Arnold Wesker Biography (1932-)

Born May 24, 1932, in London, England; son of Joseph (a tailor's machinist) and Leah (a tailor's machinist and cook; maiden name, Perlmutter) Wesker; married Doreen Cecile Bicker, November 14, 1958; children: Lindsay Joe, Tanya Jo,Daniel, Elsa Sarah. Addresses: Home--37 Ashley Rd., London N19 3AG, England.

Nationality
English
Gender
Male
Birth Details
May 24, 1932
London, England

Famous Works

  • Credits; Stage Director
  • The Friends, Roundhouse Theatre, London, then Stockholm, Sweden, both 1970.
  • Love Letters on Blue Paper, National Theatre, London, 1978, then Oslo, Norway, 1980.
  • The Entertainer, Theatre Clwyd, Wales, 1983.
  • Yardsale, Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), Stratford-on-Avon, England, 1985, then Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, London, 1987.
  • Whatever Happened to Betty Lemon, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, 1987.
  • The Kitchen, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1990.
  • The Wedding Feast, Denison University, Granville, OH, 1995.
  • Directed The Four Seasons, Havana, Cuba, 1968; The Old Ones, Munich, WestGermany, 1973; Their Very Own and Golden City (revised version), Aarhus, Denmark, 1974; The Merchant, Canada, 1980; Annie Wobbler, Birmingham, England, then London, both 1984; The Mistress, 1988; Little Old Lady, Sigtuna, Sweden,1988; Shylock (workshop production), London, 1989; The Merry Wives of Windsor, Oslo, 1989; and The Mistress, Rome, 1991.
  • Writings;Plays
  • Chicken Soup with Barley, produced at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, England, 1958, then Royal Court Theatre, London, 1959, later Cleveland, OH, 1962, published in New English Dramatists, Penguin, 1959, in The Wesker Trilogy, J. Cape, 1960, Random House (New York City), 1961, published separately by EvansBrothers, 1961, and in The Plays of Arnold Wesker, Volume I, Harper (New YorkCity), 1976.
  • Roots, produced at Belgrade Theatre, then Royal Court Theatre, both 1959,later Duke of York's Theatre, London, then Mayfair Theatre, New York City, both 1961, and Jewish Repertory Theatre, New York City, 1986, published by Penguin, 1959, and Longmans, Green, 1967, then in The Wesker Trilogy, 1960, later in The Plays of Arnold Wesker, Volume I, 1976.
  • The Kitchen: A Play in Two Acts with an Interlude, produced at Royal Court Theatre, 1959, published in New English Dramatists 2, Penguin, 1960, expanded version produced at Royal Court Theatre, 1961, then New Theatre Workshop and New 81st Street Theatre, both New York City, 1966, published by J. Cape, 1961, and Random House, 1962, later in Three Plays, Penguin, 1976, and in ThePlays of Arnold Wesker, Volume I, 1976.
  • I'm Talking about Jerusalem, produced at Belgrade Theatre, then Royal Court Theatre, both 1960, published by Penguin, 1960, then in The Wesker Trilogy, 1960, later in The Plays of Arnold Wesker, Volume I, 1976.
  • Chips with Everything, produced at Royal Court Theatre, then Vaudeville Theatre, London, both 1962, later Plymouth Theatre, New York City, 1963, published by J. Cape, 1962, and Random House, 1963, later in The Plays of Arnold Wesker, Volume I, 1976, critical edition published by Blackie and Sons (London), 1966.
  • The Nottingham Captain: A Moral for Narrator, Voices, and Orchestra, produced at Centre 42 Trades Union Festival, Wellingborough, England, 1962, published in Six Sundays in January, J. Cape, 1971.
  • Their Very Own and Golden City, produced at Belgium National Theatre, Brussels, 1964, then Royal Court Theatre, 1966, published by J. Cape, 1966, thenin Three Plays, 1976, later in The Plays of Arnold Wesker, Volume II, Harper, 1977.
  • The Four Seasons, produced at Belgrade Theatre, then Saville Theatre, London, both 1965, later Theatre Four, New York City, 1968, published by J. Cape, 1966, then in Three Plays, 1976, later in The Plays of Arnold Wesker, Volume II, 1977.
  • The Friends, produced at Stadsteater, Stockholm, Sweden, then RoundhouseTheatre, both 1970, published by J. Cape, 1970, then in The Plays of Arnold Wesker, Volume II, 1977.
  • The Old Ones, produced at Royal Court Theatre, 1972, then Lambs Theatre,New York City, 1974, published by J. Cape, 1973, revised edition, Blackie andSons, 1974, then in The Plays of Arnold Wesker, Volume II, 1977.
  • The Wedding Feast, produced at Stadsteater, 1974, then Leeds Playhouse, Leeds, England, 1977, published by J. Cape, 1973, then in The Journalists, TheWedding Feast, The Merchant, Penguin, 1980.
  • The Journalists, produced at Jackson's Lane Community Theatre, London, 1975, then Criterion Theatre, Coventry, 1977, published by Writers and ReadersPublishing Cooperative, 1975, published as The Journalists: A Triptych, J. Cape, 1979, published in The Journalists, The Wedding Feast, The Merchant, 1980.
  • The Merchant, produced at Royal Dramatenteater, Stockholm, 1976, then Plymouth Theatre, 1977, later Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Birmingham, England,1978, published as Shylock, 1976, published in The Journalists, The WeddingFeast, The Merchant, 1980, revised edition published separately by Methuen, 1983.
  • Love Letters on Blue Paper, produced at Cottesloe Theatre, London, then Syracuse Stage, Syracuse, NY, and National Theatre, London, all 1978, later Folger Theatre, Washington, DC, and Oslo, both 1980, and Hudson Guild Theatre,New York City, 1984, published by Writers and Readers Publishing Cooperative,1978.
  • Caritas, produced at Cottesloe Theatre, 1981, published by J. Cape, 1981.
  • Mothers: Four Portraits (one-act), produced at Mitzukoshi Theatre, Tokyo,Japan, 1982, published by J. Cape, 1982, published as Four Portraits--of Mothers, in One Woman Plays, Penguin.
