Born in Romania in 1956. From an early age, he discovered literature as a space dedicated to freedom. He draws his strengths from Kafka, Dostoevsky, Poe, Lautréamont. He loves the Surrealists, the Dadaists, absurd and grotesque theatre, surrealist poetry, fantastic literature, magical realism, even the realist Anglo-Saxon theatre. He loves everything except Socialist Realism.
Visniec studied philosophy at Bucharest University and became an active member of the so-called Eighties Generation, who left a clear stamp on the Romanian literature. He believes in cultural resistance, and in literature’s capacity to demolish totalitarianism. Above all, Matéi Visniec believes that theatre and poetry can denounce manipulation through "great ideas", as well as brainwashing through ideology.
Before 1987 Matéi Visniec had made a name for himself in Romania by his clear, lucid, bitter poetry. Starting with 1977, he wrote drama; the plays were much circulated in the literary milieus but were barred from staging. In September 1987, Visniec left Romania for France, where he was granted political asylum. He started writing in French and began working for Radio France Internationale. At the present time, Visniec has had many of his works staged in France, and some twenty of his plays written in French are published (Actes Sud-Papier, L'Harmattan, Lansman). His plays have been staged in more than 20 countries. In Romania, after the fall of Communism, Matéi Visniec has become one of the most frequently performed authors.
The work of Matéi Visniec has been represented in London by the performance "The Body of a Woman as a Battlefield in the Bosnian War", staged at the Young Vic Theatre, in November 2000. The play received rave reviews in the British newspapers and magazines, including The Guardian. "The Story of the Panda Bears told by a Saxophonist who has a Girlfriend in Frankfurt" has been performed at the Edinburgh Festival (August 2005). The production is by Rouge28 Theatre, London.
In Unites States, the work of Matéi Visniec has been represented in New York, Chicago, New Jersey and Hollywood.
How to explain the History of Communism to mental Patients was first produced in March 2000 at The Open Fist Theatre Company, Hollywood, directed by Florinel Fatulescu. The same play was produced in October 2004 by the Wing & Groove Theatre Company, directed by Bryan White, and presented at the Chopin Theatre in Chicago during the Playing French Festival.
The Chekhov Machine was produced in February 2005 at The Open Fist Theatre Company, directed by Florinel Fatulescu.
Paparazzi or Chronicle of an aborted Sunrise had a public reading at the Actor's Studio in New York, in March 2005, directed by Cosmin Chivu.
Old Clown wanted was produced by The New Jersey Repertory Company, in July 2004, directed by Gregory Fortner.
The Body of a Woman as a Battlefield in the Bosnia War had a public reading at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, October 2005, during the "Playing French" Festival.
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