Thursday, January 04, 2007

UNTOLD STORIES by Alan Bennett (2005)

The esteemed British playwright has published a collection of non-fiction which includes thoughts about art, architecture, life in the theatre and his personal diaries between 1996-2004. I was most interested in the section about THE HISTORY BOYS, his award-winning play that set a record for Tonys on Broadway this past season, and which is currently on the big screen in theatres across the country with the same compelling ensemble cast I saw at the Broadhurst Theatre in July.

I was surprised by Bennett's stoic approach to the news of colon cancer and his positive attitude that comes out of that recent experience where he is relieved that he can afford private health care and move to the front of the line but equally disappointed in himself that as a socialist he chose to leap the queue.

His refusal to accept both a CBE (under Thatcher) and later a knighthood (under Blair) is curiously Woolf-like in its resolution to refuse gifts from strangers. He claims he couldn't possibly accept either because he couldn't come up with a suitable joke.

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