Unformatted text preview: otheruses1the play Image:Hans Holbein d. J. 065.jpgthumbright250pxSir Thomas More, one of the most famous early Lord Chancellors, served and was executed under King Henry VIII of EnglandHenry VIII. '''''A Man for All Seasons''''' is a play by Robert Bolt. An early form of the play had been written for BBC Radio in 1954, but after Bolt's success with ''The Flowering Cherry'', he reworked it for the stage. It was first performed in London opening at the Gielgud TheatreGlobe Theatre (now called the Gielgud Theatre) on July 1 1960. It later found its way to Broadway theatreBroadway, enjoying a critically and commercially successful run of over a year. It has had several revivals, and was subsequently made into a feature film and a television movie. The plot is based on the true story of Sir Thomas More, the 16th century16th-century Lord ChancellorChancellor of England, who refuses to endorse or denounce King Henry VIII of EnglandHenry VIII's wish to divorce his aging wife Catherine of Aragon, who could not bear him a son, so that he could marry Anne Boleyn, the sister of his former mistress. The play portrays More as a man of principle, envied by rivals such as Thomas Cromwell and loved by the common people and by his family. == Themes == Bolt himself was an agnostic and a socialist, and thus he presumably admired More not because he identified with More's religious beliefs, but rather with his refusal to bend to the will of the king. ''A Man for All Seasons'' struggles with ideas of identity and conscience. More argues repeatedly that a person is defined by his conscience. His own position is depicted as almost indefensible; the Pope Clement VIIPope is described as a "bad" and corrupt individual, forced by the Charles V, Holy Roman EmperorEmperor to act according to his will. But as More says to Norfolk, "What matters is not that it's true, but that I believe it; or no, not that I '''believe''' it, but that '''I''' believe it." More fears that if he breaks with his conscience, he will be damned to hell, while his associates and friends are more concerned with holding onto their own temporal power. At another key point of the play, More testifies before an inquiry committee and Norfolk attempts to persuade him to sign the English Act of SuccessionAct of Succession (pp. 78, Heinemann edition): :"Norfolk: Look, I'm not a scholar, and frankly I don't know whether the marriage was lawful or not — but Thomas, look at these names! You know these men! Can't you do as I did and come along with us for fellowship? :More: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Heaven for doing according to your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing according to mine, will ''you'' come along with ''me'' — for fellowship?" More's persecution is made to seem even more unjust by the inclusion of Eustace Chapuys, the long-time Spanish ambassador to England, into the story. Chapuys recognizes More as a stout man of the church, and in Act II, after More's resignation from the Chancellorship, he informs More of a planned rebellion along the Scottish border, expecting More to be sympathetic. Instead, More informs Norfolk of the plot, showing him to be patriotic and loyal to the King. This, along with More's refusal to actually speak out against the King, shows him to be a loyal subject, and thus Cromwell appears to prosecute him out of personal spite and because he disagrees with the King's divorce. Bolt also establishes an anti-authoritarian theme which recurs throughout his works. All people in positions of power — King Henry, Cromwell, Wolsey, Cranmer, Chapuys, even Norfolk — are depicted as being either corrupt, evil, or at best expedient and power-hungry. Bolt's later plays and film screenplays also delve into this theme. The theme of corruption is also illustrated, in Rich's rise to power, the Common Man being drawn into the events of the storyline, and in the (deliberately) anachronistic portrayal of Henry as a younger, athletic man (in 1530 he would have been in his forties and already putting on weight). Some historians and critics have criticized the play's portrayal of More as a saintly character, noting that Bolt excises mentions of More's more negative activities, such as his campaign against William Tyndale and his persecution of Lutherans while serving as Chancellor. The depictions of Thomas Cromwell, the Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of NorfolkDuke of Norfolk, and Richard Rich are also historically suspect. (Also, in real life More had three paternal daughters, a son, and an adoptive daughter, but only his eldest, Margaret, appears in the play.) Bolt's decision to portray More through his relations with family and friends, and not the broader political context of the time period, has also been criticized. The character of the Common Man serves as a narrator and framing device. A Brechtian character, he plays various small parts — More's servant, a publican, a boatman, More's jailer, jury foreman and executioner — who appear throughout the play, both taking part in and commenting on the action. Several sequences involving this character break the fourth wall — most notably, a sequence where the Common Man attempts to exit the stage and is addressed by Cromwell, who identifies him as a jury foreman. (Indeed, the "jury" consists of sticks or poles with the hats of the Common Man's various characters put on top.) Bolt