Duel of Angels

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Duel of Angels
Written by Jean Giraudoux
Characters Joseph, Marcellus, Paola, Armand, Lucile, Eugenie, Mr Justice Blanchard, Barbette
Date premiered 4 November 1953
Place premiered Marigny Theatre in Paris
Original language French
Subject A faithful wife is betrayed and driven to suicide.
Genre Drama
Setting Aix-en-Provence, France
Summer, 1868

Duel of Angels (1963) is an English-language adaptation by Christopher Fry of the play Pour Lucrèce (1944) by French dramatist Jean Giraudoux. The play is based on the story of Lucretia, the virtuous Roman housewife who was raped and, finding no support from her husband and his friends, is driven to suicide. This is the same legend that was used by Shakespeare in The Rape of Lucrece.[1] Giraudoux gives the Roman legend a new locale, setting his drama in nineteenth-century Aix-en-Provence in southern France.

Original productions[edit]

Pour Lucrèce was translated into English as Duel of Angels by Christopher Fry, in The Drama of Jean Giraudoux, vol. 1 (1963).[2]

Pour Lucrèce was not performed until nine years after the author's death on 4 November 1953[3] in Paris at the Marigny Theatre in a production by Jean-Louis Barrault.[4]

Duel of Angels opened on 24 April 1958 at the Apollo Theatre in a production directed by Jean-Louis Barrault, and starring Vivien Leigh, Claire Bloom (later replaced by Ann Todd and Mary Ure), Derek Nimmo and Peter Wyngarde.[5] Ms. Leigh again played the role of Paola in a production opening on 19 April 1960 at the Helen Hayes Theatre in New York City, directed by Robert Helpmann, and also featuring Peter Wyngarde, Jack Merivale and Mary Ure.[6][7]


  1. ^ McGraw-Hill encyclopedia of world drama, by Stanley Hochman, volume 1, p. 324
  2. ^ Cohen, Robert (1968), Jean Giraudoux; Three Faces of Destiny, p. 159, University of Chicago Press, Chicago
  3. ^ Grossvogel, David I. (1958), 20th Century French Drama, p. 342, Columbia University Press, New York.
  4. ^ Inskip, Donald, (1958), Jean Giraudoux, The Making of a Dramatist, p. 182, Oxford University Press, New York.
  5. ^ "Vivien Leigh: The Later Years – Theatre, 1950s & 1960s". Dycks.com/vivienleigh. The Vivien Leigh Pages. 2003. Archived from the original on 29 July 2012. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  6. ^ Vivien Leigh chronology of stage and film performances
  7. ^ The Broadway League (2012). "Duel of Angels". Ibdb.com. Internet Broadway Database (IBDB). Retrieved 2 May 2012. 

External links[edit]