René Morax (11 May 1873 – 3 January 1963) was a Swiss writer, playwright, stage director and theatre manager. He founded the Théâtre du Jorat in Morges in 1908, and promoted historical and rural theatre in French in Switzerland. He is known for the play Le Roi David, with music by Arthur Honegger.

René Morax
Thêatre du Jorat - ensemble.jpg
The Théâtre du Jorat, which he founded and directed, presenting his plays
Born(1873-05-11)11 May 1873
Morges, Switzerland
Died3 January 1963(1963-01-03) (aged 89)
  • Writer
  • Playwright
  • Stage director
  • Theatre manager
OrganizationThéâtre du Jorat
Le Roi David

Early life and careerEdit

Born in Morges, Canton de Vaud, on 11 May 1873, Morax studied literature in Lausanne, Paris and Berlin.[1] His first play, La Nuit des quatre-temps[2] (1901) was given at the casino in Morges. This show gave a new direction to the culture in Switzerland. Indeed, following the example of what was done in France, this was the first expression of a true form of popular theater.[3]

In 1903, he premiered La Dîme[4] at Mézières. This drama, based on a historical fact, well known in the region, tells the story of Pastor Martin who in 1790 was thrown into prison because he disputed the fact that the peasants must pay a direct tax on potatoes. La Dîme was a tremendous success and received international attention.[1] The improvised stage for the performances was made permanent, and thus he created in 1908 the Théâtre du Jorat,[1] together with his brother Jean.[5] It was soon nicknamed the "Sublime Barn" (La Grange sublime).[3]

A notable inspiration of the Jorat theater, René Morax wrote, staged and played rural and historical dramas in French.[1] In 1910, he premiered Aliéno, written in collaboration with Gustave Doret, then in 1921 the oratorio Le Roi David with a then unknown composer, Arthur Honegger.[6] The text, based on biblical narration, tells the story of King David from his time as a shepherd boy to his death.[7] Morax wrote the text for a 1928 cantata by Conrad Beck, Der Tod des Oedipus.[8]

René Morax was also the author of little comedies and farces (including Les Quatre Doigts et le Pouce[9][better source needed][10][better source needed] in 1915, revived by the Théâtre des Faux-Nez in 1955), and of translations and adaptations which made him one of the most productive contemporary theater dramatists in Switzerland.[3]

Theatre workEdit

  • 1902: Les quatre doigts et le pouce.[11]
  • 1903: La Dime,[4] music by Alexandre Dénéréaz
  • 1908: Henriette.[12]
  • 1910: Aliénor,[13] music by Gustave Doret
  • 1911: Orphée.[14]
  • 1912: La nuit des Quatre Temps.[15]
  • 1914: Tell.[12]
  • 1921: Le Roi David, biblical drama, music by Arthur Honegger.[12]
  • 1923: Davel.[12]
  • 1925: Judith.[16]
  • 1929 Roméo et Juliette (translation after Shakespeare).[17]
  • 1931: La belle de Moudon.[12][18]
  • 1933: La terre et l’eau.[19]
  • 1937: La Servante d’Évolène,[20] music by Gustave Doret
  • 1944: Charles le téméraire.[12]
  • 1947 La lampe d’argile.[21]

Later life and deathEdit

Morax was awarded the Dramenpreis (drama prize) of the foundation Welti-Stiftung in 1942.[1] A bust in his honour was inaugurated in Morges on 17 June 1962 in his presence.[22] He died in the hospital of his hometown on 3 January 1963.[23][3]


  1. ^ a b c d e Gautier, Michael. "Morax, René" (in German). Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  2. ^ "La nuit des quatre-temps; légende en quatre actes. Musique de Gustave Doret" (in French). HathiTrust. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d "René Morax" (in French). RTS. 4 January 1963. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
  4. ^ a b "La Grange Sublime" (in French). Théâtre du Jorat. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  5. ^ Livio, Antoine (3 September 1983). "Le Théâtre du Jorat" (in French). Radio Télévision Suisse. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  6. ^ Andreas Kotte, ed. (2005). "René Morax". Theaterlexikon der Schweiz (TLS) / Dictionnaire du théâtre en Suisse (DTS) / Dizionario Teatrale Svizzero / Lexicon da teater svizzer [Theater Dictionary of Switzerland]. 2. Zürich: Chronos. pp. 1273–1274. ISBN 978-3-0340-0715-3. LCCN 2007423414. OCLC 62309181.
  7. ^ Letellier, Robert Ignatius (2017). The Bible in Music. Cambridge Scholars Publishing. pp. 272–273. ISBN 9781443868488.
  8. ^ "Der Tod des Oedipus" (in French). Schott Music. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  9. ^ Les Quatre Doigts et le Pouce on YouTube
  10. ^ Les Quatre Doigts et le Pouce complete play
  11. ^ "Les quatre doigts et le pouce". Yumpu (in French). L'Arche des Crétillons. 2012. p. 2.
  12. ^ a b c d e f "René Morax (1873–1963)" (in French). French National Library. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  13. ^ "Aliénor: drame en 5 actes, avec chœurs / René Morax; musique de Gustave Doret" (in French). HathiTrust. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  14. ^ "P Morax 18 "Orphée" de Glück, 1911.01.01-1911.12.31 (Dossier)" (in French). Inventaires des Archives cantonales vaudoises. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  15. ^ "La nuit des quatre-temps : drame en quatre actes". WorldCat (in French). Payot. 1902. p. 136.
  16. ^ "Judith . H 57 / oratorio" (in French). French National Library. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  17. ^ "P Morax 42 "Roméo et Juliette" d'après Shakespeare, traduction et adaptation de René Morax pour le Théâtre de Mézières, 1929.01.01-1929.12.31 (Dossier)" (in French). Inventaires des Archives cantonales vaudoises. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  18. ^ "La Belle de Moudon" (in French). Paris, France: BnF Catalogue Général. 1931.
  19. ^ "La terre et l'eau; drame. Musique de Gustave Doret". HathiTrust (in French). Éditions R. Freudweiler-Spiro. 1933.
  20. ^ "La Servante d'Évolène, légende en 4 actes de René Morax. Chant seul" (Musical score). WorldCat (in French). Lausanne, France: Foetisch. 1937.
  21. ^ "P Morax 61 "La lampe d'argile", 1947.01.01-1951.12.31 (Dossier)" (in French). Inventaires des Archives cantonales vaudoises. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  22. ^ Perrin, Yette (18 June 1962). "Hommage à René Morax" (in French). Radio Télévision Suisse.
  23. ^ "René Morax (1873–1963)". Palais de Rumine (in French). Cantonal and University Library of Lausanne. Archived from the original on 1 August 2017. Retrieved 25 July 2017.

Further readingEdit


External linksEdit