Fernando Arrabal

Definition

Theater

  • (1932 - ) Moroccan-born Spanish dramatist,poet, and film-maker, who writes in French and has lived for manyyears in France. Much of Arrabal's writing is informed by his traumaticchildhood experiences during the Spanish Civil War, in which his father,a Republican army officer, was betrayed, sentenced to life imprisonment, escaped, and was never seen or heard of again. His works deal with themes of violence, exile, and betrayal in a style that is often grotesque andshocking.

    Following the publication of his first collection of playsin 1958 Arrabal became associated with the burgeoning Theatre of theAbsurd. Arrabal would later apply the label ThéâtrePanique to his work - because it was intended to provokepsychological shock amongst the audience. In 1959 he produced hismost experimental work, Theatrical Orchestration, which containsno dialogue whatsoever. Strong anti-Catholic sentiments are to befound in a number of his plays: Car Cemetry (1964), for example,includes a blasphemous parody of the crucifixion. Other plays includeThe Architect and the Emperor of Assyria (1967), And TheyPut Handcuffs on the Flowers (1969), a protest against politicaloppression written after his own imprisonment by the Franco regime,and The Ballad of the Ghost Train (1974). His complete worksfor the theater, numbering around 100 pieces, were published in 1997.Arrabal has also written a novel, several volumes of poetry, essays, and screenplays, as well as directing a number of films. In addition, he has contributed a column on chess to the French weekly L'Express for some 30 years.

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