Corneille is a part of the greatest period of French drama. His artistic model and theory of the drama were to be followed by successive generations of dramatists, including Racine. His plays deal with noble characters in closely defined situations of high moral intensity. After modest success as a writer of complex, baroque comedies, Corneille achieved fame with Le Cid (1636--37), adapted from Guillen de Castro's three-day comedy Las Moceddes del Cid. It vividly represents the dominant theme of his tragedies: the inner struggle between duty and passion. Corneille went on to dominate the French theater of his day with plays that reflect the changing relationships between the aristocracy and the new absolutist state. Some of Corneille's other major tragedies include Horace (1640), Cinna (1640), and Polyeuctus (1643). In his shaping of language and form to his dramatic purposes, Corneille had a great effect on the development of French literature; more specifically, it can be said that he gave form and aim to French neoclassicism.
Ranjit Bolt OBE (born 1971) is a British playwright and translator. He was born in Manchester of Anglo-Indian parents and is the nephew of playwright and screen-writer Robert Bolt. His father is literary critic Sydney Bolt, author of several books including A preface to James Joyce, and his mother has worked as a teacher of English. Bolt was educated at The Perse School and Oxford University, and worked as a stockbroker for eight years but "I was desperate to escape, any escape route would have done, and translating turned out to be the one". As well as his plays he has published a novel in verse, Losing it and a verse translation for children of the fables of La Fontaine, The Hare and the Tortoise. His new version of Cyrano de Bergerac will open on Broadway at the Roundabout Theatre in September 2012, with Douglas Hodge in the title role. He was awarded the OBE in 2003 for services to literature.
Now, Penelope and her chorus of wronged maids tell their side of the story in a new stage version by Margaret Atwood, adapted from her own wry, witty and wise novel.
The Penelopiad premiered with the Royal Shakespeare Company in association with Canada's National Arts Centre at the Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, in July 2007.