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J.M. Synge

This tag is associated with 4 posts

More Synge on the small screen

Following on from my last blog post on the 1960 BBC production of J. M. Synge’s Riders to the Sea which was originally broadcast in a schools television strand and later that year repeated one evening for an adult audience, I offer a brief survey of other plays by Synge which are known to have been produced on British television, including two more schools productions. This survey takes us from three of Synge’s works which were produced by Dubliner Fred O’Donovan in the decade from 1938 up to the 1985 BBC production of The Playboy of the West Indies, Mustapha Matura’s re-working of Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World in a 1950s Trinidadian setting. Continue reading

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The Edwardians: J. M. Synge’s Riders to the Sea (BBC, 1960)

‘Edwardian Drama on the Small Screen’, our third ‘Classics on TV’ season at BFI Southbank, opens on Thursday with a spectacular double bill. Following the sumptuous 1969 BBC production of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, directed by Rudolph Cartier, is the 28-minute production of the one-act play Riders to the Sea by the Irish playwright John Millington Synge (1871-1909). Produced by the BBC for broadcast to schools in 1960, Riders to the Sea has much to recommend it: the production was, in fact, considered to be such a powerful presentation of the drama that it was repeated some months later in an evening slot of 9.30pm with the clear intention of reaching a larger adult audience. This powerful tragedy is set in a sparse set, reflecting the harshness of the environment on the Aran Islands, with the sound of the life-taking sea-waves dominating the soundscape. Dame Sybil Thorndike plays the role of old Maurya who has lost her husband and all of her six sons to the sea, and – with the death of the last – reaches a kind of peace. Sean Connery makes an appearance as her son Bartley, and her daughters Cathleen and Nora are played by Olive McFarland and Jan Kenny respectively. But do come and see for yourself on Thursday at the BFI! 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

Emitron camera at Alexandra Palace