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The Philanthropist

The Philanthropist
Your Price: $15.95 CDN
Author: Christopher Hampton
Publisher: Samuel French
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 85
Pub. Date: 1970
ISBN-10: 0573613982
ISBN-13: 9780573613982

About the Play:

The Philanthropist was one of Royal National Theatre of Britain's top 100 plays of the 20th century.

The Philanthropist is a full-length comedy by Christopher Hampton. A disengaged university professor cheerfully ponders anagrams, academia and the meaning of life. Meanwhile, in the outside world, the Prime Minister and his cabinet have been assassinated, and England's finest writers are being murdered one by one.

A singular play that begins in the parlour of a professor of philology where two men are listening to a dramatic reading of a third's play. Donald is kind in his remarks: the other, Philip however, asserts that he found the play incredible, especially at the point where the protagonist commits suicide. Arguing for credibility, John, the playwright reenacts the scene again, this time with a live gun, and accidentally blows his brains out. This sets the scene for a gathering which follows with the dead man's fiancee Celia, and vulgar, supercilious novelist Braham Head, who is contemptuous of all work excepting his own. This party ends with the novelist captivating Celia, and even the philanthropist obliging by going to bed with her. Written as a modern reply to Molière's The Misanthrope, this biting 'bourgeois comedy' examines the empty, insular lives of college intellectuals.

The Philanthropist was first performed in 1970 at the Royal Court and a Tony nominee the following year. The play was revived in 2005 at the Donmar Warehouse.

Cast: 3 women, 4 men

What people say:

"A very witty comedy. A good evening of high class theatrical high jinks." — The New York Times

"The 1970 comedy, now enjoying a splendidly letter perfect revival by Court Theatre... glistens with clever theatrical in-jokes, ingenious verbal flip-flops and the bristling retorts that have inspired comedies of manner for centuries.... Best of all, this nearly 15-year-old work hasn't aged a day. Hampton's bizarre societal fantasies... are perfect commentaries on the madness of contemporary social wimpiness.." — Chicago-Tribune

About the Playwright:

Christopher Hampton is a British playwright, screenwriter, director, producer, and a consummate translator and adaptor of novels. He is perhaps most famous for his play Les Liaisons Dangereuses (based on the novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos), which won an Olivier Award in 1986. He adapted the play for film and won an Oscar for the screenplay. His theatre work includes the stage adaptation of Sunset Boulevard for Andrew Lloyd Webber, which received Tony Awards for both Book and Lyrics. He has translated a wide range of works including classics by Chekhov, Ibsen and Moliere as well as contemporary plays by Yasmina Reza and Florian Zeller. His long list of screenplays includes A Doll's House, The Good Father, Total Eclipse, and The Quiet American.

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