Albert Camus’ 1948 play The State of Siege (L’État de Siège) is presently touring the U.S. in a production by Paris’ celebrated Théâtre de la Ville. This is the company’s third visit to this country, but its first to Boston where it opened on November 9 at ArtEmerson’s Majestic Theatre.
Camus was invited to write the play by the actor and mime Jean-Louis Barrault then also France’s leading director. As early as the late 1930s, Barrault began developing ideas for a drama based on the plague. At first, he collaborated with Antonin Artaud whose interest lay not in dialogue, but in creating a powerful theatre of ritual, imagery, and movement which ultimately through assaulting the audience’s senses would have a cathartic effect. The two men split up because Artaud’s ideas were too extreme for Barrault and the converse was true for Artaud. (Continue reading » )