chapter  8
25 Pages

THE THEATER OF CRUELTY AND THE CLOSURE OF REPRESENTATION

It is still to be born. Now a necessary affirmation can be born only by being reborn to itself. For Artaud, the future of the theater-thus, the future in general-is opened only by the anaphora which dates from the eve prior to birth. Theatricality must traverse and restore “existence” and “flesh” in each of their aspects. Thus, whatever can be said of the body can be said of the theater. As we know, Artaud lived the morrow of a dispossession: his proper body, the property and propriety of his body, had been stolen from him at birth by the thieving god who was born in order “to pass himself off / as me.”1 Rebirth doubtless occurs through-Artaud recalls this often-a kind of reeducation of the organs. But this reeducation permits the access to a life before birth and after death (“. . .through dying / I have finally achieved real immortality,” p. 110), and not to a death before birth and after life. This is what distinguishes the affirmation of cruelty from romantic negativity; the difference is slight and yet decisive. Lichtenberger: “I cannot rid myself of this idea that I was dead before I was born, and that through death I will return to this very state. . . . To die and to be reborn with the memory of one’s former existence is called fainting; to awaken with other organs which must first be reeducated is called birth.” For Artaud, the primary concern is not to die in dying, not to let the thieving god divest him of his life. “And I believe that there is always someone else, at the extreme moment of death, to strip us of our own lives” (AA, p. 162).