A Woman at The Top – About French Playwright Yasmina Reza


Reza hails from Paris, France, in the ‘59. Reza was born to parents who were Jews and who immigrated to France. Her mum was a Hungarian violinist’s daughter and was originally from Budapest while her dad was an Iranian, engineer, pianist, and businessman. He hailed from Russia and was from a Sephardic Jew family.  Her father was born in 1918 and was named Gedaliah. In the middle of the Russian Revolution, they fled to Persia and changed their surname to Reza, pretending to be Muslims, while at home they observed Judaism.

Talented from the Start

Reza completed her studies at a Parisian university and the school of Lecoq before acting. Reza wrote fiction and plays, partly owing to her genealogical roots. Reza became well-known as a novelist, French dramatist, actress, and director known for plays that spoke about anxieties in the middle-class home. Both here parents had a musical taste. Her father was an amateur, while she along with her mother enjoyed playing violin. She mentions in her writings about music that music is heaven to her. She says music speaks to us in a way that words can never do. Yasmina got a licence in sociology and gave it up. She went on to do theatre studies after a failed attempt in drama school. In 1985, she finally showed off her talent in acting in a Sacha Guitry play (Le Veilleur de Nuit). Indeed, her fervour for musical forms and her expertise in acting paved the way for placing silence most effectively in her plays. Yasmina considered words, to be the parentheses of silences.

Her Noteworthy Plays

She wrote two plays, and both were award winners. The first play involved sex and death, while the second play was based in a mountain resort with six people. The people in the resort develop a unique friendship during their vacation, and this is beautifully showcased in the play.

Later ‘Art ‘that was brought out in 1994 brought wide notice to Reza. The play had three friends quarrelling over some modern work of art that was actually a canvas with nothing on it, revealing the fragility of friendship, in the most simplest of scenarios. This play was on big stages all over the world and was played continuously. It won her the Moliere Award and the Tony award and several others. Her next hit play was in 1995 which was a play with two characters travelling by train. It featured a self-fascinated author’s long monologues and his fan and seatmate. The play finishes with a short dialogue centering the fact that people need each other.

Reza turned to playwriting and continued to explore the truth of the human character. The talent of Reza made her a successful French playwright; she was the only French contemporary author whose theatrical renditions are performed all over the globe. Reza wishes to explore human relationships as a subject of disaster and not as a subject of happiness.

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