chapter  5
Theatre of the ‘New’ Man
Pages 68

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Western European theatre, which was traditionally determined by its dramatic text, was radically changed. The avant-garde movement made the de-literarisation of theatre their programme. Stanislavsky still saw the ‘task of theatre’ as giving ‘form to the inner life of the play and the roles within it and to embody on the stage the kernel, essence and basic thoughts from which the work of the poet stems’.1 In contrast, Edward Gordon Craig wrote in ‘First Dialogue on the Art of the Theatre’, first published in 1905, that, ‘the poet is not of the theatre, has never come from the theatre, and cannot be of the theatre’2, and out of this discovery formed a demand for ‘unfinished’ drama.This demand was echoed between 1900 and 1930 by nearly all representatives of the avant-garde movement, by Futurists and Constructivists, Dadaists, Surrealists, and the Bauhaus, by Meyerhold,Tairov and Artaud.