Theatre of Chaos – Beyond Absurdism, Into Orderly Disorder, William W. Demastes



Title: Theatre of Chaos – Beyond Absurdism, Into Orderly Disorder

Author: William W. Demastes

Typology: Study

Language: English

Year: 2005 (first edition 1998)

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 0-521-61986-6

Synopsis: In this unique and invigorating study, chaos theory and quantum mechanics are employed as the basis for a clearer understanding of the often confusing contemporary theatre world. Examining numerous antecedents to contemporary thought on chaos and the cultural roots of the notion of chaos, links are provided to playwrights ranging from Shakespeare to Ibsen and Tom Stoppard, Sam Shepard, and Tony Kushner. William Demastes investigates parallel developments across the arts and sciences: connections between the dramatic naturalism of the late nineteenth century and Newtonian thought, for example, and Theatre of the Absurd and disorderly chaos theory.

After centuries of isolation and increased specialization, the author contends, it may once again be time to consider the “arts” and “sciences” not as two isolated enterprises but to acknowledge interrelations between them. These intersections confirm that “orderly disorder” is displacing a far more rigid and less viable system of knowing our world, and ushering in a rich, varied, and forward-looking theory of existence for contemporary society.