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The Play of Madness

A Translation of "Jeu de la Feuillée</I> by Adam D'Arras


Guy R. Mermier

The Play of Madness is a thirteenth-century French medieval play, often puzzling and full of innuendoes and allusions that are not always clear to the twentieth-century public. However, thanks to the comic genius of the author, this is a play that we can enjoy and laugh at today. Most of the characters are represented in a caricatured manner for the sake of satire and their traits are as universal as they are timeless. The author-actor, master Adam, is the play's authentic eye judging objectively, and not without a certain amused kindness, the citizens of Hell, the burghers of his town - Arras in N.E. France. The Play of Madness, until now generally called Jeu de la Feuillée, reminds us of some famous modern plays such as Sartre's No Exit, Pirandello's Six Characters in Search of an Author, or Beckett's Waiting for Godot. So that modern readers who are not familiar with the Old French language can enjoy this fascinating medieval comic drama, we have translated the Old French text into English prose, including on each facing page the Old French text we edited from the manuscripts, using P as base with corrections from the two other manuscripts, Pb and V.