The leading figure of absurdist theater and one of the great innovators of the modern stage, Eug ne Ionesco (1909-94) did not write his first play, The Bald Soprano, until 1950. He went on to become an internationally renowned master of modern drama, famous for the comic proportions and bizarre effects that allow his work to be simultaneously hilarious, tragic, and profound. As Ionesco has said, "Theater is not literature. . . . It is simply what cannot be expressed by any other means."