The Zen of Ionesco: A production
Edwards, Cris Lane
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In my mind's eye, there are many facets to the Texas Tech production of Victims of Duty which lend themselves to in-depth study and explanation. My goal in this thesis is to focus on only one such facet- a thread which I see running through my approach as a director and Ionesco's approach as a writer and commentator. I wish to follow through on this thread - that of Zen elements which manifested themselves during my research and in the process of production - and to document a way of looking at not only the work which Ionesco has created, but also the art of directing for the theatre as it was realized in this production of his Victims of Duty. My scope is broad, but, I believe, a goal of theatre is to spread before an audience their own ontological struggles. My purpose here is to record and evaluate the myriad findings of my experimentations with Zen practices during my direction of Victims of Duty. I will begin with some brief background passages on the history of Zen and the life and works of Eugene Ionesco. Following this, I will merge these two topics by, first, examining the script of Victims of Duty as it depicts Zen ideas and, secondly, explaining how Zen can be useful when directing a play as tumultuous as Victims of Duty. The final two chapters will cover some specifics of the production which I directed.