Paradise Now: The Living Theatre in Amerika, ’67-’68

“In 1968 The Living Theatre, an anarcho-communalist troupe led by Julian Beck and Judith Malina, returned to America from years of self-imposed exile in Europe with what would become their best-known production: ‘Paradise Now,’ a post-Artaud play that sought to completely dissolve the boundaries of human interactions through a practice of live collective creation, forging a revolutionary harmony between actors and audience. ‘The purpose of the play is to lead to a state of being in which non-violent revolutionary action is possible,’ wrote Julian, and he meant it. What happened each night onstage-and offstage, and then out into the streets-was a series of purposefully provocative and interventionist actions, from marijuana smoking and full-body group nudity to screamed declarations, intense arguments, dance and (yes) orgies, sometimes involving audience members. They attracted the attention of the police, the derision of mainstream critics, and the devotion of many, including The Doors’ Jim Morrison, who followed them from performance to performance up the West Coast. Paradise Now: The Living Theatre in Amerika collects two major contemporaneous films documenting the Living Theatre during this sensational period-Marty Topp’s masterful ‘Paradise Now,’ a filmic, intense collage of inflammatory performance footage and soundtrack (including music by the MC5) produced by poet/mystic/mylar photographer/filmmaker Ira Cohen (The Invasion of Thunderbolt Pagoda), and Gwen Brown’s ‘Emergency!,’ a fly-on-the-wall documentary featuring interviews and priceless footage of theatre members composing scenes, building sets, taking care of their toddlers and battling skeptical members of the press-as well as new interviews with Judith Malina and other Living Theatre members, texts and art by Julian Beck, Antonin Artaud and others that informed ‘Paradise Now,’ an alternate soundtrack for ‘Emergency!,’ two large posters, a short film documenting a recent revival of ‘Paradise Now,’ and much more. …”
The Living Theatre and the French 1968 Revolution: Of Political and Theatrical Crises
YouTube: Paradise Now: The Living Theatre in Amerika 48:39

About 1960s: Days of Rage

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