Edward Bond

(b. 1934) English dramatist

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Sir Edward Augustus Bond (1815—1898) librarian


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(1934– )

British dramatist whose experimental plays, often depicting scenes of violence, aroused much controversy.

Born in London, Bond first attracted attention with his plays in the sixties. At the Royal Court his first play, The Pope's Wedding (1962), was followed by Saved (1965), which caused a sensation because of a scene depicting the stoning to death of a baby, and was the subject of a court action because of its violence and blasphemy. Bond continued to confront his audiences with scenes of violence and cruelty deriving from such themes as imperialism, economic exploitation, war, apartheid, and social responsibility in such plays as Narrow Road to the Deep North (1968), Black Mass (1970), Passion (1971), a rewrite of Shakespeare's Lear (1971), Bingo (1974), and the two-part A-A-merica! (Grandma Faust and The Swing; 1976). In 1978 the Royal Shakespeare Company performed The Bundle at the Warehouse and in the same year Bond directed and produced The Woman, the first new play to be presented at the National Theatre. However, after the commercial success of Restoration (1981) Bond's brand of left-wing didacticism fell increasingly out of favour and few of his plays found West End productions. His later plays include September (1990) and Coffee (1995). Several of his plays have been produced in New York, including Saved and Early Morning (1968).

As well as plays Bond has written libretti for Hans Werner Henze's operas We Come to the River (1976) and The English Cat (1982) and the ballet Orpheus (1979). In addition, he wrote the screenplay for Blow-Up (1967) and Laughter in the Dark (1969) and the radio play Badger by Owl-Light (1975). His Collected Poems were published in 1987 and his Selected Letters in 1994–95.

Subjects: Theatre — Literature.

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