The Martin E. Segal Theatre Center in New York City presented 50 Years of Theatre of the Ridiculous livestreamed on the global, commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Monday 15 May at 6:30 p.m. EDT (New York) / 5:30 p.m. CDT (Chicago) / 3:30 p.m. PDT (Los Angeles).
50 years ago in New York City, the Theatre of the Ridiculous movement as a theatrical genre started in in 1965 with The Play-House of the Ridiculous, the spin-off group The Ridiculous Theatrical Company formed in 1967.
The Theatre of the Ridiculous made a break with the dominant trends in theatre of naturalistic acting and realistic settings and brought elements of queer/camp performance to avant-garde theatre. Cross-gender casting was common, scenarios improvised, and players often recruited from non-professional sources, such as drag queens or other “street stars.” In a reference to Martin Esslin’s concept of a theatre of the absurd, in 1965, Ronald Tavel promoted the first “Ridiculous” performances with the one-line manifesto: “We have passed beyond the absurd: our position is absolutely preposterous.”
With Theatre of the Ridiculous company members Everett Quinton, Brian Belovitch, Beth Dodye Bass, Julia Campanelli, Geraldine Dulex, Eureka, Jim Freeman, Chris Johnson, Lenys Sama, Kevin Scullin, and Jenne Vath.
Conquest of the Universe or When Queens Collide by Charles Ludlam
Turds in Hell by Charles Ludlam and Bill Vehr
Grand Tarot by Charles Ludlam
Everett Quinton made his stage debut in the 1976 Ridiculous Theatrical Company’s production of Charles Ludlam’s Caprice. After that Everett became a member of the company and over 21 years appeared in about 100 productions including: Bluebeard, Camille, Turds in Hell, Salammbo, and Love’s Tangled Web among others. Everett became artistic director of the company in 1987 after Charles Ludlam’s untimely passing. Everett is now a freelance actor and director. He has appeared with the Penguin Rep, Redbull Theater, Yorick Theater, The Arizona Theater Co., The San Jose Rep, to name a few.
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