Friday, 30 December 2005

Humanist vs Catastrophic

The Humanist Theatre:
We all really agree.
When we laugh together.
Art must be understood.
Wit greases the message.
The actor is a man/woman not unlike the author.
The production must be clear.
We celebrate our unity.
The critic is already on our side.
The message is important.
The audience is educated and goes home happy or fortified.

The Catastrophic Theatre:
We only sometimes agree.
Laughter conceals fear.
Art is a problem of understanding.
There is no message.
The actor is different in kind.
The audience cannot grasp everything; nor did the author.
We quarrel to love.
The critic must suffer like everyone else.
The play is important.
The audience is divided and goes home disturbed or amazed.

Howard Barker. First published in 'Theatre en Europe', 1989. Reproduced in Arguments for a Theatre, Manchester University Press

Guess which side I'm on?


  1. I'm trying to figure out if "the play is important" refers to the production or the playing.

  2. The advancement of human achievement, when made at the expense of human quality of life, is not the advancement of humanity, but rather the reversion to totalitarianism.


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