2016 House Programs La Belle et La Bête - Page 7

JEAN COCTEAU Director, La Belle et La Bête The French poet, writer, artist, and filmmaker was born to a wealthy family on July 5 1889 in a small town near Paris. Jean’s father committed suicide when he was ten years old. In 1908, Jean associated himself with Edouard de Max, a reigning tragedian of Paris stage at this time. De Max encouraged him to write, producing the premiere of the young writer’s poetry. In 1909, Jean met the Russian impresario Sergey Diaghilev who ran the Ballets Russes. Diaghilev encouraged him to venture into the genre of ballet. He inspired Jean to write the libretto for an exotic ballet called Le Dieu Bleu. During this time, Jean also met composer Igor Stravinsky. In the spring of 1914, he visited Stravinsky in Switzerland. It was during this visit that Jean finished his first book, Le Potomak. In 1917, he met Pablo Picasso. Jean and Picasso went to Rome where they met up with Diaghilev. Jean helped prepare the ballet Parade: Picasso designed the sets, Erik Satie wrote the music, and the ballet was choreographed by Leonide Massine. After World War I, Jean founded a publishing house called Editions De La Sirene. The company published his writings and many musical scores of Stravinsky, Satie and a group of composers known as Les Six. In 1918, Jean formed an intimate friendship with a 15-yearold novelist, Raymond Radiguet who strongly influenced Jean’s art and life. The young writer would die f