InvisibleTheatreInvisible theatre is a form of theatricalperformance enacted in a place where people would not normally expect to seeone; for example – the street, bus or shopping centre.
Actors disguise the truenature of the performance; the unwitting audience is viewing is a scripted,rehearsed act. This leads spectators to view it as a real, unstaged event. The form never seeks to be recognized as activetheatre, often done in order to gather the audience’s spontaneous responsesregarding significant social causes. Usually, the art form takes place incrowded public locations in order to inspire an interactive audience.
Itoriginated from the Theatre of the Oppressed, pioneered by Augusto Boal. The Theatre of the Oppressed is a form ofpopular community based education that uses theatre as a tool for socialchange. It seeks to promote awareness of everyday oppression throughperformances that seem spontaneous, but are actually well-planned. Invisible Theatre requires a significant amountof preparation. The form requires actors to remain in character even when theaction goes in challenging directions. Performers are encouraged to expect theunexpected from the public. Invisible Theatre can thus achieve things that mostother forms cannot, as it seeks to remove the barriers between performer andspectator by creating very accessible conflictual situations in which peoplecan rethink their assumptions and engage with sensitive issues they mightotherwise avoid.Theconcept of Invisible Theatre works because it is easy to walk into what youknow is a stage performance, give it half your attention, then walk outexperiencing a false, foggy sense of realisation and feeling ready to change.
Invisible Theatre, on the other hand, provokes a much more realistic responsefrom your part to whichever situation had been depicted. It calls attention to the actual approachhumanity has to issues where someone is oppressed or downtrodden. It givespeople the liberty to properly reflect upon their instantaneous actions in anuncomfortable scenario.
Every reaction, even ignorance, or no reaction – is ofabsolute importance as it is a direct reflection of societal mind-set. AugustoBoalAugusto Boal, a Brazilian dramatist, writerand politician, is best known for his immense efforts in the field of theatre.He adopted the profession to address and incite awareness for social issues. Hecreated the Theatre of the Oppressed, a form of interactive drama envisioned totransform spectators as performers.Boal began his career with theArena Theatre in São Paulo in 1956; he was its director until 1971, duringwhich time he developed his theories. One of his tacticsinvolved the use of Invisible Theatre.
Boal believed each individual possessedthe capacity to act in the theatre oftheir own lives. These actors remain viewers as well as reactors, which carries forward thepossible direction for the project. He encouraged his audience to take part indemonstrating their suggestions, eventually leading tothe term, spec-actors. When made aware of the empoweringinfluence the practice often left on his audience, he was able to transformtheatre as a medium for fundamental activism. Unlike conventional theatre, hispractices allowed the audience, conjoined with the performers to provide spaceto carry the performance in a variety of directions.
Jailed for his political activities, AugustoBoal showed impressive commitment to the art and his efforts will always beappreciated. His concepts contradict the ideathat theatre is merely naive entertainment, but rather, a potential to create anew future together. Augusto Boal used to say “the theatre itself is notrevolutionary; it is a rehearsal for the revolution.” A few observational takeaways from theseperformances were that actors portray every-day people.
There rarelyfantastical, mythological or unrealistic characters involved. Secondly, performersare required to act casually and naturally – as if it were real life itself –in order to sell the act. Moreover, performersmust remain in character, completely regardless of the audience’sinterventions. Next, it is important to note that volume of dialogue is tricky.While it is integral for the performers to be heard, it needs to be just enoughto attract attention without appearing staged. Lastly, improvisation is atechnique that plays an integral role in the presentation of Invisible Theatre.
Theatre of the AbsurdEstablished in the 1970’s, the Theatre ofthe Absurd stated itself to be of, by andfor the people engaged in the struggle for liberation. It refers to a literary movement in drama popularthroughout Europe. Originating from post-world war two, it was writtenlargely by European writers dating back to the 1950s.
It was largely influencedby the political turmoil, scientific breakthrough, and social upheaval thatwere going on in the world at the time. Theatrocities of WWII are considered influential events to the movement,highlighting the precariousness of human existence. Laughter and fantasy were a few of the manytools utilized to satirize our absurd world. The absurd stands for that which is devoid of purpose. It is theatrethat seeks to represent the absurdity of human existence in a meaninglessuniverse by bizarre or fantastical means. It is drama that utilizes theabandonment of conventional dramatic form; in order to portray the futility ofhuman struggle in a senseless world. TheTheatre of the Absurd uses distorted, abstract or illogical speech as itfocuses on the philosophies of existentialism, frequently discussing themeaning behind human existence and the purpose of life. These stories arerepeatedly based on a world without meaning, or the actors being controlled aspuppets by outside forces.
