Books I and II of "The Iliad" not so much translated as remade, spoken by one voice, Alan Howard. Donald Fraser's music was deliberately understated; the action was in the words and the telling. The eye of the imagination was asked to follow it, like a camera.... Achilles, furious at Agamemnon, calling his goddess mother, Thetis, from the sea; Athena intervening in a fight, pulling back Achilles's head to her mouth to hear her warning; Thersites trying to rouse the rabble, Odysseus rising to reply then caning him into humiliation. Finally, in perfect dramatic focus and formation, the army marches down the low hill towards Troy. This was a story about men and destiny and the forces which shape it; radio at its simplest and most magnificent.
By John Purser. Set in the mid-16th century, the play contrasts the radiance of Robert Carver's music with the earthiness of his character and the destructive force of the Reformation. Cast: Peter Hickey, Tom Fleming, James Bryce, Anne Kristen, Gary Bakewell, Iain Agnew, Hilary Maclean, Benny Young, Anne Lacey, Kenneth Glenaan, Stuart Bowman, Stevie Hannan.
Music: Taverner Consort, conducted by Andrew Parrott. Produced by Stewart Conn. Recorded on 2 Dec 1990. Broadcast 31 Mar 91 and 8 Dec 91, radio 3.
THE ART OF SUCCESS....1991
By Nick Dear. Radio 3, 150min.
When I was asked to direct this play, many months ago, one of the first things I did was to research William Hogarth and his times, in order to fix the context. It was fascinating and exciting to come across incidents and characters in the play. Mrs. Needham, for example, was a notorious bawd who died three days after being pilloried in 1731. Hogarth was a founder member of the sublime Society of Beefsteaks, but it wasn't established until 1735.
So - The Art of Success is not an accurate biographical drama. Nick Dear writes in the introduction "I have [taken] liberties with history...I never let the facts get in the way of a good story." He went on to say that he wanted to write a play about television in an age before the camera, about the subconscious in an age before Freud and about sex before terms (or concepts) like "femininity" or "sexuality" existed.
The play captures the sprawling, confused, contrasting nature of early 18th Century London and incorporates some of the colourful characters of that society. Each character is superbly crafted, a little larger than life, and like much of Hogarth's work, somewhat grotesque and surreal. It's an extraordinary play.
EXTRACT FRON ANOTHER STAGE REVIEW....
Daily Telegraph; Aug 28, 1987; Charles Spencer
...But though I normally resent dramatists who appropriate the lives of famous figures of the past only to distort them for their own ends, I found myself increasingly warming to this vital, scatological drama, now receiving an exuberant production by the RSC in The Pit.
It is certainly not a play for the squeamish. The language is persistently and inventively foul and, without a hint of historical evidence, Mr Dear has turned Hogarth into a man of rampant and decidedly esoteric sexual tastes. But the play is so outrageous in its invention, Hogarth’s reputation so secure, that it is hard to imagine the play doing the artist’s memory permanent harm, more profitable to sit back and enjoy an evening of good, dirty and surprisingly thought-provoking fun.
....and from the FT:
Aug 20, 1987; B A Young:
To show at once that this is to be a play of low life, Nick Dear starts with a meeting of successful men, the Club of Beefsteaks, and casts their talk in such filthy dialogue that hardly a line of it could be printed here. The members of the club are William Hogarth, Henry Fielding, and a merchant and a peer of no special significance.
When we enter low life proper, the dirty talk is accompanied by dirty action; and, having said all that, let me add that the play has an interesting story and an important theme. Mr Dear has chosen to express it through a series of encounters with whores, prisoners and dishonest politicians, all of them still frequent in our world 250 years later than the time of the play.
Directed by Richard Wortley
Technical presentation Tim Sturgeon, Keith Graham, Alison Carter
William Hogarth …... Michael Kitchen
Jane Hogarth ………. Robin Weaver
Sarah Sprackling …... Penny Downie
Henry Fielding …….. Linus Roach
Oliver ……………… Simon Russel Beale
Mrs Needham ……… Irene Sutcliffe
Louisa ……………... Sally Dexter
Robert Walpole ……. Ronald Herdman
Frank / Gaoler ……... Rhett Usher
Queen Caroline ……. Ann Windsor
Drama Girl ………… Jane Whittenshaw
A cracking play; Michael Kitchen is superb as Hogarth. The story, such as it is, concerns the copyright law (which ensured royalties for writers) and censorship by the Lord Chamberlain (which affected performances in public for two centuries). Older readers, for example, may remember that in the 1930s (and the 1940s?), naked women were allowed on stage - but only if they did not move.
18 Feb 91; by Derek Lister. A beautifully written play about the attempt by an old man and a young girl to rescue an old bell when a church is bought by developers. With Freddie Jones, Emma Gregory, Brett Usher, Michael McStay. Producer Jane Morgan. 90m.
17 Apr 91, by John Graham. A play set in a home for retired actors, by turns humorous and touching. Cast: Wendy Hiller [Edith], Googie Withers [Dorothy], Michael Denison [Anthony] and Jimmy Jewel [Bernard]. Producer Glyn Dearman. More a series of skilfully intercut monologues than a play. Rpt. R4extra 11 Dec 12. Residents tell of murder, theft and romance in Rosewood Hall, a home for elderly actors. Directed by Glyn Dearman
ONE WAY OR ANOTHER....1991
R3, 18 Jun 91. By Leonardo Sciascia. Translated by Sasha Rabinovich, dramatized by Frederick Bradnum. An adaptation by Bradnum of another of Sciascia's Sicilian "crime" tales, this one pretty obviously leveled against Opus Dei. With Daniel Massey as the Painter, John Moffatt as Don Gaetano, John Rye as Scalambri. Producer Glyn Dearman.
THE AMAZING JOE DARBY....1991
5 Jul 91. 55m. By John Edgar. The story of the self-taught working-class athlete from the Black Country, who out-jumped almost everyone, eventually becaming the jump champion of the world in the late 1800s. He could clear a wire 6ft high from a standing start, with no run-up. Gerry Hinks as old Joe, Alex Jones as young Joe, with Kimberley Hope, Sheila Kelly, Kim Durham, Jenny Ashfield, Stephen Granville, Jonathan Wyatt, Philip Weaver, Simon Carter, Geoffrey Banks, Richard Avery. Producer - Nigel Bryant, at Pebble Mill, Birmingham.
.... there is an interesting video of John Higgins online, from Pathe News. It seems that Higgins was the only person ever to out-jump Darby in a contest. He is seen doing a number of jumping stunts, at the age of 54, many years after he ceased professional jumping. A quick google search should find it. The stunts were filmed in 1927.
WS, 7 Jul 91. By Friedrich Durenmatt, translated by James Kirkup. The grand villa "Les Cerisiers," formerly the residence of the von Zahnd family, is a private sanatorium for the mentally ill. Dr. Mathilde von Zahnd, the last descendant of that once vital aristocratic family, makes her living here by treating the neuroses and psychoses of the "spiritually confused elite" for exorbitant fees. Three of the patients believe themselves to be Newton, Einstein and Mobius. At the start of the play, two of them have killed nurses, but, since they're insane, nobody can do much about it. However, all is not as it appears. Inspector Voss arrives to investigate. With Nickolas Grace, John Shrapnel, Jonathan Cecil, Sian Phillips, Brett Usher, Jenny Howe and Petra Markham. Adapted and directed by Hilary Norrish. (...note by Greg L)
TIGER, TIGER ....1991
Nigel Deacon / Diversity website
Above plays known to exist in VRPCC collections
|Cosby Methodist Church|
|Links to other sites|