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The Problem of Character in the Theatre of Nathalie Sarraute

Nottingham French Studies, Vol. 40 No.2, Autumn 2001 Is it really possible to write successful plays without distinct characters? Nathalie Sarraute herself often appears to believe she has done just this, and her point of view has been adopted by the few academic critics who have paid detailed attention to her theatre.' The six plays which make up Sarraute's complete theatre are certainly successful, and not simply as literary exercises in dramatic form: they work in performance and, since the mid 1980s, they have attracted distinguished directors and become established as part of the contemporary repertoire in France. At the official Avignon festival in 1986 there were productions of Elle est la (1978) and Pour un oui ou pour un non (1982), the renovated Vieux Colombier opened in 1993 with Jacques Lassalles's productions of Le Silence (1964) and Elle est la, and throughout the 90s there have been been frequent revivals of Sarraute's work, with five Paris productions of Pour un oui ou pour un non since 1993. 2 Sarraute had particular reasons, which I will discuss, for wishing to discourage her readers from identifying the speakers in her plays as distinct characters. The main question I wish http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nottingham French Studies Edinburgh University Press

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