№ 9 2020

УДК / UDK: 82.2

Author: Anastasia V. Gladoshchuk
About the author:

Anastasia V. Gladoshchuk (PhD; National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, Russia)

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Two tendencies define one of the “master -currents” (Ch. Innes) in the XXth century drama, epitomized by Antonin Artaud’s “theatre of cruelty”: revival of ritual practices and search for a “new myth”. Artaud perceives the Myth both as the end and the means: by creating a new myth, theatre reveals and heals illnesses of modernity; by reviving the ancient, theatre conducts the primitive, metaphysical “forces” of the “great cultures”. Particularly attracted to the Mesoamerican world, Artaud intended to stage “The Conquest of Mexico” (1933), a drama in four acts, to inaugurate his new theatre. Considering this, a special relevance should be given to the fact that M.A. Asturias’s article –manifesto “Reflections on the Possibility of an American Theatre in Indian spirit” was published in November 1930, anticipating Artaud’s conception of theatre based on myth. The ideas stated in the manifesto will be put into practice in “Cuculcán” play, the last piece of the “Legends of Guatemala”, second edition (1948). Settled in Paris since 1924, Asturias received the same aesthetic impulses as Artaud did: surrealism, avant -garde cinematography, “Ballets russes”, primitivism in all its forms. However, their preferences were not thoroughly the same. A parallel reading of the manifesto and the chronicles reveals how Asturias’s ideas on theatre correspond to the cultural context. It can be affirmed that many of Asturias’s and Artaud’s principles are isomorphic: accentuation of colour and disproportion in decorations, abolition of stage, use of masks, formalized movements, rejection of rhetoric and declamation, revelation of word’s religious force. Yet the ways Asturias and Artaud work with myth differ: it is in a playful, not tragic and ritualistic mode that myths are being actualized in Asturias’s theatre, and not only by means of “mise en scène”. Asturias considers the Myth as an inherited language, that is why the action in “Cuculcán” is determined by speech and what he calls “the Word’s value”, in accordance with indigenous philosophy.

Keywords: Antonin Artaud, Miguel Ángel Asturias, theatre, myth, manifesto, avant -garde primitivism, French –Latin American literary contacts, reception.

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