012 – Footnotes 1
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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I’m joined by Shaw expert Ivan Wise, who is a previous editor of The Shavian, the journal of the Shaw Society.
C.P. Taylor’s powerful, cautionary play Good charts how an ostensibly ‘good’ person can become not just complicit to evil behaviour, but an active participant. Professor John Halder’s creeping moral compromise as he joins the Nazi elite in 1930’s Germany is a disturbing reminder of the dangers of populist political crusades.
The play is currently being revived at the Harold Pinter theatre in London with David Tennant in the role of John Halder, and I’m delighted to be joined by the production’s director, Dominic Cooke, to explore the contemporary resonances of this provocative play.
Frank Wedekind’s dark, expressionist play Spring Awakening is a cautionary portrait of adolescent angst and rebellion against oppressive social strictures and family pressures. Its frank depiction of sex and violence remains shocking more than 130 years after it was written, and it is the unlikely source of the award-winning modern musical of the same name.
I’m delighted to be joined by Professor Karen Leeder to explore the contemporary controversies and enduring relevance of this extraordinary play.