Exploring the greatest new and classic plays


012 – Footnotes 1

Sep 3, 2020 | Podcast Episodes | 0 comments

This episode is a selection of the Footnotes that we’ve compiled during the research and conversations that we’ve had so far on the podcast. It is a recorded smorgasbord of fragments, with titbits of information in the best tradition of footnotes, as well as additional observations of my own on each play. So if you’re interested in:

  • How many copies of A Doll’s House were sold when it was first published
  • Who Tennessee Williams chose as his favourite writer(s)
  • What Samuel Beckett thought of the Lord Chamberlain
  • Why lipstick is important to the mothers of Aberfan
  • Where Shakespeare’s real life inspiration for The Tempest came from
  • The significance of the island of Torcello to Robert and Emma in Pinter’s Betrayal
  • How an Icelandic volcano lay behind Duncan Macmillan’s meditations about climate change in Lungs
  • Why Peggy Ashcroft felt naked as Hester Collyer in The Deep Blue Sea
  • How going to work on an egg might turn you into a footballer rather than a famous cook
  • What the “beholders’ share” is, or
  • Where the “pesto triangle” is

among many other trivial and profound footnotes, join me for our ragbag review of the plays that we’ve talked about over the past eleven episodes.

PS You are of course also welcome to read the full set of Footnotes for each episode here on the website.


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071 – Clyde’s, by Lynn Nottage

071 – Clyde’s, by Lynn Nottage

Published 4th December

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Lynn Nottage has won the Pulitzer Prize for drama twice, and as we record this episode the European preview of Clyde’s is on stage at the Donmar Warehouse in London. I am delighted to be joined by the show’s director Lynette Linton, who also directed Nottage’s last play Sweat at the same theatre in 2018.

070 – King Lear, by William Shakespeare

070 – King Lear, by William Shakespeare

The poet Percy Shelley called King Lear “the most perfect specimen of the dramatic art existing in the world”. It is a prodigious play in every sense. There are ten major roles, it has multiple significant plot lines, an elemental stormy setting, intense domestic conflict, and acts of war and violence which roll on with a propulsive tragic energy and conjure a challenging philosophical vision.

As we record this episode a new production directed by and starring Sir Kenneth Branagh arrives in London’s West End.

I am very pleased to be joined in this episode by Paul Prescott, who is an academic, writer and theatre practitioner specialising in Shakespearean drama.

069 – A View from the Bridge, by Arthur Miller

069 – A View from the Bridge, by Arthur Miller

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As we record this episode a new production of A View from the Bridge is touring the UK, and I’m delighted to talk with its director, Holly Race Roughan, about this powerful play.