'Mirroring the Double and the Cruel' - Living, Uncaging, Offending, Celebrating, Analysing...


Living, Uncaging, Offending, Celebrating, Analysing: considerations on a few artistic experiences that echoed Artaud’s thought

Andrea Pagnes

ABSTRACT: This text focuses on some authors and their artistic experiences, particularly in the sixties and seventies, on which Antonin Artaud's reverberations are evident or underlying. If the radical theatrical conceptions of The Living Theater firmly found on the theory of the “Theatre of Cruelty” for direct testimony of its own most prominent exponents, John Cage does not deny to have drawn inspiration from the Theater and Its Double in its revolutionary conception of performance. More challenging, perhaps an anomaly, it is to find Artaud's influence alongside theatrical and performance experiences based on the literary text and on the spoken word, such as those of Peter Handke's Offending the Audience and of Klaus Kinski's Jesus Christ the Savior, where the relationship performer/spectator is tensioned in order to dissolve the fourth wall. Artaud was a source of inspiration also for the development of a type of performance which implies on the requalification and implementation of the collective ritual, the role of the performer, the body expressing primordial impulses to celebrate life and the creation like The Theatre of Orgies and Mysteries conceived by Hermann Nitsch. Eventually, disciplines such as Theatre and Performance Studies are, precisely, debtors to Artaud when tackling the notions of performance, performativity and performative.
KEY-WORDS: Theatre. Performance. Text. Audience. Ritual.

Biografia do Autor

Andrea Pagnes
Andrea Pagnes has been working with Verena Stenke as VestAndPage since 2006. They gained international reputation operating in performance art, filmmaking, social theatre, and art community projects. Their performance practice is contextual, conceived psycho-geographically in response to social situations, natural and historical surroundings, urban ruins. Through their live works, writings, and intensive workshops that they offer, VestAndPage explore themes such as pain sublimation, suffering, fragility, risk-taking, trust in change, union and endurance to merge from reality poetic elements to contrast the exercise of power and discrimination. Curators of the Venice International Performance Art Week since its inception, their last film Plantain received the best movie award at the Berlin Independent Film Festival (2018). E-mail: pagnes@vest-and-page.de .


ARONSON, Arnold. The Empty Stage. The New York Times. New York: NY Times, 24, Apr., 2005, p. 25.

ARTAUD, Antonin. Watchfiends & Rack Screams: Works from the Final Period. Boston: Exact Change, 1995.

ARTAUD, Antonin. Artaud on Theatre. London: Methuen, 1989.

ARTAUD, Antonin. Lettres. In: Œuvres Complètes: Suppôts et Suppliciations. XIV, 1978. Tr. By the author.

ARTAUD, Antonin. The Theatre and Its Double. New York: Groove Press, 1994.

ARTAUD, Antonin. The Theatre and Its Double. Richmond (UK): Alma Classic, 2010.

BECK, Julian. Our Mission. Living Theatre Mission Statement. Website. Available at: https://www.livingtheatre.org/about. Accessed: on 25, Oct 2019.

BECK, Julian. Storming the Barricades. In: BROWN, Kenneth H. The Brig. New York: Hill and Wang, 1965, pp. 1-36.

BECK, Julian. The Life of Theatre. New York: Limelight Editions, 1991.

BOULEZ, Pierre; CAGE, John. Correspondence. NATTIEZ, Jean-Jacques. Paris: Christian Bourgois Èditeur, 1991.

BRADBY, David. Modern French Drama: 1940-1990. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

BRECHT, Stefan. Revolution at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The Drama Review. Cambridge (MA): The MIT Press, Vol. 13, No. 3, 1969, pp. 47–73. Avaliable at: DOI:10.2307/1144457. Accessed on 30, Oct. 2019.

BROOK, Peter. The Empty Space. London: MacGibbon and Kee, 1971.

BRYAN-WILSON, Julia. Robert Morris. Cambridge (MA): The MIT Press, 2013, p.27.

CAGE, John, CHARLES, Daniel. For the Birds: John Cage in Conversation with Daniel Charles. London & Boston: Marion Boyars, 1981.

CAGE, John, KIRBY, Michael, SCHECHNER, Richard. An Interview with John Cage. The Tulane Drama Review. Cambridge (MA): The MIT Press, Vol. 10, No. 2, 1965, pp. 50-72. Available at: DOI:10.2307/1125231. Accessed on: 29, Oct., 2019.

CORMAC, Power. Presence in Play: A Critique of Theories of Presence in the Theatre. Amsterdam & New York: Editions Rodopi, 2008.

DE MARINIS, Marco. Performance e Teatro: Dall'attore al performer, e ritorno? Comunicazioni sociali. Firenze: Casalini Libri, n. 1, 2014, pp. 29-46. Available at: DOI: 10.1400/225723. Accessed on: 28, Oct..2019.

DE MARINIS, Marco. The Semiotics of Performance. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992.

