John Osborne and Anthony Creighton's PERSONAL ENEMY Makes US Premiere
59E59 Theaters (Elysabeth Kleinhans, Artistic Director; Peter Tear, Executive Producer) is thrilled to host the US premiere of John Osborne and Anthony Creighton's recently rediscovered play PERSONAL ENEMY, at the 2010 Brits Off Broadway festival. Directed by David Aula, PERSONAL ENEMY comes to NY from FallOut Theatre, who premiered the play at London's acclaimEd White Bear Theatre. PERSONAL ENEMY begins performances on Thursday, November 4 for a limited engagement through Sunday, November 28. Press opening is Wednesday, November 10 at 7:15 PM. The performance schedule is Tuesday & Wednesday at 7:15 PM; Thursday & Friday at 8:15 PM; Saturday at 2:15 PM & 8:15 PM; and Sunday at 2:15 PM & 7:15 PM. Please note, there is no performance on Thanksgiving (Thursday, November 25). Tickets are $35 ($24.50 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or go to www.59e59.org. For more information, visit www.britsoffbroadway.com.
John Osborne and Anthony Creighton's lost play from 1953 is a vivid depiction of the political and sexual paranoia that gripped America during the height of McCarthyism, when the public enemy suddenly became a lot more personal.
Osborne himself believed PERSONAL ENEMY was destroyed, but the play was uncovered in 2008 in the Lord Chamberlain's archives (the man charged with censoring all plays in Britain until 1968) in the British Library, along with another "lost play" of Osborne's The Devil Inside Him. Oberon published both plays in 2009, and the book includes a foreword by playwright Peter Nichols, represented at Brits Off Broadway 2010 with LINGUA FRANCA. Nichols and Osborne appeared onstage together in 1953, and were both part of Britain's "new wave" of writers from that time period.
A heavily censored version of PERSONAL ENEMY was originally produced in 1955 at the Opera House in Harrogate to mixed critical reception. Jamie Andrews, head of Modern Literary Manuscripts at the British Library, explains "(Lord Chamberlain's) furious excisions of pages of text both contributed to the play's initial failure, and-paradoxically-ensured its survival (the only copy of the text was preserved in Lord Chamberlain's own archive, now in the British Library)." The FallOut Theatre production marks the first time PERSONAL ENEMY appears onstage uncensored, the way Osborne and Creighton had intended.
The design team features production design by Anna Hourriere; lighting design by James Baggaley; costume design by Namiko Mitoma; and sound design by Edward Lewis.
David Aula (director) was educated at Cambridge University. His directing credits include: Mummies and Daddies (White Bear Theatre, FallOut); Something/Nothing (The Colour House Theatre, Black and White Rainbow); An Oak Tree (ADC Theatre, FallOut); Three Sisters (ADC Theatre, ADC); Hamlet (European Tour, ETG); the first ever stage adaptation of Ian McEwan's The Cement Garden (Judith E. Wilson Drama studio, FallOut) and After the End (Corpus Playrooms, FallOut). David was the Assistant Director to Simon Evans on Madness in Valencia (The White Bear and Trafalgar 2, Black and White Rainbow) and The Misanthrope (The White Bear, Black and White Rainbow).
John James Osborne started writing plays while working as an actor in repertory in the 1950s. He first gained international fame in 1956 when Look Back in Anger was presented at The Royal Court Theatre, London, where many of his plays were produced, including The Entertainer (1957); Epitaph for George Dillon (1958); Luther (1961); Plays for England: The Blood of the Bamburgs and Under Plain Cover (1962); Inadmissible Evidence (1964); A Patriot for Me (1965); Time Present (1968); The Hotel in Amsterdam (1968); West of Suez (1971) and A Sense of Detachment (1972). His other plays include The Devil Inside Him/Cry for Love (Huddersfield 1950); Personal Enemy (Harrogate 1955); the musical The World of Paul Slickey (Palace Theatre, 1959); The End of Me Old Cigar (Greenwich, 1975); Watch it Come Down (National, 1975) and Deja Vu (Comedy Theatre, 1992) and he adapted Lope De Vega's A Bond Honoured (National, 1966); Hedda Gabler (Royal Court, 1972); A Place itself Rome (a reworking of Coriolanus); Oscar Wilde's The Picture of DorIan Grey (Greenwich, 1975) and Strindberg's The Father (National, 1988). He won an Oscar for his screenplay for Tom Jones and collaborated on the screenplays for Look Back in Anger; The Entertainer; Inadmissible Evidence and The Charge of the Night Brigade. John Osborne received the Evening Standard Drama Award for Most Promising Playwright of the Year for Look Back in Anger and Best Play of the Year Award for A Patriot for Me and The Hotel in Amsterdam. He also received a Tony Award for Best Play for Luther. The Writer's Guild of Great Britain presented him with a Life Time Achievement Award in 1992.
Anthony Creighton served in the RAF during the war as a navigator on bomber aircraft. During the war he met the playwright Terence Rattigan who was then a wireless operator and air gunner. They appeared together in Boys in Blue or Things in Wings an entertainment for fellow servicemen at RAF ground stations. After the war Creighton completed a course at RADA and subsequently joined a company at Barnstable in Devon. Shortly afterwards he formed his own traveling company, the Saga Repertory Group, and was joined by three other actors from Barnstable. John Osborne answered Creighton's advertisement for actors in The Stage in 1949 and joined the company. Creighton's company enjoyed little success but it sparked collaboration between he and Osborne on two plays. The first Personal Enemy fell foul of the censors at the time and was staged just once in Harrogate in 1955 with many cuts demanded by the censor. The second play was Epitaph for George Dillon, which found little favor with any theaters until after the success of Look Back in Anger (1956) when it was staged at the Royal Court in 1958. Creighton collaborated with Bernard Miller on Tomorrow with Pictures (Lyric, Hammersmith 1961). His theatrical career did not endure along this line though and thereafter he worked as a drama teacher at schools and adult education institutes in inner London. He died in March 2005 shortly before a West End revival of Epitaph for George Dillon with Anne Reid, Francesca Annis and Joseph Fiennes.