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45 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 03 May 2010

Andrew Marr Starts the Week with Sir Peter Hall talking about directing comedy as he returns to Bedroom Farce, a play he first directed in 1977; Professor Edith Hall discussing Greek tragedy; Director of the National Youth Theatre Paul Roseby talking about turning teenagers on to Shakespeare and John Freeman, the editor of Granta on writing about sex.
Producer: Katy Hickman.


    “There’s nothing sadder than playing uproarious comedy,” wrote Peter Hall in his diaries when he first directed Bedroom Farce at the National Theatre in 1977. Now he’s reviving Alan Ayckbourn’s social comedy and commentary on the mores of the 1970s, more than thirty years later. Sir Peter Hall discusses the comedic form and argues that it’s comedy and not tragedy that holds a mirror to society.

    Bedroom Farce is at the Duke of York's Theatre in London.

    Duke of York's Theatre

    The classicist Edith Hall examines why plays written two and a half thousand years ago still speak so clearly to modern audiences. “Tragedy,” she writes, is “an aesthetically articulated question mark written in pain.” The surviving tragedies written by Euripides, Aeschylus and Sophocles may give a unique insight into ancient Athenian society, its politics and almost constant state of war, but they also explore the extent of human suffering and oppression, and pose philosophical and ethical questions.

    Greek Tragedy: Suffering under the Sun is published by Oxford University Press.

    Greek Tragedy: Suffering under the Sun

    When looking for “Two households, both alike in dignity”, the Artistic Director of the National Youth Theatre, Paul Roseby, chose two schools on different sides of the tracks in Coventry. With the challenge of putting on a performance of Romeo and Juliet, Roseby casts the Capulets from the city’s leafy suburbs and the Montagues from the inner city. As the auditions and rehearsals get into full swing, he attempts to overcome any prejudices his young actors may have about Shakespeare and inspire them to live and breathe the Bard.

    When Romeo Met Juliet – a 3-part TV series – will be on BBC 2 in the coming months.

    When Romeo Met Juliet

    Sex is a fundamental human experience but one of the hardest to describe. "I have the language of pornography, I have the language of anatomy or medicine, I have the language of euphemism, and I’m happy with none of them." The latest edition of Granta, the magazine of new writing, is dedicated to sex. The editor, John Freeman, talks about sex, intimacy, language and avoiding being nominated for the Bad Sex Award.

    Granta 110: Sex is out now.

    Granta Magazine


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