IN MEMORIAM: GRAHAM GREENE
'One of the finest writers of any language' - Washington Post
The 3rd April 2016 marks the 25th anniversary of the death of British author, screenwriter and playwright, Graham Greene. Born Henry Graham Greene in 1904 to an eminent English family, he went on to become one of the most popular and acclaimed authors of the 20th century. His most famous works include BRIGHTON ROCK, THE END OF THE AFFAIR, THE QUIET AMERICAN, THE THIRD MAN and TRAVELS WITH MY AUNT. His gift for storytelling saw many of his books adapted into classic films including BRIGHTON ROCK (1947) and THE THIRD MAN (1949). Apart from his novels, Greene was also an accomplished screenwriter who received an Academy Award nomination for his work on Carol Reed's THE FALLEN IDOL. He was awarded Britain's Order of merit in 1986.
The BBC are celebrating his life and work with four new radio adaptations of some of his classic books, including THE HONOURARY CONSUL and THE POWER AND THE GLORY. You can read more about the series here. If you are seeking information with regards to Greene's book/film work please contact David Higham Associates.
Here at ABR we are proud to represent stage adaptations of Greene's work as well as his original plays. This spring sees a brand new musical version of his comic novel TRAVELS WITH MY AUNT, with music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe. Premieres at Chichester Festival Theatre on 18 April directed by Christopher Luscombe. There is also a new tour of Giles Havergal's adaptation of the novel produced by Creative Cow currently showing across the UK. More details here.
Not many people know that he was a playwright as well as an author and screenwriter whose work was produced in London's West End.
THE LIVING ROOM (1953)
Premiered at the Wyndham's Theatre, West End of London
Graham Greene's debut play is a vivid exploration of the tensions between sex and faith and is all set in the living room of a religious household belonging to three elderly siblings: Teresa, Helene and their brother James, a Catholic priest. When their orphaned niece, Rose, comes to live with them she brings with her an atmosphere of abandon as it's revelaed she is having a deperate affair with a married man. Pressured by all sides to give him up, Rose passes from innocence to despair as the house is plunged into a spiritual maelstrom.
THE POTTING SHED (1957)
Premiered at the Bijou Theatre, Broadway, New York
Now a middle-aged man, James Callifer travels back to his family home where his estranged father is dying. His return only fuels his desire to uncover a long-held personal mystery of what happened to him in his family's potting shed when he was a boy. His attempts to unlcok memories of this event are blocked in turn by each of his family members. With the aid of a psychoanalyst, James eventually discovers the truth behind that fateful day and how it led to rejection by his father and alienation from the rest of the world.
The play was revived by the Finborough Theatre in 2011.
THE COMPLAISANT LOVER (1959)
Premiered at the Globe Theatre, West End of London
A light-hearted comedic play about love relationships which centres primarily on the illicit affair between Mary Rhodes and Clive Root, the bookseller friend of her husband, Victor Rhodes. After discovering his wife is having an affair, Victor quietly decides that the best course is to calmly accept the situation and thus he becomes the 'complaisant lover' of the title.
CARVING A STATUE (1964)
Premiered at the Haymarket Theatre, West End of London
A father has used his young son as a model for the baby Jesus in a large divine sculpture which he has been working on for sixteen years. However, his son has now grown into an adolescent. No longer serving his purpose he subsequently finds himself at emotional odds with his increasingly distant and distracted father who is beginning to misidentify himself with the divine image he is attempting to create.
THE RETURN OF A.J. RAFFLES (1975)
Premiered at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre at the Aldywch, London
Greene's Edwardian comedy is based loosely on the characters from E.W. Hornung's THE AMATEUR CRACKSMAN - a collection of short stories which revolve around the gentleman thief, A.J. Raffles. Set in the late summer of 1900, Raffles - presumed dead in the Boer War - plots to rob the Marquess of Queensberry as revenge against the latter's treatment of his friend, Oscar Wilde. He ropes in two friends, Bunny and Lord Alfred Douglas, to help him with his mission. However, everything goes up in smoke when Raffles and Bunny's robbery is interrupted by the Prince of Wales and Inspector Mackenzie who also discover that the Prince's personal letters have been stolen.
YES AND NO (1980)
Premiered at the Haymarket Studio Theatre, Leicester
A short, experimental play recording a conversation between an unnamed Director and an unnamed Actor in which the latter's only lines as he discusses a play script with the Director are the words 'yes' and 'no'.
FOR WHOM THE BELL CHIMES(1980)
Premiered at the Haymarket Studio Theatre, Leicester
A farce set in a one-room studio apartment. Each act begins with the chime of the doorbell and the entrace of a new character into the increasing chaos onstage.
Christopher Timothy & Tuppence Middleton in the promotional image for the revival of THE LIVING ROOM by Primavera Productions at the Jermyn Street Theatre, 2013.
Graham Greene's COLLECTED PLAYS published by Vintage, 2002. It features all of the plays detailed here plus a radio play, THE GREAT JOWETT (1939).