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Don Juan the directors' play.

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Abstract

After a controversial opening run in 1665, Molière's Don Juan was marginalised during three centuries of critical and theatrical neglect. Following its 'rediscovery' in 1947, it became one of the most frequently performed works of the French dramatic repertoire. In the second half of the twentieth century it featured prominently in the experiments of leading directors throughout Europe, and in France became a touchstone of directorial art. This essay examines the reasons for the text's singular place in theatre history and, using a sample of comparative production studies, shows how the text has been actualised in a variety of cultural contexts.