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Conversation at Night With a Despised Character

Conversation at Night With a Despised Character
Your Price: $14.95 CDN
Author: Friedrich Durrenmatt
Translated by: Robert MacDonald
Publisher: Dramatic Publishing
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 23
Pub. Date: 2008
ISBN-10: 0871297906
ISBN-13: 9780871297907
Cast Size: 2 male

About the Play:

Conversation at Night With a Despised Character is a full-length drama by Friedrich Durrenmatt, translated by Robert David MacDonald. This macabre thriller involves murder, intrigue, and a conversation between an outspoken writer in an authoritarian state and the assassin sent by the government to quiet him. Confronted in his own study, the writer attempts to defend his freedom of expression in the face of the assassin's advocacy of the status quo.

Conversation at Night With a Despised Character is a two-hander between a prominent liberal writer in an unnamed European dictatorship and the state assassin assigned to kill the man. A window pane breaks sharply on the darkened stage, and a man who has been sitting quietly in his living room at midnight says to an invisible intruder in a calm, firm voice, "Please come in." For this man has long awaited the visitor, knowing he would come sooner or later but not knowing in what disguise he would appear. The intruder presents himself as the secret executioner for the ruler of their authoritarian state. The macabre theme has overtones of such perceptiveness and even humour that it can stand as one of Durrenmatt's most interesting achievements.

Conversation at Night started out as a German radio play in 1952 and transferred to the Munich stage the same year. The stage version premiered in London in 1966. For television, the play was translated by Robert David MacDonald and broadcast on BBC-2 in 1969, starring two of Britain's greatest actors, Sir John Gielgud as the victim and Sir Alec Guinness as his executioner, with the latter giving his first full television performance.

Cast: 2 male

What people say:

"[Gielgud's character] could be prominent in any country today....Although Dürrenmatt wrote this play over a decade ago, it emerges as a very timely piece at a moment when man's basic freedoms are being challenged more than ever before." — Radio Times

"Thank God I had my panic pills in my purse for reassurance; ... Conversation at Night With a Despised Character is a claustrophobic nightmare. But ultimately, that's a good thing ... Durrenmatt's analysis applies perfectly to an increasing number of sinister and covert government actions...." — Georgia Straight

About the Playwright:

Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1921-1990) was a leading post-war Swiss author and dramatist. He was a proponent of epic theatre whose plays reflected the recent experiences of World War II. The politically active author's work included avant-garde dramas, philosophically deep crime novels, and often macabre satire. Over 20 of his plays have been adapted into films and TV series.

Robert David MacDonald (1929-2004) was a Scottish was a playwright, director, musician, translator and occasional actor, who found the centre of his life's work as co-director of the Glasgow Citizens' Theatre for more than 30 years. He produced more than 60 translations of plays and operas, and wrote 14 new works for the company, as well as directing some 50 productions and acting in a score of others. During his time as co-director, the theatre launched the careers of actors as diverse as Rupert Everett, Pierce Brosnan, Gary Oldman, Tim Roth, Helen Baxendale and Ciaran Hinds, and also brought established figures such as Glenda Jackson.

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