Dan Rebellato

Dan Rebellato

Dan Rebellato

Dan Rebellato is a playwright, journalist and Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has written no fewer than 17 stage plays and numerous radio plays, as well as published several books on contemporary British theatre.

He is the editor of the series of Terence Rattigan’s plays for specialist drama publisher Nick Hern, in which capacity he has written introductions to Rattigan and all of his texts, as well as published and spoken about his work in many other contexts.

In February 2020 Dan devised and hosted a day-long symposium entitled Re-Imagining Nora, to coincide with a new production of A Doll’s House at the Young Vic theatre in London.

During the first coronavirus lockdown Dan created a series of YouTube interviews with a stellar line-up of playwrights under the heading Playwrights in Lockdown. The series is a wonderful repository of knowledge and insight into the methods and work of many of the leading writers of our time.

Visit Dan’s website here

Recommended Play(s)

In episode 1 Dan recommended any play by Caryl Churchill, especially Far Away.
In episode 8 Dan recommended The Winslow Boy by Terence Rattigan.

 

 

 

008 – The Deep Blue Sea, by Terence Rattigan

008 – The Deep Blue Sea, by Terence Rattigan

008 – The Deep Blue Sea, by Terence Rattigan

“When you’re between any kind of devil and the deep blue sea, the deep blue sea sometimes looks very inviting.”

So Hester Collyer describes the despair that led her to attempt suicide at the opening of Terence Rattigan’s masterpiece The Deep Blue Sea.

When it was first performed in 1952, Rattigan was the most successful playwright in Britain, and his latest play was met with critical aclaim. However later in the 1950s and 1960s with the rise of playwrights such as Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, and the angry young men, including John Osborne, and Arnold Wesker, Rattigan’s plays were all but written off as dated melodrama. It was a modern production of The Deep Blue Sea at the Almeida theatre in London in 1993, with Penelope Wilton in the lead role, that brought a new lens through which to view Rattigan, and the play was greeted as a “modern classic”.

Rattigan’s portrait of a doomed love affair explores the force of sexual love and its power to destroy relationships and subvert social convention, and in the figure of Hester Collyer gives us one of the most emotionally charged female characters in drama.

To coincide with the National Theatre at Home broadcast of their 2016 production of the play starring Helen McCrory in the lead role, we delve deep into what is arguably Rattigan’s most personal and most devastatingly powerful play in conversation with Dan Rebellato.

Dan Rebellato

Dan was our very first guest on The Play Podcast, when we talked together about Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House back in episode 1.
In addition to being a playwright, journalist and Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London, Dan is also the series editor of Terence Rattigan’s plays for the specialist drama publisher Nick Hern, in which capacity he has written introductions to Rattigan and all of his texts, as well as published and spoken about his work in many other contexts.

At last count Dan has written 17 stage plays, numerous radio plays, and published several books on contemporary British theatre. During the recent coronavirus lockdown Dan has taken the opportunity to create a series of YouTube interviews with a stellar line-up of playwrights under the heading Playwrights in Lockdown. The series is a wonderful repository of knowledge and insight into the methods and work of many of the leading writers of our time.

Recommended Play

Dan recommended The Winslow Boy by Terence Rattigan.

 

The Texts

If you are interested in buying the play text or other related books, we’d be delighted if you choose to purchase them by following the links below. We will earn a small commission on every book you purchase, which helps to keep the podcast going. You will also be supporting an independent bookseller. Thank you.

Photo © Marc Brenner

We have footnotes for this episode …

More observations on The Deep Blue Sea following our conversation with Dan, including playing Hester with “no clothes on”, trading Shakespearean quotes on Love and Lust, the unimportance of “the physical side, objectively speaking”, and the whereabouts of a shilling coin.

You might also be interested in …

048 – Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare

048 – Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare

Much Ado About Nothing is rightly renowned for the “merry war” of wits between the reluctant lovers Beatrice and Benedick, but alongside their brilliant partnership, there is also a darker story of misogyny and betrayal that gives the play a more complex and challenging character. Lucy Bailey, director of the joyous production currently running at the Globe Theatre in London joins me to review this romantic rollercoaster.

047 – Middle, by David Eldridge

047 – Middle, by David Eldridge

David Eldridge’s new play Middle, now playing at the National Theatre, follows on from his 2017 play Beginning. It is the second in what will be a “triptych for the theatre”, capturing epochal moments in couples’ relationships. I’m delighted to welcome David back to talk about the important dramatic trilogy he is building.

046 – All My Sons, by Arthur Miller

046 – All My Sons, by Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller’s breakthrough play All My Sons is both a searing family tragedy and an exploration of the moral challenges that Miller believed were inherent in the American Dream. Douglas Rintoul has recently directed a wonderful production of this devastating play at the Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch.

001 – A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen

001 – A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen

Show notes

Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House remains one the most popularly produced and adapted plays in theatrical history. What is it about a play that was written more than 140 years ago that continues to inspire and challenge contemporary playwrights and audiences? The character of Nora is an iconic figure: her decision to leave her husband and three children remains a controversial act of female agency. To explore the enduring relevance of this classic play, we are joined by Dan Rebellato, playwright and Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London. The episode coincides with a radical new adaptation of the play by Stef Smith that played at the Young Vic theatre in London.

Dan Rebellato

Dan Rebellato is a playwright, journalist and Professor of Contemporary Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has written 17 stage plays and numerous radio plays, published several books on contemporary British theatre, as well as edited the Nick Hern series of Terence Rattigan’s plays.

In February 2020 Dan devised and hosted a day-long symposium entitled Re-Imagining Nora, to coincide with a new production of A Doll’s House at the Young Vic theatre in London. As the title suggests, the symposium examined the enduring interest in our reviving and adapting Ibsen’s great play.

Visit Dan’s website here

Recommended Play

Dan recommended any Caryl Churchill play, especially Far Away.

The Texts

If you are interested in buying the play text or other related books, we’d be delighted if you choose to purchase them by following the links below. We will earn a small commission on every book you purchase, which helps to keep the podcast going. You will also be supporting an independent bookseller. Thank you.

Photo © Marc Brenner

We have footnotes for this episode …

These footnotes are a follow-up to our live discussion in episode one of the podcast, including a selection of points from my researches that we didn’t happen to include, as well as follow-up on any facts and questions that came up during our conversation with Dan.

You might also be interested in …

048 – Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare

048 – Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare

Much Ado About Nothing is rightly renowned for the “merry war” of wits between the reluctant lovers Beatrice and Benedick, but alongside their brilliant partnership, there is also a darker story of misogyny and betrayal that gives the play a more complex and challenging character. Lucy Bailey, director of the joyous production currently running at the Globe Theatre in London joins me to review this romantic rollercoaster.

047 – Middle, by David Eldridge

047 – Middle, by David Eldridge

David Eldridge’s new play Middle, now playing at the National Theatre, follows on from his 2017 play Beginning. It is the second in what will be a “triptych for the theatre”, capturing epochal moments in couples’ relationships. I’m delighted to welcome David back to talk about the important dramatic trilogy he is building.

046 – All My Sons, by Arthur Miller

046 – All My Sons, by Arthur Miller

Arthur Miller’s breakthrough play All My Sons is both a searing family tragedy and an exploration of the moral challenges that Miller believed were inherent in the American Dream. Douglas Rintoul has recently directed a wonderful production of this devastating play at the Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch.