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The Festive Play of Fernando Arrabal

The Festive Play of Fernando Arrabal

Luis Oscar Arata
Copyright Date: 1982
Pages: 112
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  • Book Info
    The Festive Play of Fernando Arrabal
    Book Description:

    Along with Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco, Fernando Arrabal is a major exponent of the Theater of the Absurd. In this study Arrabal's plays are seen as a contemporary expression of a festive form of theater that flourished during the Middle Ages and that had its roots in the drama of Aeschylus and Aristophanes.

    With this view of Arrabal's work, Luis Arata explores the nature of play in art in the light of Jean Piaget's psychology. He thus offers a new way to approach festive and playful art.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6192-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-6)

    Born in Melilla, Spanish Morocco, in 1932, Fernando Arrabal is a playwright situated between two languages and two cultures, the Spanish he inherited and the French he adopted at the age of twenty-three. Rather than being the result of a choice, his move to France came about largely by chance. During his second visit to Paris, motivated by a growing interest in the theatre, Arrabal developed tuberculosis, was operated on, and spent over a year in French hospitals. Soon afterward he married Luce Moreau, a French student, and they set up residence in Paris.

    In 1957, shortly after being released...

  5. Chapter One The Form of Play
    (pp. 7-25)

    The Homeric Hymn XIX entitled "To Pan" provides the most complete description of this god from whose name is derived the term Panic used by Arrabal. Pan was the god of shepherds, living in the high mountains, a "goat-footed, two-horned lover of noisy confusion" (The Homeric Hymns, p.68). Pan's goatish features could panic anyone seeing them for the first time. This ugly god was nevertheless carefree, lustful, and overflowing with a love for life. When he was presented as a baby to the other gods by his father:

    All the undying gods rejoiced in their hearts,

    But Bacchic Dionysos beyond...

  6. Chapter Two Armatures
    (pp. 26-40)

    Alongside full-length plays, Arrabal has written a number of short plays. These brief one-act pieces can well be considered as essays, for they contain fundamental elements that are used in the longer dramas.Oraisonpresents a couple — Fidio and Lilbé — faced with the project of playing at being "good and pure." This pair recalls the couples in the more elaborate playsLe TricycleandFando et Lis. They are all childlike, that is, they play with words and ideas without concern for purpose or consistency. The characters are also attracted by the question of how one should behave...

  7. Chapter Three The World in Pieces
    (pp. 41-60)

    An analysis of the main topics that recur in the episodic theatre of Arrabal will approach the question of what is assimilated in his drama and in what form this material appears. Such observations will allow us to formulate further remarks concerning the functional characteristics of the episodic form as Arrabal uses it to mediate his relation as a dramatist to the world.

    A primitive cry is heard inLe Grand Cérémonialand continues to resound even in Arrabal'sJeunes Barbares d'aujourd'hui:"Mama, mama!" The cry is originally uttered in the darkness by Cavanosa, whose name is an anagram of...

  8. Chapter Four Visions, Dreams, & Other Nightmares
    (pp. 61-74)

    There are fundamental differences between the textual and the stage versions of a play. The realm of the written work is the page; the performance occurs, however, within a physical space that affords means of communication beyond those of the written word. This difference is fundamental, for it not only marks a separation between the artistic medium of playwriting and of performance but also underlines a qualitative distinction between written drama and other forms of prose.

    The text of a play anticipates its creation as performance; a prose writing anticipates only reading. The playwright must keep in mind the limitations...

  9. Chapter Five The Feast of Pan
    (pp. 75-90)

    The episodic form of drama allows play, the result of a ludic drive. Play unifies dramas exhibiting this form, and it also acts as a source of differences stemming from the various orientations of the ludic impulse. The substance of episodic dramas, that is to say, the choice of material used for play, and the way in which this substance is shaped depend on the orientation of the ludic act which produces them. The study of these components thus serves to individuate the specificity of play. Previous observations on Arrabal's theatre point toward a pseudobiographical, oneiric dimension evident in the...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 91-94)
  11. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 95-101)
  12. Index
    (pp. 102-104)