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Jean Genet's The Balcony, which premiered in 1957, is acknowledged as one of the founding plays of modern theatre: philosopher Lucien Goldmann dubbed it 'the first great Brechtian play in French literature'. In a brothel of an unnamed French city the madam, Irma, directs a series of fantastical scenarios - a bishop forgives a penitent, a judge punishes a thief, a general rides astride his horse. Outside, an uprising threatens to engulf the streets. The patrons of the brothel wait anxiously for the chief of police to arrive, ...

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