Jazz

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Four-act play.
First single performance at Grand Théâtre in Monte Carlo (December 9th, 1926) and immediate revival in Paris at Théâtre des Arts (December 21st, 1926). The play was released in bookshops under its initial title: Phaéton ("Phaeton").

First Edition

Paris, l'Illustration, 1937, as Phaéton ("Phaeton").
Paris, Fasquelle, 1954, as Jazz

Main initial performers

Harry Baur - Blaise
Pierre Blanchar - Le jeune homme
Marc Valbel - Stéfanovitch
Orane Demazis - Cécile

Summary

Blaise is a genuine scholar who has devoted the best years of his life to the completion of a work he believed was important. He discovers, too late, how conceited his works were, how useless his sacrifice was, and he tries, in vain, to live his youth when the time for this is over.

Ah! Body! Joyful young curves, easy harmony of movements!
Ô my friends, there was more intelligence and poetry in the ankle of a virgin maiden than underneath Sully Prudhomme's swollen skull.
May those of you unable to live pursue the studies, become teachers, lawyers, writers; after all, my literary culture is a lawful means of life, and the world still needs some lamp keepers...
But let them know that repairing lamps is not the purpose of life. It is an occupation.
The purpose of life is somewhere else, and all the joys life offers are in our flesh. As to the others, here is what I have to tell them: if you can forge a pick, knead a loaf of bread, then go to work and do something useful.