  • Annie Wobbler, produced at Birmingham Repertory Theatre, 1983, then Fortune Theatre, London, 1984, later Westbeth Theatre Center, New York City, 1986.
  • The Sullied Hand (one-act), produced at Theatre N.A.C., Netherbow Arts Centre, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1984.
  • Yardsale (one-act), produced by RSC, then at Edinburgh Festival, 1985, produced in double-bill with Whatever Happened to Betty Lemon, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, 1987, published in Plays International, 1987.
  • One More Ride on the Merry-Go-Round, produced at Phoenix Arts Theatre, Leicester, England, 1985.
  • Whatever Happened to Betty Lemon (one-act), produced in Paris, 1986, thenin double-bill with Yardsale, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, 1987, published inPlays International, 1987.
  • Beorhtel's Hill (community play to celebrate town of Basildon's 40th), produced at Towngate Theatre, Basildon, England, 1989.
  • Letter to a Daughter, produced at Northlight Theatre, Evanston, IL, 1992.
  • Other plays include Master, 1966; The New Play, 1969; Fatlips (based on his book), 1980, revised version published as Build, My Darlings, Build, 1992;Breakfast, 1981; Cinders (based on An English Madam, by Paul Bailey), 1982;When God Wanted a Son, 1986; Badenheim 1939 (based on a novel by Aharon Appelfeld), 1987; Little Old Lady (one-act for young people), produced in Sigtuna,1987; Lady Othello (based on his screenplay), 1987; The Mistress (one- act),1988; Shoeshine (one-act for young people), 1989; Three Women Talking, 1990;Blood Libel, 1991; Wild Spring, 1992; Bluey (based on his radio play), 1993;and Stand Up, Stand Up.
  • Writings; Musicals
  • Caritas (opera; author of libretto, music by Robert Saxon), HuddersfieldContemporary Music Festival, then Cheltenham Festival, later Queen ElizabethHall, London, 1991.
  • Also author of a musical version of The Kitchen (lyrics by Nigel Forde, music by Barrington Pheloung), commissioned by Koichi Kimura, 1994.
  • Writings; Screenplays
  • The Kitchen, Kingsley International, 1962.
  • The Wesker Trilogy (adaptation of his own work), National Film Development Fund, 1979.
  • Author of the screenplays Madame Solario, 1968; I'm Talking about Jerusalem, 1979; Lady Othello, 1980; Homage to Catalonia, 1991; and Maudie (based onDoris Lessing's novel The Diaries of Jane Somers), 1995.
  • Writings; Television Episodes
  • "Menace," First Night, BBC, 1963, published in Six Sundays in January, J.Cape, 1971, then in The Plays of Arnold Wesker, Volume II, Harper, 1977.
  • Writings;Other Television Writings
  • Love Letters on Blue Paper (play), BBC, 1976.
  • Roots, BBC, 1992.
  • Writer for the series Thieves in the Night (based on a novel by Arthur Koestler), 1984-85; author of Whitsun (based on his story "The Visit"), 1980; Diary of a Good Neighbor (based on work by Doris Lessing), 1989; Phoenix, Phoenix, Burning Bright (based on his story "The Visit"), 1992; and Breakfast, 1981.
  • Writings; Radio
  • Bluey, BBC, 1985.
  • Author of Annie Wobbler, 1983, and Yardsale, 1984.
  • Writings; Play Collections
  • The Wesker Trilogy (includes Chicken Soup with Barley, Roots, and I'm Talking about Jerusalem), J. Cape, 1960, Random House, 1961.
  • Three Plays (includes The Kitchen, The Four Seasons, and Their Very Own and Golden City), Penguin, 1976.
  • The Plays of Arnold Wesker, Harper, Volume I (includes The Kitchen, Chicken Soup with Barley, Roots, I'm Talking about Jerusalem, and Chips with Everything), 1976, Volume II (includes The Four Seasons, Their Very Own and GoldenCity, Menace, The Friends, and The Old Ones), 1977.
  • Chips with Everything and Other Plays (includes Chips with Everything, The Friends, The Old Ones, and Love Letters on Blue Paper), Penguin, 1980.
  • The Journalist, The Wedding Feast, The Merchant, Penguin, 1980.
  • Wild Spring and Other Plays (includes Badenheim 1939, Beorhtel's Hill, Three Women Talking, Letter to a Daughter, Blood Libel, and Wild Spring), Penguin, 1994.
  • Author of Collected Plays, Volumes I and V, 1989, Volumes II-VI, 1990, Volume VII, 1994. Works collected in several other volumes published by Penguin: Shylock and Other Plays (includes The Journalists, The Wedding Feast, and Shylock), One Woman Plays (includes Yardsale, Whatever Happened to Betty Lemon, Four Portraits--of Mothers, The Mistress, and Annie Wobbler), and Lady Othello and Other Plays (includes One More Ride on the Merry-Go- Round, Caritas,When God Wanted a Son, Lady Othello, and Bluey).
  • Writings; Other
  • Labour and the Arts II; or, What, Then, Is to Be Done?, Gemini, 1960.
  • The Modern Playwright; or, "O Mother, Is It Worth It?", Gemini, 1960.
  • Fears of Fragmentation (essays), J. Cape, 1970.
  • Six Sundays in January (stories; includes The Nottingham Captain), J. Cape, 1971.
  • Say Goodbye, You May Never See Them Again: Scenes from Two East-End Backgrounds. illustrations by John Allin, J. Cape, 1974.
  • Love Letters on Blue Paper: Three Stories, J. Cape, 1974, Harper, 1975.
  • Words as Definitions of Experience (essays), Writers and Readers Publishing Cooperative, 1976.
  • Journey into Journalism: A Very Personal Account in Four Parts (essays),Writers and Readers Publishing Cooperative, 1977.
  • Fatlips: A Story for Children, Harper, 1978.
  • Said the Old Man to the Young Man: Three Stories, J. Cape, 1978.
  • Love Letters on Blue Paper (six stories), Penguin, 1980.
  • Distinctions (includes essays and lectures), J. Cape, 1985.
  • As Much As I Dare (autobiography), Random House, 1994.
  • Also author of A Mini-Biography, 1988.

