Letter: Ionesco: zen and the art of absurdity

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Sir: In John Calder's excellent and informative obituary of Eugene Ionesco (29 March), he makes no mention whatsover of Amedee, an early play about the death of love. In 1956, I was involved in an innovative production of this play at the Cambridge Arts Theatre, directed by Peter Zadek, with Felix Topolski as set designer, and myself as art-student scene painter. The performances of Kathleen Michael and Jack McGowan as Madeleine and Amedee were superb.

The problem posed by the giant dead body that grows was solved by constructing it with chicken wire so that it could bend and be stored in the wings before being moved more and more into view. Alas, the play did not transfer to the West End; 1956 was a little early for mainstream acceptance of Artaudesque ideas. Now of course it would have been a hit at the National. With such acting luminaries how could it fail?

Yours sincerely,

SUE DOWNES

London, WC1

29 March

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