Contemporary DramaTheatre of Cruelty- Antonin Artaud was a French actor, director and a theorist of theatre. He insisted on removing the comforting distance between actors and audience. The audience was involved in a direct, virtually physical fashion with the dramatic action. It was a total experience- did not depend on coherent plot or development. Artaud compared the theater artist he envisioned to a victim “burnt at the stake, signaling through the flames.”Environmental Theatre- Richard Schechner’s most famous production based on Euripides’ The Bachae was Dionysus in 69 (1968). Part of the point of Schechner’s production was to inspire the audience so much that they would take the stage, becoming indistinguishable from the actors. The play was a spontaneous and partly improvised performance piece rather than a text meant to be read. Goal of involving audience and actors in a pagan ritual was realized night after night during the run. Julian Beck and Judith Malina’s Living Theatre maintained a special relationship with the audience and Beck’s plays were designed to break down the absolutes of dramatic space and audience space by having the actors roam through the audience and interact apparently at random with audience members. Paradise Now (1968) is his best known play.“Poor Theatre”- Jerzy Grotowski called his work “poor theatre” because it was meant to contrast with the “rich theatre” of the commercial stage with its expensive lighting, decorated stages, rich costumes, numerous props, and elaborate settings. Grotowski’s Laboratory Theatre began in 1959. After 1970 he shifted his focus from public performances to small, intense group workshops and to ritual performances of cultures from all over the world. Theatre of Images- Robert Wilson experimented in the 1970s, 80s, 90s with repetitive narratives that sometimes take 8 hours to perform. Involved huge casts and cover an immense historic range. Uses dramatic techniques that involve extensive patterns of repetition, the creation of enigmatic and evocative
images and characters who are cartoonlike caricatures of historic people. Hypnotic effect and induces a trancelike state in audience. Massive theatre that transcends conventional dramatic boundaries.Gay and Lesbian Theatre and Other New Ensembles-some of the most energetic theatre of the late 20thcentury came from groups who were excluded for long periods of time from mainstream theatre” gay, lesbian, black, Hispanic American, and native American groups. Because they were ignored by commercial theatre formed their own collectives and group. Discrimination of homosexuality began in 1967 in Boston. The Ridiculous Theatrical Company founded by Charles Ludlam in 1969 produced a theatre with a group of people rooted in the experiences of the homosexual community of New York.