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A Sampling of French Theater

Year: 1958, 27 mins
Code: CAT-Sam

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Elegant performances illustrate this discussion of 20th century French theater and its importance, with some comparisons to American theater-Maurice Valency-writer, critic, professor of French Literature at Columbia Univ. and translator of many plays for Broadway - discusses French theater and introduces scenes from Anouilh's "Ardel" and Giraudoux's "The Enchanted" - at the time (1958) playing in New York City. Valency's topics: witty talk on themes of importance is what is needed, writers must trust the audience and should know what actors they are writing for - a plea for repertory companies.
He laments that American playwrights think they can't afford to let their characters talk too high-mindedly, and producers always put profit before real success. The writers whose scenes are presented: Jean Giradoux (1882-1944) known for "Tiger at the Gates", "The Madwoman of Chaillot", "Amphitryon 38", "Ondine". Jean Anouilh (1902-1987): "Antigone", "Ring Around the Moon", "Thieves Carnival", "The Lark", "Becket."

Jean Marie Lucien Pierre Anouilh was a French dramatist whose career spanned five decades. Though his work ranged from high drama to absurdist farce, Anouilh is best known for his 1944 play Antigone, an adaptation of Sophocles' classical drama, that was seen as an attack on Marshal Pétain's Vichy government.

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