- A type of bitter comedy staged by André Antoine (1858 - 1943)at his Théâtre Libre, a private theater clubin Paris, in the late 19th century. Many were written by the dramatistsHenri Becque (1837 - 99) and Georges Ancey (Georges Mathevon deCurnieu; 1860 - 1917). Examples include Becque's Les Corbeaux(1882), an exposure of greed, and La Parisienne (1885), whichfocuses on the amorality of the main character. Ancey's contributionsincluded Les Inséparables (1889), in which two friendsshare a mistress and L'écoles des veufs (1889), in whichthe same mistress is shared by a father and his son. The plays weremainly staged using amateur actors and naturalistic scenery.
The notoriety of the comédies rosses gave theThéâtre Libre a bad name and generally helped to discreditthe burgeoning naturalist movement with the general public (seenaturalism). Even liberal playgoers were repelled by thetone of some of the works and the way in which vice went unpunishedand virtue unrewarded. At the same time they helped to liberalizeattitudes concerning what was permissible on the stage. Now considereduninspired, the plays are very rarely revived.