Further Reference

Books:

  • Armstrong, W. A., editor, Experimental Drama, G. Bell, 1963.
  • Contemporary Authors Autobiography Series, Volume 7, Gale (Detroit, MI),1988.
  • Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 13: British Dramatists Since World War II, Gale, 1982.
  • Dorman, Reade W., Arnold Wesker Revisited, Twayne (New York City), 1994.
  • Gindin, James, Postwar British Fiction, University of California Press (Los Angeles, CA), 1962.
  • Hayman, Ronald, Arnold Wesker, Ungar (New York City), 1973, 3rd edition,Heinemann Educational (London), 1979.
  • Kitchin, Laurence, Mid-Century Drama, Faber, 1960.
  • Leeming, Glenda, and Simon Trussler, The Plays of Arnold Wesker: An Assessment, Gollancz (London), 1971.
  • Leeming, Glenda, Arnold Wesker, Longman, 1972.
  • Leeming, Glenda, Wesker, the Playwright, Methuen, 1983.
  • Leeming, Glenda, Wesker on File, Methuen (London), 1985.
  • Lumley, Frederick, New Trends in Twentieth Century Drama, Oxford University Press, 1967.
  • Ribalow, Harold U., Arnold Wesker, Twayne, 1966.
  • Taylor, John Russell, Anger and After, Methuen, 1962.
  • Wager, Walter, editor, The Playwrights Speak, Delacorte (New York City),1967.
  • Ward, A. C., Twentieth-Century English Literature, 1901-1960, Methuen, 1964.
  • Wellworth, G., Theatre of Protest and Paradox, New York University Press(New York City), 1965.
  • Wilcher, Robert, Understanding Arnold Wesker, University of South Carolina Press (Columbia, SC), 1991.

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