“IT IS WE WHO ARE SPEAKING”: Antonin Artaud and Balinese Theatre

  • Min Tian
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Theatre and Performance History book series (PSTPH)


One of the lasting legacies Antonin Artaud left to the world of Western theatre was his interest in Balinese theatre. The important role his experience of Balinese theatre played in the construction of his theory on the theatre was invariably underscored by most of his students and critics. What is striking in all these critiques of Artaud’s (ahistorical) interpretation of Balinese theatre is the lack of a historical perspective as they approach Artaud’s theory as a different Other to the tradition of Western theatre and fail to place it in the historical context of Western theatre and thought. This chapter proposes that Artaud’s interpretation of Balinese theatre and “Oriental” theatre in general must be placed and understood in the historical context of Western theatre and in the historical development of his theory on the theatre. At the same time, it must also be looked at from the historical perspective of Balinese theatre as it evolved in the 1920s and 1930s.


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Min Tian
    • 1
  1. 1.University of IowaIowa CityUSA

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