The Theater of the Absurd – 2017 version.
If, in 1962, the absurd theater critic Martin Esslin coined the term “Theatre of the Absurd, based on a broad theme of the “Absurd”, similar to the way Albert Camus uses the term in his 1942 essay, The Myth of Sisyphus. The Absurd in these plays takes the form of man’s reaction to a world apparently without meaning, and/or man as a puppet controlled or menaced by invisible outside forces. Yes, ‘outside forces’
It’s a long list (and I won’t get into the long debate I had with Esslin back in 1987 about Beckett NOT belonging to this category..) but here is how he configures it: Samuel Beckett, Eugène Ionesco, Jean Genet, Harold Pinter, among dozens of others (as if they were a ‘team’ )
Now, fast forward to 2017.
This year has become one in which absurd jokes appear to be coming true. When Dennis Rodman made his first trip to North Korea back in 2013, it was amusing to imagine the eccentric NBA legend acting as the United States’ de facto ambassador to the country. The idea was as preposterous as Donald Trump somehow being elected president.
It sounds surreal, but with tensions rising between the two countries thanks to North Korea’s growing nuclear weapons program, there’s a very real possibility that Rodman, a man who once married himself, ends up playing a key role in preventing armageddon. Rodman himself certainly believes he will. In an interview with Good Morning Britain, the five-time NBA champion offered to“straighten things out” between Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un, emphasizing that he considers both men friends.
Personally, I think Essslin would have a ball. Or maybe not.
NYC Sept 14, 2017