the birthday party
Answers 1Add Yours
To shake audiences from their more conventional viewing habits, the playwrights of the Absurdist Theater used traditional settings to ease the audience into their plays, and then shocked them with surreal imagery, uncommon circumstances, or fragmented language. Language within the Absurdist Theater often transcended its base meaning. As in The Birthday Party, nothing is as it seems and no one speaks the whole truth. Also, the use of silence as language was often utilized in these plays.
The drama of the absurdist theater is dreamlike, almost lyrical. Like the Surrealists before them, the absurdist playwrights use imagery, subtext, mythology, and allegory to express a deeper meaning which is often never fully explained. In fact, the playwrights of the Theater of the Absurd allowed their plays to speak for themselves. Pinter explained this absurdist concept best in his 1962 speech “Writing for the Theatre,” which was presented at the National Student Drama Festival in Bristol. He said, “I suggest there can be no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false.” The thin line between truth and lies is perhaps the defining characteristic of the Theater of the Absurd.