About the world of the American theatre contemporaries
The CAT was established with Eugene O’Neil’s appearance as a playwright. Nasev, riding fast, but clear upon the American socio-cultural trail, didn’t leave out the conditions (the new technologies, inventions) of the twentieth century, but he connected them with the hard (dark) life of this genuine author. With his plays, O’Neil induces the irony towards his own tragedy, or, the actual happenings from the dark pages, the sexual repression, the false puritan morality, and the violence. He brings out all the subjects upon civilisation matters: about the types of men and women, about the new illnesses in the society. O’Neil was the first to bring the Americans the feeling of nostalgia. In O‘Neil’s world, the woman is the pillar of the house, which is torn mad by alienation and solitude. The animals are talking, the expressionism lives, and we could also sense the existentiality.
In the Tennesy Williams part, we learn from Nasev’s investigation, that Rockfellers were still patrons of the arts at the time, and they gathered the gifted to create in New York. From that moment on, Tom becomes Tennesy Williams, with a remark: A Jew, though very nice! The tone of lyricism, new intellectuality and individuality were the things he brought to playwriting. The way Nasev talks is, as if he were there at the place (though he still keeps his reserve full of certainty), he knows details of great importance for Tennesy’s story. Williams picked the company of his homosexual friends, and then brought freedom out on the stage. Sexual madness, themes on incest. Williams prefers short lines, southern dialect, he doesn’t care much about the mimetic type of theatre, nor about the vices of his contemporaries. Nasev describes the ethical value of his engagement, as transmoral.
Arthur Miller’s ethical limitation. His dramaturgy finds its roots in the dramaturgy of the Antique, and he also follows the principle of characterisation. Nasev finds Miller’s dramaturgy philosophical, where all attitudes against the social evil meet (the fury of WW1). He realistically and literally indulges and orients towards his new types of contemporary dramatis personae (surgeons, detectives, free-lance salesmen) – the mirrors of the new world. Inside his world, Miller looks for the connection between the egocentric and his neighbourhood, only to find justice. His style is mimetic; he never dealt with commercial materials, but he always performed the role of the moralist, constantly having love for his country. At the ending of the part for this magnificent personality, Nasev adds this up: Just like any other author, A. Miller also makes an exception in his artistic background, so, after his failed marriage with Marilynn Monroe, he tried to look romantic…
The Method (Lee Strasberg) made the biggest influence upon American actors and theatre, and the most representative world of Marlon Brando, James Dean, Jane Fonda, Robert de Niro, Al Pacino… The Method has its roots in Stanislavski’s system. Lee Strasberg puts an emphasis upon the emotional and the affective, leading the actors into their own search for the written subtext, which is the same thing his guru insisted upon. The basic element in his study is the subjective way of seeing, the (actor’s) inner life, and the concept made upon hypothetical emotions, as well as the intensity and practice of the emotional memory. Nasev thinks about this method as: a model, which eliminates all the anxiety, the intellectualisation, and all the unnecessary psychology in the dramatical expression, or, as Strasberg puts it, where the actor feels comfortable. The author suggests, that this method should be understood as CAT’s phase, as a socio-historical position, as a form of the American culture, in context of the time they belong to. By accepting this model in the western movies, at the end of the sixties, the disruption of the model of the Method began.
The European Theatre of the Absurd, and the psycho-socialisation influenced the appearance of Edward Olbie, who searched for new expression. His themes are anti-materialistic, about the action as a metaphor, about getting lost inside the themes, or the alienation as the basic concept.
The real avant-garde theatre begins with the Living Theatre (in the 50-s). It follows the idea for non-verbal theatre, and visions for the entirely new language for the scene, from Antoinen Arto’s book “The theatre and its double”, which was the bible for the Living people (Julian Beck, Judith Malina). They lived inside the theatre action, within the ritual form of spectacle, so this hippie-commune before the hippies, had their political engagement, opening such questions as feminism, death penalty, freedom for sexual orientation, and by organising independent civil inniatives. In this sense, their performances and happenings were efforts to dramatize the libido and spontaneity, in the context of reality and creativity. Nasev explains this theatre as a form of ethnic theatre.
One of the most remarkable artistic figures is Robert Wilson, who might be called citizen of the earth, because of his artistic nature. About the art of his life, Nasev gives us perhaps the most compact material, with enough content to fill up thorough theoretical reviews, and our few sentences only, wouldn’t explain it much. (About Robert Wilson, you might check The Shine, 32.)
With his ”jazzy scraping with words”, Sam Shepard, the American playwright, is depicted as a “person seriously in love with popular myths and the American culture, with certain ingenious nostalgia for the innocence lost, for the time when living in America was a whole lot easier”. And more: today, he’s the only American shooting a film in Baghdad, and at the same time, he’s one of the most desirable screen writers in Europe.
Nasev approached Richard Schechner, the greatest figure of theatre-theory-ritual, by comparing him with his contemporaries, the Living people and Peter Shuman’s “Bread and Puppet” theatre. His cultural dimension unites the idea of the performance, the movement on stage and the stage time. Nasev traces Schechner down, following the aesthetical, philosophical and anthropological dimension of his development.
The female subjects in CAT, connect with Maria Irene Fornes. She joined the second feminist’s wave in the fight for human rights, right after the wave in Hollywood in the 30-s, named as a neo-left wing movement. Melancholic irony, woman’s privacy on stage, sexual asylum. She’s a woman conceptualist (Nasev); documentaristic theatralisation, called phenomenology of the existence, articulated with new stylised gestures and emotions. Fornest promotes the realm of the multicultural theatre in America, and is the leading name of the woman’s theatre movement.
David Mamet is the last name presented here, along with the dramaturgical reality he denotes, especially the violence as a phenomenon and its explanation, and his constant search for a place where he could input the American dream. His characters are written as if they’re actors. They are the victims of the language they speak, manifesting paranoia and obsession, because of money and sex.
Nasev’s objective conclusion about this thesis, is that beside Hollywood motion pictures, the CAT got its international reputation for extending America’s cultural achievements, with its top aesthetic performances, backed up with the most consistent science. And that also today, the CAT deals with political and relative form of theatre, mostly through performance, about the animal rights, homosexual rights, ecological and human rights.
Throughout his entire thesis, Saško Nasev carries the scent of the cultural, geo-political and anti-globalisation stances.
Translated by: Arna Šijak