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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 9. 1963.

Novels, Theatre Related To Films

Novels, Theatre Related To Films

Last month the Adult Education Council organised a Winter Film School, with J. C. Reid of Auckland University as Senior Tutor and Owen Leeming as Tutor. Salient asked Leeming how the school was run. He gave a brief, informal lecture on contemporary theatre as an example.

Owen Leeming had strong competition from John Reid, who apparently almost becomes part of the lecture desk and produces noteworthy epigrams, like sparks from a flint. Reid's subject was "The Novel In Relation To The English Contemporary Film." Leeming lectured on "The Contemporary English Theatre In Relation To The Film."

The contemporary English theatre, as such, says Leeming, is a situation dating from the first performance of "Look Back In Anger" in 1956. It brought about the renovation of the theatre by young writers and a new appreciation of contemporary writers. It was largely the success of Osborne's play that provided the finance for Woodfall films. This organisation was responsible for most of the better films produced by Britain over the last few years.

This new climate brought about the successful staging of Harold Pinter and an entirely new English phenomenon deriving from a combination of Samuel Becket and television realism. But the point is that the realism of the theatre revolution, as seen in Osborne, Wesker, Shelagh Delany, hasn't coped with the flowing, imaginative fantasy shown by Pinter. John Whiting and. N. F. Simpson.

Important advances have been made in England in the field of design and production. Instead of a genteel drawing-room, furnished with Sheraton antiques, you are liable to sec a great thrusting construction in steel and timber which will suit the purely theatrical nature of the experience it is going to enshrine. "To some extent," says Leeming. "I am drawing on this freedom in my staging of "Lysistrata."

To conclude, Leeming said that the British Theatre was the vanguard of the breakdown of Post-Victorianism in Britain. The publishing of "Lady Chatterley's Lover" was probably indirectly due to the staging of "Look Back In Anger." British television and the cinema have followed in a gradual synchronising of public and private morality and are paving the way towards a liberal and repression-free society—D.F.