Tag Archives | Playwright

Resisting the Plague: The French Reactionary Right and Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty

Antonin_Artaud_jeune_b_SD

Constance Spreen, writing in Modern Language Quarterly 64.1, from 2003:

During a lengthy, hostile divorce from the surrealist circle in 1926, Antonin Artaud reiterated his eschewal of political engagement in the most vigorous terms. The surrealists’ attempt to graft their spiritual revolution onto Marxist materialism was for him a deleterious deviation from the ideological position that, with Artaud’s participation, those gathered around André Breton had developed the previous year. Demanding a reassertion of the surrealist commitment to “total idealism” [idéalisme intégral], Artaud reaffirmed his qualms before all real action: “My scruples are absolute” (1:71, 66). 1

Despite his uncompromising stance, Artaud found himself profoundly engaged in the “politics of style.” 2 As he began to publish his writings on the theater of cruelty in the early 1930s, he became acutely aware of a “resistance” to his dramaturgical theories. His correspondence reveals that this resistance, to which he repeatedly refers, issued mainly from two sources: the critics at L’action française, the primary mouthpiece of the movement bearing the same name, and Benjamin Crémieux, drama and literary critic at the Nouvelle revue française (NRF).

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Is Tony Kushner The New Helen Thomas?

Playwright Tony Kushner. Photos: Timothy Herrigan/Courtney Hamilton (CC)

Playwright Tony Kushner. Photos: Timothy Herrigan/Courtney Hamilton (CC)

Jewish Playwright has honorary degree restored by City University of New York after it had been stripped because he was labeled too critical of Israel.

First, it was Helen Thomas.

After the veteran White House correspondent spoke inelegantly once about her feelings about Israel—and apologized, but to no effect—she was blackballed at the instigation of strident Israeli supporters and her career achievement-standing journalism awards were stripped. She became persona non-grate with many media outlets joining in the denunciations of a colleague they honored for decades.

Many at the time suspected the wrath was especially severe because she is an Arab-American. Right-wing provocateur Ann Coulter even asked if “that Arab” should be allowed near the President.

Now a new flap driven by some of the same issues involves a Jewish Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and a leading academic institution in New York.

His name, Tony Kushner, best known for the brilliant Angels in America plays that bravely took on AIDS and the hypocrisy, if not criminality, of a the prominent Jewish lawyer Roy Cohen who was an aide to the late fanatically anti-communist symbol, Senator Joseph McCarthy.… Read the rest

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