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WAYNE ALLENSWORTH’S AMERICAN SHOWDOWN: THE AUTHOR OF ‘FIELD OF BLOOD’ ON MODERN WESTERNS, FRONTIER SITUATIONS, AND THE BEST BOOKS AND FILMS IN THE GENRE—INCLUDING HIS OWN ·

Wayne Allensworth worked as an analyst for the Foreign Broadcast Information Service from 1991 to 2002.  He is the author of The Russian Question: Nationalism, Modernization, and Post-Communist Russia, published by Rowman & Littlefield in 1998.  He is a Corresponding Editor of Chronicles magazine.  His short story, Man of the West, was nominated for a Western Writers of America Spur award. He has contributed to the following collections: Exploring American History (Marshall Cavendish, 2008); Peace in the Promised Land: A Realist Scenario (Chronicles Books, 2006); Immigration and the American Identity (Chronicles Books, 2008); and Russian Nationalism and the National Reassertion of Russia, edited by Marlene Laruelle (Johns Hopkins University). He lives in Ft. Worth, Texas.

Wayne Allensworth saddles up with SV’s Bob Shuman to talk about writing the epic, the poetic, and the tragic in a two-part interview—Part 2 will be published 4/25.   Read the prologue to FIELD OF BLOOD at the end of this post.

Wayne, tell us about your new book—would it be fair to call it a “Western”?

 The themes and setting make Field of Blood what some might call a “modern Western.” I think of the book as taking place in an imagined present— a small Texas town is transformed as the American Southwest gradually melds with Mexico.  America is merging with Latin America, with all the dislocations, conflicts, and moral dilemmas that arise out of a clash of cultures.  We aren’t quite there yet, but are headed in that direction at a rapid pace. If the elite of both countries had their way, that’s where we would be now. That was my starting point.

I tried to imagine what that would look like. It’s very much a frontier situation.  The rule of law is breaking down where the old America is passing away, the globalized world bringing with it chaos and disorientation.  The corruption and frenzied violence of today’s Mexico are crossing the border.  That’s what’s coming. You might say that the drug cartels and their accomplices are a criminal counterpart to trans-national corporations, both out to take advantage of the erosion of borders and national institutions.  They share an interest in dissolving boundaries, doing away with the old institutions, and exploiting the situation for profit, no matter what the cost to ordinary people. 

My characters are struggling with the new reality and their own sense of identity, as well as a sense of loss.  I tried to get at the surrealism of globalization, and the bizarre situations it creates.  America is being forcibly merged with Latin America, but it doesn’t stop there, not for us or them. It’s really an anti-human and anti-humane world, one without reference points, that benefits the most ruthless among us the most.

In this setting, I set up a situation that forces people to take sides in a way that is especially pronounced on a frontier.  It’s the kind of dilemma that leads to an inevitable showdown. That’s very much like a traditional Western, but in a modern, or post-modern, setting.

How did you become interested in Westerns–and what is it about them that made you want to write them?

My grandfather told me stories about the Old West when I was a boy.  I heard stories about Quanah Parker, the range wars, about his meeting Frank James, and seeing Geronimo.  Westerns are uniquely American, they are elemental, dealing with fundamental issues—survival, identity, loyalty—and they are about us, about our people and how we came to be what and who we are.

I read Westerns my grandfather would pass along to me after he had read them, books by writers like Louis L’Amour, Ernest Haycox, Jack Schaefer, and Alan LeMay.  Later on in life, I read Larry McMurtry, Charles Portis, and Cormac McCarthy.  McMurtry wrote his great epic Western, Lonesome Dove, in an urbanized, technological era when Westerns had fallen out of fashion.  I think he revived the Western.  McCarthy wrote his masterpiece, Blood Meridian, as a metaphysical Western, one that drew on authors like Melville and Conrad, but the violence and stylistics of the novel were from a later period. McCarthy took the Western to places it hadn’t been before.  You might call some of these books “modern Westerns,” books like McMurtry’s Horseman Pass By, McCarthy’s border trilogy, and his No Country for Old Men.  Modern Westerns, especially, have an elegiac quality about them; they are stories chronicling the passing of an era, the passing of the old America, its values and way of life.  But that sense of something dying out, that something we’ll miss, the good and the bad, is part of a lot of Westerns.

