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(c. 1450-1516)
Garden of Earthly Delights
(center panel)

A 20th-century literary and artistic movement that

attempts to express the workings of the subconscious by
fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtaposition of subject
Surrealism, movement in visual art and literature, flourishing in
Europe between World Wars I and II. Surrealism grew principally
out of the earlier Dada movement, which before World War I
produced works of anti-art that deliberately defied reason; but
Surrealism's emphasis was not on negation but on positive
expression. The movement represented a reaction against what its
members saw as the destruction wrought by the "rationalism" that
had guided European culture and politics in the past and that had
culminated in the horrors of World War I.
According to the major spokesman of the movement, the poet and
critic Andr Breton, who published "The Surrealist Manifesto" in
1924, Surrealism was a means of reuniting conscious and
unconscious realms of experience so completely that the world of
dream and fantasy would be joined to the everyday rational world
in "an absolute reality, a surreality." Drawing heavily on theories
adapted from Sigmund Freud, Breton saw the unconscious as the


The Persistence of Memory (1931)

Crucifixion ('Hypercubic Body')

Oil on canvas
194.5 x 124 cm

The Great Masturbator (1929)

Giacometti, Alberto
The Surrealist Table

Luis Buuel
& Salvador Dali's Un Chien Andalou

Set for "The Wedding on the Eiffel Tower" by Jean Cocteau, Paris,
1921. Four years after "Parade," Cocteau presented an even more
surrealistic piece under the title "The Wedding on the Eiffel Tower."
Crowds were represented by a single person, the master of
ceremonies introduced each sequence and explicated the action.
Two characters dressed as Phonographs with horns for

from "Parade
by Jean
& Erik Satie
Decor and
Costumes by
Pablo Picasso
Paris, May

What Dreams May Come

and the
Theatre of Cruelty

Antonin Artaud (1896-1948)

Who am I?
Where do I come from?
I am Antonin Artaud
and I say this
as I know how to say this
you will see my present body
burst into fragments
and remake itself
under ten thousand notorious aspects
a new body
where you will
forget me.

As Marat

from No More Masterpieces

We must get rid of our superstitious valuation of
texts and written poetry.
theater of cruelty means a theater difficult and
cruel for myself first of all.
We are not free. And the sky can still fall on our
heads. And the theater has been created to teach
us that first of all.
I defy any spectator to whom such violent scenes
will have transferred their blood to give himself
up, once outside the theater, to ideas of war, riot,

from The Theater and the Plague

The theater, like the plague, is in the image of this
carnage and this essential separation. It releases
conflicts, disengages powers, liberates possibilities,
and if these possibilities and these powers are dark,
it is the fault not of the plague nor of the theater, but
of life.
We do not see that life as it is and as it has been
fashioned for us provides many reasons for
exaltation. It appears that by means of the plague, a
gigantic abscess, as much moral as social, has been
collectively drained; and that like the plague, the
theater has been created to drain abscesses

Les Cenci (The Cenci) is Artauds only known play based on the
guidelines of the Theatre of Cruelty. The play relates Artauds
version of the story of the late-sixteenth-century Roman
nobleman, Francesco Cenci, and his daughter Beatrice. Written
in a style meant to overwhelm the audiences moral
preconceptions, The Cenci dramatizes the torture that the cruel
Count Cenci invoked upon his family; the familys plot to have him
murdered; and the familys torture and execution by Catholic
authorities. On stage, The Cenci involves a spectacle of light and
sound. Artaud directed and starred as Cenci in the original
production of the play in 1935. The play shocks the audience not
only because of its cruelty, violence, incest, and rape, but
because its characters seem to speak strangely and artificially.
This is because the theory behind the play, which is influenced by
the surrealist movement and by Balinese dance theatre, calls for
the characters to represent universal forces instead of realistic

I Cenci
(College Production)

Original Paris Production

Artaud as Cenci

Opera Version

Set Design for

1997 Production
of the Opera

Recent Professional Production

To Have Done with the Judgement of God

a radio play by Antonin Artaud (1947)
"I wanted a new work that catches certain organic points in life,
a work
in which we feel the whole nervous system
burning like an incandescent lamp
with vibrations,
which invite
his body
in pursuit of this new, strange and radiant Epiphany in the sky.
Anybody, down to the coal merchant, must understand being fed
up with the filth-physical, as well as physiological,
and DESIRES an in-depth

opening text
sound effects which fade into the text performed by Maria Casars
the dance of the Tutuguri, text
sound effects (xylophones)
La recherche de la fcalit (performed by Roger Blin)
sound effects, beating and exchanges between Roger Blin and 1
La question se pose de (text performed by Paule Thvenin)
sound effects and my cry in the stairwell
conclusion, text
final sound effects 2

Spurt of Blood