Cultural Life: Trevor Nunn, director

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The Independent Online


Coincidentally I started Sebastian Faulks's novel Human Traces having just finished Michael Frayn's study of consciousness, The Human Touch. Perhaps Frayn's difficult but hugely rewarding book gave added value to Faulks's fiction, but Human Traces is a masterpiece, one of the great novels of this or any other century a work that should be studied in every sixth form, an affirmation of humanism to rank alongside anything by George Eliot or Henry James. Faulks's new book, Engleby, is pretty terrific, too.


Having just done Tom Stoppard's Rock'*'Roll in New York, I am back on The Rolling Stones, Lennon, Velvet Underground and Pink Floyd with and without Syd Barrett; having just worked with Cambridge students on Cymbeline, I am playing a lot of Dowland and Renaissance battle music by Byrd. Then, in addition to Leona, who really has one of the great voices, I am hooked on Bob Dylan's Modern Times he is the soul and the conscience of the past 40 years of American music.


I don't go as often as I want to because of my self-imposed workaholic schedule, but I caught up with The Lives of Others a few weeks ago; it's a low-budget miracle. If you also missed La Vie en Rose, buy the DVD for somebody you love, and watch Marion Cotillard give one of the greatest performances on film ever. I loved Michael Clayton, too. What a truly remarkable man that George Clooney is.


I haven't yet set a day aside to queue to get into Tutankhamun or The First Emperor; but recently in Atlanta, Georgia (researching for the theatre adaptation of Gone with the Wind) I went to the History Centre. The Civil War Museum is extraordinarily evocative and brilliantly analytical. There is also a 3D cyclorama, a 360-degree installation of the Battle of Jonesboro, which is a shattering and ultimately very emotional experience. Not many museums give you that.

Trevor Nunn directs 'Scenes from a Marriage' at the Belgrade, Coventry (024-7655 3055;, 12 January to 2 February