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Artaud: un portrait en décomposition

Cruelty, madness and beauty.

Through his poems and letters and through memories of his closest friends Artaud: un portrait en décomposition presents an unflinching theatrical “portrait” of Antonin Artaud.

Artaud: un portrait en décomposition incarnates the incandescent poetry and sublime violence of Artaud’s life and work.


It is very important today that we re-evaluate Artaud’s works. What he wrote and what he suffered obliges us to ask certain questions: What is the place of madness in society? What is the role of the artist in so far as s/he is a critic of society and a witness to another kind of experience of life? In assimilating Artaud we are obliged to reevaluate the horizon which grounds our ethical and moral judgements and gives them meaning. We must also question the prevailing structures of power which are based on a rationalism forever challenged by artists, like Artaud, who expose their fragile and arbitrary nature. Seen from this point of view madness, like the Belgian artist Jan Fabre has said regarding Artaud, is also a form of protest.


Originally produced in association with Théâtre Français de Toronto


Written by Adam Paolozza & Michele Smith based on texts by Antonin Artaud

Directed by Michele Smith

Performed by Adam Paolozza & Coleen MacPherson

Lighting Design by Kim Purtell

Photos by Marc Lemyre and Erin MacPherson


Artaud toured to the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre and was remounted at the Summerworks Festival in Toronto. 

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