tue 22/10/2019

Theatre Features

Brian Friel, the private playwright of Ballybeg

Jasper Rees

Brian Friel, who died in 2015 at the age of 86, was a shy man who shunned interviews, keeping his powder dry for the work and shrouding his personal life in mystique. Not that he never opened his mouth at all. When Dancing at Lughnasa (1990) was winning Tony Awards in New York, he got into trouble for saying that a good stage manager is preferable to a director who disobeys the script.

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Charlotte Jones: ‘Plays come from your scar tissue’

Charlotte Jones

I think it’s always a dangerous sport to try and consciously unravel where your ideas come from. Lest you break the spell and inadvertently silence yourself…

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Sir Matthew Bourne remembers Scott Ambler 1960-2018 – 'A prince among men'

Matthew Bourne

Nobody deserves the title of New Adventures “legend” more than Scott Ambler; nobody is remembered more affectionately – the generosity of spirit, the many kindnesses, the fierce loyalty, the tears of pride in company notes sessions, the endearing eccentricities and, of course, the highly embellished and hilarious stories are all legendary to those that knew and worked with him.

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Antony Sher: Year of the Mad King - extract

Antony Sher

In 1982 Antony Sher played the Fool to Michael Gambon’s King in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of King Lear. Shortly after, he came back to Stratford to play Richard III, for which he won the Olivier

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theartsdesk in Minsk: feasting with Belarus Free Theatre

Jasper Rees

Budzma! (Cheers!) At a long, food-laden table in a noisy room of Minsk, the capital of Belarus, a toast is proposed. We clink glasses and drain moonshine. This happens once, twice, five, 10 times. Between the toasts comes a wave of passionate speeches from some of our fellow diners. Loosely linked, they call up a period of history, controversial and still rarely discussed, when the German invaders were welcomed here as liberators who would deliver Belarus from the Soviet yoke.

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'The greatest play ever written': translating The Cherry Orchard

Rory Mullarkey

The Cherry Orchard is the greatest play ever written,” I declared, confidently, aged 16, to my mother, having just read The Cherry Orchard for the first time.

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'These star-crossed lovers are so young': adapting Brighton Rock

Bryony Lavery

I never have the idea of adapting anything at all myself. The suggestions always come from directors or theatre companies.

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'She has escaped from my Asylum!': The Woman in White returns

Jasper Rees

The Woman in White insists on being told and retold. Wilkie Collins’s much loved thriller is perhaps the most widely and frequently adapted of all the great Victorian novels. In Marian Halcombe it has a resourceful heroine whose appeal doesn't rest remotely in her looks, and in Count Fosco with his...

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David Edgar: 'Ebenezer Scrooge is alive and well'

David Edgar

Since mid-August, I’ve been doing something I swore I’d never do again. I’ve been rehearsing a new adaptation of a novel by Charles Dickens. Sometime in the autumn of 1979, I received a phone call from Trevor Nunn, artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company.

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Soldier On: a theatrical treatment of PTSD

Jonathan Lewis

I was invalided out of the army in 1986. I’d been an army scholar through school and had a bursary at university. I went on to drama school then became an actor, and subsequently a writer and director. But I’ve always been passionately interested in how the military, and the people in it, are portrayed to the wider world.

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