The 1978 revival of the play, directed by John Osborne and with Nicol Williamson.
Cast & Crew
|Bill Maitland||Nicol Williamson|
I saw the 1978 revival of the play at the Royal Court Theatre. Nicol Williamson played the lead role in what is nearly a solo performance play and it was directed by John Osborne. Nicol Williamson who had to hold the stage alone for long periods showed what great voice acting really is and how great the talking play is as opposed to performance plays. To show off his talents Nicol William ate a banana on stage: with the risk of choking or gurgling his lines. I have always loved the talking play since then and have little interest in theatrical spectacle. There is no reason why the play would work as film. Its a soliloquy, so not mimetic realist drama. What remains of interest is that line of self-pity presented by John Osborne as current and as a model of failed masculinity, or a masculinity that has lost its purpose. There would seem to be no sympathy for such a person as Bill Maitland now and perhaps there wasn‘t at the time. My favorite line in the play is when Bill dismisses someone’s life style as ’Sunday Times primitive’ and there’s still an obsession with buying into natural culture as seen in the Sunday Times and many many life style magazines and TV programmes. Bill would seem to fail because he can’t take pleasure in what others take pleasure in and he can’t satisfy himself. I don’t really get the title of the play, but perhaps Bill is trying himself. He is a solicitor in the play, so the title also reflects that. The play can be enjoyed for the performance or rejected as a bad play that spends too much time with a miserable and failed man. The performance it what carried the play for me.
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