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The Theater of the Absurd's even more evil twin.

"Without an element of cruelty at the root of every spectacle, the theater is not possible. In our present state of degeneration it is through the skin that metaphysics must be made to re-enter our minds." -Antonin Artaud

"Insofar as the modern theater has come to be, for some people, an alternative to religion, this is largely Artaud's doing...." -John Weightman

Concept of theater promulgated by Antonin Artaud, which he most clearly explained in his 1932 work, Le Théâtre et son double (The Theater and Its Double), and an example of which is his play The Cenci.

In the Theater of Cruelty, Artaud sought out a kind of chaotic environment in which the audience would be assaulted by all kinds of things happening simultaneously. A precursor to performance art and installation art, the Theater of Cruelty downplayed the importance of dialogue and plot in favor of movement, violence, and color. He wanted the theater to reveal the indifference, if not hostility, of the forces of nature. To Artaud, theater should destroy the assumptions of civilization by revealing man's true, base nature, and he thus likened it to The Plague.

Artaud never truly realized the goals of the Theater of Cruelty, but many later artists, poets, and playwrights have been inspired by its vision.

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