FUTURISM exalts the VARIETY THEATRE because:

1. The Variety Theatre, born as we are from electricity, is lucky in having no tradition, no masters, no dogma, and it is fed by swift actuality.

2. The Variety Theatre is absolutely practical, because it proposes to distract and amuse the public with comic effects, erotic stimulation, or imaginative astonishment.

3. The authors, actors and technicians of the Variety Theatre have only one reason for existing and triumphing: incessantly to invent new elements of astonishment. Hence the absolute impossibility of arresting or repeating oneself, hence an excited competition of brains and muscles to conquer the various records of agility, speed, force, complications and elegance.

4. The Variety Theatre is unique today in its use of the cinema which enriches it with an incalculable number of visions and otherwise unrealisable spectacles (battles, riots, horse races, automobile and airplane meets, trips, voyages, depths of the city, the countryside, oceans and skies.)

5. The Variety Theatre, being a profitable show window for countless inventive forces, naturally generates what I call "the futurist marvelous", produced by modern mechanics.



Here are some of the elements of this 'marvelous':

  1. Powerful caricatures
  2. abysses of the ridiculous
  3. delicious, impalpable ironies
  4. all embracing, definitive symbols
  5. cascades of uncontrollable hilarity
  6. profound analogies between humanity, the animal, vegetable and mechanical worlds
  7. flashes of revealing cynicism
  8. plots full of the wit, repartee and conundrums that aerate the intelligence
  9. the whole gamut of laughter and smiles
  10. the whole gamut of stupidity, imbecility, doltishness and absurdity, insensibly pushing the intelligence to the very border of madness.
  11. all the new significations of light, sound, noise and language, with their mysterious and inexplicable extensions into the least explored part of our sensibility...

6. Today the Variety Theatre is the crucible in which the elements of an emergent new sensibility after seething. Here you find an ironic decomposition of all the worn-out prototypes of the Beautiful, the Grand, the Solemn, the Religious, the Ferocious, the Seductive, and the Terrifying, and also the abstract elaboration of the new prototypes that will succeed these.

The Variety Theatre is thus the synthesis of everything that humanity has up to now refined in its nerves to divert itself by laughing at material and moral grief; it is also the bubbling fusion of all the laughter, all the smiles, all the mocking grins, all the contortions and grimaces of future humanity. Here you sample the joy that will shake men for another century, their poetry, painting, philosophy and the leaps of their architecture.

13...the Variety Theatre gives a feeling and a taste for easy, light and ironic loves. Cafe- concert performances in the open air on the terraces of casinos offer a most amusing battle between spasmodic moonlight, tormented by infinite desperations, and the electric light that bounces off the fake jewellery, painted flesh, multi-coloured petticoats, velvets, tinsel, the counterfeit colour of lips. Naturally the energetic electric light triumphs and the soft decadent moonlight is defeated.

15. The Variety Theatre destroys the Solemn, the Sacred, the Serious and the Sublime in Art with a capital A. It co-operates in the Futurist destruction of immortal masterworks, plagiarising them, parodying them, making them look commonplace by stripping them of their solemn appearance as if they were mere attractions. So we unconditionally endorse a performance of Parsifal in forty minutes.


FUTURISM wants to introduce surprise and the need to move among the spectators of the orchestra, boxes, and balcony. Some random suggestions: spread a powerful glue on some of the seas, so that the male or female spectator will stay glued down and make everyone laugh (the damaged frock coat or toilette will naturally be paid for at the door)

FUTURISM wants to sell the same ticket to ten people: traffic jam, bickering and wrangling:

FUTURISM wants to offer free tickets to gentlemen or ladies who are notoriously unbalanced, irritable or eccentric and likely provoke uproars with obscene gestures, pinching men and women, or other freakishness. Sprinkle the seats with dust to make people itch and sneeze etc.


extracts from:

Selected Works of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti,
published by Farrar Slrauss & Giroux
2nd September 1913

gleaned from the archives Albie Thoms and
edited by Jim Anderson for Mr Fogg,

8th March, 2001