Absurd theatre

Jump to navigation Jump to search

In general terms this is the name coined by Martin Esslin to refer to works of theatre heavily influenced by the philosophical nihilism of Sarte, Camus and others, plays in which the focus is on the depiction of man cut off from his roots: religious, cultural, intellectual and existential. He appears lost in a universe that apparently makes no sense. Among the primary formal examples of "absurdist playwrights" are Samuel Beckett (e.g. Waiting for Godot), Eugene Ionesco (e.g. La cantratrice chauve/ The bald primadonna), Harold Pinter (The caretaker) and Edward Albee (e.g. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?). In South African drama the absurdity of the human condition features strongly in a wide range of plays from the 1960's onward, though not always as abstractly as in the case of the examples mentioned. See further Absurd theatre in South Africa

Return to South African Theatre Terminology and Thematic Entries

Return to Main Page