(By Bob Dylan; via Pam Green; listen to Dylan give the speech using the link below; photo: Rolling Stone.)
When I received this Nobel Prize for Literature, I got to wondering exactly how my songs related to literature. I wanted to reflect on it and see where the connection was. I’m going to try to articulate that to you. And most likely it will go in a roundabout way, but I hope what I say will be worthwhile and purposeful.
If I was to go back to the dawning of it all, I guess I’d have to start with Buddy Holly. Buddy died when I was about eighteen and he was twenty-two. From the moment I first heard him, I felt akin. I felt related, like he was an older brother. I even thought I resembled him. Buddy played the music that I loved – the music I grew up on: country western, rock ‘n’ roll, and rhythm and blues. Three separate strands of music that he intertwined and infused into one genre. One brand. And Buddy wrote songs – songs that had beautiful melodies and imaginative verses. And he sang great – sang in more than a few voices. He was the archetype. Everything I wasn’t and wanted to be. I saw him only but once, and that was a few days before he was gone. I had to travel a hundred miles to get to see him play, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Listen at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06h93s1
Martin Jarvis directs Arthur Miller’s 1955 award-winning masterpiece. Recorded in the US for Drama On 3. Alfred Molina won the BBC Drama Awards Best Actor accolade as Eddie Carbone. He leads an all-star American cast. Universal themes: family, guilt, loyalty, sexual attraction, jealousy – and love. A timeless reminder as immigrants from Syria, Eritrea, Libya currently seek new lives, new dreams. Here, it’s the American one.
Setting. An Italian-American neighbourhood near the Brooklyn Bridge, New York. 1950s.
Lawyer Alfieri (our narrator) confides to listeners there are cases where he can only watch as they run their bloody course.
Longshoreman Eddie Carbone lives with his wife Beatrice and her orphaned niece, Catherine, in a Brooklyn tenement. He has a love of, almost an obsession with, 17 year-old Catherine. Beatrice’s Italian cousins are being smuggled into the country. The family hide the illegal immigrants, Marco and Rodolpho, while they work on the docks. Eddie’s increasing suspicion and jealousy of Rodolpho’s developing relationship with Catherine eventually leads to betrayal and a tragic confrontation.
Sound design: Wesley Dewberry and Mark Holden
A Jarvis & Ayres Production.
Listen at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08g4cly
Never before performed or heard in the UK, Burgess’s Oedipus the King is a robust and powerful version of Sophocles’ classic text. The drama includes an invented language that Burgess created especially for the 1972 production of the piece at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, USA, which has been archived in the International Anthony Burgess Foundation archive. This broadcast will be the first time it has been spoken or heard in over forty years.
Christopher Eccleston, a keen Burgess fan, who used to run a market stall in the same area of Manchester that Burgess grew up in, stars as Oedipus; Don Warrington as Creon, Adjoa Andoh as Jocasta and Fiona Shaw as Tiresias, the ancient blind prophet who was born both man and woman.
The music was composed for the original theatre production by Obie Award-winning and Grammy Award-nominated composer of the show, Stanley Silverman. Stanley has worked with Arthur Miller, Pierre Boulez, James Taylor, Elton John, Sting and with legendary New York theatre maker Richard Foreman.
The BBC Philharmonic and Manchester-based Kantos Chamber Choir perform the music, conducted by Clark Rundell.
(Listen at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08bbghs .)
Jean Racine’s play, first performed in 1667, is set a year after the Fall of Troy in Epirus, where Pyrrhus, son of Achilles, is ostensibly betrothed to Helen’s daughter, Hermione. Pyrrhus however is pining after Hector’s widow, Andromache. The play opens as Orestes, son to Agamemnon, comes with a message from the Greeks demanding that Pyrrhus should hand over Andromache’s son Astyanax. Orestes, it so happens, is in love with Hermione.
Edward Kemp’s version of the play is set against a present-day soundscape and asks ‘when a culture has endured a shattering event – the Trojan War or one of the world-changing events of the current century – how can we move on? And if we can’t, are we destined to repeat the same cataclysmic mistakes over and over again?’
