Alfred jarry

Artistic achievements that changed the world

‘Astonish me!’ was the celebrated demand that the impresario Sergei Diaghilev made of Jean Cocteau when he was devising Erik Satie’s ballet Parade. Dominic Dromgoole has taken it as the title for a collection of essays on a series of seismic first nights, ranging across different public art forms. It is a celebration of the artistic achievements that overcame the odds to change the story of culture, and whose effects rippled out to change the world. The author is a distinguished theatre director, and his focus is on performance. He is at pains to reject the notion of the solitary artist and argues that, from the dawn of history, the