Ionesco in Esslin, pg. 23
  104. Watt and Richardson 1154
  105. Lamont, pg. 72
  107. Anthony Cronin, Isaac Cronin. Samuel Beckett: the last modernist. Da Capo Press, 1999. ISBN 0306808986. pg. 424.
  108. Dave Bradby. Modern French Drama: 1940-1990. Cambridge University Press, 1991. ISBN 0521408431. 58.
  109. 109.0 109.1 Esslin, pg. 402
  110. 110.0 110.1 110.2 Bradby, Modern pg. 59
  111. 111.0 111.1 Leslie Kane. The language of silence: on the unspoken and the unspeakable in modern drama. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 1984. ISBN 0838631878. pg. 159-160
  112. 112.0 112.1 112.2 Hinden, pg. 401.
  113. Esslin, pg. 26
  114. Edward Albee, Philip C. Kolin. Conversations with Edward Albee. Univ. Press of Mississippi, 1988. ISBN 0878053425. pg. 189.
  115. Jeanette R. Malkin. Verbal Violence in Contemporary Drama: From Handke to Shepard. Cambridge University Press, 1992. ISBN 0521383358. pg. 40.
  116. Styan, Dark pg. 221
  117. Erich Segal. The Death of Comedy. Harvard University Press, 2001. ISBN 067401247X pg. 422.
  118. Saddik, pg. 30
  119. Guido Almansi, Simon Henderson. Harold Pinter. Routledge, 1983. ISBN 0416317103. pg. 37.
  120. Kane, pg. 17, 19
  121. Saddik, pg. 32
  122. Harold Pinter. The Caretaker. DPS, 1991.ISBN 0822201844, pg. 32
  123. David Bradby. Beckett, Waiting for Godot. Camberidge University Press, 2001. ISBN 052159510X, pg. 81.
  124. Harold Pinter. The Birthday Party and The Room: Two Plays. Grove Press, 1994. ISBN 0802151140. pg. 51.
  125. Eugene Ionesco. The Bald Soprano and Other Plays. Grove Press, 1982. ISBN 0802130798. pg. 67.
  126. Sydney Homan. Beckett's theaters: interpretations for performance. Bucknell University Press, 1984. ISBN 0838750648. pg. 198.
  127. Kane, pg. 132, 134
  128. Stephen James Bottoms. The Cambridge Companion to Edward Albee. Cambridge University Press, 2005. ISBN 0521834554. pg. 221.
  129. Edward Albee. A delicate balance: a play in three acts. Samuel French, Inc., 1994. ISBN 0573607923. pg. 31.
  130. Les Essif. Empty figure on an empty stage: the theatre of Samuel Beckett and his generation. Indiana University Press, 2001. ISBN 0253338476. pg. 1-9
  131. Alice Rayner. Ghosts: death's double and the phenomena of theatre. U of Minnesota Press, 2006. ISBN 0816645442. pg. 120.
  132. Morris Beja, S. E. Gontarski, Pierre A. G. Astier. Samuel Beckett--humanistic perspectives.Ohio State University Press, 1983. ISBN 0814203345. pg. 8
  133. Alan Astro. Understanding Samuel Beckett. Univ of South Carolina Press, 1990. ISBN 0872496864. pg. 177.
  134. Ruby Cohn. A Beckett Canon. University of Michigan Press, 2001. ISBN 0472111906pg. 298, 337.
  135. Lamont, pg. 101
  136. Justin Wintle. The Makers of Modern Culture. Routledge, 2002. ISBN 0415265835. pg. 243.
  137. June Schlueter. Metafictional Characters in Modern Drama. Columbia University Press, 1979. ISBN 0231047525. pg. 53.
  138. Katherine H. Burkman. Myth and ritual in the plays of Samuel Beckett. Fairleigh Dickinson Univ Press, 1987. ISBN 0838632998. pg. 24.
  139. Samuel Beckett. Endgame: a play in one act, followed by Act without words, a mime for one player.Grove Press, 1958. ISBN 0802150241. pg. 1.
  140. Andrew K. Kennedy. Samuel Beckett. Cambridge University Press, 1989. ISBN 0521274885. pg. 48.

Works cited

  • Artaud, Antonin. The Theatre and Its Double. Tr. Mary Caroline Richards. New York: Grove Weidenfeld, 1958.
  • Esslin, Martin. Absurd Drama. Harmondsworth, Eng.: Penguin, 1965.
  • –––. The Theatre of the Absurd. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1961.
  • –––. The Theatre of the Absurd. 3rd ed. With a new foreword by the author. New York: Vintage (Knopf), 2004. ISBN 9781400075232 (13).
  • Jacobus, Lee A. The Bedford Introduction to Drama. 5th ed. Boston: Bedford, 2005.
  • Ionesco, Eugène. Fragments of a Journal. Tr. Jean Stewart. London: Faber and Faber, 1968.
  • Knowlson, James. Damned to Fame: The Life of Samuel Beckett. New York: Grove P, 1996.
  • Sartre, Jean-Paul. "Beyond Bourgeois Theatre", Tulane Drama Review 5.3 (Mar. 1961): 6.
  • –––. "Introduction". The Maids and Deathwatch, by Jean Genet. Tr. Bernard Frechtman. New York: Grove P, 1954.
  • Watt, Stephen and Gary A. Richardson, eds. American Drama: Colonial to Contemporary. Boston: Thompson, 2003.
  • Worthen, W. B., ed. The Wadsworth Anthology of Drama. 5th ed. Boston: Thompson, 2007.

Further reading

  • Ackerley, C. J. and S. E. Gontarski, ed. The Grove Companion to Samuel Beckett. New York: Grove P, 2004.
  • Baker, William, and John C. Ross, comp. Harold Pinter: A Bibliographical History. London: The British Library and New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll P, 2005. ISBN 1584561564 (10). ISBN 9781584561569 (13).
  • Brook, Peter. The Empty Space: A Book About the Theatre: Deadly, Holy, Rough, Immediate. Touchstone, 1995. ISBN 0684829576 (10).
  • Caselli, Daniela. Beckett's Dantes: Intertextuality in the Fiction and Criticism. ISBN 0-7190-7156-9.
  • Cronin, Anthony. Samuel Beckett: The Last Modernist. New York: Da Capo P, 1997.
  • Gaensbauer, Deborah B. Eugène Ionesco Revisited. New York: Twayne, 1996.
  • Lewis, Allan. Ionesco. New York: Twayne, 1972.
  • McMahon, Joseph H. The Imagination of Jean Genet. New Haven: Yale UP, 1963.
  • Mercier, Vivian. Beckett/Beckett. Oxford UP, 1977. ISBN 0-19-281269-6.

External links

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