The dynamics of Richard Foreman's theatre: text and performance



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Texas Tech University


Like other post-modern theater artists, Richard Foreman has tried to establish a new paradigm of theater, escaping the traditional theatrical dominance by developing a new perspective. Since the establishment of his Ontological-Hysteric Theater in 1968, Richard Foreman has produced numerous plays with some of the most experimental and provocative ideas in postmodern theater.

Foreman, as a playwright, director, and stage designer, emphasizes the mutual, organic relationship between text and performance. Starting with developing his own unique dramatic text that implies his own philosophical and aesthetic ideas. Foreman introduces a very creative, extremely idiosyncratic perspective in a postmodern theatrical format. Several unique dramatic characteristics reflect Foreman's effort to create a new theater: the selection of consciousness as a major topic of his plays, the development of poetic language and fragmented structure, and the unusual treatment of characters.

The performance aspects of his theater, presenting his unusual text, physicalize his innovative approaches to the stage. Occupying the sole position in producing his plays, Foreman redefines the role of actors on stage and controls the whole process of his performance. Influenced by Bertolt Brecht, Foreman separates his audience from the stage, breaking the traditionally close connection between the stage and the audience. Instead of presenting unified stories or messages from the scenes. Foreman's theater presents multiple images.

The importance of images in his theater forces him to create many visual devices on the stage. Every aspect of visual design from the use of lines to the adaptation of cinematic technique and even the frequent appearance of nudity in his theater is considered a crucial part of his theatrical innovation.

All of Foreman's efforts insist on the importance of the organic totality of his theatrical ideas by connecting his ideas to the real performance on the stage as a new theatrical dynamic. His experimental aesthetic establishes a new relation between text and performance, a new paradigm for postmodern American theater.



Foreman, Richard, 1937-, Ontological-Hysteric Theatre, Experimental theater -- United States