The Screens – Jean Genet (1961)

1960s: Days of Rage


The Screens (French: Les Paravents) is a play by the French dramatist Jean Genet. Its first few productions all used abridged versions, beginning with its world premiere under Hans Lietzau‘s direction in Berlin in May 1961. Its first complete performance was staged in Stockholm in 1964, two years before Roger Blin directed its French premiere in Paris. Genet was writing the piece as a war of independence was being conducted in French colonial Algeria. The work has no narrative structure, but comprises a series of 17 individual scenes depicting Arab insurrection against a stupid and blundering colonial power. Although the occupying army is not identified as specifically French (nor is the action intended to depict only the then-current insurgence—the French conquest of Algeria in the 1840s is also referenced), when the play was first performed in France, at the eminent Odéon theatre

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