chapter
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INTRODUCTION

This book considers the achievement of a seventeenth-century Parisian actor who entered the business of theatre and learned to exploit presentation and performance as none of his contemporaries ever did. He created theatre events and set up stages wherever an audience might be assembled and could be induced to patronize his company. He may well have commenced his career playing with street performers; he knew failure and success in the public playhouses he occupied at different periods of his career, and he responded to the astonishing opportunities and demands of a court where theatre was to be created as and where the sovereign required it. His was the imagination of the practitioner, for whom the carpenter’s contract and the playwright’s script are equally necessary to the entertainment he provides, and it was in fulfilment of the necessities of a company that he turned to the adaptation and writing of plays, and ultimately became the dramatist we know today as Molière.