"that an expression does not have the same value twice, does not live two lives; that all words, once spoken, are dead and function only at the moment when they are uttered, that a form, once it has served, cannot be used again and asks only to be replaced by by another, and that the theater is the only place in the world where a gesture, once made, can never be made the same way twice." (75)
Artaud focuses on how the written language is useless, because it can only apply to one audience at a time. Our society has become too fixated on the older "literary masterpieces" that can no longer represent the changing society; the meanings do not mean to today's society that they once meant to the people reading the masterpieces when they were first written. The alternative Artaud gives is that people should be reached through theater. But even this mode of communication must be changed from the outdated form of theater we still use. He proposes the "theater of cruelty," which doesn't use words as much as it uses the ideas of dreams to reach the spectators. The cruelty in the theater will help to instill lessons into people that literature, and more specifically written word, can't give the modern day observer/reader: "... the theater teaches precisely the uselessness of the action which, once done, is not to be done, and the superior use of the state unused by the action and which, restored, produces a purification" (82). By showing the "interior" (92), the individual can truly get into the spectacle he is viewing and experience the spectacle as a type of reality, which allows the theater to "find itself again" (92) away from the old, meaningless theater spouted to us today.
2 years ago