Yasmina Reza

Yasmina Reza (born 1 May 1959[1]) is a French playwright, actress, novelist and screenwriter best known for her plays 'Art' and God of Carnage. Many of her brief satiric plays have reflected on contemporary middle-class issues.

Yasmina Reza
Évelyne Agnès Yasmina Reza

(1959-05-01) 1 May 1959
Paris, France
OccupationWriter, actress

Life and career

Reza's father was a Russian-born[2][3][4] Bukharan Jewish[5][6][7] engineer, businessman, and pianist and her mother was a Jewish Hungarian violinist from Budapest.[8][9][10] During the Nazi occupation, her father was deported from Nice to Drancy internment camp.[11] At the beginning of her career, Reza acted in several new plays as well as in plays by Molière and Marivaux.

In 1987 she wrote Conversations after a Burial, which won the Molière Award, the French equivalent of the Tony Award, for Best Author. The North American debut premiered in February 2013 at Players By The Sea in Jacksonville Beach Florida. Holly Gutshall & Joe Schwarz directed; with Set Design by Anne Roberts. The cast for this US debut was Kevin Bodge, Paul Carelli, Karen Overstreet, Dave Gowan, Holly Gutshall and Olivia Gowan Snell. Reza translated Polanski's stage version of Kafka's Metamorphosis in the late 1980s.[12] Her second play, Winter Crossing, won the 1990 Molière Award for Best Fringe Production, and her next play, The Unexpected Man, enjoyed successful productions in England, France, Scandinavia, Germany and New York.

In 1994, 'Art' premiered in Paris and went on to win the Molière Award for Best Author. Since then it has been produced worldwide and translated and performed in over 30 languages. The London production, produced by David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers, received the 1996–97 Laurence Olivier Award and Evening Standard Award, the former is the British equivalent of the Tony's. It also won the Tony Award for Best Play. Life X 3 has also been produced in Europe, North America and Australia. Screenwriting credits include See You Tomorrow, starring Jeanne Moreau and directed by Reza's then-partner Didier Martiny.

In September 1997, her first novel, Hammerklavier, was published and another work of fiction, Une Désolation, was published in 2001. Her 2007 work L'Aube le Soir ou la Nuit (Dawn Evening or Night), written after a year of following the campaign of Nicolas Sarkozy caused a sensation in France.[13]

On 24 November 2007, her play Le Dieu du Carnage (God of Carnage), directed by Jürgen Gosch and performed first in Zürich, received the Viennese Nestroy Theatre Prize for the best German-language performance of the season. It opened in London in March 2008, directed by Matthew Warchus in a translation by Christopher Hampton starring Ralph Fiennes, Tamsin Greig, Janet McTeer and Ken Stott.[14] It was produced once again by David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers. The London production won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, which Hampton accepted on her behalf. Hampton told the audience that Reza would be thrilled by the win.[15] The play premiered on Broadway with an opening night cast of James Gandolfini, Jeff Daniels, Marcia Gay Harden, and Hope Davis. God of Carnage won Best Play at the 2009 Tony Awards.

In collaboration with Roman Polanski, Reza wrote the screenplay adaptation of God of Carnage for the 2011 Polanski film Carnage. She was nominated at the European Film Awards and won a César Award for her screenwriting and the film won a Little Gold Lion at the 68th Venice International Film Festival.

Awards and honors

  • 1987 Molière Award for Best Author (Conversations After a Burial)
  • 1988 Molière Award for Translation (Metamorphosis)
  • 1990 Molière Award for Best Fringe Production (Winter Crossing)
  • 1994 Molière Award for Best Author, Best Play and Best Production (Art)
  • 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy (Art)
  • 1998 Tony for Best Play (Art)
  • 2000 Grand Prix du Théâtre de l’Académie Française
  • 2005 Welt-Literaturpreis[16]
  • 2009 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy (God of Carnage)
  • 2009 Tony for Best Play (God of Carnage)
  • 2012 Cinema Writers Circle Award (Spain) for Best Screenplay (Adapted), for Carnage
  • 2012 César Award (France) for Best Screenplay (Adapted), for Carnage
  • 2016 Prix Renaudot, Babylone[17]


Work about Yasmina Reza [in French] Les fruits de la passion: le théâtre de Yasmina Reza, by Hélène Jaccomard [Bern: Peter Lang, 2013]



  • Hammerklavier,[18] 1997
  • Une désolation (Desolation), 1999
  • Adam Haberberg, 2003
  • Nulle part, 2005
  • Dans la luge d'Arthur Schopenhauer (On Arthur Schopenhauer's Sledge), 2005
  • L'Aube le soir ou la nuit, 2007
  • Heureux les heureux (Happy are The Happy), 2013
  • Babylone, 2016


  • Jusqu'à la nuit, (Till Night) 1983 (she also acted in this)
  • Le pique-nique de Lulu Kreutz (Lulu Kreutz's picnic), 2000
  • Carnage, 2011

As actress

  • Que les gros salaires lèvent le doigt ! (Let the Fat Cats Lift a Finger!) 1982 (as a chambermaid)
  • À demain (Till Tomorrow), 1991
  • Loin (Faraway), 2001


  1. http://catalogue.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/cb409560057/PUBLIC [archive] from the general catalogue of the BnF (Bibliothèque nationale de France).
  2. Yasmina Reza: 'Please stop laughing at me'
  3. Yasmina Reza: Biography
  4. Papa knew best
  5. Yasmina Reza, écrivain d' «Art»: De son père, juif séfarade, mi-russe, mi-iranien, dont le grand-père jouait aux échecs dans les caravansérails de Samarkand.
  6. The art of a second success
  7. The tears and laughter of Yasmina Reza’s lost Babylon
  8. Pigeat, Aurélien (2005). 'Art', 1994: Yasmina Reza (in French). Paris: Hatier. ISBN 2-218-75089-9.
  9. The fragility and solitude of man
  10. Bloom, Nate (17 April 2009). "Jews on stage: Broadway bound". Cleveland Jewish News.
  11. Between Sarkozy and Sarcasm: Playwright Yasmina Reza on What Makes a Person Powerful
  12. Day, Elizabeth (22 January 2012). "Yasmina Reza: 'There's no point in writing theatre if it's not accessible'". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 March 2016.
  13. Elaine Sciolino, Portrait of President, Craving Power, Enthralls France, New York Times, 24 August 2007
  14. Paddock, Terri (24 December 2007). "Greig, McTeer & Stott Join Fiennes God of Carnage". What's on Stage. Archived from the original on 25 December 2007. Retrieved 24 December 2007.
  15. Staff (8 March 2009). "Speeches: And the Laurence Olivier Winners Said". WhatsonStage.com. Archived from the original on 10 March 2009. Retrieved 8 March 2009.
  16. "Yasmina Reza erhält WELT-Literaturpreis 2005 für ihr Lebenswerk". Buch Markt (in German). 7 October 2005. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
  17. Stéphanie Dupays (3 November 2016). "Le prix Goncourt est décerné à Leïla Slimani". Le Monde. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
  18. The title is a German word for 'piano', used in particular by Beethoven for a late sonata.
  • Yasmina Reza on IMDb
  • Yasmina Reza: Please stop laughing at me, by Agnes Poirier: Independent on Sunday, 16 March 2008
  • The Plays of Yasmina Reza on the English and American Stage (by Amanda Giguere)
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