032 – Footnotes Volume 3
Published 26th August
This episode is a recorded collection of the recent Footnotes that we’ve published here on the website. During the course of my researches and conversations with my guests there is all sorts of material that fails to reach the final podcasts, either because we simply didn’t have time to talk about it during the recording, or it was too trivial or too much of a digression to fit into the flow of our conversation. I felt after our very first episode that it would be a shame to leave these facts and observations on the cutting room floor, so I started publishing these Footnotes on the website to accompany each episode.
This 3rd volume of Footnotes covers episodes 24-31. It’s a smorgasbord of titbits of information and observations on specific elements of the plays. Examples in this episode include:
- How lessons from Greek Tragedy could have been learned in Nina Raine’s play about sexual aggression, Consent.
- Why the men of Athens were especially fearful of Medea.
- Why the Harlequins are always hungry in A Servant to Two Masters and One Man Two Guvnors.
- The meaning of the anagram of Garry Essendine’s name in Present Laughter
- The religious power of Bob Dylan’s music in Conor McPherson’s Girl from the North Country
- What is the connection between Henrik Ibsen’s play Ghosts and Sheila Delaney’s 1958 sensation A Taste of Honey.
- Filming Caryl Churchill’s prophetic play Escaped Alone during lockdown
- Samuel Beckett as an installation artist
And much more… A compendium of dramatic intelligence befitting the best kind of Footnote.
G.B. Shaw’s Arms and the Man is both a sparkling romantic comedy and a telling satire of love, war and social pretension. It was Shaw’s first public success as a playwright when it premiered in London in 1894, and is currently enjoying an acclaimed revival at the Orange Tree theatre in Richmond, Surrey.
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.