He moved to Paris, where he associated with surrealist writers, artists, and experimental theater groups during the s. When political differences resulted in his break from the surrealists, he founded the Theatre Alfred Jarry with Roger Vitrac and Robert Aron. Together they hoped to create a forum for works that would radically change French theater. Artaud, especially, expressed disdain for Western theater of the day, panning the ordered plot and scripted language his contemporaries typically employed to convey ideas, and he recorded his ideas in such works as Le Theatre de la cruaute and Le Theatre et son double , translated as The Theater and Its Double, Les Cenci was produced in Paris, and was closed after 17 dismal performances. Author George E.

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The nobleman in question here is Count Cenci Anthony Torn , who has two of his sons murdered and rapes his daughter, Beatrice Lauren Blumenfeld. In revenge for these acts and others, Beatrice and stepmother Lucretia Anna Fitzwater and brothers Giacomo Kobi Libbii and Bernardo Alexander Paul Nifong plot his murder in the fortress in which he decides he will torture them both physically and psychologically. This woebegone group hopes that they might turn to the pope and his designees for support, and for a brief while, it looks as if Orsino Mauricio Tafur Salgado , who was engaged to Beatrice before taking his vows, and Camillo Todd D'Amour , who's involved sexually with Giacomo despite his having taken his vows, might help.

But ultimately, these two men of god turn against Beatrice and the others, driving home one of Artaud's chief tenets: Justice in this world -- be it religious or civil -- is a near impossibility. Much of this sort of action and thematic content can be found in plays from England's Jacobean age, but The Cenci diverges from these earlier works, reveling its jagged dramaturgy, which includes abrupt declamatory speeches newly translated by Richard Sieburth in which characters decry their world or describe their actions and almost random plot twists.

When Artaud's play is layered with Jahnke's artistry -- including gorgeously formalized blocking, haunting tableaux, and judicious use of amplification and echoing of the performers' voices the superlative sound design is by Kristin Worrall -- it becomes a taut tour through this Italian family's tragedy, one that often can make the pulse race in a sort of slasher film-like way.

While the production -- which also includes Peter Ksander's rat-race like maze scenic design of twisting palace hallways and Miranda K. Hardy's dramatically atmospheric lighting design -- looks gorgeous, it does have its languors. Certain themes, such as corruption within the church, are hammered repeatedly.

Additionally, when the action shifts too quickly, such as an early banquet scene in which performers assume second and third roles while masked, it's difficult to not be left at sea. The unevenness extends to the performers, some of whom handle the demands of the text and production more sure-handedly than others. Both Torn and Fitzwater ably balance the piece's mix of comedy, which sometimes borders on camp, drama, and melodrama with aplomb.

However, Blumenfeld delivers a curiously wooden, one-note performance that can stall the action as the play progresses and Beatrice's need for revenge becomes more acute. Both Salgado and D'Amour, as the very worldly priests, are more successful, but their performances also lack some of the precision that makes the two men at the head of the Cenci clan so successful.

Author Andy Propst. Locations New York City. Tagged in this Story.


Antonin Artaud

Theatre of Cruelty. Releasing our inner animal. For example, many artists like the French Antonin Artaud, explored their inner thoughts and based their life and art creations on the idea that truth, without moral masks, should be released from our souls. Antonin Artaud spent much time of his life interned in mental hospitals because of his psychological problems. Al along his youth, he was a very introspective person who passed through pessimistic and depressive periods. He even got involved with the surrealistic movement from whom he took the idea of releasing the unconscious as an art expression and as a therapy.


The work was published by Charles and James Ollier in London in The Livorno edition was printed in Livorno, Italy by Shelley himself in a run of copies. Shelley told Thomas Love Peacock that he arranged for the printing himself because in Italy "it costs, with all duties and freightage, about half of what it would cost in London. The play was not considered stageable in its day due to its themes of incest and parricide , and was not performed in public in England until , when it was staged in London. The horrific tragedy, set in in Rome, of a young woman executed for pre-meditated murder of her tyrannical father, was a well-known true story handed down orally and documented in the Annali d'Italia , a twelve-volume chronicle of Italian history written by Ludovico Antonio Muratori in Shelley was first drawn to dramatize the tale after viewing Guido Reni 's portrait of Beatrice Cenci, a painting that intrigued Shelley's poetic imagination. Camillo tells Cenci that the matter will be hushed up if Cenci will relinquish a third of his possessions, his property beyond the Pincian gate, to the Church.

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