Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Frederick Rolfe on the Stage

One of the not very often acknowledged up-sides of rummaging through 7,000 volumes of a deceased person's estate is occasionally coming upon something you'd like for yourself. In the 1960s Peter Luke wrote a stage play based upon Rolfe's book Hadrian VII. It was quite the sucess at the time and even had a broadway run for a while. To my shame I have never read the play. I would like to one day. This program is not something I would have sought out but it is nice to have, even though it has been slightly bothered by damp, and a delightful surprise to come across a Rolfe-related item in a collection which otherwise focused on buses and trains and 1950s kitsch. The program is actually much more interestinly illustrated than I would have thought, mainly it seems to me with items from the collection of the late Donald Weeks.


Anonymous said...

It's actually quite a good distillation of that large novel into a playable script, and keeps many of the best lines. ("Rest assured, Eminence, I am not in revolt against the Faith, but against the faithful...")

I shall always regret not seeing Alec McCowen when he played Hadrian in New York. A full-page ad in the Sunday Times announced that the play had been purchased for a film, but I assume the same attitudes that resulted in the gutting of the movie of Philip Pullman's THE GOLDEN COMPASS killed this film altogether...too bad.

-Jim D.

John C said...

How fascinating. You know that Douglas Rain is most well-known for being the voice of HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey?

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