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South: a play

South: a play
Your Price: $25.95 CDN
Sale Price: $20.76 CDN
You Save: $5.19 (20 %)
Author: Julian Green
Publisher: Marion Boyars
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 128
Pub. Date: 1991
ISBN-10: 0714529362
ISBN-13: 9780714529363
on sale

About the Play:

Rare book, very limited quantities available.

South is a full-length drama by Julian Green, which portrays life on a Carolina plantation on the eve of the American Civil War. A young Polish officer, a quintessential outsider, visits the plantation, to romantic and tragic results.

South is set on a Carolina plantation on April 11, 1861. General Beauregard demands the capitulation of Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, and the American Civil War will begin the next day. But what does this matter to the people gathered on the torrid Sunday at Bonaventure plantation – to Lieutenant Jan Wicziewsky, a Polish immigrant and soldier in the army, to the plantation owner who seems to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders, to his niece, or to his daughter Angelina? Wicziewsky (a name derived from a Polish word for seer or prophet) is an outsider to the plantation, because he is of foreign birth and not a family member. He questions and reflects on the actions of the members of this small plantation community – master, daughter, aunt, field slave, and household slave. Ultimately, he too is lost to the flames of passion and the question of who he really loves: the plantation owner's angry niece, Miss Regina, or the tall, blond, rugged officer who arrives suddenly – a handsome man called Eric MacClure. In this drama of complex relationships and doomed love, Julian Green masterfully portrays the interaction of extremes in a significant historical setting.

South (Sud) was first staged in 1953 at the Théâtre de l'Athénée-Louis-Jouvet in Paris. Green translated the play into English but the Lord Chamberlain (the UK theatre censor) refused to grant a licence for the performance in a public theatre. Instead South was staged privately at the Arts Theatre Club in London to enormous praise under the direction of a young Peter Hall. Renowned British actor Denholm Elliott starred in the English version, while film actress Anouk Aimee starred in the Parisian version. The play was adapted for a British television production in 1959. The BFI now believes the production is the earliest known gay TV drama.

Although South has been produced in most of the countries in Europe, it did not receive its American premiere until 1997. The play was staged Off-Off-Broadway by Target Margin Theater at HERE Arts Center in New York City.

Cast: 6 women, 8 men

What people say:

"...in 1955, ''South,'' ...was considered so scandalous by the British authorities that they denied its producers a permit to present it to the London public. What was the playwright's offense? Mr. Green, an American writer born in Paris ... dared to mix into his rich stew of a play about pride and prejudice in the antebellum aristocracy a dash of homosexuality." — The New York Times

"...Peter Hall ... said that South ... was a play about 'extremes: North versus South, white man against coloured man, the old world of Europe in contrast to the new world of America, the difficulty that the sexually normal have in understanding the sexually abnormal' Mr, Hall was at pains to point out that although the Lord Chamberlain had refused to grant a licence for public performance, South was 'not primarily about homosexuality: this topic is only a thread in Green's tapestry'." — Plays Of The Year Volume 12

About the Playwright:

Julian Green (1900 – 1998) was an American writer, born and brought up in Paris of American parents who had settled in France in 1893. Except for the years from 1918 to 1922 and from 1940 to 1945, he spent most of his extraordinary literary career in Paris, writing in French for a wide European readership. He published over sixty-five books in France, including novels, essays, plays and fourteen volumes of his journal. During the First World War, he served in the American Red Cross and then in the French Army; during the Second World War, he worked at the US Office of War Information, broadcasting to France on the radio. As an American, Julian Green gained the honour of being the only foreigner to be elected to the elite 40-member Académie Francaise that serves as a watchdog over the French language.