Wednesday, July 02, 2008

"Slipping Backwards and Forwards and Backwards Again..."

I was about 12, I suppose. As a treat, I stayed up late to watch a play on TV. I sat on a squashy brown leather sofa with a lakeland terrier called Flash ( same dog who entered the Cheshire Show, on whim of my mother, only to come 4th out 0f 4, ie. last...but I still have the triumphant 4th prize rosette lurking in some secret drawer...) ...

However, back to the play (although my time slip WAS actually fully in keeping!)

The play was JB Priestley's " Time and the Conways". And I've never forgotten its black and white impact. I was hooked. Priestley's themes were rich ones; there was family ( always a favourite: romance and tragedy plus small/big problems combined) and there was a look at British social/political history, 1919-37. BUT best of all, there were slips in time and shifts in time...and this hugely intrigued....I've no idea now WHO starred that night but that play was haunting and memorable and quite definitely, a TREAT that's glowed ever since...

In later years, I found that Priestley had read JW Dunne's book " Experiment with time". The book played with the theory that all time takes place simultaneously, that present, past and future merge as one. And at 12, this was, (for me watching the play in red dressing gown) a shivery and awe-inspiring idea.....although I suppose as an adult, it's even more so....
SO when I visited Chester Theatre Club ( ) this week for Priestley's " Dangerous Corner" ( also a "time slip" story, published 1932, 5 yrs before "Conways" ), I was wondering what this'd be like...

It was a TREAT. Directed by Alison Knott, with finely chosen cast ( this Club ooozes talent) and an excellent 1930's decor ( No Clarice Cliff vase, though, on drawing room shelf; I had a good look!) ...we were kept spellbound by a story crisply told...

AND it was particularly good to see Helen Williams ( as Maud Mockridge) looking stately and glam and chainsmoking in style on gorgeous Art Deco sofa..


Blogger KatW said...

"...the theory that all time takes place simultaneously, that present, past and future merge as one." My poor befuddled brain tries to grasp this fascinating idea. I love these sort of musings; great for fiction inspiration.

Kat :-)

10:10 pm  
Blogger Yvonne said...

Thanks for the recommendation, will try to see it soon. Thanks for visiting my blog, I'll be keeping a close eye on yours!

10:08 am  
Blogger Alice said...

Just found your blog and enjoyed it very much. I like Priestley. If you haven't seen An Inspector Calls that's a fantastic play. Very helpful comment about the book on time. Oddly I'm writing about that right now. I'm a novelist and creative writing tutor as well! Thanks again for the blog.


10:19 pm  
Blogger Mickmouse said...

Thanks for the recommendations and the blog post. My email is if you coould send any ideas for teaching sessions for our creative writing club (8-11 year olds).
Like the look of Footprints in the Ash as I am fascinated with Pompeii and I am writing a novel based in two time periods too.

10:38 pm  
Blogger Catherine said...

I enjoy writing that plays with the concept of time, but JB Priestley's plays don't seem to be performed much here. Did he write novels at all? I must check our library catalogue.

4:29 am  
Blogger Jan said...

Fiddling about with time is both a fun AND an awesome concept, isn't it?!
I suppose it can be treated both ways through writing.

Same here!
Good to hear you.

THe coincidence is timely isn't it?
Good to hear you too.

Yes, he wrote "Good Companions" and "Angel Pavement" and others.
He also wrote a criticism of The Novel sometime in the 1920's but I'm not sure of title.

7:37 am  
Blogger Jan said...

I'll get back to you ASAP.
Yes, you'd enjoy Stanley's book.

7:39 am  

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