The Satin Slipper



  • The last play by the French poet and playwright Paul Claudel(1868 - 1955), written between 1919 and 1924 and regarded as hismasterpiece. Because of its length and complex symbolism (at one pointthe hemispheres converse and at another the earth becomes a bead ona rosary), it was considered impossible to stage until 1943, whenit was produced at the Comédie-Française by Jean-LouisBarrault. Barrault drew on all his technical resources topresent Claudel's work, evolving the approach that became known asthéâtre total. More recently, a versionlasting some 12 hours was staged by Olivier Py and the Centre DramatiqueNational d'Orléans in 2003. The play has also been presented in a shortened version.

    Set in the late 16th century, the action of The Satin Slipperranges from Spain, Italy, and Africa, to America; the play also includesscenes on board ships in the Mediterranean and Atlantic. Its maincharacters, Don Rodrigue and Doña Prouhèze (who rarelyappear together), resist their earthly passions in order to attainChristian salvation.