By Edward Forman

The time period "French theater" conjures up so much instantly the glories of the classical interval and the peculiarities of the Theater of the Absurd. It has given us the works of Corneille, Racine, and Moliere. within the Romantic period there has been Alexander Dumas and surrealist works of Alfred Jarry, after which the Theater of the Absurd erupted in rationalistic France with Samuel Beckett, Eugene Ionesco, and Jean-Paul Sartre.The old Dictionary of French Theater relates the heritage of the French theater via a chronology, advent, bibliography, and over four hundred cross-referenced dictionary entries on authors, tendencies, genres, innovations, and literary and historic advancements that performed a critical position within the evolution of French theater.

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See also MARTIN, JEAN; PLANCHON, ROGER; VIEUX-COLOMBIER, THÉÂTRE DU. ADAPTATION. Either the transcription of a nondramatic text (most commonly a novel) for the stage or the transposition of a play from its original setting to a different context. In one sense all productions of dramatic texts are adaptations, so the term is most commonly retained for examples where there is a definite change of medium or a significant change of period: dramatic adaptations of Realist and Naturalist novels, for example (see DUMAS, ALEXANDRE FILS; DUQUESNEL, FÉLIX-HENRI; GONCOURT, EDMOND AND JULES HUOT DE; ZOLA, ÉMILE), or productions in modern dress of plays from an earlier period.

In 1921 he acted for Lugné-Poe at the Théâtre de l’Œuvre and for Charles Dullin at the Théâtre de l’Atelier, before being engaged by Georges Pitoëff in 1923. He was a cofounder in 1926 with Roger Vitrac and Robert Aron (1898–1975) of the Surrealist Théâtre Alfred Jarry. In Le Théâtre de la cruauté (The Theater of Cruelty, 1932) and Le Théâtre et son double (The Theater and Its Double, 1938), he expounded his theory of a totally free theater, prioritizing mise-en-scène (production) over text and challenging audiences to (or beyond) the limits of emotional tolerance.

ARRABAL, FERNANDO • 29 ARLECCHINO, ARLEQUIN. See HARLEQUIN. AROUET, FRANÇOIS-MARIE. See VOLTAIRE. ARRABAL, FERNANDO (1932– ). Writer and dramatist of Spanish origin who has lived in Paris since 1955; his plays were written predominantly for the French stage, some being translated into French by his wife. His drama, strongly influenced by Antonin Artaud, Franz Kafka (1883–1924) and Alfred Jarry, draws on carnival traditions to explore serious social and political themes. Eroticism, mysticism and dream combine to produce a brutal theatricality of joyful subversion.

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