Edward Gordon Craig and the “smallest drama in the world”
Edward Gordon Craig’s Drama for Fools was planned as a long cycle of very short plays, to be daily performed in changing places. Based on the alternation between the episodes of a continuing story and its interludes, it systematically introduces disruptions: in order to bring a variety of atmospheres (with parodic rewritings as well as satirical miniatures), but also to comment what is happening on stage, from an audience-based point of view. Craig’s predilection for short plays, interrupted by different kinds of micro-actions, can be interpreted in many ways. As a general feature of The Drama for Fools, extreme shortness reveals how much the author is aware of the contradictions between his gigantic project and his former utterances against spoken drama. But Craig seems also to be influenced by the traditional puppeteers, because he wants to leave some space for improvisation. Furthermore, from a dramaturgical point of view, briefness can be considered as a result of Craig’s hostility against quarrels and debates on stage. Preventing his characters from speaking too much, he substitutes dialogue with non-verbal actions which anticipate the micro-actions of much later puppet theatre miniature performances.
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