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Antonin Artaud
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Playwright
    (September 4, 1896-March 4, 1948)
    Born in Marseilles, France
    Surrealist playwright, poet and actor
    Director of the Alfred Jarry Theater (1926-28)
    Wrote the play 'A Spurt of Blood' (staged posthumously, 1964)
    Wrote the radio play 'To Have Done with the Judgment of God' (aired posthumously, 1978)
    Wrote the screenplay 'The Seashell and the Clergyman' (1928)
    Appeared in the films 'Napoleon' (1927) and 'The Passion of Joan of Arc' (1928)
    Wrote the essay collection 'The Theater and Its Double' (1938)
    Advocate of the 'Theater of Cruelty'
    He abused laudanum and heroin.
    He received a grant to travel to Mexico, where he lectured on the decadence of Western civilization and experimented with peyote.
    During a boat trip from Ireland, he attacked two crew members and was placed in a straitjacket.
    Although 'The Seashell and the Clergyman' was the first surrealist film, it was soon overshadowed by Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel's 'Un Chien Andalou.'
    He staged a drama about the plague that used such realistic sound effects that many audience members became sick during the performance.
    As an adolescent, he was stabbed by a pimp for no apparent reason.
    He was expelled from the Surrealist movement after he refused to join the French Communist party.
    He did not want a church burial but his family held one against his wishes.
    The Museum of Modern Art in New York City held a showing of drawings and paintings he produced as a patient in a mental institution, where he was encouraged to draw as part of his therapy (1996).

Credit: C. Fishel


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