"Comment je vis les (miracles et) cataclysmes de l'avant-garde"
[How I Experience the (Miracles and) Cataclysms of the Avant-Garde]
Simultaneous translation by David A. Powell
Tuesday, November 8th, at 7:30 pm
Axinn Lecture Hall
Fernando Arrabal was born on August 11, 1932, in the autonomous Spanish city of Melilla on the eastern coast of Morocco. As a child during the Spanish Civil War, his Catholic mother betrayed his Republican father to Francisco Franco's police. He studied law in Madrid and moved to Paris in 1954. Most of his work has been first published in French.
Arrabal's plays have been identified with the Theatre of the Absurd. His earlier works often feature naive characters who do not comprehend the world around them, and many of his works attempt to shock the audience using violence and blasphemy. Arrabal coined the term "panic theatre" to describe this side of his work.
His first play, Pique-nique en campagne (Picnic on the Battlefield, 1958), was influenced by events of the Korean War. Other works include Le Cimetière des voitures (The Car Cemetery, 1958) and Et ils passèrent des menottes aux fleurs (And They Put Handcuffs on the Flowers, 1969). He also wrote Orchestration théâtrale (1959), a collection of wordless theatre pieces featuring moving three-dimensional shapes, some of them mechanical, others moved by dancers.
Among Arrabal's better known films are Viva la muerte (Long Live Death, 1970) and J'irai comme un cheval fou (I Will Go Like a Wild Horse, 1973). His novels include Baal Babylon (1959).
Some of his non-fiction titles include: Lettre à Franco (1972), Lettre à Castro (1983), Guernica (1996), and more recently Houellebecq (2005).
A short list of his honors include:
2005 Legion d'honneur Premio de la Asociación Checa de Directores de Cine Festival d'Avignon: Medaille d'Or René Char
2004 Premier Prix Panique, Foire International du Livre (Bruxelles)
Premio "Francisco de Vitoria" (Puerto Rico)
Premio Wittgenstein (Universidad de Murcia)
Premier Prix des Arts de "La Vache Blue"
Prix du Jury Festival cinéma "La nature dans tous ses arts"
Prix Internacional de Poésie Oriani (Festival Teranova)
Premio Leteo (Leon)
2003 Premio Nacional de Literatura (Espagne)
Medalla de Oro de San Fando (Buenos Aires)
XVIII Festival Iberoamericano de Teatro, Cadiz
2002 X Muestra de Teatro Español, Alicante
Médaille d'Or de la ville d'Avignon
2001 European Academy of Arts, Sciences and Humanities
Premio Nacional de Teatro 2001 (Espagne)
2000 Premio Cine y Literatura "Eninci" (Espagne)
Premio Nacional de las Letras (Espagne)
Prix de la Francophonie (France)
1999 Premio "Alessandro Manzoni" di Poesia, (Italia)
1998 Prix de la Société des Auteurs, (France)
1995 Officier des Arts et des Lettres, (France)
1993 Prix de Théâtre de l'Académie Française
1986 Medalla de Oro de las Bellas Artes, del Ministerio de Cultura (Espagne)
1983 Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres
1976 Obie Award (Theater)
1968 Grand Prix de l'Humour Noir, (France)
1967 Grand Prix de Théâtre, (France)
There are players who do not take anything seriously. And there are men who openly challenge tribunals and prison. However, on very few occasions do players appear who not only do not take anything seriously but also challenge tribunals and prison. Even when he challenges Franco or Castro, Arrabal is not antiestablishment or a militant preacher. He is a man who plays. He conceives art as a game, and the world is turned into a game the very moment he touches it. [...] Oh Arrabal, what's the name of the star guiding your steps? Marx, anti-Marx, Tocqueville, Sartre, Mandela, Bush? For you, nothing is more venerable than this honourable Mafia of History. Your star bears the name of Cervantes. The day you admitted that, solemnly raising your arms towards the sky, the public around you (Marxists or anti-Marxists?), who thought they were listening to a completely charming incongruent, burst into laughter. [...] Oh Cervantes, our father! Praised be your name! Stay with us, for in this deadly serious and unloving land we have been left alone and only have you!
For more info:
consult this website: http://www.arrabal.org/