Madwoman of Chaillot

ISBN-10: 0822207141
ISBN-13: 9780822207146
Edition: Adapted 
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Description: THE STORY: The play is a kind of poetic and comic fable set in the twilight zone of the not-quite-true. At the Cafe Chez Francis, a group of promoters plot to tear up Paris in order to unearth the oil which a prospector believes he has located in  More...

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Book details

List price: $9.00
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service, Incorporated
Publication date: 10/1/1950
Binding: Hardcover
Size: 5.25" wide x 7.50" long x 0.25" tall
Weight: 0.374
Language: English

THE STORY: The play is a kind of poetic and comic fable set in the twilight zone of the not-quite-true. At the Cafe Chez Francis, a group of promoters plot to tear up Paris in order to unearth the oil which a prospector believes he has located in the neighborhood. These grandiose plans come to the attention of The Madwoman of Chaillot who is ostensibly not normal in her mind but who is soon shown to be the very essence of practical worldly goodness and common sense. She sees through the crookedness of the prospector and insists that the world is being turned into an unhappy place by the thieves and those who are greedy for worldly goods and power. At a tea party attended by other mad women of Paris, she has brought together representatives of the despoilers of the earth and wreckers of its happiness, and has them tried and condemned to extermination. In a scene which mounts into the realms of high poetic comedy, she sends the culprits one by one, lured by the scent of oil and undreamed-of riches, into a bottomless pit which opens out of her cellar. The exodus of the wicked is accompanied by another and more beautiful miracle: Joy, justice and love return to the world again.

A novelist, playwright, and critic, Giraudoux entered the diplomatic service in 1910 and, with the exception of World War I, pursued that career until his retirement in 1940. He rose from the rank of consular attache to that of cabinet minister. Giraudoux traveled widely (he was always fascinated by Germany) and had published about 30 titles, most of them novels, before becoming a dramatist at age 46. His first play, Siegfried (1922), marks an important watershed in French theater because it turns away from the conventions of naturalism toward a more poetic and intellectually dense drama. Giraudoux's novels are noted for their preciosity of language and their poetic and mythical qualities. His plays are highly stylized and poetic, generally avoiding "psychological realism." They are frequently confrontations of ideas or contrasts of opposing attitudes toward human experience. He was "more interested in ideas than in dramatic action, more interested in conversation than in ideas" (Gassner). Two of Giraudoux's plays won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award: Ondine (1939) in 1954 and Tiger at the Gates (1935) in 1956.

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