Jean Anouilh likes to divide his plays into three categories of material and treatment, and to date he has maintained a fairly even balance of productivity among the classifications he has designated. Included in his pieces noires, as he calls his more somber dramas, are those based on themes taken from classic Greek sources or from history: LEGEND OF LOVERS, the retelling in a modern setting of the Orpheus and Eurydice story; ANTIGONE, a thinly veiled allegory of France during the German occupation; MEDEA, and THE LARK, which deals with the martyrdom of Joan of Arc. On the evidence of these plays it would be possible to make out a good case proving that Anouilh is the leading tragic dramatist of his generation in France; however, he is better known in this country and in England for his pieces roses and pieces brillantes, his lighter works of tender feeling, artifice, and wit which do not fall into any of the conventional classifications of drama. Neither comedy, farce, fantasy, nor romance, they contain elements of all four. RING ROUND THE MOON, listed among the pieces brillantes, is a typical example.
RING ROUND THE MOON is the title given by Christopher Fry to his adaptation of Anouilh’s L’INVITATION AU CHATEAU. Although this version in English has considerable merit and unmistakable charm in its own right—a Cinderella theme treated in the manner of Oscar Wilde—Fry has caught...
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