DERRIDA, Jacques. Writing and Difference. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1978.

DONAHUE, FRANCIS. Anatomy of the “New Drama”. Southwest Review. Dallas: Southern Methodist University, Vol.56, No. 3, 1971, pp. 269-277. Available at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43468322. Accessed on 24, Oct, 2019.

ELSTER, Elenore. Living Theatre: Jailed in Brazil. The New York Times. New York: NY Times, 15 Aug. 1971, p. 1-3.

EMERSON, Waldo R. Friendship. In: Essays and Lectures. New York: The Library of America, 1983.

ESSLIN, Martin. Antonin Artaud. London: John Calder, 1976.

FETTERMAN, William. John Cage's Theatre Pieces: Notations and Performances. New York: Routledge, 1996.

GORDON, Robert. The Purpose of Playing: Modern Acting Theories in Perspective. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2009.

GROTOWSKI, Jerzy. Towards a Poor Theatre. London & New York: Routledge, 2002.

HANDKE, Peter. Offending the Audience. Plays: 1. London: Methuen Drama, 1997, pp. 1-32.

HIRSCHMAN, Jack, (Ed.). Artaud Anthology. San Francisco: City Light Book, 1965.

HORNBY, Richard. Drama, Metadrama and Perception. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 1986.

KINSKI, Klaus. Jesus Christus Erlöser. Frankfurt am Main: Surkamp, 2006. Transl. by the author.

KOSTELANETZ, Richard. Conversing with Cage. London & New York: Routledge, 2003.

KOUTSOURAKIS, Angelo. Introduction. Image [&] Narrative. Leuven: Faculty of the Arts, Vol. 17, No.5, 2016, pp. 1-5. ISSN 1780-678X. Available at: http://www.imageandnarrative.be/index.php/imagenarrative/issue/view/82. Accessed on 24, Oct, 2019.

LEACH, Robert. Makers of Modern Theatre: An Introduction. London & New York: Routledge, 2004.

MCCANN, Andrew. Kinski Speaks Villon: Literary Media and the Poète Maudit, 1952–1962. Modernism/modernity. Evanston: John Hopkins University Press, Vol. 3, Cycle 3, Oct 17, 2018, unpaged Available at:. https://doi.org/10.26597/mod.0072. Accessed on: 25, Oct., 2019.

MEGILL, Allan. Prophets of Extremity: Nietzsche, Heidegger, Foucault, Derrida. Berkley: University of California Press, 1987.

MORSE, Meredith. Soft is Fast: Simone Forti in the 1960s and After. Cambridge (MA): The MIT Press, 2016.

NEFF, Severine. Point/Counterpoint: John Cage Studies with Arnold Schoenberg. Contemporary Music Review. London and New York: Taylor and Francis, Vol. 33, No. 5-6, 2014, pp. 451-482. DOI: 10.1080/07494467.2014.998414.

PAWLIK, Joanna. Artaud in performance: dissident surrealism and the postwar American avant-garde. Papers of Surrealism. No. 8, Brighton: University of Sussex, 2010, pp. 1-25. ISSN 1750-1954. Available at: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/56081. Accessed on: 23, Oct, 2019.

PEREZ, Gilberto. Films in Review: Bad Boys: Klaus Kinski & Werner Herzog. The Yale Review. Vol. 88, No. 2, April 2000, pp. 185-194. https://doi.org/10.1111/0044-0124.00410. Available at: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/0044-0124.00410. Accessed on: 27, Oct., 2019.

SCHUMACHER, Alec. Review of Collapsible Poetics Theater: Considerations on Body, Language and Labor. Latin American Theatre Review. Lawrence, University of Kansas: Centre of Latina American Studies, Vol. 45, no. 1, 2011, pp. 220-222. DOI:10.1353/ltr.2011.0038.

SNOW, Stephen. Influences of Experimental Theatre on the Emergence of Self-Revelatory Performance. In: PENDZIK, Susana, EMUNAH, Renée, READ JOHNSON, David (Eds.). The Self in Performance - Autobiographical, Self-Revelatory, and Autoethnographic Forms of Therapeutic Theatre. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2016, pp. 21-35.

SONTAG, Susan. Introduction. In: ARTAUD, Antonin. Selected Writings. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.

THERIAULT, Sawyer A. The Development of Theatre: Peter Brook and the Human Connection. Inquiries Journal. Boston: Northwest University, Vol. 1, No. 12, p. 1-1, 2009. Available at: http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/a?id=101. Accessed on: 25, Oct., 2019.

TYNAN, Kenneth. Preface. In: GELBER, Jack. The Connection. New: Grove Press, 1960, pp. 7-11.

VIRMAUX, Alain and SANZENBACH, Simone. Artaud and Film. The Tulane Drama Review. Cambridge (MA): The MIT Press, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 154-165, Autumn 1966. DOI: 10.2307/1125279.

Reverberações / Reverberations