for a new surrealist theatre
rising through the cracks from the pits and the shadows; it feeds from the crumbs, making an appearance, entertaining, defying, challenging and humanising before disappearing into the darkness
Our theatre is about creating movement and tendencies; about seeking potential relationships between ideas, visions, stereotypes, words, beliefs, assumptions and those mostly unseen magnetisms that cause social construction over which we have little control. It is about cracking the lenses through which people see the world; the dogmas, authorities, strictures that pose as divine revelation or sanctified academic certainty when in fact they are culturally bound and limited by their own innate ego, histories and desires for significance and meaning. This is in common with other theatre groups and individuals who adopt a surrealist approach to creation and presentation.
It is also about accepting our own straight jacket of cultural limitations and gravitation; allowing the cracks to be opened and not being afraid of our own shadows … As with Breton's original manifesto of surrealism, we deliberately espouse a disaffection with all cultural precepts; seeing culture as a bind and limiter of human progress … even if in the scheme of things it is a necessary evil to scaffold our existence in what can appear an absurd universe. It is through dreams and an embracing of personal dream memory that cultural socialisation can be eroded and challenged. Culture is also the inherent divider that is the cause of most evil and destruction between peoples. It is the creator of the adversorial groups that must defend precepts from mythological pasts and dogmatic books.
We would rather adopt an epistomological approach; starting with a phenomenology of our existence and how we influence and react to the seemingly invisible forces surrounding and shaping us. We ponder if this is a purpose of art itself?
Our theatre must be phenomenological
A phenomenological approach to theatre, a “theatre from the cracks in the psyche of culture”, can provide interventions into the discourse in much the same way that scientific method can challenge accepted truths.
A phenomenological approach posits that art and experience are linked and necessary for the development of collective and individual understandings of our existence or at least our actions within existence.
It further posits that each action, each idea and each feeling that a person may experience is linked inextricably to deeper and wider underlying forces that are not easily identified. Our theatre can create and stimulate awareness of the questions that must be asked in order to see, not only the shadows, but also to see FROM the shadows of our worldly and physical environment.
Philosophical Basis For All Theatre Beyond Violence
If we are to move beyond the violence generated by competing agendas within a violent world, we need to focus a theatre that clearly accepts the following points (regardless of cultural and political sensibilities):
all genders are to be accorded the same respect and same entitlements within social settings
no one be persecuted for sexual orientation
all people have the right to accepting and rejecting paradigms of thought (ie. religion) without threat of death nor ostracism should they change their minds and leave any organisation or institution controlling such thought
all people have a right to a private space where thoughts can roam free of the State or Institutional scrutiny
all forms of thuggish coercion (be they from individuals, groups, families, states or Belief Systems) need to be resisted AND clearly not accepted
all theatre begins with a predisposition towards people in powerless positions; be they from economic and cultural circumstances, personal disabilities, rejection from the norm of society
all theatre adopts positions antithetical to power over individual thought and action
theatre may use any non-violent means be it satire, drama, comedy, ritual, role play, revitalizing of classic works to target its objectives within the scope of the above criteria for a theatre beyond violence (allowing that the depiction of extreme violence and language may be part of theatre presentation)
Locations for theatrical presentation not being restricted to spaces and venues too closely associated with the power establishment
accept the individual’s right to survive and creatively adapt to a changing universe as paramount in the writing, constructing and presenting of Theatre
create awareness of the binds of Culture and biology (ie. DNA) as they limit the potential of individuals to make choices and reach potential
keep on developing this list to take theatre from its currently irrelevant and bland doldrums.
A New Surrealist Theatre attempts to
create theatre which utilises “meta-textural” and experimental theatre approaches to the development and presentation of theatrical offerings
draw significantly on the writings and inspirations of people such as Antonin Artaud
instigate investigations into the shadows of the cultural and personal psyche inspired by the thinking and analogies offered by C. G. Jung
focus primarily on new works; works created from original observations, reflections, interpretations and considered decisions regarding the validity and meaning constructed for us as participants in the creative process
utilize a strong collaborative methodology while retaining a deep sense of personal artistic vision.
Our theatre is phenomenological by design and implementation. The composition of cast and associated collaborators will, by necessity, shape the meaning within the work; evoking a kind of organic responsiveness; maximising of the work’s potential. An obvious paradox is that the artistic shaping must still be within the artistic vision of the personal “i” of the instigator. Such a process requires considerable challenge to all participants and to the nature of the work itself. Where possible each work should have built into its creation a constant antagonism or tension created by the infusion of different perceptions and ways of engaging within the art form.
A defining feature of New Surrealist Theatre methodology and thinking is its constant attention to personal and collective challenge within the actual creative process. This can be summarised under the heading of “Organic Response”. It is used to strengthen the personal “i” through challenge and constant clarifying and rejecting. While acknowledging the personal difficulties this creates, it does have the effect of cementing a greater texture and bonding of the work to achieve a greater relationship between artistic creation and philosophical discourse. In this respect, our theatre owes a debt to the inspiration of Eugenio Barba and his work on “personal dramaturgies”.
Our theatre will harness the conceptual thinking of people such as Antonin Artaud, Bertolt Brecht, Peter Brook, Eugenio Barba and others who work in dynamic ways to open the systems of creation and presentation.
Our theatre aims to break the subsistence of cultural, artistic and spiritual ennui and commodification of all facets of contemporary life.
Image by ntnvnc from Pixabay
“Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag thwarting our most well-meant intentions.”
Image by Paul Brennan from Pixabay
“For nothing bestializes a being like the taste for eternal happiness, the search for eternal happiness at any price, and mademoiselle Lucifer is that slut who never wanted to abandon eternal happiness.”