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He was in his forties when his first play, The Bald Soprano, was produced. Ionesco became inspired to write the play while trying to learn English from a primer. Basically, he kept copying over and over again simple sentences, like "The ceiling is up" and "The floor is down. The very simple, luminously clear statements I had copied so diligently into my notebook, left to themselves, fermented after a while, lost their original identity, expanded and overflowed.

This experience had a hard-core effect on Ionesco. He set out to capture it in a play and, a little while later, spewed out The Bald Soprano. The play got shown to Nicolas Bataille, a director of an avant-garde experimental theatrical troupe. Before too long, Ionesco was an international theatrical superstar. It has now become one of the most performed plays in French source. Not too shabby, Eugene. In Martin Esslin wrote a little book called the Theatre of the Absurd , which basically defined an entire genre of theatre.

Though some of the playwrights disliked being labeled as any one particular thing, you can definitely see similarities in their work. Camus outlines his philosophy in his essay The Myth of Sisyphus.

To make a long story short, he proposed that life is meaningless and therefore everything humans do is essentially absurd. Ionesco and his Absurdist buddies used many of the same techniques to express the idea of the Absurd.

Absurdist plays also often use clowning techniques borrowed from Vaudeville and the films of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.

In March of , he died at the age of Though his body lies in a Paris graveyard, his influence lives on. His horrifically comic anti-plays helped to redefine the theatre as a whole. Ionesco and his Absurdist buddies changed the language of drama forever. Have you ever felt like no one understands you? This includes people now and people back in the s, when The Bald Soprano first premiered. Shoot, it probably even includes cavemen. Maybe, they longed to express themselves to their hairy buddies.

One of the main points of the play is that language can sometimes be an ineffective means of communication. The characters in The Bald Soprano speak in all kinds of crazy gibberish and barely seem to communicate at all.

We can see why Ionesco dubbed the play a "Tragedy of Language" source. The Bald Soprano Resources.


Eugène Ionesco

Ionesco was taken to France as an infant but returned to Romania in After obtaining a degree in French at the University of Bucharest, he worked for a doctorate in Paris , where, after , he made his home. While working as a proofreader, he decided to learn English; the formal, stilted commonplaces of his textbook inspired the masterly catalog of senseless platitudes that constitutes The Bald Soprano. In The Lesson, a timid professor uses the meaning he assigns to words to establish tyrannical dominance over an eager female pupil. Feeling confident that his message will be conveyed by an orator he has hired, the old man and his wife commit a double suicide.


The Bald Soprano

An English evening. Smith, an Englishman, seated in his English armchair and wearing English slippers, is smoking his English pipe and reading an English newspaper, near an English fire. He is wearing English spectacles and a small gray English mustache. Beside him, in another English armchair, Mrs. Smith, an Englishwoman, is darning some English socks. A long moment of English silence. The English clock strikes 17 English strokes.


Many sources cite his birthdate as , this error being due to vanity on the part of Ionesco himself, who wanted the year of his birth to coincide with that when his idol, Romanian playwright Caragiale , died. As Deborah B. When he "floated" back to the ground and the "light" left him, he saw that the real world in comparison was full of decay, corruption and meaningless repetitive action. This also coincided with the revelation that death takes everyone in the end.

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