NOTES AND COUNTERNOTES: Writings on the Theatre by Eugene onesco

NOTES AND COUNTERNOTES: Writings on the Theatre

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Undoubtedly the best thing about Ionesco's famed ""anti-theatre"" is that it is not ""anti"" at all, but ""theatre"" in its most essential and basic sense -- a statement corroborated in this collection of the playwright's writings on drama, his own and other people's reactions to it. Ionesco is only ""anti"" the trite, dislocated boulevard drama accepted as real theatre; the ""avant"" part of the ""avant-garde"" he claims simply as the task of all art -- to be truly of its time only by getting beyond it and preparing the ground for the coming ""garde."" The series of short, polemical selections is well-sprinkled with the Ionescan drives against incommunicability, the tragedy of cliched language, the drama as ideology when it should properly be -- in this existentialist terms -- a gratuitous act, but an act with universal human meaning. The well-known controversy between critic Kenneth Tynan and the author is included, as are onesco's humorous unmasking of the ""doctor-critics"" and individual comments on several of his own plays. He came to write the first one (The Bald Soprano) from an encounter with an ""English for Foreigners"" manual and an intense dislike for the theatre. Not only did he overcome this antipathy and turn to serve the theatre, but he has also written admirably (and noticeably without the voguish cheek maxims of contemporary avant-gardists) about the theatre -- showing in this volume that his aims in art, almost classical in concept, are anything but ""absurd.

Pub Date: May 4th, 1964
Publisher: Grove