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Victor


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AT: Children Take Over A: Roger Vitrac Pf: 1928, Paris Pb: 1946 Tr: None known G: Drama in 3 acts; French prose S: The Paumelles' apartment, Paris, 1909 C: 5m, 7f Victor Paumelle is a precocious, obnoxious boy of 5 foot 9 celebrating his ninth birthday. He makes indecent proposals to the maid and blames her for breaking an expensive vase that he deliberately smashed. His 6-year-old friend Esther tells him that his father Charles and her mother Thérèse are having an affair. When the parents arrive, Victor says that Esther broke the vase, and her mother strikes her. Eventually, all the guests assemble for the birthday party, including a general and Esther's unhinged father, who recites entries from the encyclopedia and bursts into tears. The children embarrass their parents by acting out their parents' affair. Suddenly, Ida, a beautiful lady, arrives, claiming to be a friend of Victor's mother but insisting that she is not the woman she knows. Esther runs from the ‘dirty woman’, followed by the adults, but Victor remains and kisses Ida. She leaves quickly when he demands that she fart for him. Esther is brought back dishevelled and bleeding, but Victor reassures her that he has killed Ida. When Victor goes to bed, his father reads out items from the newspaper, then wood-planes and files his bed. No one is able to sleep, and Esther arrives, wanting to be with Victor. Thérèse discovers that her husband has hanged himself, and Victor complains of feeling unwell. The Doctor cannot save him, and Victor dies. In despair, his parents shoot themselves, and the maid comments: ‘What a drama!’

AT: Children Take Over A: Roger Vitrac Pf: 1928, Paris Pb: 1946 Tr: None known G: Drama in 3 acts; French prose S: The Paumelles' apartment, Paris, 1909 C: 5m, 7f

Together with Artaud, who directed the premiere of Victor, Vitrac was expelled from André Breton's Surrealist inner circle for proposing to stage avant-garde theatre commercially. Victor and Apollinaire's Breasts of Tiresias are the two most important Surrealist plays of the period. Victor's language, clearly influencing Ionesco, ranges from lyrical (often juxtaposing ideas in characteristically Surrealist manner) to newspaper clippings to the obscene, and much of its action derives from the adult world observed through the eyes of grotesquely precocious children.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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