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Becket or the Honour of God

Becket or the Honour of God
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Jean Anouilh
Translated by: Lucienne Hill
Publisher: Samuel French (cover image may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 89
Pub. Date: 1961
ISBN-10: 057301034X
ISBN-13: 9780573010347
Cast Size: 4 female, 24 male (doubling possible: has been performed with a cast of 16)

About the Play:

Becket has long been a favourite of acting teachers for Male Monologues and scene-study showcases.

Becket or the Honor of God is a full-length comedy by Jean Anouilh, translated by Lucienne Hill. The relationship between Henry II of England and Thomas Becket; the King's childhood friend who would become his greatest enemy when royal whim elevated Becket to the pinnacle of the clergy and he challenges the King's power over the Church. Jean Anouilh's Tony Award-winning masterpiece is a dramatization of real events. Especially recommended for school and contest use.

Becket or the Honor of God is a re-enactment of the tragic relationship between King Henry of England and the introspective intellectual who had been his dearest friend, but who became his implacable enemy when intrigue raised him to the hierarchy of the church. When the Archbishop of Canterbury died, Henry II forced his companion and political lieutenant, Thomas Becket to take his place. Becket told his King: 'If I become archbishop, I shall cease to be your friend.' Becket, who with Henry had fought the church for the good of the State, now felt responsible for the honour of God. Conflict was inevitable and was followed, just as inevitably, by murder and remorse. Becket was produced to great acclaim in London, New York and Paris, and is one of the classic French plays of the second half of the 20th century.

Becket or the Honor of God (Becket ou, l'honneur de Dieu) was first produced in 1959 at Théâtre Montparnasse-Gaston Baty in Paris, France. The Lucienne Hill translation of this play was premiered in 1961 by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) at the Aldwych theatre, directed by Sir Peter Hall, and transferred to Broadway in 1961 at the St. James Theatre, winning the Tony award for best play. The play is studied around the world and has been performed in regional repertory, middle school, high school, college, and community theatre productions.

Cast: 4 female, 24 male (doubling possible: has been performed with a cast of 16)

What people say:

"Anouilh's finest play since Antigone … Splendid." — The London Times

"Fine craftsmanship … One of the finest feats of the kind." — The Daily Telegraph

"Honor of several sorts is a recurring theme in this story of love and battling wills between Henry and Becket, the king's appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. Against the background of a large historical canvas, Anouilh keeps the spotlight fixed firmly on this dynamic duo ... Anouilh's telling of it is often laced with wry, ironic detail, keeping sentiment at bay." — Backstage

About the Playwright:

Jean Anouilh (1910-1987) is regarded as one of France's best-known dramatists. After completing his early schooling, Anouilh studied law for a short time at the Sorbonne, and then worked as a copywriter at Publicité Damour. Though his career spanned five decades, he is best known for his 1943 play Antigone, a version of Sophocles' classical drama that was seen as a thinly disguised attack on the Nazis and on the Vichy government. One of France's most prolific writers after World War II, much of Anouilh's work deals with themes of maintaining integrity in a world of moral compromise.

Lucienne Hill (1923-2012) became well-known for her translations of French dramatist Jean Anouilh. After a brief career as an actress of stage and screen, she went on to translate over 30 plays.

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