PRINT May 1973

Meredith Monk: A Metamorphic Theater

THE CONCEPT OF AN ABSTRACT and purely formal theater extends back to the turn of the century and the kinetic visions of Gordon Craig. Based on an integration of light, sound, color, and movement, his Theater of the Future eliminated plot and verbalization. The Bauhaus in the ’20s similarly experimented with ideas of an abstract dance-theater as a form of kinetic art. The technological orientation of Gordon Craig virtually eliminated the performer, while in the Bauhaus’ dance productions, the “dancer” was essentially little more than a highly stylized marionette. These experiments in formalism reached their recent apogee in the 1966 marriage of art and technology, the Nine Evenings: Theater and Engineering, presented at the 26th Street Armory in New York.

While Meredith Monk was aware of this objectivist stream in contemporary dance and theater, her work is better viewed in terms of the

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