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John Osborne

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  1. John Osborne Look Back in Anger

  2. John Osborne: biography • Born on December 12, 1929, in London, John Osborne would eventually change the face of British theatre. • His father, an advertising copywriter, died in 1941, leaving Osborne an insurance settlement which he used to finance a boarding school education at Belmont College in Devon. • Still heartbroken, however, over his father's death, Osborne could not focus on his studies and left after striking the headmaster.

  3. John Osborne: biography • He returned to London and lived briefly with his mother, a barmaid. He became involved in the theatre when he took a job tutoring a touring company of young actors. • Osborne went on to serve as actor-manager for a string of repertory companies and soon decided to try his hand at playwriting. • When George Devine placed a notice in TheStage in 1956, Osborne decided to submit one of his plays, Look Back in Anger.

  4. John Osborne: biography • Not only was his play produced, but it is considered by many critics to be the turning point in postwar British theatre. • Osborne's protagonist, Jimmy Porter, captured the angry and rebellious nature of the postwar generation, a dispossessed lot who were clearly unhappy with things as they were in the decades following World War II. • Jimmy Porter came to represent an entire generation of "angry young men.”

  5. John Osborne: biography • In his next play, The Entertainers (1957), Osborne continued to examine the state of the country, this time using three generations of a family of entertainers to symbolize the decline of England after the war. • Laurence Olivier played Archie Rice, a struggling comedian, and the role resulted in one of his most famous performances. • An experimental piece, The Entertainer alternated realistic scenes with Vaudeville performances, and most critics agreed that it was an appropriate follow-up to the wild success of Look Back in Anger.

  6. John Osborne: biography • After this, the quality of Osborne's output became erratic. • Although he produced a number of hits including Luthor (1961), a play about the leader of the Reformation, and Inadmissible Evidence (1965), the study of a frustrated solicitor at a law firm, he also produced a string of unimportant works. • Critics began to accuse him of not fulfilling his early potential, and audiences no longer seemed effected by Osborne's rage. • Recognizing this, Osborne described himself in his last play as "a churling, grating note, a spokesman for no onebut myself, with deadening effect, cruelly abusive, unable to be coherent about my despair.”

  7. John Osborne: biography • Osborne died as a result of complications from Diabetes on December 24, 1994, in Shropshire, England. • He left behind a large body of works for the stage as well as several autobiographical works. • Several of his plays were also adapted for film including Look Back in Anger and The Entertainer. • In 1963, Osborne won an Academy Award for his screenplay for Tom Jones.

  8. Tony Palmer: John Osborne - The Gift of Friendship •

  9. Look back in anger • LOOK BACK IN ANGER tells the simple but gripping story of Jimmy Porter, an angry young man with a college education and a dead-end job. • Feeling trapped by his circumstances, his squalid post-war flat, and spurred on by self-pity, Porter lashes out against his wife, Allison, his lover, Helena, and his business partner, Cliff. • Fierce, compassionate, funny, and ultimately cathartic, John Osborne’s classic “kitchen sink” drama, is a masterpiece of ensemble acting.

  10. Scenes from the play • • part 1 • Part 2 • Part 6 • This play has passionate and emotional scenes, making it an interesting starting point for the discussion of personal relationships and marriage. • The films of the play are also interesting, since they show England just after World War II – a place of devastation and no hope for the future.