By Alan Bennett
A set of 4 Alan Bennett performs, with an advent by way of the writer which describes the history to their writing and function.
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Additional resources for Alan Bennett Plays 1: Forty Years On, Getting On, Habeas Corpus and Enjoy
The producing manager guarantees the theatre owner a weekly minimum that covers all the owner’s 32 Life, politics and theory charges and expenses, but over and above that the owner takes a substantial share of the returns. Thus if the production is a big success, the theatre owner (who has taken no risk) receives a fat slice of the proﬁts. Clearly for the owner this is gambling without losing. . It stands to reason that only desperate men – and the producing manager is a desperate man these days – would accept such monstrous terms.
By the end of the novel, Herncastle has left the theatre to join the army, and so the ﬁrst stage of his right of passage ends, to be replaced by the hardship of war. Underpinning the novel is a desire to narrativise the theatre as a community in and of itself, but also to de-romanticise the processes involved in performance. Through using the pre-war setting, Priestley expresses a critical nostalgia toward the Edwardian period, rather than returning us to an idealised ‘cosy England’ (Baxendale 2001).
In the late 1940s he stated: the economic conditions of theatrical production are appalling, and all the old faults of the English Theatre are strongly in evidence. We are better off because we have created new audiences with a sharp appetite for good drama, and directors, players, and designers are crying out for serious work, and young playwrights by the dozen are dipping or chewing their pens. It is, some of us feel, Now or Never for the English Theatre. (Priestley 1947b: 14) The notion that the theatre was in crisis, that certain sections of the industry should be pulled out of commercial and into some sort of state management, was an echo of debates in the nineteenth century.
Alan Bennett Plays 1: Forty Years On, Getting On, Habeas Corpus and Enjoy by Alan Bennett