Reflections on the Theatre

Jean Genet
Date Published
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The 1966 staging in Paris of Jean Genet’s The Screens by the Jean-Louis Barrault-Madeleine Renaud Company was highly controversial. Written at the height of the Algerian War, it was initially considered un-performable in France due to the violent political reactions it was bound to arouse.
The Barrault-Renaud production was directed by the venerable Roger Blin, and during the several months of rehearsals that Genet attended he wrote a series of letters and notes to Blin giving his views on every aspect of the staging. His comments deal with the details of that play and that production, but also transcend them, amounting to a precise and fascinating compilation of Jean Genet’s concept of the theatre.
This volume also contains two essays by Genet, originally published in the French periodical Un Tel, giving his striking and highly personal views on life and art.


Jean Genet was born in Paris in 1910. An illegitimate child who never knew his parents, he was abandoned to the Public Assistance Authorities. He was ten when he was sent to a reformatory for stealing; thereafter he spent time in the prisons of nearly every country he visited in thirty years of prowling through the European underworld. With ten…

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