Westerns were once a very important genre in America cinema, and movie Westerns and Western books drew on each other. It was a two-way street, the books, dating back to the dime novels of the 19th century, to the authors I’ve mentioned.  They provided much of the raw material for movie Westerns, and the films provided a lot of the imagery used in subsequent Western stories. The great movie Westerns, films like StagecoachRed RiverShaneHigh NoonThe Searchers, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence, gave the genre its stock of characters and themes, and the imagery of a mythical West.  Directors like John Ford and Howard Hawks set the standard for movie Westerns and made them art. Movie stars like John Wayne and Gary Cooper became the face of American Westerns. John Wayne, in particular, became a symbol of the American Western.  Clint Eastwood took up Wayne’s mantle to a certain degree. He was in Westerns on TV and in the movies, and, together with director Don Siegel, made modern Westerns like Coogan’s Bluff and, some would say, Dirty Harry, which I’ve heard called an “urban Western.” 

I think films like Sam Peckinpah’s Ride the High Country and his best movie, The Wild Bunch, drew on the somber tone and texture of elegiac Westerns.  The Wild Bunch took Western films into some of the places Cormac McCarthy would take the literary Western.  Peckinpah made modern Westerns like Junior Bonner and The Getaway, while films based on McMurtry’s books, Hud and The Last Picture Show, contrasted the Old West with the new one, the ideal of the West as we like to think of it, and the realities of modern life.  That kind of movie is still with us—just look at the success of Hell or High Water.

Thank you so much.  Looking forward to next week.

Read the prologue to FIELD OF BLOOD: Field of Blood Prologue

Wayne Allensworth photo (c) 2017 by Elizabeth Allensworth Merino.  All rights reserved.

(c) 2017 by Wayne Allensworth (answers) and Bob Shuman (questions). All rights reserved. 

‘THE NEW YORKER’ THEATRE LISTINGS, 5/1 PLAYDECK ·

Openings and Previews

In previews. Opens May 9.

3/Fifths

James Scruggs conceived and wrote this interactive piece, which transforms the theatre into a dystopian theme park called SupremacyLand, celebrating white privilege.

READ MORE »

3LD Art & Technology Center

Downtown

In previews. Opens April 24.

Anastasia

Darko Tresnjak directs this new musical, by Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty, and Lynn Ahrens, drawn from the 1956 and 1997 films about the Russian Grand Duchess.

READ MORE »

Broadhurst

Midtown

 

In previews. Opens April 23.

The Antipodes

The playwright Annie Baker (“The Flick”) returns, with a piece about storytelling, directed by Lila Neugebauer and featuring Josh Charles, Phillip James Brannon, and Josh Hamilton.

READ MORE »

Pershing Square Signature Center

Midtown

 

April 27. Closing soon

Babes in Toyland

Kelli O’Hara, Bill Irwin, Lauren Worsham, and Christopher Fitzgerald appear with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s in the 1903 musical, conducted by Ted Sperling.

READ MORE »

Carnegie Hall

Midtown

Opens April 26.

Bandstand

Corey Cott and Laura Osnes play a war veteran and a widow who team up to compete in a radio contest in 1945, in this swing musical by Robert Taylor…

READ MORE »

Jacobs

Midtown

 

In previews. Opens April 23.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Christian Borle plays Willy Wonka in this musical version of the Roald Dahl tale, featuring new songs by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and a book by David Greig.

READ MORE »

Lunt-Fontanne

Midtown

 

In previews.

Derren Brown: Secret

Brown, an Olivier-winning British performer known for his feats of mind-reading and audience manipulation, presents an evening of “psychological illusion.”

READ MORE »

Atlantic Theatre Company

Chelsea

 

In previews. Opens April 27.

A Doll’s House, Part 2

Lucas Hnath’s play, starring Laurie Metcalf, Chris Cooper, Jayne Houdyshell, and Condola Rashad, picks up years after Ibsen’s classic leaves off, with the return of its heroine, Nora.…

READ MORE »

Golden

Midtown

 

In previews. Opens May 7.

Ernest Shackleton Loves Me

In this new musical by Joe DiPietro, Brendan Milburn, and Valerie Vigoda, a put-upon single mother (Vigoda) embarks on an Antarctic adventure with the famous explorer.

