Drama Page 40

Of Mice And Men.Of Mice and Men. Dramatisation by Donna Franceschild of John Steinbeck’s seminal 1937 novel about migrant workers in 1930s California whose dream of one day owning a place of their own is tragically destroyed.

Cyrano De Bergerac.Cyrano De Bergerac. By Edmond Rostand and translated from the French by Anthony Burgess. Set in 17th century France, Rostand’s play features the eponymous poet-swordsman with a misshapen nose who falls in love with the beautiful Roxane. She loves the dashing Gascon soldier Christian de Neuvillette and Cyrano finds himself writing love poems on his behalf.

A Thousand KissesA Thousand Kisses. Frederic Raphael’s new play A Thousand Kisses is based on the life and work of the Roman poet Gaius Catullus. Catullus was one of the the greatest Roman lyric poets – who lived fast and died young. Prized by some for his sincerity and chastised by others for crudeness he has influenced generations of writes and thinkers from Ovid, Horace and Virgil to Thornton Wilder and Louis MacNiece. In this new play, Catullus’s mysterious world is brought to life, drawing on a series of love poems at the centre of his oeuvre – based on evidence that the woman in the poems (‘Lesbia’) was Claudia Metelli, the sister of the notorious senator Publius Clodius Pulcher, and one of the most notorious and attractive women in Rome.

More Greco-Roman stories on the Greco-Roman Page.

Being Mussolini.Being Mussolini. By Boothby Graffoe. Aldo is a very ordinary man, save for one thing – he looks and sounds exactly like Benito Mussolini. Being Mussolini’s lookalike is no easy matter, especially when Italy is at war and your wife prefers your new identity.

robeson copyI’m Still the Same Paul. By Annie Caulfield. Lenny Henry stars as singer and political activist Paul Robeson. As an outspoken apologist for Stalin and agitator for civil rights Paul Robeson had many enemies, including the CIA. His passport was taken away, his career curtailed and his health threatened. An FBI agent re-examines his story, focussing on the dramatic period from 1950-1961. Robeson travelled all over Europe and America in the 1920’s and 1930’s, starring in London with Peggy Ashcroft, playing Othello on Broadway, making 11 films (mainly in the UK), and was the world’s most famous black performer. In 1950 Paul Robeson has his passport taken away by the US authorities because of his political activities and his career is almost destroyed. He continues to campaign tirelessly for civil rights in the USA but he cannot work abroad. He corresponds with personal friends Kenyatta and Nkrumah and appears before the House of Un-American Activities. He is married to Essie, who is his unofficial manager and he has had a string of very public affairs. When his passport is finally restored in 1958 Robeson moves to Britain, playing Othello at Stratford and travelling the world giving concerts. He is back at the top again so his suicide bid in a Moscow hotel room in 1961 seems to come out of the blue. It is claimed that he was given hallucinogens by the CIA to force a mental breakdown. Robeson never fully recovers. Back in America Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and the new civil rights movement fail to acknowledge Robeson’s political legacy, and his singing, although still popular, is no longer fashionable. In 1974 over 3,000 people attend his 75th birthday concert. Paul Robeson is too ill to go but sends a tape saying I’m still the same Paul dedicated to the worldwide cause of humanity for freedom, peace and brotherhood”.  

The Cherry Orchard.The Cherry Orchard. Written by Anton Chekhov and translated by Sasha Dugdale. A new production of Chekhov’s timeless study of a Russian aristocratic family forced to sell their house and beloved cherry orchard during the great social transitions of the 19th century.

More Anton Chekhov on the Anton Chekhov Page.

Chopin - Prince of the RomanticsChopin: Prince of the Romantics. Adam Zamoyski’s biography of the brief but eventful life of the great Romantic composer Frederic Chopin, from Polish child prodigy to Paris dandy, his turbulent relationship with George Sand and his early death, penniless in Paris. The young Chopin arrives in bohemian Paris, capital of the artistic world and home of the Romantic movement. Before long he becomes one of the most celebrated figures in Parisian society, and something of a dandy. But he longs for Poland, realising that it is unlikely he will return to his homeland again.

