In His Own Write

The National Theatre’s stage version of John Lennon’s book In His Own Write, directed by Victor Spinetti, had its début at the Old Vic Theatre on London’s Waterloo Road.

The play was the idea of dramatist Adrienne Kennedy, who co-wrote it with Spinetti. They based it on Lennon’s first book and the follow-up, A Spaniard In The Works. It featured a character, Me, played by Ronald Pickup, whose thoughts and ideas were followed throughout the play.

Lennon’s arrival with Yoko Ono caused much fuss among the journalists and reporters present. Although the pair had first appeared in public some weeks earlier, the news of Lennon’s marriage ending was still largely unknown.

The press hostility towards Ono can perhaps be traced to this day. Several reporters called out, “Where’s your wife, Mr Lennon?” His only reply to them was “I don’t know.”

During its run at the Old Vic, In HIs Own Write followed two other one-act plays to form a triple bill. The others, neither of which was connected to Lennon, were A Covent Garden Tragedy and An Unwarranted Intrusion.

Also at the play were George and Pattie Harrison, and Ringo Starr and his wife Maureen. Paul McCartney was absent, choosing instead to attend the opening of another play, starring his fiancée Jane Asher.

Cast & Crew

Cast

Actor 1 et al
Aunt
Conspirator et al
Dad
Elepoon Pill et al
Floor manager et al
Flying Docker et al
Me
Mum
Otumba et al
Otumbad et al
Teacher et al
TV camera et al
TV storyteller et al
Uncle

Crew

Adapter
Assistant director
Assistant stage manager
Designer
Director and adapter
Lighting designer
Photographer
Sound
Sound
Sound
Stage Manager

Photographs

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Play description

‘In His Own Write’ is a book by John Lennon first published on 23 March 1964. It consists of short stories and poems, and line drawings, often surreal and always nonsensical. The book was the first solo project by one of the members of The Beatles in any creative medium. It was followed in 1965 by ‘A Spaniard in the Works’.

The book was also transformed into a play, co-authored with Victor Spinetti, who directed, at the National Theatre, premiering on 18 June 1968, at the Old Vic. Spinetti and Lennon appeared together in June 1968 on BBC2’s Release. During the interview, Spinetti said of the play, “it’s not really John’s childhood, it’s all of ours really, isn’t it John?” John Lennon, assuming a camp voice answered “It is, we’re all one Victor, we’re all one aren’t we. I mean ‘what’s going on?’.” Spinetti said the play “is about the growing up of any of us; the things that helped us to be more aware.”

Observations

  1. On 6th June 2010 at 1:17 p.m., Richard Mangan noted:

    This was the final part of a Triple Bill, preceded by THE COVENT GARDEN TRAGEDY and A MOST UNWARRANTABLE INTRUSION. It is a revised version of SCENE THREE ACT ONE first performed as a Sunday night production by the National Theatre at the Old Vic on December 3rd 1967.

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