American Alternative Theatre by Theodore Shank (auth.)

By Theodore Shank (auth.)

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Having given up theatres they had also given up their income. ' In the autumn of 1975 they accepted invitations and fees to perform at several European festivals induding the Biennale in Venice. In Italy they found a volatile changing culture where municipal Communist governments were interested in using the arts to increase social and economic awareness. There was a keen interest in libertarian alternatives and they thought 'perhaps in this country something could actually happen'. 17 Furthermore provinces and cities were willing to subsidize performances.

All that is necessary, according to Beck, is 'an atmosphere in wh ich the individual is free to create ... to draw upon his own resourees'. The Living Theatre eommunity intended to promote this sense of freedom. They tended to avoid institutionalized relationships within the eompany and to praetise sexual freedom. Although Beek and Malina were married, they eame to believe that the institution of marriage was an extension of the eoneept of 35 American Alternative Theatre ownership, loved one as property, which produced jealousy when domination was threatened.

In short the Living Theatre attempted to be co me a model of the anarchistic society. 'Our presence is our message,' said Beck, 'we are what we stand for. ,16 Their rehearsal methods became more collective. Malina and Beck still had the greatest impact on the productions, but rehearsals were now conducted without a director which, although less efficient, demonstrated that work could be accomplished without bosses. They were encouraged by the interest in their performances, especially since they had been warned that they would be greeted by apathy and rejection.

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