Performances March 4, 5, 6, 2005
Theatre Brut (The creative impulse unfettered by social and artistic convention...)
It is our contention, that at this moment in history, mankind is standing at a precipice, and the critical question is whether the current conventions of theater as an art form are sufficient to confront the daunting ethical, moral, social, ecological, and political issues that we face today in America and the world. Theatre Brut is a search for those elements in theater that can begin to answer among other concerns, Camus' concerns about a "universe that is.deprived of illusions.and where man feels a stranger". It is a proposed forum to explore the psychic impulses and external forces that have led to man's evolution into a species, that though sometimes prescient is rapidly moving toward self-destruction as well as the destruction of this once green earth, the home to not only a creature that embodies the distillate of both darkness and light, but to a myriad of innocent, and unwilling fellow creatures.
Our search for a model and conceptual framework for this theater has led us to the Art Brut or outsider art movement, a concept first articulated in1923 by the German psychiatrist, Hans Prinzhorn, when he published his visionary book,"Bildnerei der Geisteskranken" ("Artistry of the Mentally Ill"). Prinzhorn had been collecting the paintings and drawings of patients in insane asylums that were generally destined for destruction by doctors and staff that considered the works too disturbing, too obscene, or meaningless exercises. However, he theorized that these works provided a clear glimpse into the subconscious, and when executed by talented, and generally untutored artists working outside of accepted artistic conventions, deserved the term, art. Although more accepted today, in his time, Prinzhorn's concept was revolutionary, and it was gradually embraced by the Surrealists as a model for their work. Decades later the artist, Jean Dubuffet, purchased Prinzhorn's original collection, that is now housed in a Swiss museum. He felt that there was a stigma attached to the term "psychotic art" and coined the more dignified name "Art Brut" or "Raw Art". Dubuffet further recognized that intuitive and original expression was not just the province of the insane but could be produced by anyone who worked free of normal cultural influences, thereby anticipating the broader term, outsider art. He felt that the cultural world had destructive effects on originality and creativity, and that true individuality of expression could only be found outside of cultural barriers. He further suggested that the mainstream culture always manages to co-opt each new development, thereby destroying its power, and that only the art of the artless was immune from the insidious influences of the cultural establishment in which no artist of genuine originality could survive.
Theater Brut is not "untutored" nor is it isolated from the cultural mainstream, but it does seek a new vernacular, and a new "theatrical language" with which to explore a world where man is increasingly cut off from his religious, metaphysical, and transcendental roots (Esslin). It adheres to no movement nor style, and aspires but to develop plays unfettered by social or artistic convention where the "strait jacket of logic" (Freud), and "the fossilized debris of dead language" (Esslin) are replaced by innovation and wonderment so that the human condition can become flesh on stage.
Theatre Brut: Project 2 A proposal to playwrights
We have selected for our second Theatre Brut project a festival of short plays that have as their central motif SACRIFICE.
Keep in mind that Theatre Brut seeks to foster the creative impulse unfettered by social and artistic convention. So be adventurous. If you have ever aspired to "experiment" or stretch the boundaries of theater, this is the time to do so.
We are requesting submissions of short plays (10 minutes or less). These pieces can be dramatic, comedic, musical, monologues, or whatever sparks your creative impulse. That being said -- small casts (no more than 4 actors) and simple sets are encouraged. Deadline for submission is September 1. (There is a rolling acceptance so the sooner-the-better). There is no compensation for presenting the work. Playwrights retain all copyright of their works. Playwrights may attend the festival. Housing is provided, however, travel is not reimbursed.
Gabor Barabas, Executive Producer