No play by a German since Brecht has enjoyed the success of Marat/Sade, and its author Peter Weiss has emerged as one of the most remarkable of the post-war generation of German writers. This English version by Geoffrey Skelton and Adrian Mitchell was the text used in Peter Book's brilliant production for the Royal Shakespeare Company, which was undoubtedly the theatrical event of 1964 in London. It has also been produced all over the world by the most outstanding directors - Konrad Swinarski in Berlin, Ingmar Bergman in Stockholm, Roger Planchon in Paris, and many more.
The RSC's work in establishing Antonin Artuad's conception of 'Theatre of Cruelty' found its climactic expression in this powerful and savage play, in which the discipline of verse heightens the emotional impact. The combination of sheer entertainment, Sadean philosophy and the range of theatrical shock techniques leaves the audience limp but excited at the end of the evening. The published text allows the reader to see how skilfully the author has dramatised the paradox of Sade, a black saint whose humanity must be set against the horrors of his imagination.