It is also art or theatre at its most radical form, hostile to other artistic or conventional forms. It rejects the accepted social values and beliefs and condemn traditionally accepted artistic forms, ridicule the social order for which the society is used to and to put it succinctly, it believes in shocking its viewers. It is always searching for new arenas, and never satisfied with what is already accepted.
"However, beneath this diversity there is a clearly identifiable unity of purpose and interest (at least in the theatre) which has all the characteristics of a coherent trend, since its principles can be shown to be shared quite independent of direct influence," Innes (1993, pp2-3).
Avant garde is recognized with the postmodern theatre. Postmodern theatre is considered to be the recent phenomenon in the theatre world, connected with the European post-modern philosophy of the 1960s, naturally, which created many radical movements almost in every field. "The radical movement of the sixties constitute one of the most interesting social phenomena of this century; by insiders and outsiders, and what emerges is a confused picture in which elements of pacifism, civil rights agitation, anti-Vietnam sentiments, sexual liberation, feminism, and other forms of antiauthoritarianism are chaotically thrown together," Erwin (1988, p.15).
It is different, revolutionary, unprecedented, a movement away from everything that is already established in the theatre. It has completely unconventional and subverted ways of seeing and portraying the world, and each performance becomes a dramatic spectacle of the so called Chaos Theory, and audience invariably find themselves participating in it, improvising it and bettering the dialogues. This can be called the avant-garde theatre movement of our times, far removed from the usual mainstream theatre. Postmodernists would be horrified at any such suggestions that they are even remotely connected with it!
The aesthetic experience of the theatre, even though it is avant garde, does not diminish, only for the simple reason that it is unconventional. It has the power of holding the attention of its audience, and many times, the audience directly participate in it, creating an unreal situation, where they are transported into another era and back to the present era with a rude jerk and this way their experience is more authentic, compared to the one they would have had as mere spectators. It is impossible to believe that as ordinary spectators, they could have experienced the total identity with the play any better.
Theatre, under postmodernism, is neither objective nor passive. It is crying for the audience participation and new experiences as part of the play. One such ensemble, the Wooster Group, consisting of modern artists working with Elizabeth LeCompte as their director, have cultivated new forms of production, presentation, and theatrical expression, dance and movement, and has created many pieces of production, which have earned appreciation, though not initially. It has also shown that however outrageous the new forms look in the beginning, slowly, it would create an audience of its own, and the new generation, whether they have logical reasons for appreciating it or not,