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The action takes place in the villa that belongs to the poet Orpheus and his wife Eurydice. Here we meet a mysterious horse, a peculiar glazer who is none other than the angel Heurtebise, a police superintendent, a clerk of the court, death’s henchmen and death itself.
The Orpheus myth, as revisited by Jean Cocteau, takes a comic and fantastical turn to say the least: a far cry from the tragedy of antiquity, Cocteau’s play toys with anachronism, the spectacular and the downright odd thanks to extraordinary theatrical effects and choice dialogue.
This breathtakingly original play was first performed in 1926 in Paris. It was the forerunner of several Cocteau films based on the character of Orpheus: The Blood of a Poet, Orpheus (adapted from the play) and The Testament of Orpheus.
Jean Cocteau (1889 – 1963) was a prolific and bafflingly versatile artist. As a graphic artist, designer, playwright, filmmaker and writer, and a close friend of many major European creators (from Picasso to Coco Chanel via Marcel Proust), he numbers among those who influenced an era. From amongst his tumultuous personal relationships and his critically acclaimed artistic collaborations, one particularly notable example was the work that brought him together with Raymond Radiguet to write Le Diable au corps.
On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of his death, éditions Stock will be republishing several of the artist’s books.
Le mythe d'Orphée, revisité par Jean Cocteau, prend un tour pour le moins léger et fantaisiste : loin du drame antique, la pièce de Cocteau joue sur l'anachronisme, le spectaculaire et l'insolite grâce à d'extraordinaires effets scéniques et à de savoureux dialogues.
Cette pièce, d'une étonnante originalité, a été créée au Théâtre des Arts à Paris le 17 juin 1926.