Phenomenologically Absurd, Absurdly Phenomenological
This chapter looks to a “Husserlian-influenced” phenomenology to augment our understanding of one of the most significant—and open-ended—categories of theatre to emerge in the past century: the so-called Theatre of the Absurd. Here, Jodie McNeilly-Renaudie and Pierre-Jean Renaudie examine Samuel Beckett’s Endgame to make an argument that the standing definitions of “absurdity”—grounded in Martin Esslin’s genesis of the term—are incomplete. The authors here argue that a consideration of Husserl’s differentiation between “two possible ways for meaning to be missing” demonstrates that the very essence of theatrical absurdity involves not only a loss of meaning and the distress and fragmentation that such loss invokes, but, crucially, and in equal measure, the experience of such meaninglessness in terms of human endeavour to overcome it.
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