French Theater Since 1968

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Twayne Publishers, 1995 - Drama - 195 pages
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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About the author (1995)

Bettina L. Knapp is professor of French and comparative literature at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

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