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Roger Blin

Collaborations and Methodologies

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Mark Batty

Roger Blin’s career in the Arts was woven inextricably into the fabric of the Twentieth-Century French Avant-Garde. First appearing in the films of Abel Gance, Marcel Carné and Jean Cocteau, his acting career led him to a close friendship and association with Antonin Artaud, for whom he performed the function of assistant director. He championed Samuel Beckett’s En attendant Godot, otherwise rejected unanimously by the French theatrical establishment, was Jean Genet’s director of choice and was long associated with artists and practitioners as diverse as Arthur Adamov, Jean-Louis Barrault and Jacques Prévert. Marxist in outlook, Blin also sought to apply rigorous humanist principles to his art and delighted in the opportunities he enjoyed to disrupt and upturn the attitudes and complacencies of certain of his audiences. This book surveys all aspects of Blin’s artistic output to consider and clarify his motivations, his ambitions and his aesthetic preferences. In doing so, the author hopes to offer perspectives on the methodologies that Blin employed and define the influence his work and his legacy has exerted on the French and World stage.
Contents: Biographical background and social and political contextualisation – The artistic influences of Jacques Prévert, Sylvain Itkine and Jean-Louis Barrault – Associate director of the Gaïté-Montparnasse – Arthur Adamov’s early plays – Directing Samuel Beckett’s early plays – The theatre of provocation: Jean Genet’s drama – ‘Active humility’ and a director’s methodology.