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Democracy (Methuen Fast Track Playscripts) (Modern Plays) [Paperback]

Michael Frayn

Price: 9.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

28 Aug 2003 Modern Plays
Three political parties, in and out of bed with each other like drunken intellectuals, fifteen warring cabinet ministers, and sixty million separate egos. All making deals with each other and breaking them. All looking round at every moment to see the expression on everyone else's face. All trying to guess which way everyone else will jump. All out for themselves and all totally dependent on everyone else. Not one Germany. Sixty million separate Germanies. The tower of Babel!Set in West Germany in 1969, DEMOCRACY follows Willy Brandt as he begins his brief but remarkable career as the first left-of-centre Chancellor for nearly forty years. Always present but rarely noticed is Gunter Guillaume, Brandt's devoted personal assistant - and no less devoted in his other role, spying on Brandt for the Stasi. Published to tie in with major new production at the Royal National Theatre directed by Michael Blakemore starring Roger Allam, Conleth Hill, Nicholas Blane, Jonathan Coy, Christopher Ettridge, Paul Gregory, Glyn Grain, Steven Pacey and David Ryall.

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About the Author

Michael Frayn's work for the stage includes Alphabetical Order, Make and Break and Noises Off, all of which received Best Comedy of the Year awards, while Benefactors was named Best Play of the Year. His other works include Democracy (National Theatre and West End prior to Broadway) and Copenhagen (winner of numerous awards including the Evening Standard and Critics' Circle Best Play Awards 1998). He has translated Chekhov's four last plays and is also a novelist and recipient of the Whitbread Prize for Best Novel for Spies.

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Customer Reviews

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Democracy: A Play 24 Feb 2006
By Kevin L. Nenstiel - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
When you mention Michael Frayn's name in theatre circles, you'll likely conjure up images of his classic metatheatrical farce "Noises Off." But his recent dramatic works, including this, his current, have the potential to be more powerful, more influential and more epoch-making in the world of comtemporary theatre.

Based on the rise of Germany's first left-of-center coalition government since the Weimar Republic, headed by the legendary, painfully conflicted Willy Brandt, and his collapse in the wake of a Societ-bloc spy scandal, this play lays bare the fragility of international relations at the height of the Cold War. Structurally, it's a memory play from the point of view of the East German spy, Gunter Guillaume, with scenes shifting as his personal narrative demands. No specified set, few props, and only a handful of required light and sound cues make this a fairly easy staging.

Unless you count the actors and the director.

The director and the ten-member, all-male cast needs to research the history of divided Germany, the personalities of highly esoteric public figures, and even at one point the Norwegian language. Thankfully large portions of the information necessary to savvy the background for the play are found in a lengthy and detailed afterword, saving a great deal of headache in the creative process. But that doesn't take care of everything; these figures loom large in the history of the Twentieth Century, and recreating them on stage is work.

But the play is accessible, discussing technical aspects of German history without getting bogged down in dull repetitive detail. The characters are engaging and humanely rounded. The events happened nearly forty years ago, but they feel like they're happening right now.

This play is not for general audiences; its slow, contemplative pace and its interest in a political figure most Americans have never heard of will put of casual theatre-goers. But for dedicated fans of history, politics, and theatre, this articulate and thoughtful play will leave you with plenty to chew on long after the final curtain has wrung down.
5.0 out of 5 stars Wickedly smart 18 Oct 2009
By John Verity - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Even as someone who doesn't often read plays, I much enjoyed this one in book form. Frayn's drama is a marvelous display of clever dialog and stage design telling a story full of intrigue and historical moment. In the back of the book, he provides a quite informative essay about the people who appear in the play - Willy Brandt, etc. - and the sources he used to create it. He explains, too, why he even bothered to write a play for English-speaking audiences about a seemingly momentary, merely locally-important scandal in 1970s West German politics. I wish I'd been able to see the New York (or London) production of this play, but reading this book offers a most entertaining and engaging alternative.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece 7 April 2005
By Coco Pazzo - Published on Amazon.com
A riveting play about the nature of representative democracies, human relationships and the cold war. Michael Frayn's best play.
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