Antonin Artaud 1896-1948
French poet, actor, and drama theorist.
He wrote Surrealist poetry from 1925 and made his acting debut in Surrealist productions in Paris. He described his theory of drama in the Manifesto of the Theatre of Cruelty (1932; see Theatre of Cruelty) and The Theatre and Its Double (1938). His own plays (including Les Cenci, 1935) were failures, but his theories exerted great influence on playwrights of the Theatre of the Absurd. Lifelong mental illness confined him periodically to asylums from 1936.
Courtesy of Britannica Concise Encyclopedia. 2003.