Saturday, December 04, 2004

History lessons

Why are British theatres neglecting the past, asks Michael Billington in The Guardian.
We have been taught, by a series of dreary, knee-jerk textbooks, that virtually nothing happened in British drama between 1945 and 1956. In fact, there were plays like John Whiting's Saint's Day, lately revived, that foresaw violent social disintegration. There were also intriguing post-war works on private dilemmas and our sexual hypocrisies: not least Emlyn Williams's Accolade, dealing with the double life of a famous writer who, on the eve of being knighted, is discovered to have had sex with a 14-year-old girl. And, at a time when the issue of whether Alexander the Great was gay is back in the news, it might be worth a second look at Terence Rattigan's Adventure Story, which drops heavy hints as to its Grecian hero's bisexuality.

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