READ MORE »

Tony Kiser

Midtown

 

In previews. Opens May 4.

Happy Days

Theatre for a New Audience stages James Bundy’s Yale Rep production of the Beckett play, starring Dianne Wiest as a chatterbox half-buried in a mound of sand.

READ MORE »

Polonsky Shakespeare Center

Brooklyn

 

In previews. Opens April 20.

Hello, Dolly!

Bette Midler stars as the turn-of-the-century matchmaker Dolly Levi, in the Jerry Herman musical from 1964, directed by Jerry Zaks and featuring David Hyde Pierce.

READ MORE »

Shubert

Midtown

 

Opens April 19.

The Little Foxes

Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon trade off roles night to night in Manhattan Theatre Club’s revival of the 1939 Lillian Hellman drama, directed by Daniel Sullivan.

READ MORE »

Samuel J. Friedman

Midtown

 

In previews.

The Lucky One

The Mint revives A. A. Milne’s 1922 play, directed by Jesse Marchese, about two brothers whose enmity erupts when one of them lands in legal trouble.

READ MORE »

Beckett

Midtown

 

Opens May 3.

Mourning Becomes Electra

Target Margin stages Eugene O’Neill’s dramatic trilogy, which resets Aeschylus’ “Oresteia” in New England just after the Civil War. David Herskovits directs.

READ MORE »

Abrons Arts Center

Downtown

 

In previews. Opens May 4.

Pacific Overtures

John Doyle directs Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s musical from 1976, which recounts the opening of nineteenth-century Japan, starring George Takei as the Reciter.

READ MORE »

Classic Stage Company

Downtown

 

In previews. Opens April 30.

The Roundabout

As part of the “Brits Off Broadway” festival, Hugh Ross directs J. B. Priestley’s 1932 comedy, in which a man juggles his business foibles, his mistress, a…

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59E59

Midtown

 

In previews.

Seven Spots on the Sun

In Martín Zimmerman’s play, directed by Weyni Mengesha, a reclusive doctor in a town ravaged by civil war and plague discovers that he has a miraculous healing touch.

READ MORE »

Rattlestick

Downtown

In previews. Opens April 25.

Six Degrees of Separation

Allison Janney, John Benjamin Hickey, and Corey Hawkins star in Trip Cullman’s revival of John Guare’s play from 1990, about a young black con man who enters…

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Ethel Barrymore

Midtown

 

In previews.

Sojourners & Her Portmanteau

Ed Sylvanus Iskandar directs two installments of Mfoniso Udofia’s nine-part saga, which charts the ups and downs of a Nigerian matriarch.

READ MORE »

New York Theatre Workshop

Downtown

 

In previews. Opens April 27.

Twelfth Night

The Public’s Mobile Unit performs the Shakespeare comedy for free at its home base, after touring prisons, homeless shelters, and other local venues. Saheem Ali directs.

READ MORE »

Public

Downtown

 

In previews.

Venus

Suzan-Lori Parks’s play, directed by Lear deBessonet, is inspired by the life of Saartjie Baartman, a South African woman who became a nineteenth-century sideshow attraction because of her large…

READ MORE »

Pershing Square Signature Center

Midtown

 

 

MIKHAIL BARYSHNIKOV: ON THE STAGE IT’S JUST ME, AND BRODSKY’S POEMS ·

Mikhail Baryshnikov performs Brodsky/ Baryshnikov, based on the poems of Joseph Brodsky at BAC on March 8, 2016.
Photo Credit: ©Stephanie Berger

(Irene Kukota’s article appeared on Russia Beyound the Headlines, 4/17.)

Russian Art and Culture: How would you describe Brodsky/Baryshnikovin one sentence?

Mikhail Baryshnikov:. A poetic journey

What made you say “yes” to participating in Brodsky/Baryshnikov project staged by Alvis Hermanis?

M.B.: Alvis Hermanis invited me to do it, and I was honored to work with such a remarkable director. I couldn’t say no! I prefer live theater. The immediacy, the terror; it’s the ultimate challenge

Did you take part in the writing of the performance script? 

M.B.: There was never a script. The director, Alvis Hermanis, selected a range of poems including very early and very late ones. To explain the staging of this show would take a long time. We lived with this text for some time and it was a fascinating process for both Alvis and me.

