David Storey

Definition

Theater

  • (1933 - ) British playwright and novelist, whose worksreflect his working-class Yorkshire background. His plays have beencompared to those of Pinter and Chekhov for their realism and ambiguity.

    The son of a miner, Storey became a professional rugby playerat the age of 17 while also studying to be a painter. He enjoyed hisfirst literary success with the novel The Sporting Life (1960),which drew upon his rugby-playing experiences. The cost of socialmobility was also a theme of Storey's first play, The Restorationof Arnold Middleton, which was a hit in 1967 at the Royal CourtTheatre. It told the story of an uprooted schoolmaster driven madby his bourgeois marriage and his homesickness for the North.

    Storey's second play In Celebration (1969), used afortieth wedding-anniversary party to contrast two generations ofthe Shaw family, who find that success does not guarantee happiness.Lindsay Anderson directed this and several other Storey plays includingThe Contractor (1970), in which the assembling and dismantlingof a marquee for a wedding reception reveals the different attitudesof the workmen and their employers. The same year saw the first productionof Home, an examination of life in a mental institution, withJohn Gielgud and Ralph Richardson in the leads. It subsequently transferredto Broadway and was named the best play of the season; The ChangingRoom (1971), about the relationships between members of a rugbyteam, was similarly acclaimed in both London and New York.

    His other dramas have included Cromwell (1973), LifeClass (1974), the black sex farce Mother's Day (1976),Sisters (1978), Early Days (1980), in which an elderstatesman (originally played by Ralph Richardson) reviews his past,Phoenix (1984), The March on Russia (1989), and Stages(1992).

    Storey is noted for his temper, having once thumped MichaelBillington about the head in the bar at London's Royal Court Theatreafter the critic had written a caustic review of Mother's Day.

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