Howard Brenton : a critical study of the plays
The subject of this thesis is the plays of Howard Brenton, published and unpublished, from 1965 to 1973. The period is identified as the writer's "apprenticeship". An Introduction provides a short biography of the writer's early life and accounts of his first, now suppressed, works for the stage. Chapter One examines his involvement with the Fringe theatre of the late nineteen-sixties. The short plays produced for the Brighton Combination and Bradford University are considered in the light of how style and form evolved largely out of practical circumstances. Chapter Two describes the impact of contemporary political unrest on Brenton's attitude to his work. The plays Revenge and Christie in Love are discussed with reference to their . - production by the Royal Court Theatre and by Portable Theatre, which are identified as key agencies in furthering the writer's career. Chapter Three deals with more Fringe work, charting the playwright's growing doubts about the efficacy of such work, and his increasing assimilation of new political thought. In Chapter Four, Brenton's increasing desire to write for the bigger stages and audiences of the established theatre is discussed. The chapter concentrates heavily though by no means exclusively on Hitler Dances as both a summary of the Fringe work and the progenitor of the later, full-scale, "epic" plays. Chapter Five is concerned with Magnificence as the first of those plays and the first to be produced on the main stage of a mainstream London theatre. Particular reference is made to its troubled production history.