The first trend in the British theatre of the 1950's is the international phenomenon of Theatre of the Absurd. The name come from the title of a book by the critic Esslin.
The Theatre of Absurd recognize in Samuel Beckett its founding-father and master. He won international fame with Waiting for Godot, a play in which two old tramps are shown while waiting for a Mr Godot who never comes.
The play perfectly exemplifies Theatre of the Absurd’s philosophy, according to the French Existentialism: life is meaningless, nothing really happens, there is no past or future but rather a series of repetitions, all exactly alike and without any purpose.
A lack of moral security was due to the decline of religious faith that had started with the Enlightenment first and Positivism later, to the disillusionment with both liberal and socialist theories of economic and social progress. The Western world seemed to have lost its orientation, leaving man with a sense of helplessness and with a feeling that all human efforts towards progress are futile.
Therefore the Theatre of Absurd uses simple, almost basic language, characterized by a few recurrent devices: short and mainly principal sentences without secondary clauses; a common pattern is question/answer or question/question; question are often meaningless and answer are unsatisfactory, incomplete or out of mark, to enhance the inability to really communicate; repetition of words is common; and pauses and silence recur in the characters’ speeches.
Therefore the Theatre of the Absurd represents a fundamental lack of belief in the capacity of language to help people communicate.