Andre Antoine (theater)
BiographyBorn in Limoges in 1858, André Antoine is pupil with the Lycée Condorcet, then employed with the Gas-company.
Unfortunate candidate at the entry of the Conservatory higher national of dramatic art of Paris, he becomes actor in a troop amateur, then and founds in old the Parisian Comédie , the Theater-Free in 1887, an innovative theatrical movement aiming at opening the scene with young authors, with a style of setting in scene and set of actors in rupture with the Light comedies. The theatrical current opens to the writers of the current French naturalist, but also to the Scandinavian dramatic authors. On its model, free theaters are created in London, Munich and Berlin. Near to Emile Zola, he preaches a popular and social theater, applying the principles of the naturalism to the Dramatic art and the setting in scene. He makes discover in France of the authors such as August Strindberg, Leon Tolstoï and Henrik Ibsen. He also assembles parts or adaptations of novels of Zola, Daudet, Balzac, then Jules Renard with: Hair of Carrot and Henry Bernstein: the Market
In its settings in scene, the actors must live their characters. He insists on the importance of gestural and releases the play of actor of conventions and the Cabotinage, less déclamatoire for more naturalness. He wants to give to the spectator the impression to attend a “section of life” while resting on costumes and modern and realistic Décor S until in depth. He plays with lighting, installing electricity for new plays of light, adopting the Wagnerian darkness for the room. The presence of truths pieces of meat for the Butchers in 1888 fact besides scandal. Taking again the theory of the Fourth wall founded by Diderot, it gives a great importance to the role of the director, who passes from the statute of technician to that of creator.
In 1897, at the time of its installation in the room of the Menu-Pleasures, under the name of Théâtre Antoine, the theatrical style takes the form of an esthetic provocation calculated, supported by the snobbery of All-Paris, which pushes it to refuse Maurice Maeterlinck, because it put primarily on scenic realism. Works of François de Curel or Eugene Brieux will leave less trace than that of the Tisserands of Gerhart Hauptmann, Power of darkness of Tolstoï or great dramas of Shakespeare.
In 1906, it takes the direction of the Théâtre of Odéon (it had directed it only two weeks in 1897) and goes up then in a historical preoccupation with a reconstitution, traditional texts of Corneille (of which it reconstitutes the first representation of Cid to the candles), Racine, Molière or Shakespeare. In seven years, it assembles 364 parts, that is to say an average of one per week, launching in its evenings of test young authors like Georges Duhamel or Jules Romans. He is at the time the director of scene of the future realizer Leonce Perret.
Heavily involved in debt, it leaves the theater of Odéon in 1914 and turns to the cinema. It realizes between 1915 and 1922, several films under the aegis of the cinematographic Société of the authors and men of letters of Pierre Decourcelle, adapting dramatic or literary works, like the Earth , the Corsican Brothers and Quatrevingt-treize . There still, it adopts the principles of the naturalism by giving importance of the natural decoration, like “elements of real determining the behaviors of its protagonists”, and while recourrant with nonprofessional actors. For Jean Tulard, his literary approach and its reputation take part “to give to the cinema its noble letters”. Influencing Mercanton, Hervil and Capellani, he is “a little the father of the Néoréalisme” and the Cartel of the Four (Charles Dullin, Louis Jouvet, Gaston Baty and Georges Pitoëff), placing himself in a current modernisator also, but “antinaturalist”.
He concludes his career like cinema and drama critic as from 1919 and twenty year, weekly in Information , more sporadically in the Newspaper , illustrated Comœdia and Le Monde , and publishes his memories: the Theater 1932-1933.
It will have dominated the French scene until the reaction anti-naturalist of Jacques Copeau or the Cartel of the Four.
- My memories on the Theater-Free , 1928
- My memories on the Theater Antoine , 1928
Catalog of films; as a realizer
- 1915: Corsican Brothers
- 1917: the Culprit
- 1917: workers of the sea
- 1920: the Swallow and the titmouse (prohibited Film of assembly by Charles Pathé, forgotten during 60 years, then assembled by Henri Colpi for the French Cineclub and shown for the first time in 1982)
- 1920: Quatre-vingt-treize
- 1920: Miss of Seiglière
- 1921: the Earth
- 1922: Arlésienne
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