The Breasts of Tiresias

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For an opera by Poulenc, see Les mamelles de Tirésias.
The Breasts of Tiresias
Written by Guillaume Apollinaire
Date premiered 1917 (1917)
Original language French
Genre Surrealist drama

The Breasts of Tiresias (French: Les mamelles de Tirésias) is a surrealist play by Guillaume Apollinaire. Written in 1903, the play received its first production in a revised version in 1917.[1] In his preface to the play, the poet invented the word "surrealism" to describe his new style of drama.[2]

The play has been adapted into an opera by Francis Poulenc. It also has been translated twice, first Louis Simpson in the 60's and Maya Slater in 2009. In 2010, Eric Wallach adapted and directed The Breasts of Tiresias: A Surrealist Musical in Paris at La Reine Blanche, produced by Amy Wood. In English with subtitles in French it features the music of Jeremy Bernstein and Madeleine Besson. Ms. Besson also played The People of Zanzibar. Images, music and video from this production can be found on vimeo or YouTube.

Plot[edit]

Inspired by the story of the Theban soothsayer Teiresias, the author inverted the myth to produce a provocative interpretation with feminist and pacifist elements. He tells the story of Thérèse, who changes her sex to obtain power among men, with the aim of changing customs, subverting the past, and establishing equality between the sexes.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Brockett and Hildy (2003, 439).
  2. ^ Banham (1998, 1043).

Sources[edit]

  • Banham, Martin, ed. 1998. The Cambridge Guide to Theatre. Cambridge: Cambridge UP. ISBN 0-521-43437-8.
  • Brockett, Oscar G. and Franklin J. Hildy. 2003. History of the Theatre. Ninth edition, International edition. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. ISBN 0-205-41050-2.

External links[edit]