You may know M. Feydeau from Hotel Paradiso, AKA A Little Hotel on the Side (L'Hôtel du libre échange) or A Flea in Her Ear (La Puce à l'oreille), both often produced at colleges and universities, or one of the other sixty some plays he wrote between 1882 and 1916. His plays have been translated into countless languages and made into more movies than you can throw a Coq at.
|A portrait of Feydeau painted by his father-in-law.|
They separated and eventually divorced, but that didn't stop him from writing some very unpleasant female characters late in his career that some feel were patterned after his wife. His plays were hugely successful, quickly garnering him a reputation outside France as well as in, but his gambling habits and predilection for wiling away his time at Maxim's, the seductive and beyond fashionable late-night Paris restaurant, kept him continually on the brink of financial disaster.
And if farce has never been considered as important as other, weightier forms of drama, Feydeau's farces rose above. Given the way his middle-class characters are tossed around by the whims of fate, battered by a crazy world they can't control, Feydeau is considered a forerunner of Theatre of the Absurd and surrealism.
Georges Feydeau died at the age of 58, probably from complications from syphilis.