by Jean Genet
Jean Genet's "The Balcony", which premiered in 1957, has come to be recognised as one of the founding plays of modern theatre, and is what the ... Show synopsis Jean Genet's "The Balcony", which premiered in 1957, has come to be recognised as one of the founding plays of modern theatre, and is what the philosopher Lucien Goldmann has called 'the first great Brechtian play in French literature'. In a brothel of an unnamed French city the madam, Irma, directs a series of fantastical scenarios - a bishop forgives a penitent, a judge punishes a thief, a general rides astride his horse. Outside, an uprising threatens to engulf the streets. The patrons of the brothel wait anxiously for the chief of police to arrive, but in his place comes the queen's envoy to inform that the figureheads of the establishment have been killed in the uprising. Play-acting turns to reality, as the patrons don their costumes in public in the attempt to quell the insurrection. Illusion and reality, order and dissolution - these are the grand themes of "The Balcony", all refracted through the prism of Genet's sexualised genius.