Amber Jai Nowell

Art & Design

Theater of Cruelty: Promotional Photography

Theater of Cruelty was a now defunct comedy variety show named after the work of French playwright, theater director and actor Antonin Artaud (1896 – 1948), in which Artaud aimed at stripping away the security of the audience and expose the uncomfortable and ambiguous reality underneath. 

Performed at the Lyric Cinema Cafe in Fort Collins Colorado, comedians Ryan Nowell and Erik Lindström gathered together talented comedians and performers to create a series of shows which included short films, musical acts, and various forms of experimental comedy that railed against the sycophantic. It was a show for those who appreciate intelligent, authentic, and uncensored humor. The variety show came to an end when performers cut it loose in order to pursue long-held career goals but a tiny part of me holds out hope it will be resurrected in the future. 

Photos were taken at two locations in Fort Collins and edited to match an aesthetic Eric Lindström chose. The headstone image is a nod to Nick (Kick) Holland, local actor, artist, comedian, and original mastermind of the Theater of Cruelty who had stepped down to pursue other interests. 

A side note: despite the suspicious nepotism, this really was an ingenious series of performances. 

And just for the hell of it I created an animated gif.