By Theodore Shank (auth.)
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Additional info for American Alternative Theatre
Even the words 'revolutionary' and 'radical' came to be used in the programmes of President Nixon and in advertising new products. Back in Europe in early 1970 the Living Theatre announced to the news media that it was dividing into four cells which would have different orientations. However, only the one directed by Malina and Beck endured. The announcement stated the new objectives. They did not 'want to perform for the privileged elite anymore because all privilege is violence to the underprivileged'.
Chaikin was interested in discovering the inside through abstract non-verbal improvisations. The first performances by the new theatre consisted of these improvisations and exercises, some of which were structured into short pieces by playwrights Jean-Claude van Itallie and Megan Terry. The first long play developed improvisationally was Viet Rock, presented at Cafe La Mama in 1966. Megan Terry had been conducting a weekly Open Theatre workshop. the anger ofTerry and the workshop participants toward the involvement of the United States in the Vietnam war resulted in improvisations on the theme of violence.
In The Brig they developed an acting style which they did not consider representation but 'a state of being' because the performer actually experienced what was being enacted. Beginning with Mysteries actors wo re their own everyday clothes, sometimes played themselves rather than fictional characters, confronted the audience aggressiveIy, used actual exercises in their performances, and permitted spectators to participate. Actors were not restricted to the stage nor spectators to the auditorium.
American Alternative Theatre by Theodore Shank (auth.)