French Theater Since 1968
One lasting effect of France's May 1968 antiestablishment movement has been the reevaluation of the philosophical, psychological, and aesthetic aspects of theater. In the 1950s and 1960s the plays of Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet, and Eugene Ionesco had abolished traditional theatrical forms, as had the existentialist theater of Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Jean Anouilh. French playwrights, bursting with new ideas as well as with confidence in their own worth after 1968, formulated fresh criteria, probed new forms, and experimented with different approaches to the performing arts. As dramatists broke new ground, so directors broke away from established aesthetics to focus on audacious, provocative interpretations of playwright's visions.
In this astute examination Bettina L. Knapp looks at how the outcry of young people in 1968 has influenced French directors and playwrights and has changed conceptions of "theater" in the two and a half decades following. Beginning with an overview of 25 years of theater - an artistic environment characterized by "Directors/Directives Galore" - Knapp proceeds to discuss the contributions of Lucien and Micheline Attoun's Theatre Ouvert, Ariane Mnouchkine's Theatre du Soleil, Antoine Vitez, Armand Gatti, Patrice Chereau, Nathalie Sarraute, Andree Chedid, Liliane Atlan, Michel Vinaver, and Valere Novarina. The study includes a useful appendix of plays, production dates, and directors.
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acting space action actors Andrée Chedid Antoine Vitez Armand Gatti Artaud Aslan Atlan Attouns audiences Bada become body bourgeois Brecht characters Chedid cited in text clown costumes created dance Daniel Mesguich death Deutsch dialogue director Dom Juan drama dramatists dream Durif Eduardo Manet emotional feelings focuses France France-Culture French gestures human humor images inner invited Jacques Lassalle Jean Jean-Pierre Vincent José Valverde Jourdheuil Kalisky Koltès Koschitzke language Lavaudant Lavelli lives Maréchal Mesguich Michel Vinaver mise-en-scène Mnouchkine Mnouchkine's Molière mood multiple mythical Nathalie Sarraute Nazi Novarina Numbers onstage Open Theater Paris Patrice Chéreau performers person play play's playwrights political probe production protagonists reality reveal revolving rhythms ritual Roger Planchon role Sarraute Sarrazac Savary scene scenic sense sequences sets Shakespeare silence sound spectators stage happenings stage space Tartuffe technique Théâtre du Soleil theatrical theme tion Titus Andronicus troupe underscored verbal Vinaver's violence Vitez voice Wenzel words