Curtain Up eBook ¸ Curtain Up eBook ¾

Curtain Up  eBook ¸ Curtain Up  eBook ¾ Agatha Christie is revered around the world for her books and the indelible characters she created Lesser known is her writing for the stage—an extraordinary repertoire of plays that firmly established her as the most successful female dramatist of all time Now author Julius Green raises the curtain on Christie’s towering contribution to popular theatre, an element of her work previously disregarded by biographers and historiansStarting with her childhood theatregoing experiences, Curtain Up uncovers Christie’s first serious attempts at playwriting, with scripts that reveal a very different style from the now familiar whodunits for which she became famous Later in her life, she enjoyed enormous global success with her work for the stage, but her recordbreaking achievements in the West End and her conquest of Broadway came at a price: she had to fight against her own fame and felt obliged to delete her adored character Hercule Poirot from stories that had originally been created around himGreen’s revelations about Christie’s passion for the theatre are illustrated with copious extracts from hitherto unknown plays and unpublished private letters, many of which he discovered in archives on both sides of the Atlantic The illuminating exchanges between Christie, her agents and producers include extensive correspondence with the legendary ‘Mousetrap Man’, theatrical impresario Sir Peter SaundersMeticulously researched and filled with groundbreaking discoveries, Curtain Up sheds new light on Agatha Christie’s artistry and adds a fascinating layer to her remarkable story Well researched This book will explain not just the plays of Agatha Christie but also the British theatre during the time her plays were performed I had no idea that a number of plays attributed to Agatha Christie were adaptations of her books by third parties I had a time wading through this long book (559 pages of text) I wish that the author had stuckto Agatha Christie without so many diversions to producers, directors, actors, theaters, etc Still I did learn much about Agatha Christie as playwright. Very interesting focus on the playwriting side of Christie's creativity, and her enthusiasm for the theatre Green is nothing if not detailed, and is strong both on getting facts right and not presuming things where there are no facts available However, the book is overlong: too much detail at times about financial dealings between the various agents and producers tend to make rather dull reading, and I have to admit I skimmed such sectionsthan once And scooting off down side paths to tell us about this or that actor and what they'd done is interesting, but sometimes seems like overkill And repeating himself in a number of places also seemed unnecessaryBut the plays themselves are given good coverage, both those that were hits, and those that were not The plays that were adapted by other authors from Christie's books don't impress Green at all!The book is perhaps intended to be forthan just the Christie fan; it's a coverage of historical documents, and events, and in that regard certainly succeeds And the Agatha Christie the woman comes across as a surprisingly endearing person, though toughminded, for all that Incidentally, I notice that Goodreads suggests recommending this book to people who enjoy biography I think that's a mistake: this isn't a biography, though obviously there's a great deal about Christie It's a book about the theatre, and playwriting. This is an extensive and welldetailed account of Agatha Christie’s experience as a playwright The author uses a range of sources, including not only the Christie archives but the accounts of her work in memoirs from directors and producers who worked with her He also cites many of the journals and newspapers of the day The bibliography and source material is extensive which is why such an informative picture of Christie as a playwright emerges As a successful mystery writer, Christie enjoyed the theatre and when people wanted to adapt her plays she preferred to do it herself She wrote short stories as well as novels and they all showed her creativity However, her success in the mystery genre led to her not being appreciated for the type of exploration of character and form that she enjoyed as a playwright She liked plays because she could focus on character and plot She also liked collaboration Some of the limitations of theatre challenged her giving the limitations of set and time She was the only woman playwright to have three successful plays on the West End in one season Early in her career she wrote two mysteries a year, but as she grew older, she wrote just one a year so that she should focus on writing plays The Mousetrap is the longest running play in the history of theatre She did all of this while she also traveled with her second husband on his archeological digs What shines through in this account is her hard work, her intelligence, her creativity, her humor and her willingness to work with others Her longtime producer Peter Saunders had his challenges as well fighting some producers in London and New York who controlled the theatres and productions in monopolistic way One gets a sense of the complexity of theatre production as well as the uncertainty of how all the elements will work together to produce a success or a failure Christie was well aware of how casting, directing, as well as the script also depended on what the mood of the audience or the social context of the times affected the fate of a production Christie was fardaring in what she attempted than she is given credit for in her plays, short stories and novels The fate of the most successful of genre writers is not to be appreciated for the quality of what has been accomplished because popular culture is frowned upon until it becomes the high culture of subsequent generations. This book took me a while to read, but once I got into it, I found it fascinating I love both Christie, and theater, but was unaware of how much she wrote for the theater, and how varied her successes were Some of the information presented is dry, (contract and business details) but, paired with painstaking research, lots of nice, intimate details of correspondence, and unreleased treasures like never produced or published plays are detailed I tagteamed this book with a hardcover edition of her plays, and found the behindthescenes drama as interesting as what ended up on stage.

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