Sunday, January 07, 2007

The History Boys
(The Play)

The award-winning play by Alan Bennett, The History Boys, is a great read. More devoted to the influence of words (the "dictionary" boy role of Posner) and music than the later screenplay for the movie (recommended), the play emphasizes the differing perspectives on education of the two lead teachers (Hector and Irwin). Without the need to "open up" demanded by film Bennett focuses on the schoolroom and uses subtle effects to effect his dramatic purpose. He is at his epigrammatic best and the performances in New York showed this as noted by the Advocate review. Bennett is successful in creating a delightful dramatic and comedic portrayal of ideas, all while evoking the spirit of bright young scholars at a key turning point in their lives. Notably, the lead boys (Posner & Dakin) share with their tutors in the pain and possibilities of the erotic nature of education espoused by Hector.

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