Pierre Albert-Birot

1876 – 1967

French poet, writer, painter, sculptor and man of the theater. After a first artistic career influenced by late Symbolism, in 1916 Birot (Pierre, Albert) became the poet and painter Pierre Albert-Birot, editor of the magazine SIC which brought together Cubists, Futurists and Dadaists. He directed Les Mamelles de Tirésias by Guillaume Apollinaire in June 1917 and began to write plays. He composed several plays for puppets (Matoum et Tévibar, Matoum en Matoumoisie, une Scène birotechnique, Le Petit Poucet, Quand on est trois), short farces for Guignol (Guignol veut s'enrichir and L'Anguille, unfinished), an adaptation of Barbe-Bleue (Bluebeard) for 2-meter high puppets, but he also mixed puppets and animated statues in his plays for actors: the polydrama Larountala, the dramatic poem La Légende, the tragic drama Image, the comic dramas La Dame enamourée, L'Homme coupé en morceaux, Les Femmes pliantes. As he explains in his prefaces or manifestos, the puppet is in his eyes a model for actors. In 1929, he staged Barbe-Bleue (Bluebeard) and Matoum and Tévibar with actors in a small hall he had rented to create an experimental theater, the Plateau, but it was a failure that convinced him to abandon all theatrical activity. One of his actors, Roger Roussot, became a puppeteer and created the Trapèze company.