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Grand-Guignol : The French Theatre of Horror - Richard J. Hand


The French Theatre of Horror

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The Theatre du Grand-Guignol in Paris (1897-1962) achieved a legendary reputation as the 'Theatre of Horror, ' a venue displaying such explicit violence and blood-curdling terror that a resident doctor was employed to treat the numerous spectators who fainted each night. Indeed, the phrase 'grand guignol' has entered the language to describe any display of sensational horror. Since the theatre closed its doors forty years ago, the genre has been overlooked by critics and theatre historians. This book reconsiders the importance and influence of the Grand-Guignol within its social, cultural and historical contexts, and is the first attempt at a major evaluation of the genre as performance. It gives full consideration to practical applications and to the challenges presented to the actor and director. The book also includes oustanding new translations by the authors of ten Grand-Guignol plays, none of which have been previously available in English. The presentation of these plays in English for the first time is an implicit demand for a total reappraisal of the grand-guignol genre, not least for the unexpected inclusion of two very funny comedies.

Industry Reviews

`... the genre has left more of a mark on British and American culture than we may imagine.' * Gothic Studies, May 2004 *
`Richard J. Hand and Michael Wilson . . . manage in a number of telling ways to make the subject their own. . . . Hand and Wilson's main interest in Grand Guignol is . . . that of present-day theatre practitioners seeking to understand how these pieces might be able to work for fresh audiences. . . . they also prove themselves to be highly astute when it comes to examining these works in the light of contemporary (especially post-Freudian) critical theory. . . . performance practice is continually interrogated by critical and historical insight.' * Gothic Studies, August 2003 *

List of Illustrationsp. viii
Prefacep. ix
An Introduction to the Grand-Guignolp. 1
An Historical Outline of the Grand-Guignolp. 3
The Topography of Horror: Location and venuep. 26
Acts of Horror: Performing in the Grand-Guignolp. 33
Technical Aspects of Grand-Guignol Practicep. 52
Issues of Audience and Reception at the Grand-Guignolp. 67
Ten Plays of the Grand-Guignolp. 79
A Note on the Translationsp. 81
Jack (Lui!)p. 83
The Ultimate Torture (La Derniere Torture)p. 93
The Lighthouse Keepers (Gardiens de phare)p. 109
Chop-Chop! or The Guillotine (La Veuve)p. 121
Tics, or Doing The Deed (Apres Coup! ... ou Tics)p. 139
In the Darkroom (Sous la lumiere rouge)p. 155
The Final Kiss (Le Baiser dans la nuit)p. 180
The Torture Garden (Le Jardin des supplices)p. 195
Euthanasia (L'Euthanasie ou le Devoir de tuer)p. 231
The Kiss of Blood (Le Baiser de sang)p. 244
Bibliographyp. 265
Filmographyp. 269
Indexp. 271
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780859896962
ISBN-10: 085989696X
Series: Uep - Exeter Performance Studies
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 1st January 2002
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.24  x 1.91
Weight (kg): 0.52