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13 November 2014

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You are in: Humber > Entertainment > Arts & Culture > Minghella musical discovered

Anthony Minghella performing in Mobius the Stripper

©University of Hull Photographic Service

Minghella musical discovered

On the first anniversary of Anthony Minghella’s death, we discover one of the first pieces of works he produced in this region which has been hidden away in the vaults of BBC Radio Humberside’s archive for over 30 years.

It is a year since the death of Anthony Minghella had shocked and saddened those close to him as well as his fans.

Before his celebrated career in film winning awards for The English Patient and The Talented Mr Ripley, the producer and director studied at the University of Hull and then became a lecturer at its drama department.

The young Anthony Minghella in Mobius the Stripper

© Photo: University of Hull Photographic Service

It was here that he produced his first piece of work, a musical stage adaptation of Gabriel Josipovici's 'Mobius the Stripper', which had broadcast on BBC Radio Humberside in 1976.

The philosophical play is set in a seedy strip club and focuses on an overweight male stripper who uses stripping as a metaphor to seek truths from reality.

Reverend John Howden was a former BBC producer who was responsible for arts and drama programming at the station. He recalls the time when Minghella approached him at Radio Humberside:

“We sat across a pub table and he produced a play [script] and I realised that I had something quite special here.

The cast and crew of Mobius the Stripper

© Photo: University of Hull Photographic Service

“I read it, realised it was pretty special and that we really ought to do something about it. So I said to him ‘if you can find the actors from the drama department, we’ll put it on air’”.

Aside from writing the play, Minghella also directed, performed and composed the music with casting and support by colleagues at the University.

“It was just exciting to have a vehicle which was really good on radio.” said Rev. Howden.

“Then in later years when he became the writer and then director that he did, it was perfectly obvious that, that little play sort of showed the signs of what was going to happen.”

As well as the radio recording, the production was staged at the University’s theatre space and also Hull Truck Theatre.

Tony Meech

Tony Meech

Former friend and colleague, Tony Meech, who is head of drama at Hull University, was also involved in the production of the musical both on stage and on radio. He was surprised to learn the recording existed and remembers working with Minghella:

“He was always amazingly easy to work with, in that he managed to get out of everybody their very best without shouting and being unpleasant. It was also very difficult working with him because he was extremely demanding.

“Everybody who’s worked with him always says that he managed to get out of them what they didn’t know they had in them, which is a sign of a truly great director."

last updated: 26/03/2009 at 11:53
created: 18/03/2009

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