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About the Playwright: Terence Rattigan

Posted on: September 9th, 2011 by Education @ Roundabout

 

Terence Rattigan is Born
London, 1911

Vera Rattigan gave birth to Man & Boy playwright Terence Rattigan in June of 1911. Frank Rattigan, Terence’s father, was a well-known rich diplomat and provided Terence with an upper class lifestyle that would influence the characters in his plays. Frank and Vera Rattigan often traveled to fulfill their diplomatic duties in the first years of his life, Terence accompanied them. As he got older, Terence stayed behind with his brother, under the care of his grandmother, several nannies and servants. By 1916, five-year-old Terence had only spent a few months in the presence of his father.

Eight Year Old Proclaims He Will be a Playwright
London, 1920

Terence Rattigan knew from an early age that he wanted to be a playwright. At the age of seven, he saw Cinderella and fell in love with not only the story but also the characters that captured his imagination. At age eight, during a visit with his parents, Terence told them he was going to be a playwright. They in turn told him he was to attend boarding school with his brother at Sandroyd Prep. At school, Rattigan immersed himself in performing in school plays almost completely forgetting about his studies.

Frank Rattigan's Fall From Grace
London, 1922

While at school, Rattigan’s father was forced into retirement after a disagreement with his boss and their income was significantly reduced. Despite his father’s fall from grace, Rattigan continued moving forward with his dream. He remained at school and even won an elite scholarship to attend Harrow Prep School. At Harrow, he began writing his first scripts while continuing to see and read as many plays as he could. Also while at school, Terrence entered into his first romantic relationship. In 1927, he had a love affair with Geoffrey Gilbey, a correspondent for the Daily Express. Homosexuality was not socially acceptable at the time and therefore had to be kept a secret.

Terence Rattigan's First Play: First Episode
Oxford, 1930

Rattigan received a scholarship to attend Trinity College, Oxford where he quickly became involved in the Oxford University Dramatic Society. In 1933, he premiered his first play entitled First Episode, co-written with his classmate Philip Heimann. After terrible reviews and no financial profit from the performances, Rattigan left Oxford without a degree and returned home to write. His father agreed to give him a small stipend for two years in order to foster his son’s career as a playwright.

Terence Rattigan Fulfills Boyhood Dream
London, 1936

After years of continuous writing and several rejection letters from various theatrical managers, Rattigan found success. In November of 1936, his comedy French Without Tears premiered at the Criterion Theatre and became a hit. The following years were tumultuous for Rattigan. Instead of writing more plays, he spent most of his time at parties, drinking, gambling and having love affairs with various young men. In 1939, Rattigan faced depression and severe writer’s block. He consulted a psychiatrist who suggested he go fight in World War II for a cure.  He took the advice and towards the end of his military service, Rattigan began writing once again. His wartime experiences inspired Flare Path which proved to be another success in the London theatre scene.

Rattigan's Film-work: “It’s not for fun, it’s for the money.”
New York City, 1963

After the war, Rattigan delved into playwriting and also screenplays. He had a series of hits both on stage and screen, including stage and film versions of The Winslow Boy and The Deep Blue Sea. Each story derived from his personal experiences and emotional desires. Man and Boy was one of Rattigan’s final pieces of playwriting that he hoped would solidify him in the canon of great British playwrights. The reviews in London however were mixed after its opening. Determined to make it a success, Rattigan made script changes and opened Man and Boy in New York in November of 1963.


Terence Rattigan Dies
London, 1977

Rattigan continued his artistic endeavors even after he was diagnosed with leukemia in 1971. He was knighted by the Queen at the age of sixty and had published several books containing his play collections. After a diverse career in theatre, film and radio, he died in his home in Bermuda in 1977. He is recognized as one of the great playwrights of the 20th century and new audiences rediscover his work today as revivals of his plays continue to carry on his legacy throughout the world.

Man and Boy is playing at the American Airlines Theatre through November 27, 2011. For more information about the show or how to purchase tickets, click here.

Sources


Related Categories:
2011-2012 Season, Education @ Roundabout, Man and Boy, Upstage


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Context & Terms: Man and Boy

Posted on: September 9th, 2011 by Education @ Roundabout

 

A list of terms used in Terence Rattigan's Man and Boy:

Financial Vocabulary

Panic Selling
Wide-scale selling of investment, causing a sharp decline in price. In most instances, investors just want to get out of the investment, with little regard for the price at which they sell.

Stockholders began to quickly sell their shares in Gregor’s company when news of his company’s downfall went public.

Liquidity
The degree to which an asset or security can be bought or sold in the market without affecting the asset's price. Liquidity is characterized by a high level of trading activity. Assets that can be easily bought or sold are known as liquid assets.

Gregor reveals that he is in a “crisis of confidence and liquidity” meaning he is having trouble finding an easy and ready access to cash.

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Related Categories:
2011-2012 Season, Education @ Roundabout, Man and Boy, Upstage


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From the Pages of ‘Man and Boy’

Posted on: September 9th, 2011 by Education @ Roundabout

 

Gregor: “Twenty-three percent off the value of all my shares in one day has apparently made the press photographers even more anxious to get close-up photographs of my dull face.”

Why is losing twenty-three percent off the value of shares a bad thing? In the stock market, investors profit when shares increase in value, and lose money when shares decrease in value. It can be as easy to make money as it is to lose money when investing in the market. The crash of 1929 attested to how volatile the stock market can be.

Most people during the 1920s had bought stocks “on margin”. Buyers would front a small percentage of what the stock was actually worth from brokers who would borrow money from the bank to officially buy the stock. In turn, the buyer would have to pay interest to the broker. If stock prices fell drastically, buyers worried that they would not be able to pay their brokers, so they would quickly sell their shares before stock prices fell even more.

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Related Categories:
2011-2012 Season, Education @ Roundabout, Man and Boy, Upstage


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