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Le "Théâtre plastique" de Tennessee Williams : du "langage de la vision" à "l'écriture organique"

Abstract : When Tennessee Williams coined the phrase “plastic theater” in 1944, he described it as a language of “sounds, colors and movements,” a language freed from the limitations of words. His aim was to breathe new life into what he called “the exhausted theater of realistic conventions.” His ability to put the totality of theatrical experience into words manifests itself in the scripts of his plays. Williams is a creator of pictures, a playwright in the true sense of the word who found in painting and cinema the images he needed to elaborate his new language for the stage and move away from a “photographic likeness” he rejected because it was associated with realism. Gauguin, Van Gogh, De Chirico, Hofmann or Pollock are but a few of the many painters mentioned in his plays or essays who provided him with the means to enrich his vocabulary for the stage and lead his “plastic theater” toward “something more abstract.” But cinema also influenced him, giving him the opportunity to explore new possibilities and create a space between words and images where the elusive truth could be revealed. Images thus helped liberate Williams from the literary traditions as well as from the cultural codes that had defined and confined his writing from the very beginning. The writer who felt “wrapped up in literary style like the bandages of a mummy” found in images the subversive power he needed to express his true self and breathe life into words that he had always wanted to be “more than words.” From “the language of vision” to “organic writing,” Williams’s “plastic theater” evinces a desire for images.
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Sophie Maruéjouls-Koch. Le "Théâtre plastique" de Tennessee Williams : du "langage de la vision" à "l'écriture organique". Littératures. Université de Lorraine, 2014. Français. ⟨NNT : 2014LORR0331⟩. ⟨tel-01751676⟩



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