It is frequently said that this show is about death, powerlessness against time and age. Do you also see it this way?

M.B.: I think that’s up to the audience to decide. They are the main participant after all. The goal is always to stay true to the director’s original vision. The set is a beautifully decrepit glass winter garden from the turn of the 20th century. I think it captures the quiet introspection and pensive mood of the play perfectly and Joseph would have loved it. It can be lonely out there, speaking of the ultimate challenge, but I love it.

(Read more)

http://rbth.com/arts/literature/2017/04/17/mikhail-baryshnikov-on-the-stage-its-just-me-and-brodkys-poems_742825

Photo Observer.

SHAKESPEARE, ECOLOGY, AND THE ENVIRONMENT ·

(Randall Martin’s article appeared on Folger’s Shakespeare & Beyond, 4/18; via Pam Green.)

What does Shakespeare say about ecology and its politically engaged cousin environmentalism? Neither term appears in his work—unsurprising since they hadn’t been coined yet. Nevertheless, we see Shakespeare thinking ecologically in ways that resonate with our own perceptions of the environmental challenges we face today.

He was writing when early capitalism, globalized trade, and colonialism were beginning to extend Western and masculine ideals of conquering nature around the world. Responding imaginatively to these developments, Shakespeare recognizes the limits nature imposes on human exploitation, the necessity of conserving the bio-integrity of ecosystems for human and non-human benefit, and the earth’s absolute power to overrule human attempts at domination.

(Read more)

http://shakespeareandbeyond.folger.edu/2017/04/18/shakespeare-ecology-environmental-earth-day/?utm_source=wordfly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ShakespearePlus19Apr2017&utm_content=version_A&promo=

(Photo: Legal Insurrection)

INGO SWANN: ‘A LIFE GONE WILD’ AT THE PHILIP K DICK FILM FESTIVAL IN NYC, MAY 25TH TO 30TH ·

 

(via Marty Rosenblatt)

 

“The Estate of Ingo Swann is excited to announce “A Life Gone Wild” the short film is part of the official selection at the Philip K Dick Film Festival in NYC, May 25th to 30th. 

 

Directed by Maryanne Bilham-Knight, Editor Albert OH, Produced by Swann-Ryder Productions LLC, Robert M Knight, Nick Cook and John Stahler.

 

The film screening is followed with a prestigious panel of scientists and practitioners including: 

 

Jacques Vallee, high-tech investor, noted for his works on the early Internet, who served as the “French researcher “in Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”; 

 

Harold Puthoff, theoretical and experimental physicist and creator of the government’s Stargate Remote Viewing Program;

 

Tom McNear, former Stargate Remote Viewer;

Blynne Olivieri, Head of Special Collections at the University of West Georgia.

 

For more details go to: http://www.thephilipkdickfilmfestival.com/program_17_2.html

Block Four”

Photo: Higher Journeys

READ THE REVIEWS FOR BETTE MIDLER IN ‘HELLO, DOLLY!’ ·

(Ryan McPhee’s and Olivia Clement’s article appeared in Playbill, 4/20; via Pam Green.)

The Broadway revival of Hello, Dolly!, starring Bette Midler in her return to the musical theatre stage, celebrated its official opening night at the Shubert Theatre April 20. The Jerry Zaks-helmed production began performances March 15.

Midler takes on the iconic role of Dolly Gallagher Levi; among those sharing the stage with her are Tony winner David Hyde Pierce as Horace Vandergelder, Kate Baldwin as Irene Molloy, and Olivier winner Gavin Creel as Cornelius Hackl.

(Read more)

http://www.playbill.com/article/read-the-reviews-for-bette-midler-in-hello-dolly

Photo: Showbiz411

PIONEERING PILOT, A BROADWAY SHOW AND A LIFE-CHANGING BOND ·

(Michael Paulson’s article appeared in The New York times, 4/16; via Pam Green.)

She was a girl who dreamed of flying. A woman who broke barriers in commercial aviation. And then a pilot ordered to divert a trans-Atlantic jet to Gander, Newfoundland, during the unfolding terror of Sept. 11, 2001.

Beverley Bass had an unusual story to tell when a pair of dramatists started researching the encounter between stranded air travelers and small-town Canadians in those days after the attacks. And now she has another unusual story, as she stares over and over again into a heart-tugging piece of musical theater, and sees her own life mirrored back.

