It was said in 1932, and now have we come a full circle?
"the present state of society is iniquitous and ought to be destroyed."
While in those days it may have been the case that "theatre is in decline because on the one hand it has lost any feeling for seriousness, and on the other for laughter. Because it has broken away from solemnity, from direct, harmful effectiveness - in a words, from Danger," have we worked through our duty AGAINST theatre. It strikes me that any effective production now attempts to tease ‘laughter through tears’ (as the old saying goes. We exercise extremes in reality, fiction, and virtuality. We polarize ourselves in order to feel, to prove to ourselves that we remain human and alive. We speak and act in ironies because we cannot find other way to move beyond the Existentialism and Post-Modernism of thought. Our feelings have become loaded with thought, dogma, and caution. While thought has become fractured in the rhizome of the Western World, a move towards what we call ‘extremism’ and ‘fundamentalism’ emerges at the contrast. We cannot see beyond this desire for wholeness, a human condition of trying to lick the self-inflicted wounds of our ‘advanced’ and ‘progressive’ world. So we busy ourselves with attempts to reach for the insoluble in all its seriousness. We create despite our pain. We create despite futility. We create and then we laugh at ourselves for our incapacity to NOT. We endanger ourselves time and again, because as Phillippe Petit, the Man on Wire, observed: "Life should be lived on the edge of life. You have to exercise rebellion: to refuse to tape yourself to rules, to refuse your own success, to refuse to repeat yourself, to see every day, every year, every idea as a true challenge - and then you are going to live your life on a tightrope."
Quotes taken from Antonin Artaud, Production and Metaphysics from The Theatre and its Double, p. 29; and Phillippe Petit, from Man on Wire (2008) Documentary Film.