The White Devil.The White Devil. A new production of John Webster’s classic play of murder and revenge, set in the 1950s. Adapted and directed by Marc Beeby. The wealthy Brachiano conceives a violent passion for the married Vittoria Corombona. Her brother Flamineo, Brachiano’s secretary, plots to bring his sister and his master together, in the hope of advancing his own career. Their plans are impeded by the return to Rome of Isabella – Brachiano’s wife, and sister to the powerful Francisco. Desperate for Vittoria, Brachiano arranges to have both Isabella and Vittoria’s husband murdered. And in so doing makes an implacable enemy of the deadly Francisco… The play was first performed in 1612, but this production sets the action in a murky underworld of the 1950s – a world that seeks to hide its shifting alliances, betrayals and sudden violence beneath a flaky veneer of honour and respectability. 

Final-DemandsFinal Demands. Series of plays by Frederic Raphael reuniting the characters from his novel The Glittering Prizes, which followed the fortunes of scholarship boy Adam Morris and his contemporaries at Cambridge University in the early 1950s. Decades have passed, and we now catch up with Adam and his friends (and enemies) in the days of John Major’s government. Adam is now a successful novelist and screenwriter, and his daughter Rachel is living in California with his old classicist friend Bill Bourne. But Bill is now terminally ill, and Adam faces the prospect of a trip to Los Angeles that will turn out to have some unexpected consequences.

The Idiot. Fyodor Dostoyevsky'sThe Idiot. Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s classic, dramatised in four parts by Melissa Murray. Twenty-seven-year-old Prince Lev Nikolayevich Myshkin returns to Russia after spending several years at a Swiss sanatorium. Scorned by the society of St. Petersburgh for his idiocy, generosity and innocence, he finds himself at the centre of a struggle between a beautiful kept woman and a gorgeous, virtuous girl, both of whom win his affection. Unfortunately, Myshkin’s very goodness seems to precipitate disaster, leaving the impression that, in a world obsessed with money, power, and sexual conquest, a sanatorium may be the only place for a saint.

The Lunar Effect.The Lunar Effect. An interesting series of five stories all marking a full moon. The question is posed: when someone or something steps out of the norm is it a mere coincidence, or is there really a Lunar Effect?

The Cycle. (R) By John Connolly and read by Michelle Gomez. A young woman deals with two tormentors by unexpected means. 
The Boy by the Light Of The Moon. (R) By Vega Powell and read by David Warner. An older Spanish man returns to the Port of Tangier in Morocco, where memories stir of a love affair.
She Often Walked at Night. (R) By Lilian Pizzichini and read by Lucy Cohu. Three friends, adrift in a mysterious European city, congregate one night at cocktail hour in a strange exotic bar.
Scavengers. (R) By Dominic Power and read by Amanda Root. Recently widowed Lottie’s strange encounter with a fox has a life-changing effect. 
The Hiring Fair. (R) By Polly Devlin and read by Frances Tomelty. Strong moonlight forces spark a sequence of events which echo across generations.

Hindenburg.Hindenburg. By Christopher William Hill. Helen Ashbourne, a reclusive English former photographer living in New York, is approached by gallery owner Josh, who hopes to display her collection of photographs taken aboard the airship Hindenburg. But as arrangements for the exhibition progress, suspicions are aroused about her past and exactly what she was doing in Germany in 1937, before she boarded the fated airship.

No And MeNo and Me. By Delphine de Vigan. Lou Bertignac is 13.She has an IQ of 160 and a deep fear of standing in front of the class. At home her father puts a brave face on things but cries in secret in the bathroom, while her mother rarely speaks and hardly ever leaves the house. Lou seeks escape from this silent misery at the Gare d’Austerlitz, where she finds grand emotions in the smiles and tears of arrival and departure. One day her life is changed irrevocably when she encounters No, a girl who lives on the streets of Paris.

No nameNo Name. John Fletcher’s dramatisation of Wilkie Collins’s tale of disguise, deception, and sacrifice. Magdalen and Norah Vanstone’s father is killed in an accident on the way to change his will. Suddenly orphaned, the sisters see their whole inheritance go to their cousin. Norah accepts her fate but Magdalen hatches a desperate plot to get back what is rightfully hers.

The Cairo TrilogyThe Cairo Trilogy. By Naguib Mahfouz. Omar Sharif stars in this generational saga chronicling the life of a middle class, and downwardly mobile, family in an Egypt adjusting to the modern world.

The Playwright And The GrammarianThe Playwright and the Grammarian. Comedy by Marcy Kahan. A playwright and a retired civil servant confront each other over a Radio 4 microphone and go on to transform each other’s lives, to the consternation of their best friends. 

The VeldtThe Veldt. Adapted from the stage play by Mike Walker, based on Ray Bradbury’s classic story. A playroom with special powers draws two children into secret deadly adventures.

