Georges Feydeau, (8 December 1862 - 5 June 1921) was a French playwright of the era known as the Belle Époque. He was especially known for his many lively farces.
Georges Feydeau was born in Paris, the son of novelist Ernest-Aimé Feydeau and Léocadie Bogaslawa Zalewska. At the age of twenty, Feydeau wrote his first comic monologue in earnest. He found his first success four years later with Tailleur pour dames (Ladies' Dressmaker, 1889). That same year Feydeau married Marianne Carolus-Duran, the daughter of the famous portrait painter Carolus-Duran. To Feydeau, the marriage brought wealth that would sustain him until he found greater success. The marriage lasted 15 years after which the couple underwent a judicial separation and were formally divorced in 1916.
Feydeau began investigating the great farces in 1890, studying the works of Eugène Labiche, Henri Meilhac and Alfred Hennequin. This study inspired him to write his acclaimed play Champignol malgré lui (Champignol in Spite of Himself, 1892). Following this, Feydeau made a name for himself both in France and abroad, some of his plays opening overseas and in other languages before they opened in France.
These farces often involved Paris's demi-monde. They are noted for great wit and complex plots, featuring misunderstandings and coincidences, and what one critic called "jack-in-the-box construction".[cite this quote]
Among his 60 plays, his most famous are: Une puce à l'oreille (A Flea in Her Ear, 1907), Le Système Ribadier (1892), La Dame de Chez Maxim (The Girl from Maxim's, 1899), and Hortense a dit: "J'm'en fous!" (Hortense says, "I don't give a damn!", 1916). Other notable Feydeau farces include L'Hôtel du libre échange (translated as Hotel Paradiso, 1894) and Le Dindon (Sauce for the Goose, 1896).
Though critics at the time dismissed Feydeau's works as light entertainment, he is now recognized as one of the great French playwrights of his era. His plays are seen today as precursors to Surrealist and Dada theatre, and the Theatre of the Absurd. They have been continuously revived and are still performed today.
Despite being a phenomenally successful playwright during his lifetime, his propensity for high living (he had a table permanently reserved for him at Maxim's), gambling, and the failure of his marriage led to financial difficulties.
During the winter of 1918, Feydeau contracted syphilis and slowly descended into madness to his death three years later at age 58. He is buried in Cimetière de Montmartre in Paris.
The Party's Over, a one act play by Jay Parker is loosely based on Feydeau's one act Par la Fenêtre.