It uses dark humor, with the use of repetitiveactions, cynical plots and parodies with attempts to dismiss reality. Absurdist works rarely follow aclear plot, and what action occurs serves only to heighten the sense thatcharacters (and human beings in general) are mere victims of unknown, arbitraryforces beyond their control. Dialogue is often redundant, setting and passageof time within the play unclear, and characters express frustration, confusion,fury or resignation with deep, philosophical questions, such as the meaning oflife and death and the existence of God. The absurdists suggest thatlife is so illogical, just trying to make sense of it is absurd.These playwrights adhered to the theories ofFrench-Algerian philosopher Albert Camus, in particular his essay The Myth of Sisyphus, publishedin 1942. In this essay, Camus introduced his Philosophy of the Absurd, in which heargues that man’s quest for meaning and truth is a futile endeavour; hecompares man’s struggle to understand the world and the meaning of life to Sisyphus, a famous figure in Greek Mythology condemned to anexistence of rolling a heavy stone up a mountain only to watch it roll to the bottom. Theplays of Samuel Beckett, Arthur Adamov, and Eugene Ionesco have been performedwith astonishing success in France, Germany, Scandinavia, and theEnglish-speaking countries.
This reception is all the more puzzling when oneconsiders that the audiences concerned were amused by and applauded theseplays; whilst being fully aware that they could not understand what they meantor what their authors were driving at.A few key elements in absurdists performanceswere that plays categorized in this movement typically represent humanexistence as nonsensical and often chaotic. Additionally, absurdist worksrarely follow a clear plot, and whatever little action occurs, serves only toheighten the sense that characters (and human beings in general) are merevictims of unknown, arbitrary forces beyond their control. Thirdly, dialogue isoften redundant; and lastly, the setting and passage of time within the playunclear.Sameul BecketSamuel BarclayBecket was an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatredirector, and poet, who lived in Paris for most of his adult life. He wrotein both English and French and is considered one of the last modernist writers. He was also one of the keyfigures in what Martin Esslin called the Theatre of the Absurd.
Beckett’s work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human existence, often coupledwith black comedy and gallowshumour. Early on, he realized his writing had to be subjective, coming from hispersonal beliefs and experiences. He became increasingly minimalist in his later career but his workalways served to break conventional boundaries through the form ofsetting in order to display characters and objects from an unexpectedperspective.In one his most famous works – Act Without Words, Becket was possiblydepicting the correlation of one’s various materialistic wants and theirinability to achieve it. This often leaves them completely restless andunsatisfied.
His work could also be interpreted as an impossibilityof escaping fate. The mime presents a number of possible interpretations – andthis makes a statement in itself. The piece provides his audience with theillusion of choice, reflecting how every opportunity is a possibility; but nothingis real. Hiswork is filled with allusions to other writers.
Beckett’s plays are not writtenalong traditional lines with conventional plot and time and place references.Instead, he focuses on essential elements of the human condition in dark,humorous ways.He is best known for a piece called Waiting for Godot – his mostcontroversial work so far. The characters of the play are strange caricatures withdifficulty communicating the simplest of concepts to one another as they bidetheir time awaiting the arrival of Godot. The language they use is oftenludicrous. Following the cyclical patter, the play seems toend in precisely the same condition it began, with no absolutely real changehaving occurred. In fact, Waiting forGodot is sometimes referred to as theplay where nothing happens.
Reflect upon how each form distorts, abstracts or blendsspace and time to mislead the audienceInvisible Theatre attempts to ‘distort’ aviewer’s perception of space and time as it’s purpose is to mislead theaudience into believe the performance enacted was their real life. It is anextremely abstract form of theatre, because the spectators are unaware of theexistence of the performance itself.It uses the surrounding areas as a stage, unlikemethodical theatre, usually set on a in an auditorium with an audience watchingthe performance. Invisible Theatre misleads the viewer into believing the rehearsedevent was a daily example of social injustice.The performers are required to be more aware thanever of the space in which they are performing.
They have to keep in mind theaudience and judge their responses accordingly. Each actor and unwitting audience often leavesthe situation feeling a tangled mess of emotions. This distorts theirperceptions toward the incident that just occurred – as after they react, theyoften reconsider their response as they can analyse how helpful it was byreflecting upon the situation. A vital aspect of Invisible Theatre is theaudience’s participation. The element of spontaneity andunexpectedness blends interactions between the audience and spectators wasnatural, and what was scripted.Conversely, the Theatre of the Absurd adoptsusage of abstract imagery and ideals. This is done in an attempt to ridiculecommon notions, effectually blending what is commonly accepted as the purposeof the human life with existentialism.
Absurd Theatre came into being around post WWIItimes. The harsh realities of everyday life and the terse political and socialatmosphere played an important role in sparking the concept of this kind oftheatre. It is a prime example of how a distorted cultural climate in societycan influence its citizens.Absurd Theatre serves to feature the absurdityof human nature through extremely repetitive, disjointed, meaningless orconfusing situations.
Absurd Theatre has plots lacking logical and realisticdevelopment; depicted through highly distorted speech and dialogue.