Essays on Modern Quebec Theater

By Joseph I. Donohoe Jr.; Jonathan M. Weiss | Go to book overview

Experimental Theater in Quebec: Some Descriptive Terms 1

Gilles Girard

O f 134 theaters in Quebec forty-six give "experimental theater 2" as their principal (or one of their principal) areas of endeavor. This observation illustrates why this theatrical movement can no longer be considered marginal. Admittedly, if one looks more closely at these numbers, several of the theaters profess this orientation a bit too readily while other companies, not so designated currently (Théâtre Ubu, Groupe de la Veillée), deserve consideration as experimental theaters. It remains that this tendency toward theatrical experimentation is quite significant by reason of the quality of its questioning and its attempts to explore and innovate. By refusing to subjugate its activity to an aesthetic of realism, by breaking with the so-called "traditional" theater's mimetic preoccupations, the experimental theater gives itself free rein to explore its resources and adjust its focus on theatricality.

Experimental theater takes itself as its object of investigation and subjects each of its component parts to experimentation, but with a critical eye that strives to be both liberating and innovative. Here, we shall briefly examine and illustrate a few of the descriptive terms which, when combined, present a (partial 3) portrait of this kind of theater: fable, spatial-temporal settings, status of the character, thematics, use of signs, theater of image, theatrical objects, and role of the spectator.

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