"This stimulating survey of the achievements and failures of modern British theatre takes as its starting point the London premiere of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot in 1955. Ronald Hayman, himself an experienced director as well as author of many books on modern drama, discusses not only the text of the plays but also the new relationships within the theatre between actors, audience, directors, and playwrights; new ways of using theatrical space; the introduction of improvisation; and the use of theatre as a means of political persuasion. Developments in Britain are compared with those in France, Germany, and the U.S.A., and both established and avant-garde playwrights and directors are considered.
Among those discussed in some detail are: Harold Pinter, John Osborne, Joe Orton, Tom Stopparti, Arnold Wesker, Edward Bond, Robert Bolt, John Mortimer, Peter Shaffer, David Storey, David Mercer, Alan Ayckbourn, Christopher Hampton, Heathcote Williams, David Hare, John Arden, Howard Brenton, Stephen Poliakoff, Joan Littlewood, and Peter Brook. A unique feature of this book is a year-by-year chronology listing the major productions and other theatrical events from 1955 to 1978. There is also a useful Select Bibliography."
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