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Maria Casares: l'Espagne, L'Exil et le Repoussoir

Delgado, Maria M. (2018) Maria Casares: l'Espagne, L'Exil et le Repoussoir. Revue d'Histoire du Théâtre, 1 (277). ISSN 1291-2530

Abstract

María Casares has often been displaced onto histories of French theatre as one of the seminal tragédiennes of the twentieth century, a key collaborator of Jean Vilar’s at the Théâtre National Populaire (TNP) between 1954 and 1959 and an important Shakespearean actress (performing roles associated with sexual authority and transgression: Lady Macbeth in 1954, Titania in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Le Songe d'un nuit d'été) in 1959 and Cleopatra in 1975). Her association with two of France’s most dissonant post-World War II playwrights, Jean Genet and Bernard-Marie Koltès further reinforced her status as an outsider, performing ‘otherness’ in her realization of the contradictory mother figures of Les Paravants (1966, 1983) and Quai Ouest (1986). Casares, however, learned French only on her arrival in Paris in November 1936 and her differance, commented on by Roland Barthes in a 1954 essay, was played out on the French stage and screen across both across roles that referenced her Spanish origins as the daughter of a prominent Republican politician, forced to flee Spain as Franco’s rebel forces seized control of the nation. My focus in this article is on ventures seen and presented in Spain, most specifically El adefesio (1976), a play written in exile by Rafael Alberti and directed by José Luis Alonso in Madrid the year after General Francisco Franco’s death. This project, alongside her other Spanish-language ventures, indicates the complex ways in which she ‘performed exile’ to a nation-state haunted by the specters of those who had died or fled during the Civil War and its aftermath.

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