Futurism: 25 Powerful Theatre Resources for the Intelligentsia

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The Futurism movement began in Italy in 1909 with Filippo Marinetti’s The Futurist Synthetic Theatre Manifesto. Futurist performance evenings (‘searate’) were a mixture of poetry readings, visual art displays, performed plays and manifesto readings. The Futurist play was often frighteningly short (sometimes only a moment or two in duration), consisting of telegraphic speech akin to some works of the Theatre of the Absurd. The Poor Theatre of Jerzy Grotowski in the 1960s and 70s bore some resemblance to Futurist practices, in that it, too, experimented with performers moving in and around the spectators. Futurist theatre evenings borrowed from music hall and variety in their structure and form, with a series of short acts presented one after the other.  – Justin Cash

Futurism Theatre Resources

Excellent lecture notes on the Futurism movement in the theatre (archived) by academic Paul Jackson, outlining its main practitioners, form and conventions.

A detailed article explaining various aspects of Futurist theatre in performance.

An excellent essay discussing the characteristics of Futurist theatre and the nature of the audience.

Wikipedia entry on Futurism with references to the theatre and plays belonging to the movement.

Futurism Theatre

The outstanding article “The Art of Noise: Sounds of the Italian Futurists” focuses on artist and composer Luigi Russolo and the types of sounds and experimental instruments involved in his work.

The Futurist manifesto titled The Futurist Synthetic Theatre (1915) by F.T. Marinetti, Emilio Settimelli, and Bruno Corra.

Very useful Prezi on Futurist theatre outlining playwrights, dramatic form, scenic design, costumes and music.

Program for a 2009 MoMA exhibition Futurism and the New Manifesto celebrating the centenary of the 1909 Futurist Manifesto publication by Filippo Mainetti.

Review of an art exhibition described as “the first ever to directly link Italian and Polish Futurism in the context of theatre“. Some great images of Futurist set design.

Futurism play

Anthology of Futurist essays and writings, including a couple on the theatre and scenic design.

Article discussing three plays by Futurist poet Mina Loy, including references to dramatic structure and the nature of performance.

Chapter scan on Futurist theatre outlining all aspects including performers, playwrights, characteristic works (including Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi), performance and mechanical movements, plus Synthetic Theatre. Excellent Futurist theatre resources.

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