By Claire Warden (auth.)
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144). Lists of statistics and voice-overs are juxtaposed with discussions in the House of Commons before going on to a number of fairly naturalistic scenes. These latter fragments are centred first on the ever yday experiences of the busmen at work and then on the personal lives of these men (Unity 1984, pp. 5–10). The central Structure: The Fragmented and the Episodic 27 reason for the busmen’ s complaints seem to be summed up by the Conductor in Scene 13: It’s just that we want to be treated like human beings and less like a cross between a mule and a machine.
Furthermore, the Expressionist form also imbibes a sense of visual art, often juxtaposing ‘pictures’. This is unsurprising given the clear dialogue between art and theatre in the Expressionist movement. Painters like Oskar Kokoschka and Vassily Kandinsky also turned to playwriting and their theatrical works often reflect this connection. Kokoschka’ s Murderer Hope of Womankind (1907), for example, is generally regarded as one of the first Expressionist plays. 9 It connects with visual art from the off and retains this approach throughout.
It is written in pictures, relying more on visual effect than a linear stor y. This is accentuated by the tempo of the piece. In Picture 3, for example, initially, ‘ever ything remains motionless’ until light brings some movement to the piece while in Picture 5 the dancer ‘holds the pose for a few moments’ (Kandinsky and Marc 1974, pp. 219, 222). Paintings/pictures are necessarily fragmentar y, cut off from other visual images by framing devices. Using visual art as an artistic Structure: The Fragmented and the Episodic 35 cornerstone for their brand of theatre inevitably led to a discernibly episodic structure.
British Avant-Garde Theatre by Claire Warden (auth.)