• 2,99 €

Publisher Description

The letter published below gives a vivid personal view of the well-known American actor-director Alfred Lunt and his British-born wife, Lynn Fontanne, in Robert E. Sherwood's anti-fascist drama There Shall be no Night, at the Aldwych Theatre, London, on New Year's Eve 1943. Set in pre-war Helsinki when Lunt first directed it in New York in 1940, the play was originally a response to the Russian invasion of Finland but was updated to a Greek setting after the Italian and German assault on Greece (1940-41). It won a Pulitzer Prize in May 1941 and the Lunts brought it to London in 1943, opening on 15 December. The writer of the letter was Anthony Rawlins, a young 'hostilities-only' army officer from South Petherton, Somerset, who was educated at Sherborne and, on the outbreak of war in 1939, deferred entrance to Oxford University to join up. He was too young, so for fourteen months taught French and English as a junior master at Streete Court boys' preparatory school, which had evacuated from Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, to Barrington Court, a 16th-century house near South Petherton owned by the Lyle sugar family (and now National Trust). He turned nineteen on Monday 13 October 1941 and on the 20th volunteered at Taunton for the Royal Armoured Corps, beginning training at Bovington, Dorset, in December. Later, at Barnard Castle, Durham, he met the equally young actor Terence Alexander, then also called up out of John Gielgud's company as explained in the letter.

Arts & Entertainment
1 February
The Society for Theatre Research

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