It was Susan Sontag, I think, who first pointed up the extreme theatricality of Marat/Sade. Susan Sontag was right, Marat/Sade is theatrical. Is the play dramatic, though? About this there seems to be some question in even Miss Sontag’s mind. When she discussed the work in her Partisan Review article (Spring 1965), the word “dramatic,” scarcely used in her text, came up in this sentence: “… Marat/Sade is far from being the supreme masterpiece of contemporary dramatic literature, but it is scarcely a second-rate play.” From which I infer that Miss Sontag herself has doubts as to the value of Marat/Sade as drama. My own opinion—which has the virtue at least of being settled—is that the play is indeed a “director’s play,” and owes most of its values of excitement and bravura to the staging and direction of Mr. Peter Brook. Whatever life Marat/Sade has on the stage comes, in my finding, from the devices of its director, not its author….
Download the full article as a PDF