created the Common Man for two main reasons: to illustrate the place and influence of the average person in history, even though they are usually overlooked, and to try and prevent the audience from sympathizing with the more titled characters such as More, realizing that the audience is more closely related to him &ndash; a classic case of Brechtian alienation effectalienation, designed to prevent the audience from being too engrossed in More's plight. The character's role in the story has been interpreted in many different ways by different critics, from being a positive to a negative character. Many of Bolt's subsequent works featured similar characters. ==Stage productions== Paul Scofield, who played the leading role in the West End theatreWest End premiere, reprised it on Broadway theatreBroadway in 1962, winning a Tony Award. The play was first performed on Broadway theatreBroadway on November 22 1961 at the ANTA Playhouse '''Original Broadway Cast''' *The Common Man- George Rose (actor)George Rose *Sir Thomas More- Paul Scofield *Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of NorfolkThe Duke of Norfolk- Albert Dekker *Thomas Cromwell- Leo McKern (later Thomas Gomez) *King Henry VIII- Keith Baxter *Margaret RoperMargaret More- Olga Bellin *William Roper- Peter Brandon *Catherine Anger- Sarah Burton *Attendant- John Colenback *Thomas Cardinal Wolsey- Jack Creley *Alice More- Carol Goodner *Thomas Cranmer- Lester Rawlins *Richard Rich- William Redfield *Eustace ChapuysSignor Chapuys- David J. Stewart Leo McKern played the Common Man in the West End version of the show, but was shifted to the role of Cromwell for the Broadway production - a role he later reprised in the film. While playing Cromwell, he appeared with one brown and one blue eye (McKern of course had lost an eye in accident and wore a glass one) to accentuate his character's evil nature. Charlton Heston played More in several versions of the play off-Broadway in the '70s and '80s, eventually playing it on the West End. Heston considered it among his favourite roles. He also produced, directed, and starred in a film version of it (see below). Another famous graduate of the play is Ian McKellen, whose first theatrical role was as Will Roper in a revival production in the late '60s. He would go on to play More in a later run of the show. An acclaimed Canadian production starring William Hutt and directed by Walter Learning was presented at the Vancouver Playhouse and the Stratford Festival in 1986. More recently, the play has been staged in London's West End at the Haymarket TheatreTheatre Royal, Haymarket starring Martin Shaw and produced by Bill Kenwright. It closed on 1 April 2006. ==Film and TV movies== Image:A Man for All Seasons.jpgright200pxthumbThomas More (Paul Scofield) is accused of high treason by Cromwell (Leo McKern) - 1966 film ===1966 film=== mainA Man for All Seasons (1966 film) Paul Scofield, who played the leading role in the West End theatreWest End stage premiere, played More again in the first of two film versions (1966), winning an Academy Award for Best ActorOscar in the process. The film also stars Robert Shaw (actor)Robert Shaw as Henry VIII, Orson Welles as Thomas Cardinal WolseyWolsey, a young John Hurt as Richard Rich, 1st Baron RichRichard Rich, and an older Wendy Hiller as More's second wife. It was directed by Fred Zinnemann. In addition to the Academy Award for Best ActorBest Actor Oscar won by Scofield, the film won Academy Awards for screenplay, Academy Award for Best Cinematographycinematography, costume design, Academy Award for DirectingBest Director, and Academy Award for Best PictureBest Picture. ===1988 film=== mainA Man for All Seasons (1988 film) The 1988 version stars Charlton Heston (who also directed it) as More, Vanessa Redgrave (who appeared briefly and mutely in the 1966 version as Anne Boleyn) as More's wife, and Sir John Gielgud as Cardinal Wolsey. ==Radio productions== The play was produced, with the following cast, as the Saturday Play on BBC Radio 4 on 7 October 2006, as part of its Betrayal season: *Sir Thomas More ...... Charles Dance *Master Richard Rich ...... Julian Rhind Tutt *Master Thomas Cromwell ...... Kenneth Cranham *Cardinal Wolsey ...... Timothy Bateson *King Henry VIII ...... Brian Cox *Duke of Norfolk ...... Nicholas le Prevost *Master William Roper ...... Martin Freeman *Lady Alice More ...... Kika Markham *Mistress Margaret RoperMargaret (Meg) More ...... Romola Garai *Boatman/Steward (aka Matthew) /Jailer ...... Sam Dale *Archbishop Thomas Cranmer/Headsman ...... Peter Tate *Catherine Anger ...... Adjoa Andoh ==See also== * Trial movies ==External links== wikiquote * http://ibdb.com/production.asp?ID=2901 The Internet Broadway Database entry for "A Man for All Seasons" *http://thebestnotes.com/booknotes/Man_For_All_Seasons/Man_For_All_Seasons01.html Free Study Guide for "A Man for All Seasons" at http://thebestnotes.com TheBestNotes.com *http://www.cooper.edu/humanities/classes/coreclasses/hss2/library/man_for_all_seasons.html Complete text of the play TonyAwardBestPlay 1948-1969 DEFAULTSORT:Man for All Seasons, A Category:British plays Category:1960 plays Category:Works of Robert Bolt es:Un hombre para la eternidad (película) simple:A Man for All Seasons Unreferenceddate=May 2007</text> ...
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- A Man for All Seasons, ......, Henry VIII of England, Anne Boleyn, Thomas Cromwell