Thursday, September 30, 2004


Terence Rattigan's plays, The Browning Version and Harlequinade, are included in this Book of the Month.

I read The Browning Version (acting edition, published by Samuel French Ltd.) a few days before the conference in London. On September 26 it was an amateur reading of the play. Two of the conference organizers (Richard B. and Adam S.) were at the stage. It was a splendid performance with great acting. [Editor's comment: I wished they had taped it.] After the reading, it was time for Scott McConnell's lecture, The Greatness of Terence Rattigan.

The following paragraph is taken from my notes from the lecture. The text is not a verbatim report of the lecture, but part of the sentences and wording are coming from Scott McConnell's speech. [Editor's comment: I hope Scott McConnell will write an article on Terence Rattigan sometime in the future.]

Terence Rattigan's took an intellectual approach to writing by showing, not telling. He didn't want to "spoon feed" the members of audience with what they should think and feel. Instead, he involves the audience by integrating the characters' soul with the people watching the play. He manages to induce certain emotions in the audience and you get the opportunity to understand your own values. "He makes you think, therefore I feel." Scott McConnell said that the play had twelve conflicts and three climatic points. He picked a couple of scenes (e.g., "The Himmler of the lower fifth" scene with Andrew Crocker-Harris and Peter Gilbert, the crying scene with John Taplow giving A.C-H. a verse translation (The Browning Version) of The Agamemnon, and the last scene with A.C-H and Millie C-H.) from the play, in order to highlight how Rattigan puts thought and emotion together in an integrated way.

I had an interesting conversation with Scott McConnell at the lunch, and he gave me a good suggestion on why I am enjoying the black and white movie version of Terence Rattigan's Winslow Boy. It is interesting to compare the older version with the movie from 1999.

I want to the watch the movie versions (1951 and 1994) of The Browning Version. If you want to read movie reviews, go to David Hayes' site.

Have you read Aeschylus' Agamemnon?

I will post a couple of photos from London, but first I have to figure out how to export the pictures from my camera to my computer by using a gadget called ImageMate CompactFlash USB reader/writer...