The Living Theatre
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
It is the oldest experimental theatre group still existing in the U.S. For most of its history it was led
company member Hanon Reznikov became co-director with Malina.
In the 1950s, the group was among the first in the U.S. to produce the work of influential European
York locations which were frequently closed due to financial problems or conflicts with city
authorities, they helped to originate Off-Broadway as a significant force in U.S. theatre. Their
work during this period shared some aspects of style and content with Beat generation writers.
Also during the 1950s, the American composer Alan Hovhaness worked closely with
the Living Theatre, composing music for its productions. In 1959, their play The Connection
attracted national attention for its harsh portrayal of drug addiction and its equally harsh language.
production in New York before a disagreement with the IRS led to the closure of the theatre space
and the brief imprisonment of Beck and Malina. For the rest of the 1960s the group toured chiefly
in Europe, and turned to even more politically and formally radical work carrying an anarchist and
pacifist message, with the company members creating plays collectively and often living together.
Major works from this period included the adaptations Antigone and Frankenstein, and Paradise
Now, which became their best-known play. Paradise Now, a semi-improvisational piece involving
audience participation, was notorious for a scene in which actors recited a list of social taboos
Having returned to the U.S. in 1968 to tour Paradise Now, the group broke apart the next year.
Malina and Beck toured with the remaining members in Brazil, where they were imprisoned in
left to form The Open Theater.
The Living Theatre has toured extensively throughout the world, often in non-traditional venues
diminished considerably in recent decades, The Living Theatre continues to produce new plays in
New York City, many with anti-war themes.
In 2006, The Living Theatre signed a 10-year lease on the 3500 square foot basement of a new
residential building under construction at 21 Clinton Street, between Houston and Stanton Streets
on Manhattan's Lower East Side. The Clinton Street theater is the company's first permanent home
since the closing of The Living Theatre on Third Street at Avenue C in 1993. The company moved
into the completed space in early 2007 and opened in April 2007 with a production of The Brig by
Kenneth H. Brown, first presented at The Living Theatre at 14th Street and Sixth Avenue in 1963.
In October 2006, the company opened a revival of "Mysteries and Smaller Pieces" the 1964
collective creation that defined the interactive and Artaudian style that the company became
Company founder Judith Malina is currently performing in "Maudie and Jane" a stage adaptation
of the Doris Lessing novel, "The Diary of Jane Somers."
- Neff, Renfrew (1970). The Living Theatre: U.S.A.
- Rostagno, Aldo, with Judith Malina and Julian Beck (1970). We, the Living Theatre. New
- York: Ballantine Books.
- The Living Theatre (1971). Paradise Now. New York: Random House.
- Malina, Judith (1972). The Enormous Despair. New York: Random House.
- Malina, Judith (1984). The Diaries of Judith Malina, 1947-1957. New York: Grove Press, Inc.
- Mystic Fire Video (1989) Signals Through the Flames. Documentary. Originally released by
- The Living Theatre in 1983 as a motion picture, produced and directed by Sheldon Rochlin and
- Maxine Harris.
 External links
- The Living Theatre official site
- Living Theatre Records, 1945-1991 from The New York Public Library for the Performing