‘Theater of the Absurd’ program at Skidompha

Posted:  Wednesday, October 25, 2017 - 10:30am

An ambitious new program developed by Skidompha Library in partnership with the River Company titled, "Meaning when there is no meaning - an introduction to Theater of the Absurd" will take place at 7 p.m. on Nov. 3 in the library’s Porter Meeting Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

What do you do if you are a European artist in the 1950s dealing with existential angst? Write a play about it! Welcome to the Theater of the Absurd, a genre of performance designed to ask the tough questions about the meaning of life, the nature of our perception of reality, language, and thought.

As Martin Esslin wrote in his 1965 book, “Absurd Drama, Theater of the Absurd,” aims to shock its audience out of complacency, to bring it face to face with the harsh facts of the human situation as these writers see it. But the challenge behind this message is anything but one of despair. It is a challenge to accept the human condition as it is, in all its mystery and absurdity, and to bear it with dignity, nobly, responsibly; precisely because there are no easy solutions to the mysteries of existence, because ultimately man is alone in a meaningless world. The shedding of easy solutions, of comforting illusions, may be painful, but it leaves behind it a sense of freedom and relief. And that is why, in the last resort, the Theatre of the Absurd does not provoke tears of despair but the laughter of liberation."

During this approximately 90-minute program you'll explore the absurdist movement, view short selections of filmed absurdist drama, and discuss the River Company's upcoming production of “The Rhinoceros,” a play by absurdist playwright Eugene Ionesco.