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Edwardian drama

This tag is associated with 8 posts

The Edwardians: Performance: The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd (BBC, 1995)

The final presentation in the BFI Southbank Screen Plays season ‘Classics on TV: Edwardian Drama on the Small Screen’ is tonight’s screening of a 1995 production of D. H. Lawrence’s play The Widowing of Mrs Holroyd. It might be thought eccentric to include this in a selection of Edwardian plays. Yet given our interpretation of the Edwardian era as stretching until the start of the First World War, and also given a desire not to restrict the choices simply to society tales and examples of the ‘New Drama’, then there is a strong case for the inclusion of Lawrence’s largely naturalistic play. Continue reading

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‘Edwardian Drama on the small screen’: notes from the symposium

On Friday afternoon Dr Amanda Wrigley and I hosted a small symposium at BFI Southbank to complement our screening season ‘Edwardian Drama on the Small Screen’. We were delighted with the stimulating discussion and we are very grateful to both our speakers and to those who contributed with questions and responses. This post is a brief note about the event with one or two reflections on what I took away from it. Continue reading

The Edwardians: Strife (BBC, 1988)

John Galsworthy’s Strife in a 1988 BBC television production directed by Michael Darlow was the fifth presentation in the Screen Plays BFI Southbank season ‘Classics on TV: Edwardian Drama on the Small Screen’. First performed in March 1909, Strife concerns the clash towards the end of an unofficial strike between management and workers at a tin-plate works. But as many critics have pointed out, the play is less about politics than about the human clash between Roberts, the leader of the men (played in this 1988 television production by Timothy West) and Anthony, the Board Chairman (Peter Vaughan). Continue reading

The Edwardians: Play of the Month: Waste (BBC, 1977)

The centenary in 1977 of Harley Granville Barker’s birth was marked by a revival of the playwright’s The Madras House, directed by William Gaskill for the National Theatre, and by Don Taylor’s remarkable BBC television presentation of Waste. The two productions demonstrated how finely-crafted are Barker’s major dramas, how powerful a playwright he is, and how pertinent and relevant is his social analysis. As the next presentation in the Screen Plays BFI Southbank season ‘Classics on the Small Screen: Edwardian Drama on Television’, Waste is screened on Tuesday 20 May 2014. The production has never been released on DVD and this is a rare chance to catch a truly powerful studio production. Continue reading

The Edwardians: Play of the Month: The Voysey Inheritance (BBC, 1979)

Thirty-five years ago, critic Michael Billington observed that ‘an amazing transformation’ had recently taken place in the reputation of the dramatist Harley Granville Barker. He had been, Billington observed, ‘rescued from near obscurity and shown to be one of the major British playwrights of the twentieth century.’ There had been a much-lauded production of The Madras House at the National Theatre two years before, in 1977. That same year the BBC demonstrated that Waste remained a startling and powerful play, and now Michael Billington could celebrate the mounting of The Voysey Inheritance in the Play of the Month strand, with Jeremy Irons in the lead. On Thursday 15 May The Voysey Inheritance is being screened at BFI Southbank as part of the Screen Plays season ‘Classics on TV: Edwardian Drama on the Small Screen’. And on the following Tuesday that 1977 presentation of Waste, directed by Don Taylor, is in the programme. The pairing is a unique opportunity to appreciate the two greatest plays by a writer whose standing is if anything even higher now than back in 1979. Continue reading

The Edwardians: Theatre Night: The Devil’s Disciple (BBC, 1987)

Our next screening in this month’s ‘Classics on TV: Edwardian Drama on the Small Screen’ season at BFI Southbank is David Jones’ 1987 BBC production of Bernard Shaw’s play The Devil’s Disciple. Shaw described the play as a ‘melodrama’ but as played here it is a delightful comic costume drama. Continue reading

The Edwardians: Play of the Month: An Ideal Husband (BBC1, 1969)

This Thursday, 1 May, sees the start of our new season of BFI Southbank screenings, Classics on TV: Edwardian Drama on the Small Screen. We begin with a tremendous double bill of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband in a sumptuous 1969 version directed by Rudolph Cartier together with a – dare I say unmissable – rarity from 1960: a BBC schools production of J. M. Synge’s Riders to the Sea with Sybil Thorndike and Sean Connery. My colleague Amanda Wrigley is composing a post about Synge’s one-act poetic drama; this contribution is simply an introduction to the Wilde. Continue reading

‘Classics on TV: Edwardian Drama on the Small Screen’, a BFI Southbank season + Screen Plays symposium, May 2014

Following on from our successful ‘Classics on TV’ seasons ‘Greek Tragedy on the Small Screen’ (June 2012) and ‘Jacobean Tragedy on the Small Screen’ (March-April 2013), Screen Plays is delighted once again to be working with BFI Southbank. In May ‘Edwardian Drama on the Small Screen’ will present six programmes of television productions of plays written between the 1890s and the First World War. Curated by John Wyver, the season includes notable productions of plays by Oscar Wilde, Harley Granville-Barker, George Bernard Shaw, John Galsworthy, J. M. Synge and D. H. Lawrence. Continue reading

Emitron camera at Alexandra Palace