Antonin Artaud (1896-1948)

The Theatre of Cruelty (exterior version)

For the first part of his life, Artaud was very active in the French Avant-Garde, founding a theatre company (Theatre Alfred Jarry) and writing manifestos for a `Theatre of Cruelty', where action was more important than words, the action was `immediate' - that is not repeatable - and should threaten the bodies and identities of the performers and spectators.

His collision with Balinese theatre stimulated him into mounting productions which we would call `happenings' or `performance art'. These productions had nowhere near the influence of his writings - suffering from the age-old theatrical problems of lack of money and rehearsal time.

He spent much of his later life in Asylums and underwent a major series of ECT. The whys and wherefores of his life are still under debate - his Catholic family wants to keeps his work suppressed, friends and intellectuals criticise his treatment and Doctors, in turn, accuse his friends of keeping him in a state of drug-addiction.

The Theatre of Cruelty (Interior Version)

In the current context, Artaud is most interesting in that later in life he internalised his theatre onto an interior ground. Failing to realise the Theatre of Cruelty in the exterior world, he creates that world in himself.

This theatre found expression in journals and drawings which could easily be set aside as `Art Brut', but there is something profound in the way he assembles this drama where he is the `becoming cruel' of himself.and achieving what Deleuze and Guattarri would call an effective `schizoanalysis' (here we have to understand the difference between a schizophrenia of breakdown and one of breakthrough).

Important Works among a huge number...
The Two Manifestos of `The Theatre of Cruelty' (1930, 31)
The Theatre and It's Double. (1938)
Reverse Manually...