Exploring the greatest new and classic plays

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Mark Taylor-Batty

Mark Taylor-Batty

Mark Taylor-Batty

Mark Taylor-Batty is a senior lecturer in Theatre Studies at Leeds University. His key areas of interest include the career of Harold Pinter, the theatricality of Samuel Beckett, and twentieth-century French and British theatre.

He is a co-editor of the Methuen Drama Engage series of books, and most appropriately for our purposes he is the author of two books on Harold Pinter: The Theatre of Harold Pinter (published by Bloomsbury) and About Pinter: The Playwright and The Work (published by Faber and Faber).

He is also a Director of the Harold Pinter Society.

Recommended Play(s)

Mark recommended ear for eye by debbie tucker green.

 

 

 

006 – Betrayal, by Harold Pinter

006 – Betrayal, by Harold Pinter

006 – Betrayal, by Harold Pinter

Pinter’s modern classic dissects the dynamics of betrayal in marriage, friendship and work. The ambiguities of the adulterous affair that is the core of the play are made all the more unsettling by the innovative chronology of the narrative: the play famously opens with the end of the affair and works backwards to its inception.

Joining us to mine the depths of Pinter’s compressed masterpiece is Mark Taylor-Batty, senior lecturer in Theatre Studies at the University of Leeds and author of The Theatre of Harold Pinter (Bloomsbury 2014).

Dr. Mark Taylor-Batty

Mark is a senior lecturer in Theatre Studies at Leeds University. His key areas of interest include the career of Harold Pinter, the theatricality of Samuel Beckett, and twentieth-century French and British theatre. He is a co-editor of the Methuen Drama Engage series of books, and most appropriately for our purposes he is the author of two books on Harold Pinter: The Theatre of Harold Pinter (published by Bloomsbury) and About Pinter: The Playwright and The Work (published by Faber and Faber). He is also a Director of the Harold Pinter Society.

Recommended Play

Mark recommended ear for eye by debbie tucker green.

Photo © Marc Brenner

We have footnotes for this episode …

The footnotes to accompany our episode on Betrayal include observations on Joan Bakewell’s version of their affair, why the island of Torcello is the perfect choice for their honeymoon visit, and the society of the 1970s the play is set in.​

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You might also be interested in …

057 – Arms and the Man, by George Bernard Shaw

057 – Arms and the Man, by George Bernard Shaw

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.

056 – Good, by C.P. Taylor

056 – Good, by C.P. Taylor

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.

055 – Spring Awakening, by Frank Wedekind

055 – Spring Awakening, by Frank Wedekind

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.