The Playgoer: Five Thing I Didn't Know About Christopher Fry

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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Five Thing I Didn't Know About Christopher Fry

Only five, you say?
Christopher Fry is the kind of name you find now on used bookstore Drama shelves in dog-eared editions with titles of such strange poetic aspiration as The Lady's Not For Burning or A Phoenix Too Frequent. In the 50s and 60s he represented the peak of a middlebrow theatrical ideal--vaguely classical, literary, engaged more with the past than the present--which has not really waned since, even if the reception of his plays has.
Well, turns out he was still alive! Until a couple of weeks ago, that is, when he died at 97. The Times carried this surprise obit, penned by expert London critic Benedict Nightingale (who probably filed this when he was on the Times a decade ago!). It's an interesting read, reminding us we're not so far removed from a playwright born in 1907.
Unfortunately I'm too late to link the article for free. (Here's the search info), but here's some things I learned...
- Fry did the main draft for the Ben-Hur screenplay
- he was a Quaker
- his reputation wasn't made until 1950
- he was the main English tranlslator of many of Jean Anouilh's for a while
- his full name was Christopher Fry Harris

So, ok you Fry acolytes, out there--weigh in!

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