Wartime Stories Of Mollie Panter-Downes.Wartime Stories Of Mollie Panter-Downes. (R) Sylvestra Le Touzel reads from the collection of short stories originally published in the New Yorker, based on the poignant experiences of women who remained in Britain during the Second World War. 

Torchwood.Torchwood: Lost Souls. By Joseph Lidster. The Torchwood team go to Geneva, where former time-traveller Martha Jones is now working as a doctor at the world’s biggest physics laboratory, CERN. Deep in an underground tunnel, a giant particle accelerator is about to be activated for the first time. But something strange is happening. Scientists are hearing voices and collapsing with a strange illness. Is something lurking in the tunnel? Do the dead ever really stay dead? 
Torchwood: Asylum. By Anita Sullivan. When PC Andy arrests a teenager for shoplifting, he thinks it’s going to be a routine case. Then he sees the weapon she’s carrying and decides to call in Torchwood. Under questioning from Gwen, the girl remembers her name but little else, and when she speaks it’s in a strange mix of English and Scandinavian but with a Cardiff accent. Then the girl’s blood tests come through and the team is faced with a dilemma. 
Torchwood: Golden Age. By James Goss. On the trail of a dangerous energy field, Torchwood are led to Delhi. As the energy field grows once more, they witness the simultaneous disappearance of hundreds of people. Jack discovers that the field centres on an old colonial mansion – Torchwood India. Shocked to find that Torchwood India is still going strong – he shut it down himself over 80 years ago – he’s even more surprised to find that its members, including his old flame the Duchess, haven’t aged a day. 
Torchwood: The Dead Line. By Phil Ford. When a Cardiff Hospital is inundated with patients who have fallen into coma-like trances, Torchwood move in to investigate. The trances appear to have been triggered by phone calls, all received on retro phones and made from a number that hasn’t been active for over 30 years. Determined to find out who’s been calling the unfortunate victims, Jack rings the mysterious number – two, oh, five, nine – nothing. It’s a dead line. Until, it calls Jack back….. 
Torchwood: The Lost Files.
Torchwood: The Devil and Miss Carew. By Rupert Laight. When Rhys’s elderly Uncle Bryn has a heart attack while listening to the shipping forecast, it seems like another routine death at Ivyday Nursing Home. But when Rhys and Gwen go to collect the old man’s effects, Gwen’s suspicions are roused by another elderly resident. The conversation is cut short, though, by a fire alarm, one of many consequences of the mysterious power cuts that are sweeping the nation. Gwen has a hunch that something is wrong and her search leads her to Miss Carew, a suspiciously fit and strong octogenarian who, despite having supposedly terminal heart disease, has left Ivyday and gone back to work at the Computer firm she used to run. Miss Carew has been offered a deal by Fitzroy, a wandering alien with an aversion to electricity who is looking for a home. It’s a deal that Miss Carew can’t refuse. But the consequences for planet Earth are unthinkable. 
Torchwood: Submission. By Ryan Scott. In Ryan Scott’s episode, Torchwood are chasing aliens down the M4, when Jack accidentally blows a hole in the Severn Bridge, and the SUV hits the water. Whilst submerged John, Gwen and Ianto hear a strange noise, which, back at the Hub they realise is a cry for help. They track the cry to its source which turns out to be the deepest part of the Ocean – the Mariana Trench. Ianto rings old Torchwood flame, Carlie Roberts, who’s an expert in marine geology, and Jack pulls strings with the US government to get them all on board the USS Calvin, an Arleigh Burke class destroyer, which is heading for the Trench. From there they board the Octopus Rock, the only submarine built to withstand the pressure at that depth, and follow the signal. But when the Submarine crashes, the team are left at the mercy of a hungry alien. 
Torchwood: The House Of The Dead. By James Goss. The brewery have called ‘time’ and it’s the last night at The House of the Dead – the most haunted pub in Wales. Barry the barman has invited renowned psychic, Mrs Wintergreen, to hold a special seance to mark the occasion, and there’s a big crowd hoping for the chance of seeing their deceased loved ones for one last time. But when Jack arrives on the scene, he’s determined to stop them. Ianto is puzzled by Jack’s behaviour, and Gwen is suspicious. Why is Jack acting so strangely? Then the ghosts start arriving – and all hell breaks loose. 

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1 thought on “Drama Page 40

  1. renee

    Highly recommend ” I’m Still the Same Paul.” Very interesting bit of history and excellent dramatic renderning. Impressive.


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