Eugène Ionesco: La Cantatrice chauve [The Bald Prima Donna]

(1768 words)
  • Edward Forman (University of Bristol)

Eugène Ionesco’s one-act prose farce, described by him as an “anti-pièce” [antiplay] (Ionesco, 1991, 7), was the first and defining example of the Theatre of the Absurd when it was performed at the Théâtre des Noctambules in Paris in 1950. (Samuel Beckett’s En Attendant Godot [Waiting for Godot] had been written in 1947-8 but was not performed until 1953.) The first performances of La Cantatrice chauve, directed by Nicolas Bataille (1926-2008), were badly publicized and unsuccessful, but some significant literary figures, including Jacques Audiberti, Albert Camus and Armand Salacrou, defended the originality and spontaneous creativity of the work, and a reprise of the same production launched at the Thé�…

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Forman, Edward. "La Cantatrice chauve". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 October 2011
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]