Artaudian Performace Evaluation Essay

Submitted By megfj
Words: 1099
Pages: 5

On Wednesday the 16th of October, my group and I gave a performance of Hansel and Grettal, Hans Christian Andersons Twisted Tales in a Black Box Theatre, with our audience arranged as theatre in the rounds in the style of Artaud's theatre of cruelty. We performed this because we are part of a theatre group given a stimulus to perform an Artaudian piece of theatre to an adult audience.

Antonin Artaud believed in scaring and freaking out his audience; calling this an “assault on the senses”. He thought that it was very important to completely engage the audience in the performance and make them feel uncomfortable and on the edge. Throughout our performance, we managed to achieve this in a number of different ways.
The first way we managed to scare the audience is by how we had them arranged. As we had them arranged as theatre in the rounds, it meant that during some scenes, we could actually sit in the audience. For example, during the “police interview” scenes, Warren and I sat in the audience, to symbolise that it was not only the authority figures (mine and Warren's characters were police officers) judging the victims, but the rest of society too, as by sitting with the audience, it made them look and feel involved. This could also achieve Artaud's thoughts in another way, as some audience members may feel uncomfortable with being forced to become involved, or with having performers sat so close to them.
Another way we managed to achieve Artaud's beliefs was through the use of masks. We used plain white stage masks, and Trestle masks in a variety of different scenes to affect our audience. We used masks in our performance to get right up in the audience's face, and portray different emotions with ease. Masks also made us, as performers feel more comfortable with getting so close to the audience, and gave us a more effective outcome. The most successful use of the masks in our performance was during a scene were Hansel and Grettal (Chris and Courtney) were shown walking through a forrest. Following them was me and Warren, who wore Trestle masks, to represent the different types of emotions that Hansel and Grettal could be feeling; for example, scared, sad, uncertain worried. But as we walked around the stage we interacted with both Courtney and Chris and the audience members. This included them in the performance, and made them feel uncomfortable because we were able to get so in their face with the use of the masks.
Finally, the way we used our voice during the performance achieved Artaud's beliefs about theatre. During some scenes, we ranged our voice from quiet whispering to suddenly shouting at the audience. This achieved Artaud's “assault on the senses”, as we made the audience jump and feel scared, as the loud noise was not something they were expecting and it made them feel uncomfortable as they didn't know what to do with themselves. We used this technique in various different scenes throughout the performance. The scene which this technique was most effective in was one of the police interview scenes, in which Hansel and Grettal were asked different questions. When they responded, they began suddenly shouting in the audience members’ faces and grasping at them. This was effective because not only was the shouting an “assault on the senses”, but getting up in the audiences’ faces also achieved Artaud’s other beliefs about making the audience feel uncomfortable.

Throughout our performance, movement was a very important factor in making our performance successful and we used it to symbolise a lot of different issues.
One of the main points in our performance was to symbolise authority in a way that the audience would understand. We were trying to show the audience that when one member of authority is removed from the equation, it has a very important effect on other members of authority. We achieved this in the forrest scene; when Hansel and Grettal were walking through the forest three members of