Theatre of Cruelty

Theory advanced by Antonin Artaud, who believed the theatre's function was to rid audiences of the repressive effects of civilization and liberate their instinctual energy.

He proposed to do so by shocking them with mythic spectacles that would include groans, screams, pulsating lights, and oversized stage puppets. He described the Theatre of Cruelty in his book The Theatre and Its Double (1938). Though only one of his plays, Les Cenci, was ever produced in accordance with his theory, his ideas influenced avant-garde movements such as the Living Theatre and the Theatre of the Absurd.

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Universalium. 2010.

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