Today in Theatre History: IONESCO’S THE BALD SOPRANO, 1950

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University of Illinois theatre students at the Théâtre de la Huchette in Paris during their 2006 “Theatre in Europe” class conducted by Professor Peter A. Davis.

Eugène Ionesco’s first play, La Chantatrice Chauve (or The Bald Soprano), opened today in 1950 at the Théâtre des Noctambules in Paris.  It was directed by the experimental French actor and director Nicolas Bataille and confounded critics who initially thought is was a parody.   Ionesco responded by saying that if his play is a parody, then everything is a parody.  While considered today to be one of the greatest and earliest examples of Absurdist theatre, Ionesco was uncomfortable with the label and claimed his most important influences included the early Dadaists and Surrealists, especially the works of Alfred Jarry, Tristan Tzara and André Breton.  Since 1957, the play has had a continuous run at Marcel Pinard’s Théâtre de la Huchette.

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