Garden of Delights : Exploring Dreams Through Absurdity, Cruelty and Panic!

The cacophonous doldrums of the Second World War made mankind feel confused and created a sense of meaninglessness in the world. It was a feeling of frightened soul and meaningless life – in a word, ABSURD. The lack of logic in human life and the absurdity of daily living raised doubts regarding the art of realism, realistic theater and what is indeed reality in our life?


Waiting for Godot, one of the most well-known pinnacles of absurd theater, portrays an image where virtually ”nothing happens”. This genre of absurd plays captures the human imagination through continuously revealing complex images and creating multitudes of thoughts, multitudes of ideas which do not have a unique form.  Through a sense of shock due to the absence of well-defined beliefs or values, it raises the challenge to accept the reality that ”there are no easy solutions to the mysteries of existence”.

The playwrights of this time, mostly being people cast out of their own country and society, tried to find a new meaning of life through a brutal, surrealistic imagery of theater, coined as Theater of Cruelty by Antonin Artaud. The best examples of this exuberance of dark energy and brute forces are found in the plays of Panic Theater, manifested by Fernando Arrabal, Alejandro Jodorowski and Roland Topor. Their motivation was to release destructive energies in search of peace and beauty, through theatrical chaotic events containing shocking surreal images to break the despicable passivity of their audiences.

Arrabal uses both absurd realism and cruel surrealism in his play The Garden of Delights to explore the human mind. Our dreams, fantasies and bonds to our past are reflected in the psychedelic world of Lais, who lives  in her absurd world of sexual rituals, tormented past and passionate cry for freedom.  The uncertainty, the meaninglessness in her life gets best reflected through the complex dreamy images of Bosch, Goya and Brueghel. The audience gets caught into the under-current between dark and hopeful images, truth and lie, dream and realities. This contrast, this contradiction, gives Arrabal’s play it’s most humane touch. It reaches the climax of the play through the portrayal of sadomasochistic sex rituals and finally gets rid of the dreams and bondage of old times through the sacrificial killing of Miharca. This pure release of dark energies shows the path of the Garden of Delights, the path to love, freedom and eternal happiness.

But do we really get the feel of freedom, sense of happiness and lack of bondage through these dreamy rituals of life, fantasy and love? If you are interested in experiencing this roller-coaster ride of emotional theatrics and want to know the path to eternal happiness, the path to the Garden of Delights, you need to come to the Autumn production of Garden of Delights by Thespians Anonymous! The show will be running in Hurjaruuth, from 28th November to 1st of December.

 Ritabrata joined Thespians Anonymous (TA) on October 2012 for the production of FELT-IF 2012 and since then he has been part of the happy family of Thespians Anonymous with his passion and love for surrealism. This Autumn he successfully convinced TA to take the challenge to recreate the psychedelic world of Garden of Delights on stage. As a director of this production, he is trying to merge the concept of Shadow Theater, Movie Techniques and conventional theater to recreate a dream on stage.

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