Jean-Louis Barrault

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Jean-Louis Barrault
BirthplaceLe Vésinet, Yvelines, Île-de-France, France

Barrault, Jean-Louis

(zhäN-lwē bärō`), 1910–94, French actor and director. A pupil of Charles Dullin, he joined the Comédie Française in 1940. After World War II he organized his own company at the Théâtre Marigny with his wife, actress Madeleine Renaud. Barrault's precise, imaginative physical style was influenced by his study of mime. He is best remembered for his Hamlet and as the mime in Marcel Carné's film Children of Paradise (1944).


See his autobiography Memories for Tomorrow (tr. 1974). His other writings include Reflections on the Theatre (tr. 1951) and The Theatre of Jean-Louis Barrault (tr. 1961).

Barrault, Jean-Louis


Born Sept. 8, 1910, in Le Vés-inet, Seine-et-Oise Department. French actor and director.

Barrault studied painting at the Louvre School in Paris. In 1931 he entered the Atelier dramatic theater, which was headed by the director C. Dullin. At the same time Barrault studied the art of pantomime under the actor E. Decroux. From 1940 to 1946 he worked at the Comédie Française, where he staged Racine’s Phèdre (1952), Claudel’s The Satin Slipper (1943), and Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra (1945). In 1946, Barrault and his wife, the actress M. Renaud, founded their own company and put on Shakespeare’s Hamlet (1946), Salacrou’s Nights of Anger (1946), Kafka’s The Trial (1947), and Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard (1954).

Barrault has played the roles of Debureau (in Prévert’s Baptiste), Mercury and Scapin (in Moliére’s Amphitryon and Scapin’s Knavery), and Trofimov (in The Cherry Orchard). From 1959 to 1968 he was the head of the Theatre de France (in Paris) and staged Ionesco’s Rhinoceros, Anouilh’s Moliere’s Little Woman, Beckett’s Happy Days, and others.

Barrault is one of the greatest contemporary French actors and directors. He is the author of Reflections on the Theater (1949). Since 1935 he has acted in films (The Children of Paradise, An Amusing Drama, and others).


Réflexions sur le theatre, Paris, 1949.


Salacrou, A. “Portrait de J.-L. Barrault.” Formes et couleurs, Lausanne, 1947, no. 5.
Triolet, E. “Zhan-Lui Barro.” Teatr, 1956, no. 4.
References in periodicals archive ?
Ne le 2 aout 1935 a Rabat, Hamidou Benmessaoud a debute sa carriere artistique au theatre en France aux cotes de Madeleine Renaud et Jean-Louis Barrault dans Les Paravents de Jean Genet en 1961.
He collaborated with actor Guy Jacquet, actor and director, Jean-Louis Barrault, and later with oud musician Fawzy Al Aiedy, to create a performance of music, poetry and calligraphy projected onto a large screen.
The graceful movements of the models bring to mind Rudolf Nureyev's dancing at the peak of his career, and they speak through an eloquent silence that connects them to the mime artistry of Marcel Marceau or Jean-Louis Barrault.
Jacques Prevert's witty script is brought to life by some marvelous performances, especially Baptiste Debureau as Jean-Louis Barrault, a love-struck performer and the greatest mime of his day, which Barrault was.
In spite of this agitation, he finished a play, Les Mal-Aimes, about two sisters in love with the same man, produced by Jean-Louis Barrault.
the work of Antonin Artaud and Jean-Louis Barrault.
Acclaimed by directors, producers, and theater impresarios such as Joseph Chaikin, Edward Albee, Jean-Louis Barrault, and the late Joseph Papp, her works have also been the source of praise and admiration by veteran actors and actresses such as Moses Gunn, Gloria Foster, Colleen Dewhurst, and James Earl Jones.
Jean-Louis Barrault, the great French actor/director, asked Paul to perform at his Festival of Nations in the Odeon Theater in Paris.
Marceau's mime has been influenced not simply by the classic mime of Jean-Gaspard Deburau, as realized by his teacher, Etienne Decroux, and Decroux's improvisatory collaborator, actor Jean-Louis Barrault, but also by the great silent cinema pantomimists such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Harry Langdon.