Antonin Artaud spent most of his life in and out of sanatoriums and asylums. He published his most well-known work 1938, The Theatre and its Double. The book is a series of essays, two of which expand on Artaud's 'Theatre of Cruelty', a major defining philosophy in experimental theatre and performing art. He has influenced the works of a number of performers and producers, from Peter Brook to Spalding Gray to Motley Crue and Bauhaus.
Artaud´s theories in Theatre and Its Double influenced rock musician Jim Morrison. Motley Crüe named the Theatre of Pain album after reading his proposal for a Theatre of Cruelty, much like Christian Death had with their album Only Theatre of Pain. The band Bauhaus included a song about the playwright, called 'Antonin Artaud', on their album Burning from the Inside. Influential Argentinean folk-rock songwriter Luis Alberto Spinetta named his album Artaud and wrote most of the songs on that album based on his writings. Theatrical practitioner Peter Brook took inspiration from Artaud's 'Theatre of Cruelty in a series of workshops that lead up to his well-known production of Marat/Sade. The Living Theatre was also heavily influenced by him, as was much English-language experimental theatre and performance art—Karen Finley, Spalding Gray, Liz LeCompte, Richard Foreman, Charles Marowitz, Sam Shepard, Joseph Chaikin, and more all named Artaud as one of their influences.
Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith
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