Jan 25 2015

A Song At Twilight (Act I)


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A Song At Twilight (Act I), by Noel Coward (Comedy-Drama)

Production 15:
A Song At Twilight (Act I), by Noel Coward (Comedy-Drama)
Starring George Backman, Sylvia Short, Gretchen Evans and Jason Campbell
[Playing Time:46:05]

(A world-famous author’s former lover appears after 20 years. Why?)

Noel Coward (1899-1973), English playwright, composer, lyricist, actor, singer, director, novelist, painter, had no more than a few years’ elementary school education, but by early adulthood was recognized on both sides of the Atlantic as the personification of wit and sophistication. After he enjoyed some moderate success with The Young Idea in 1923, the controversy surrounding his playThe Vortex (1924), which contains many veiled references to drug abuse and homosexuality, made him an overnight sensation on both sides of the Atlantic. There followed three more hits: Hay Fever, Fallen Angels and Easy Virtue. Much of Coward’s best work came in the late 1920s and early 1930s: the operetta Bitter Sweet; Cavalcade; Private Lives; Design for Living; and Tonight at 8:30, a cycle of ten short plays, one of which, Still Life, was expanded into the 1945 film “Brief Encounter.”
He was also a prolific writer of popular songs, including “I’ll See You Again,” “Mad Dogs and Englishmen,” “The Stately Homes of England,” and “(Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage) Mrs.Worthington.”
The ascendence in England in the 1950s of harsh, realistic drama such as John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger saw a sharp decline in Coward’s popularity, but the 1960s witnessed his revival. A Song At Twilight (our current podcast) – one of Coward’s last works – may be thought to be his response to mounting criticism that throughout his career he had avoided addressing his own sexual nature. Coward was knighted in 1970, and died in Jamaica in March 1973 of heart failure.


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