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An Unnatural Pursuit and Other Pieces Paperback – September 2, 1985


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

From November 1983, when he finished the first draft of a new play, to the following August, when The Common Pursuit had been performed in London's equivalent of Off Broadway, British playwright Gray (Butley; Otherwise Engaged kept a diary in which he recorded the experience of reshaping and rewriting the text, selecting a director (Harold Pinter, who contributes a foreword here), producer, investors, cast and theater, going through rehearsals and the first night, and trying unsuccessfully to get the play transferred to the West End. While giving a behind-the-scenes account of the complexities of playwriting, Gray mercilessly reveals his misgivings and self-doubts and the strengths and weaknesses of his associates. He also includes articles on flops, writing for TV, his recollections of Cambridge and of literary critic F. R. Leavis, and his interest in cricket. Photos.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Noted British playwright Gray has written a fascinating journal of the creation of his latest play, The Common Pursuit. From the satisfying moment the play was finished through its London opening, we witness the creative process from the playwright's point of view: the search for a producer, the problems of casting, the agonizing rehearsals and rewrites, and the emotional roller coaster of facing opening night and the critics. Gray's portrait of his relationship with the play's director, Harold Pinter, and his description of Pinter's directorial style, are delightful. Gray describes his terrors and insecurities in brutally frank terms and disarmingly turns back on himself the venom that sometimes mars similar accounts. The book is thoroughly entertaining and illuminating (except for the incongruous sections on the game of cricket). A remarkable, witty chronicle a quarter century after William Gibsons's comparable The Seesaw Log (1959). Daniel J. Lombardo, Jones Lib., Inc., Amherst, Mass.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (September 2, 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571137571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571137572
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,966,011 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I saw this play in a recent Roundabout Theater revival in New York and was interested in how it happened. This is a memoir of the original London production, written by the playwright. It's funny, mournful, filled with good portraits of the actors and the rehearsal process--as well as the frustrations involved as the written play comes alive on stage. It's especially engaging when things don't work and we watch the artists find their way into the play as Simon Gray, the playwright, slips into the backround. A good read for anyone interested in theater.
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