Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Giraudoux wrote The Madwoman of Chaillot

It is the birthday of post-World War I French novelist and playwright Jean Giraudoux (1882), who is credited with creating an impressionistic form of drama that emphasizes dialogue and style rather than realism.  Among his best known works are the plays Siegfried (1928), Intermezzo (1933), The Trojan War Will Not Take Place (1935), Ondine (1939), and The Madwoman of Chaillot (1945). His work is known in the English-speaking countries mainly because of the translations by English playwright Christopher Fry. The Madwoman of Chaillot is a political satire about an eccentric Parisian noblewoman who naively views the world as happy and beautiful and a group of corrupt businessmen who frequent the Cafe de l'Alma. The men plan to excavate Paris to find the oil beneath its streets. They represent wealth and power and greed. One businessman exclaims, "what would you rather have in your backyard: an almond tree or an oil well?" The noble madwoman eventually realizes the evil of the developers.

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