The Theatre Of Alienation: Absurdism Vs. Alienation

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Cynthia Son Comparing and Contrasting two Anti-realistic Theatrical Forms: Absurdism vs. Alienation(Epic Theatre) I will be comparing and contrasting two forms of theatre: Theatre of the Absurd vs. the Theatre of Alienation(Epic Theatre). These movements were born during the period of the cold war and were heavily ideological and theoretical, anti-realistic movements; thus, they have similarities and differences in all aspects. First, to introduce the context of the two movements. Absurdism, as the name suggests, is based on the philosophy that the world is absurd, meaning that it has no order, significance, or organised predictability. This philosophy and movement has its roots in the existentialist movement that began just earlier in…show more content…
He detested the emotional and spectacle orientated conventions of traditional theatre and sought to use alienation techniques(A-effect/ theory of Verfremdungseffekt(V-effect)) to make social commentary and change the world. He was greatly influenced by the ancients, Eastern(traditional oriental) drama, and mostly, German expressionism and Marxism. In Germany, Brecht witnessed his country adopt inhumane ideas due to the Nazi’s emotional exploitation of the public, leading him to believe that emotional manipulation of any sort led to acts of inhumanity. His works, however, did not gain recognition until the mid-20th century as he was exiled from Germany during the Nazi reign. His most famous pieces are Mother Courage and her Children, The Good Woman of Setzwan, and The Life of…show more content…
Absurdist plays contradicts accepted norms of theatre by creating non-linear plot developments, which is often pattern-like, repetitive, and cyclical. It is almost to the point where there is not really any plot at all. The play tricks the audience by taking them on an emotional journey only to end up right back where it had started. There is a clear absence of conflict and logical cause and effect relationships. It “flaunts the absurd” through twisted random occurrences with no resolution in order to stimulate, tease, puzzle, and disturb the audience, leading them to question humanity’s existence and the world’s absurdity. Relationships are haphazard and blurred and stark extremes are juxtaposed(ie. enemies who love each other). Appropriately, even the genre is an oxymoron: tragicomedy, resulting in moods that rapidly swing from one end of the spectrum to the other. Alienation plays also aimed to stimulate, tease, puzzle, and disturb the audience, much like the absurdist play, in order to get the audience to adopt opinions of society. However, alienation plot differed greatly from absurdist plot due to the emphasis on telling a story rather than its characters. Brecht, playwright and creator of the epic theatre(theatre of alienation), did this through setting the plot in foreign places or times(called historicisation), jumping around in the timeline, or creating a montage to keep the

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