Antonin Artaud and Theater of Cruelty

MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS: They will be used for their qualities as objects and as part of the set. Also, the need to act directly and profoundly upon the sensibility through the sense organs invites research, from the point of view of sound, into qualities and vibrations of sounds to which we are absolutely unaccustomed, qualities which contemporary musical instruments do not possess and which compel us to revive ancient and forgotten instruments or to create new ones. They also compel research, beyond the domain of music, into instruments and devices which, because they are made from special combinations or new alloys of metals, can achieve a new diapason of the octave and produce intolerable or ear-shattering sounds or noise.

The Theater of Cruelty


The idea of a play created directly on stage, by encountering the obstacles of production and of the stage, compels the discovery of a language that is active, active and anarchic, in which the habitual boundaries of feelings and words are abandoned.

A theater that subordinates mise en scéne and production–that is, everything that is specifically theatrical–to the script is a theater for idiots, madmen, perverts, grammarians, grocers, anti-poets, and positivists, in short, a theater for Westerners.

Mise en Scéne and Metaphysics

THE PUBLIC: First of all, this theater must exist.
[i.e., The public be damned!]

–Antonin Artaud


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