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Fernando Arrabal
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Fernando Arrabal

Fernando Arrabal (born August 11, 1932) is a playwright, screenwriter, film director, novelist and poet.

Arrabal was born in the autonomous Spanish city of Melilla on the eastern coast of Morocco. As a child during the Spanish Civil War, his Catholic mother betrayed his Republican father to Francisco Franco's police. He studied law in Madrid and moved to Paris in 1954. Most of his work has been first published in French.

Arrabal's plays have been identified with the Theatre of the Absurd. His earlier works often feature naive characters who do not comprehend the world around them, and many of his works attempt to shock the audience using violence and blasphemy. Arrabal coined the term "panic theatre" to describe this side of his work.

His first play, Pique-nique en campagne (Picnic on the Battlefield, 1958), was influenced by events of the Korean War. Other works include Le Cimetière des voitures (The Car Cemetery, 1958) and Et ils passèrent des menottes aux fleurs (And They Put Handcuffs on the Flowers, 1969). He also wrote Orchestration théâtrale (1959), a collection of wordless theatre pieces featuring moving three-dimensional shapes, some of them mechanical, others moved by dancers.

Among Arrabal's better known films are Viva la muerte (Long Live Death, 1970) and J'irai comme un cheval fou (I Will Go Like a Wild Horse, 1973). His novels include Baal Babylon (1959).