Cultural Life: Arnold Wesker, Playwright
Saturday 19 May 2012
A Globe Theatre production of Howard Brenton's Anne Boleyn at Theatre Royal, Brighton. Theatrical play, strong in debate, rich text, stylishly directed by John Dove before a full, enthusiastic audience containing a lot of school students. Problem was the old one of not hearing everything. Actors seem not to know how to project any more.
Michael Billington's State of the Nation, a scholarly work that slots plays from 1945 to the present day into an historic picture. His perceptive analysis of the plays locks into the political detail of the times. I've learned a lot from it, in particular where and how I fit in as a playwright from 1958 on. Although I think he sometimes tries too hard to make links between the play's substance and the political events of the day, this is required reading for all students of drama both English-speaking and foreign.
Stephen Daldry's beautiful film Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close. He didn't put a foot wrong. Tenderness where there could have been sentimentality; bewildered fury where there could have been heavy-handed accusation; simple honesty where there could have been mawkish forgiveness – all powerfully poetic.
I've been hooked on the Danish series The Killing; Downton Abbey; The Frozen Planet; and Empire.
'Denial' is part of Weskerat 80 at the King's Head Theatre, London N1 (kingsheadtheatre.com) to 10 Jun
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