Edward Bond



  • (1934 - ) British socialist playwright, whoseunsparing works have sometimes provoked outrage from audiences, critics,and censors. His first play, The Pope's Wedding (1962), waspresented at the Royal Court Theatre on a Sunday night without scenery.In 1965 Saved was refused a licence by the Lord Chamberlain,primarily for an infanticide scene; the subsequent dispute contributedto the abolition of theatrical censorship in Britain. Bond's EarlyMorning (1968) was the last play to be banned by the Lord Chamberlain.The offending scenes included one portraying a lesbian relationshipbetween Queen Victoria and Florence Nightingale. Threatened with prosecution,the theater gave only one more performance after opening night - a 'critics' dress rehearsal', with 'guests' admitted free througha side door. Censorship was ended in 1968, and the following yearthe Royal Court revived both plays as part of an Edward Bond season.

    In the 1970s Bond became accepted as an important voicewithin the British theater. Particularly well received were Lear(1971), a savage reworking of Shakespeare's play, and Bingo(1973), in which he attacks Shakespeare for failing to be more politicallyaware. In 1978 his work The Woman, based on a Greek tragedy,became the first new play to be premiered at the National's OlivierTheatre. Subsequent works included the commercially successful Restoration(1981; revived 1988). In the later 1980s, however, Bond's rather sternbrand of left-wing didacticism seemed increasingly out of key withthe times and few of his plays reached the London stage (althoughhe continued to be well respected in Europe). His more recent playsinclude In the Company of Men (1992),Coffee (1996), Have I None (2000), and The Window (2009).