Obituary: Eugene Ionesco
Friday 08 April 1994
It was an altercation with certain British critics, notably Kenneth Tynan in the Observer, who berated Ionesco for his lack of 'message', meaning primarily political message, at any rate of the correct kind. This is recounted in his first book of memoirs, Notes et Contre-Notes (1962): and I more than once heard him on the subject. Indeed, when I left Paris to return to the Foreign Office, he gave me a set of his plays inscribed 'a M. Cullis, avec mon amitie pour lui, et pour toute l'Angleterre - exception l'Observer.'
It may be worth recording that his initial work, the 'anti-play' La Cantatrice Chauve has run for over 40 years (Paris's answer to The Mousetrap) at the little Theatre de la Huchette. Usually the place was packed, with people sitting on the floor. But on one occasion I and some friends were the sole audience - and were afterwards applauded by the actors on stage. There has been, incidentally, a treasured LP recording of the complete play, by the original cast under Nicolas Bataille, and with a companion volume strikingly illustrated to match the text. There is also a cassette of his playlet Le Leader, with music by Germaine Tailleferre (the female member of Les Six): a political enough 'message' one might have thought with its punch-line, in answer to a child who exclaims, Hans Andersen-wise, 'But the Leader has no head.' 'What does it matter, he has Genius.'
So in my view, however idiosyncratically, did our friend Eugene.
- 1 'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
- 2 Canadian actor punched in face after 'Islamophobia' experiment goes wrong in wake of Ottawa shooting
- 3 Topshop at centre of row over body image as 'shocking' skinny mannequin photo goes viral
- 4 Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
- 5 The bubble bursts for Sodastream
'Nasa Confirms Six Days of Darkness in December': No, they don't - it's a hoax
Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson criticised for beer tweet
Halloween 2014: From the Screaming Man of Pluckley to the 'White Lady' of the Tower of London - Britain's 20 most haunted places
The bubble bursts for Sodastream
Russian politician says Apple CEO Tim Cook should be 'banned' from country after coming out as gay
Pope Francis declares evolution and Big Bang theory are real and God is not 'a magician with a magic wand'
Huge surge in Ukip support after EU funding row, according to new poll
Ukip ‘exploiting grooming scandal’ to secure party’s first police chief
Nigel Farage: 'There’s nothing wrong with white people blacking up'
Maureen Lipman says 'she can't vote Labour while Ed Miliband is leader'
Muslims, immigration and teenage pregnancy: British people are ignorant about almost everything
£60000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Compensation and Benefits Manager - Compensat...
£28000 - £35000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...