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Harley Granville Barker

This tag is associated with 4 posts

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

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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

‘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

Programming ‘The Edwardians’, part 1

In the past two years my colleague Amanda Wrigley and I have curated two ‘Classics on TV’ seasons of screenings at BFI Southbank, Greek tragedy on the small screen (June 2012) and Jacobean tragedy on the small screen (March-April 2013). I am delighted to say that Screen Plays has been asked to programme a third such season, which is to be The Edwardians at some point next spring. As before, the season will comprise six screenings including a panel discussion, and we hope also to organise a complementary half-day symposium at the University of Westminster. The final selection of the season has to be made over Christmas with the booklet copy ready by the end of January. I am just now in the final stages of thinking about which television productions to show, and why, and I thought it might be interesting to post about the process. I would also really welcome any suggestions or reactions to the choices I muse about here. Continue reading