The Deep Blue Sea

Definition

Theater

  • A play by Terence Rattigan, first performed in 1952in London, where it ran for 513 performances. The play won immediatecritical approval, with Kenneth Tynan proclaiming it the most strikingnew English play of the decade. Peggy Ashcroft starred in the 1952production, while the Austrian actress Elisabeth Bergner toured Germanyand Austria in the role two years later. However, there would be no West Endrevival until 1993, when a highly praised production at the Almeida Theatreled to a major revaluation of Rattigan's work.

    The plot concerns Hester Collyer, the estranged wife of a High Courtjudge, who now lives with her younger lover, Freddie Page (played in the first production by Kenneth More). When Freddie accepts an overseas job, Hester refuses to accept that their relationship is over, and tries, unsuccessfully, to commit suicide. A second attempt at suicide is interrupted by a neighbour, a struck-off doctor; he tells her of his own experiencesand his conclusion that life can be borne, even without hope. Hestermanages to come to terms with her life and accept Freddie's departure.

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