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DRAMA: Modernism to Post-Modernism



Dada was grounded in rejection of the values that had provoked World War 1. When that war broke out, many artists sought refuge in Switzerland and in 1916, Dada was born. Because insanity seemed to be the worlds state, the Dadaists sought in their art to replace logic, reason and unity with chance and illogic.

The Dadaists were a part of an avant-garde theatre that rejected the fundamentals of traditional art and dramaturgy and the social values that produced them. They subjected their works and their audiences to elements of anarchy as a symbolic protest against a society that had lost all its reason in its pursuit of empire through war.



All Dada artists, by profession, were poets and painters letting the world know that art needed to be violently shaken up. However, Dada was not nihilistic like many first interpreted. Rather, it gave the art of the twentieth century a much-needed shock that prepared theatre for further developments in the years to come.

Among their favourite forms were chance poems, which was placing words in a hat and drawing them out and reciting them and sound poems, which were composed of non-verbal sounds. They recognised no barriers within art forms. Dada was essentially revolutionary, adamantly protesting the hypocritical, discredited society and the art forms it valued.

One thing that is important to remember about Dada artists and performers is that true Dada performers were 'against their art' because a true Dadaist was against all art; even their own.

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Jessica Lane,
Modern Drama B Assignment