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Theatre of the Absurd: The Bald Prima Donna - Evaluation

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Introduction

Theatre of the absurd - Evaluation We have been studying Eugene Ionesco's The Bald Prima Donna and 'theatre of the absurd'. 'The Theatre of the Absurd' is a term used to describe the work of a number of plays, mostly written around the 1950s and 1960s that portrayed human society as meaningless and absurd (illogical or out of harmony). It originated from the avant-garde experiments in art of the 1920s and 1930s and was undoubtedly influenced by the traumatic experiences of the Second World War. In 1948, Frenchman, Eugene Ionesco began writing The Bald Prima Donna, a pseudo-play - anti-theatre - that rebelled against conventional theatre. It reflected the meaningless of life and the tragedy of language through characterisation, use of language and stage directions. It was illogical, with no conflict or plot - a key feature of theatre of the absurd. The characters were dull and generally bored, with little personality and there was a lack of development, which portrayed them as useless or irrelevant, even the time of day was mixed up, furthering the notion that people, place and time are meaningless. The dialogue seemed to be random, with no fluency and the sentences had no relation to each other until the conversations became total gobbledygook and silly noises. It portrayed the idea that not only is life meaningless, but also our language as a means of communication; that it's become conventionalised, meaningless exchanges. ...read more.

Middle

I played the part of Jo's character's thoughts, so I emphasised the difference between her feelings and what Jo said. For example, when she said she was fine, I clutched my stomach and said I felt sick but when she was acting cool and calm, I was jumping up and down with excitement. We were trying to reflect how language has become meaningless and useless as a method of communication because lies prevent and delude people from the truth. I think this scene worked well because it was clear what was happening in the scene, the diction was good. I think it could have improved if the projection was a bit stronger because I think that affected the cues, which could have been picked up quicker to make it more fluent. The transition between the first and second scene worked well because it was fluent and we used crosscutting, where you cut back and forth to different scenes. This technique was useful to portray the meaninglessness as an ongoing pattern despite being a completely different scene and situation. In the second scene, Rachel and Will were a married couple having a conversation though they weren't listening to each other and effectively talking to themselves. It was a meaningless conversation, and the role-play showed their hollow marriage. This part of the montage specifically focused on the poor communication and pointlessness of their marriage. ...read more.

Conclusion

I think the first scene with the thought tracking worked well and portrayed the idea, lies tainting communication well, but it was very short and had it been longer could have had better role-play and characters could be more developed. The performance as a whole portrayed Ionesco's ideas of language and life well and we incorporated some of the techniques from The Bald Prima Donna particularly with the dialogue and structure of the conversations. Both the performances, The Bald Prima Donna and ours, aim to show the audience how meaningless life can be, and how language is no longer used to communicate our true thoughts and feelings, making it pointless. Because of the nature of The Bald Prima Donna the scenes are meant to emphasise absurdity and dullness, but because they are so over the top they are comical and entertain the audience, so I think the play works well as a comedy because otherwise it would be difficult to keep an audience interested in a play with no plot and about boring lives. I think we should have taken advantage of this because it could have made our performance more entertaining, and would be particularly more vital if the performance was longer. I like the play because the comedy makes the play more interesting to a wider range of audience because there are those who can analyse what Ionesco is trying to illustrate about life and those who want to simply be entertained. ?? ?? ?? ?? Yasmin Rizvi Page 1 of 2 ...read more.

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