By Phillip Allan

  Adapted from the works of

  Artaud, Shelley, Stendhal & Dumas


The idea of researching and developing the story of the House of Cenci followed a correspondence with the author and director Steven Berkoff. I had recently finished producing trailers for three of his videos 'Salome', 'Oedipus' and 'Decadence'. We both have an admiration of the works of Antonin Artaud and especially Artaud's version of 'The Cenci'.

This led me to consider how well Artaud's play would relate to an audience 88 years after it was first performed. I decided that the time was right for a version of the story to be made available to a modern theatre audience incorporating Autaud's theories and earlier versions of the story.

In 2023 I will be publishing my version of 'The Cenci' adapted from the works of  Artaud,  Shelley,  Stendhal  &  Dumas.  A soundtrack is under development to accompany the release of the stageplay.

Later in the year a filmscript will be developed from the stageplay.


'The Cenci' is based on the story of the House of Cenci in the late 16th century.

1819 - The story inspired Percy Bysshe Shelley to write his play 'The Cenci, A Tragedy in Five Acts' during the summer of 1819 in Rome and at Villa Valsovano near Livorno.  His source material was a manuscript copied from the archives of the Cenci Palace at Rome and given to Shelley during his travels in Italy.  In 1819 the play was printed in Livorno by Shelley and this first run of 250 copies was published in London later that year.  A second edition appeared in 1821 and was to be the only published work of his to go to a second edition in his lifetime.

In his preface to the play Shelley writes;
"On my arrival at Rome I found that the story of the Cenci was a subject not to be mentioned in Italian society without awakening a deep and breathless interest; and that the feelings of the company never failed to incline to a romantic pity for the wrongs, and a passionate exculpation of the horrible deed to which they urged her, who has been mingled two centuries with the common dust."

1837 - Stendhal (Marie-Henri Beyle) published his short story 'The Cenci'

1839 - Alexandre Dumas published his 'Celebrated Crimes' which included the story of The Cenci.

1934 - Antonin Artaud wrote his version of 'The Cenci' based on the Shelley play and the Stendhal short story. This play was first staged at The Theatre Des Follies-Wagram, Paris in 1935.


Track 1 'A Force Of Nature'

Composed by: Phillip Allan
Recorded @ The Wrighthouse
Video Production: Phillip Allan
Dedicated to the Memory of Antonin Artaud


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