Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Theater History from The Guardian

OK, so I'm not going to get around to writing the second part of my "what could make an audience riot?" post tonight. In the meantime, how about something I discovered when I was writing the first part of the post?

Looking for information about the first production of Playboy of the Western World, I found and linked to an article from The Guardian. Turns out, it was part of a fascinating series of articles. In the mid-2000s, journalist Samantha Ellis had a column called "Curtain Up," describing the opening nights of memorable theatrical productions, drawing upon reviews and eyewitness accounts.

There doesn't seem to be an index for this series on the Guardian website, so I've taken the liberty of making my own, using the Guardian's index of every article that Samantha Ellis has written for them. Here are all the productions that you can read about in the "Curtain Up" column:

Of course it is exciting to read about plays that have gone on to become classics, like Pygmalion or Look Back in Anger, but I also find it interesting to read about plays that are probably too minor and too dated to ever be produced again, but epitomize something about the theater and culture of their era -- like Black Chiffon or Ben-Hur.

I also think it's fascinating how many now-classic plays were flops in their first productions!


Samantha Ellis said...

Thanks for doing this! It feels like years since I wrote these, but it's great that anyone's still reading them. x

Marissa said...

Thank you for your articles and your comment, Samantha! I didn't realize that you were also a playwright -- and I very much enjoyed checking out your blog just now. Best wishes from San Francisco.