Translated by Edward Kemp
A Cast Iron Radio production for BBC Radio 3
Listen at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b007jvp1
Fagin, Bill Sykes, Micawber and many more. Simon Callow recounts the remarkable life of Charles Dickens – with a showcase of the colourful characters in his novels.
Callow’s exhilarating one-man show by Peter Ackroyd is an unforgettable and mesmerising journey into the life and times of one of our best-loved Victorian writers.
Producer: Stephen Wright
Director: Gemma McMullan
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2001.
Listen to ‘The Birthday Party’ at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0831fpp
‘The Birthday Party’ by Harold Pinter
Stanley, an erstwhile pianist lives in a dingy seaside boarding house run by Meg and Petey. He is comfortable there, like a surrogate son. Two sinister strangers turn up – Goldberg and McCann. They claim to know him from the past. They turn Stanley’s birthday party into a menacing and terrifying encounter. Franz Kafka meets Donald McGill in Pinter’s iconic comedy of menace.
An Irishman and a Jew walk into a seaside boarding house. And what? A parable about power and persecution? Or maybe it’s marginalised minorities taking their revenge against seedy Albion? Pinter’s slippery and sly black comedy has a huge resonance for today.
Harold Pinter was one of the writers championed by the Third Programme – and in the late 1950s commissioned one of his early plays before he had his first stage hit. Pinter himself acknowledged the role the Third had had in his own cultural education. For the 70th anniversary, Drama on 3 presents a new production of The Birthday Party, now considered a Pinter classic, but which on its first London opening only lasted a week.
(Listen at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b061fmty )
After a lifetime of waiting, Charles ascends the throne. A future of power. But how to rule? Mike Bartlett’s ‘future history’ play won the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Play. The production, directed by Rupert Goold, premiered at the Almeida Theatre before moving to the West End in a co-production with Sonia Friedman Productions and Stuart Thompson Productions.
This “bracingly provocative and outrageously entertaining new play” (The Independent) explores the people underneath the crowns, the unwritten rules of our democracy, and the conscience of Britain’s most famous family.
KING CHARLES III was first produced by the Almeida Theatre and subsequently co-produced at the Wyndham’s Theatre in the West End of London by Sonia Friedman Productions and Stuart Thompson Productions in association with Lee Dean & Charles Diamond and Tulchin Bartner Productions. The sound designer for the theatre production was Paul Arditti.
Mike Bartlett’s radio play NOT TALKING won both the Imison and Tinniswood Awards in 2007. He has been Writer-In-Residence at the both the National Theatre and The Royal Court Theatre. His play LOVE, LOVE, LOVE won Best New Play in the 2011 Theatre Awards UK; COCK won an Olivier Award in 2010 for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre, as did BULL in 2015. As well as winning the Olivier Award for Best New Play, KING CHARLES III won the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play of 2014.
Photo: The Times
Listen at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b081jn4t
Maxine Peake plays Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain.
Starring alongside a cast that includes Siobhan Finneran and Joe Armstrong, Amanda Whittington’s hit stage transfer imagines the role played by the women close to Ruth during the months between Ruth’s murder of her lover David Blakely and her subsequent death by hanging.
Framed with interviews and laced with the music of Billie Holiday, this is an intimate, evocative and thought provoking drama directed by Kate Chapman.
Writer Amanda Whittington
Director Kate Chapman
Producer Justine Potter
Executive Producer Melanie Harris
Sound Design by Eloise Whitmore
Music by Billie Holiday
A Savvy production for BBC Radio 4.
|Home Secretary Gwilym Lloyd George
Listen to ‘MARY ROSE’ at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0801l4v
JM Barrie’s haunting play about a sinister Scottish island and a girl who never grows up. A soldier sits staring into the fire in an empty, dark house while an unsettling and tragic history unfolds before him. Written in the aftermath of the First World War, Barrie’s play about loss and the mystery of life is by turns comic, eerie and heartbreaking.
Original music is composed and performed by Laura Moody, singer cellist. Laura was recently nominated for an Off-West End Theatre Award for her Sound Design of DREAMPLAY at The Vaults in Waterloo, London.