The plays of Bernard-Marie Koltès have been phenomenally successful, not just in Europe, but worldwide – his last work before his death in 1989, Roberto Zucco, having been performed in seventeen countries. Despite an early production of Twilight Zone by Pierre Audi at the Almeida Theatre in 1981, English appreciation has been tardy, but now this situation is set to change, with the Royal Court Theatre commissioning Martin Crimp to make a translation of Roberto Zucco, to be directed by James Macdonald, and Methuen bringing out a volume of Koltès's plays. These present a unique fusion of the French classical tradition combined with Shakespeare (he translated The Winter's Tale into French) and modern influences such as Genet and Fugard (he also translated The Blood Knot). After his death, Giles Croft wrote of Koltès: ‘He considered himself an outsider, rootless, and this perception of himself is reflected in his characters, whose tragedy is their inability to connect with one another, often despite their ability to articulate their despair. He created dark, mythic, polyglot worlds where people are dwarfed by or divorced from their surroundings: hotel rooms, construction sites, quaysides.’ Koltès's career was closely linked with that of Patrice Chéreau, who produced all his major plays, and who performed in his own production of In The Solitude of the Cotton Fields at last year's Edinburgh Festival. Here, David Bradby, Professor of Drama at Royal Holloway, University of London, contributes his own assessments of both men's life and work, to complement full chronological and bibliographical details of Koltès's career.