The pioneering pilot and the actress who portrays her in the Broadway musical “Come From Away” have developed a bond over the last two years, ever since they first met, at a restaurant in San Diego, when Ms. Bass jocularly said to the actress, Jenn Colella, “I think you’re playing me.”

Ms. Colella is both playing Ms. Bass, and, frequently, playing to Ms. Bass, who has seen the show 61 times. Using her free-flying privileges as a now-retired pilot, she has followed the musical’s developmental journey from La Jolla to Seattle to Washington to Gander to Toronto to New York, often with other female pilots in tow. Ms. Bass is both watching the show and reliving the events, clutching her husband’s hand as the emotions return.

(Read more)

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/16/theater/come-from-away-jenn-colella.html

KATE HAMILL: ‘VANITY FAIR’, DIRECTED BY ERIC TUCKER AT THE PEARL THEARE (REVIEW FROM NEW YORK) ·

By Bob Shuman

Eric Tucker’s fluid, physical production of Kate Hamill’s adaptation of Vanity Fair (now playing at the Pearl Theater Company, extended until May 14) will take some puzzling out, but both contemporary creators are trying to get underneath Thackeray’s certitude—unearthing worms and post-modern detritus.  Tucker is the director of the fabulous 2015 A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which also played at the Pearl, an interpretation that actually felt like an inchoate, ephemeral dream.  Thackeray is not as malleable as Shakespeare, though—in fact, he’s a steamroller–and so is his leading character, Becky Sharp, who doesn’t “blush” (Hamill plays her unabashedly, with brio).  Adapters may be at odds with what to do with this prodigious Victorian writer, who won’t budge, except to shut him up, as Stanley Kubrick did in his epic Barry Lyndon (1975), a candlelit masterpiece of cinematic composition , with Oscar-winning costumes and production design, cold to the ear—Marisa Berenson, as Lady Lyndon, spoke only 13 lines.  Kubrick had thought of directing Vanity Fair, too, but he felt that “the story could not be successfully compressed into the relatively short time-span of a feature film”—he also may have had difficulty reigning in characters who want what they want when they want it.  At the Pearl, Hamill and Tucker poke at the materiality of Vanity Fair, and along with using other techniques, can remind us of Modernists, not Romantics—O’Casey, Ibsen, Fitzgerald, or Williams come to mind (even Chekhov, for good measure)—and, perhaps, Joel Grey’s Expressionistic demon Emcee in the Kander/Ebb/Masteroff  Cabaret.  Regency England, during the Napoleonic Wars, is where the novel takes place, but Tucker, Hamill, and Co., do not convey the age in ways that remind of the cinema or Masterpiece Theatre—this is perhaps because, by compacting the work, they’ve arrived less at Thackeray’s cheerful facade—but at his malevolence.

Vanity Fair, as a novel, is a tour de force of endless, damning opinion, led by a bossy, intrusive puppet-master, the author himself (he spends nearly 800 pages pulling rank on his characters—and his readers). Even if there is security in having everything spelled out, enjoying the book may have to do with how you can tolerate being told what to think and how to feel, while Thackeray’s pen compulsively chases the news of the day, scandal, and cliffhangers–even when his story loses tension or his characters aren’t focused. (Vanity Fair was originally written for serialization, illustrated by the author.) Becky Sharp is a charity case, who intends to rise in society—she’s honest and vulgar and the English class system will never let her through. Americans can accept her immediately because she’s willing to work and she’s willing to gamble and perhaps this is why Tucker and his designers, Sandra Goldmark (set) and Valérie Thérèse Bart (costumes) do not focus  obsessively on period detail.  Their conception involves placing Vanity Fair in a theatre, which corresponds with Thackery’s “Before the Curtain,” the prologue for his book. Hamill and Tucker radicalize this further by not placing this theatre in the early 1840s, when the book was written, or in the early 1800s, where the book is set.  Hamill’s and Tucker’s theatre, a surreal, contemporary theatre, is in the present day, or in the mind.  Soon, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” plays, a song released in 1982, as actors dance with contemporary moves.  “In Heaven There Ain’t No Beer” (1956) and “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody” (1919) are also used—much in understanding and rationalizing this stage version is negotiating the culture shock.  But it goes beyond that. At one point the excellent Joey Parsons, as Amelia, Becky’s champion and friend, pulls long string from her mouth—oddly reminiscent of Lavinia in Peter Brook’s Titus Andronicus (1955). Vanity Fair, in a primitive, feral, anachronistic production, has wed one of the English language’s most literal-minded writers with a director excavating the unconscious.

