Les Cenci (The Cenci) is Artaud’s only known play based on the guidelines of the Theatre of Cruelty. The play relates Artaud’s version of the story of the late-sixteenth-century Roman nobleman, Francesco Cenci, and his daughter Beatrice. Written in a style meant to overwhelm the audience’s moral preconceptions, The Cenci dramatizes the torture that the cruel Count Cenci invoked upon his family; the family’s plot to have him murdered; and the family’s torture and execution by Catholic authorities. On stage, The Cenci involves a spectacle of light and sound. Artaud directed and starred as Cenci in the original production of the play in 1935. The play shocks the audience not only because of its cruelty, violence, incest, and rape, but because its characters seem to speak strangely and artificially. This is because the theory behind the play, which is influenced by the surrealist movement and by Balinese dance theatre, calls for the characters to represent universal forces instead of realistic individuals.