The philosophy of the absurd more or less states that there is no inherent human meaning to life, and that the only meaning that life has is what each of us give it. Therefore, as Albert Camus states, the most important question in philosophy is whether life is worth living, since there is no absolute meaning, and if it is not, then is suicide a viable option?
Camus presents a solution in his essay The Myth of Sisyphus (1942), which is that man should not commit suicide in spite of living in a meaningless world, because the struggle of life alone should bring one happiness. Meaning can be found in life, even if one does not know why one exists.
Unlike Camus, playwrights in the Absurdist movement usually did not offer a solution to this question, suggesting that it is ultimately unanswerable. The themes of the plays were usually the lack of meaning of life, and also the isolation of the individual. As for the latter theme, it basically exposed man as a lone outsider, unable to connect with others. An example is a play in which there are two vagrants who have each other, but at the same time are isolated. This is shown through their inability to adequately communicate, with conversations that go endlessly in circles.
The forms of the plays of the theatre of the absurd were a way of communicating the message in and of themselves, featuring the devaluation of language and a lack of plot. Absurd plays used these methods because they told not the story of man but what was going inside of his head, and this needed a less realistic and conventional way of expression.
The devaluation of language was because conventional language had really failed man, and was not an adequate way to communicate. Therefore, absurdist plays usually contain dialogue that goes in circle or contradicts what is actually happening visually (i.e. dialogue vs. stage direction).
My project stems from these ideas. What I have found the most interesting in my exploration of the absurd is the question asked by Camus regarding whether one should commit suicide due to the lack of inherent meaning to life. I like the idea of not showing a single solution, but the two main approaches to this question: to do so, or not to. This film shows the two arguments in the format of an animated stop-motion short where two people have a conversation about “the meaning of life” while falling through the air. I am adapting the idea of an absurdist play into this format. At the end one character falls through the water when they reach the end, and therefore survives the fall, and the second smashes flat onto it as if she were hitting concrete.


Back to Top