Hamill’s massive editing and adaptation of Thackeray work, ultimately, becomes two hours and fifteen minutes of stage time. By comparison Nicholas Nickleby, in 1980, involved two 4.5 hour performances to portray Dickens.  Both are exemplars of cutting-edge theatre of their times.  Now, however, audiences may be intent on shorter performances, or maybe they’ve gotten used to working with less.  Does post-modernism–the cuts, the chaos, the irrationality, the freewheeling, the confusion, and dreams– become more important than faithfulness to authors, including Thackeray? Maybe Hamill has made Becky so clear—the character wants money, pure and simple—that further discussion becomes unnecessary. Her characters transmute, furniture twirls; no one is locked into the inherent realism of a book or film.  The adapter focuses on the emotional stakes—and what the messy relationships leave behind.

The cast: Debargo Sanyal, who plays Miss Briggs, a cowed servant, has learned to hold his hands, as if he might unexpectedly need to protect his face.  In the next moment, we are watching the line of his legs, long, striding purposefully. Here he’s playing George Osborne, a young soldier, to the manor born—and about to have the rug pulled out from beneath his feet.  Zachary Fine plays, among other parts, the Manager of the theatre, as well as Miss Matilda Crawley, an aristocrat, who either needs to stop taking laxatives or requires them at once.  Thackeray is an interesting writer because he describes shy men, who wait a virtual eternally for love—two here, played well, are:  Brad Heberlee as Jos and Ryan Quinn as William Dobbin (most of the cast play multiple roles).   Rawdon Crawley—Becky’s husband, probably a bad choice to marry, given her goal,  is given appropriate nobility and dash by Tom O’Keefe.

Kubrick was doubtlessly right, that Vanity Fair cannot be done well in approximately two hours of screen time—realism, which film demands, exclusively, needs time.  Theatregoers may wonder, however, how the stage can be so flexible—questions Tucker and Hamill can answer.  The two–important, serious, and informed–working untraditionally, have realized Vanity Fair,  the way Thackeray wanted it, not as a historical costume drama;   “not [as] a moral place, certainly; nor a merry one, though  very noisy.”

© 2017 by Bob Shuman.  All rights reserved.

Visit the Pearl Theatre Company:  http://www.pearltheatre.org/

Press: Shaunda Miles, John Wyszniewski, Rachael Shearer at Blake Zidell & Associates

William Thackeray Kate Hamill, directed by Eric Tucker

Scenic Design by Sandra Goldmark

Costume Design by Valerie Therese Bart

Lighting design by Seth Reiser

Original music composted by Carmel Dean

Director of Production Gar Levinson

Production Gar Levinson

Production Darmaturg Kae Farrington

Production Manager Katharine Whitney

Artistic Director Hal Brooks

Managing Director Jess Burkle

Actors Zachary Fine, Kate Hamill, Brad Heberlee, Tom O’Keefe, Joey Parsons, Ryan Quinn, Debargo Sanyal

Photos, top to bottom:  Kate Hamill (Guthrie); Eric Tucker (D.C. Theater Scene); Cast ((c) Russ Rowland); Thackeray.

‘OLIVIER’ BY PHILIP ZIEGLER (LISTEN NOW ON BBC 4—LINK BELOW) ·

Listen at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03bq9ct

Published when the National Theatre turned 50 in 2013, Philip Ziegler’s biography, based on previously unseen letters and diaries, tells the story of Laurence Olivier as he developed his craft, focusing on his career path from early school days through rep theatre to Hollywood, before returning to triumph in his greatest role ever, as the first director of the National Theatre.

Episode 1:
Born at a time when theatre was at a low ebb in Britain, and after a rather unpromising start in life, the young Laurence Olivier enters the acting profession and begins to shine.

Reader: Toby Jones

Producer: Clive Brill
A Pacificus production for BBC Radio 4.