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Antonin Artaud: Practical Approaches to a Theatre of Cruelty

Media: DVD
DUR: 120+ mins
Product Code: ARTAUD
Price: £75.00

This two-disc DVD and DVD-ROM set, showcases practical approaches to working with Artaud and the Theatre of Cruelty. Including a wealth of performance footage from professional companies, interviews and practical exercises from leading Artaud practitioners, as well as an overview from Stephen Barber - Artaud’s biographer and author of three books on Artaud.

Disc 1 - ‘The life of Antonin Artaud’ is a DVD VIDEO that can be run on both DVD Players and Computers. It contains a 25’ documentary about the life of Antonin Artaud and two examples of top band student work, using Artaud’s ideas and his text Jet de Sang (Jet of Blood). Both these pieces scored 100% in the A level practical examinations.

Disc 2 - is an INTERACTIVE DVD-ROM that ONLY RUNS ON COMPUTERS, with Adobe Flash Player 10 (free to download at www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer.html). It contains a resource bank of over 100 video clips from Artaud influenced performances, interviews with leading authorities and a ‘Performance Generator’ (a series of short quotes from Artaud’s texts, intended to help initiate workshop ideas). The menu navigates the video clips by Topic or by Performance and links to the ‘Performance Generator’ (also included as an editable PowerPoint presentation accessed from the DVD-ROM ‘Artaud’ folder via the file manager).

Instructions to play Disc 2:

PC users: insert disc, open the ‘Artaud’ folder and then the ‘Content’ folder, to find a file called ‘artaud.exe’. Click on this file to start the DVD-ROM.

Mac users: insert disc, click on the ‘Artaud’ folder and then click on the ‘play’ icon to start the DVD-ROM.

 

Recommendations/Endorsements:

Recommended by AQA's Chief Examiner for Drama and Theatre Studies in the AQA Teachers' Resource Bank for Drama and Theatre studies

Endorsed by Edexcel for use with:

Edexcel Performing Arts BTEC Level 3 Nationals in Performing Arts (various units)

Edexcel Performing Arts BTEC Level 4 HNC Diploma and Level 5 HND Diploma 

Edexcel Drama and Theatre Studies GCE, in particular Unit 1 Exploration of Drama and Theatre 

  

 

Testimonials

“I have spent all day with your Artaud DVD. WOW!!! You have done a brilliant job at compiling and skilfully weaving all the bits and pieces together. It was a wonder to hear Alan speaking and to see the work of the Grusomhetens Theater. I was blown away by the work of the students.”
Kym Martin, 
Head of Drama and follower of IB Theatre programme

"I've got a page to do it, but actually if you're in a hurry, these DVD resources can be reviewed in three words, they are Brilliant."

Sarah Lambie, Editor, Teaching Drama
Review in Teaching Drama, Summer 2015

To read the full review click here

"An excellent resource that should prove very useful for drama/theatre studies teachers and their students."

Justin Cash, Head of Drama, Avila College, Australia. 
Review in the Drama Teacher Journal, 2017 

To read the full review click  here

This new title from PumpkinTV is a welcome addition to the DVD library at SVS, providing a wealth of information for both our GCSE and A Level students. I have particularly recommended this DVD to the students thinking of applying for drama related courses at degree level to widen their practitioner knowledge.

The first DVD has proved to be particularly helpful to our A Level candidates. The DVD starts with a 25 minute biography of Antonin Artaud, looking at both his personal and professional life and how the two meshed and merged to create the work we know as “theatre of cruelty”. The biography section includes interviews with Alan Read (Theatre and Everyday Life – An Ethics of Performance) and Stephen Barber (The Last Words of Antonin Artaud) and voice recordings of Artaud performing. Clips of performance and the interviews are shown alongside excerpts of Artaud’s writing, allowing the students to see the link between theory and practice. The performance clips comprise of original theatre productions such as “The Seashell and the Clergymen” and modern interpretations of text including “The Ugly Duckling”.

This section links in well with the Social, Cultural, Historical and Political specification of the written coursework/controlled assessment, which the AS Drama and Theatre Studies students are currently undertaking.

Both the AS and A2 students have found it interesting and enlightening to watch the two examples of top band student work included on the DVD. As a tutor it has proved constructive to be able to produce a visual representation of the standard of work to which students should be aspiring to. This has challenged the students to create more interesting work, as they can see clearly in this part of the DVD how practitioner theory can be applied effectively to student work.

The second DVD is an interactive DVD ROM, which works both on the schools PCs and Macs. The DVD is easy to navigate and can be navigated with ease with Adobe flash player by either selecting a specific performance or interviewee, or by browsing by subject matter.

There are over a hundred clips of companies devising and performing pieces of theatre influenced by Artaud, including Butoh performers Marie-Gabrielle Rotie and Ko Murobushi and the fantastic Grusomhetens Theatre. I found Thomasevangeliet “The gospel according to Thomas” a particularly impressive piece of theatre and a valuable resource in demonstrating applying Artaud to an existing piece of text.

I have used these performance extracts as starting points, both for discussion and performance work with GCSE students who are approaching the skill of devising work for the first time. The extracts have proven to be stimulating for our students, by broadening their theatrical exposure and in turn leading to more diverse and creative work.

There are also plenty of interviews with theatre practitioners including Alan Read, Lars Oyno, and Stephen Barber sharing their in-depth knowledge and understanding of topics such as “gesture” and “the body and its double”.

On DVD 2 there is a “performance generator” option, which brings up a series of Artaudian quotes such as “Give it the power of ritual” and “breathe audibly”. This is a very clever application, which allows the teacher to apply Artaud in the classroom and challenges students to instantaneously demonstrate their understanding without discussion. There is also an option for tutors to use the generator, as a power point presentation, which they can personalise by adding their own notes to each screen.

I find that Theatre of Cruelty is usually under-represented in material intended for key stage 4 and 5 and so the Antonin Artaud: Practical Approaches to a Theatre of Cruelty DVD has been a breath of fresh air to teaching staff and to students alike. These DVDs are a fantastic resource to bridge the gap between the theory books and performance and I would recommend them to teachers and students of Key stage 4 and beyond.

Andrew Brook, 
Review in January 2011, Head of Drama, Sutton Valence School, Kent.

Suggested exam board specification links

AQA

GCE Unit  1 Devised Drama
Unit 2 Presentation of an extract from a Play (where Artaud can be the influencing practitioner selected)
Unit 4 Presentation of Devised Drama (where Theatre of Cruelty can be the chosen style)

Edexcel

GCE Unit 1 Exploration of Drama and Theatre (where candidates explore a play in terms of one recognised practitioner)
Unit 3 Exploration of Dramatic Performance (where the ideas of a practitioner can influence the way candidates develop their devised response)

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