theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013…
Excerpt from an interview with the actor, director and playwright, Stewart Permutt.
[One project] on the go is a play about the Music Hall legend Dan Leno for the actor Jonathan Kydd. Leno was the forerunner of them all and has been the inspiration for so many comedians and actors in the last hundred years. The first draft of the play is nearly completed. ‘It’s quite complex because I didn’t want to do a conventional biog play about Dan Leno — “and then I appeared here and then I got married and then I did this and then I did that” because I think that’s boring. And does anybody care about that? What they care about is him and his work, how he died.’
He goes on to tell me that he has taken one or two liberties with Leno’s life. ‘I’ve made up things and instances that didn’t happen but could have happened. And I say it’s “inspired” by the life of Dan Leno. Eighty percent is the truth and twenty percent of it isn’t. And I know there are aficionados and people who might not like that but it’s given me leeway.’
He has spent time listening to the few available recordings of Dan Leno at the British Museum. ‘I’ve used quite a bit of his [stand-up] material which is terribly funny if you hear recordings of it but if you just see it written out, it doesn’t look funny.’
Leno was famous for his pantomime appearances alongside Herbert Campbell at Drury Lane under the management of Augustus Harris but it is this material, Stewart says, that does not work for a modern audience at all. ‘So I’ve written my version of what I think it could be like. I’ve sort of cheated it and rewritten it so it’s more acceptable for an audience, still with the flavour, a Victorian feel.’
Only Leno’s stand-up routines remain sacrosanct. ‘Otherwise,’ says Stewart, ‘the audience won’t know what he was like. And that is word for word with every dot and comma what he did. And that has to be, I said to Jonathan, absolutely accurate otherwise you can’t say you’re being Dan Leno.’
Leno’s contemporary, the actor-manager Herbert Beerbohm-Tree, once said to one of his leading ladies, Constance Collier, that if Dan Leno played Richard III, he would be the greatest Richard ever. Stewart has taken this as his basic premise. ‘I said, well, let’s pretend he did. He wasn’t gay, he wasn’t camp, he wasn’t Danny La Rue,’ he adds, stressing that Leno played his women, his dames, ‘absolutely for real’. ‘He didn’t put on a silly voice or anything like that. He just played them terribly truthfully and if you hear recordings of him, it sounds like a little lady.’
Sarah Vernon © 2003
Originally published on R&V 12-05-03
Food & Wine
~ my everyday life through the lens of my camera ~
Helping Improve Lives
Vintage Inspired Paper Crafts & Digital Design
A journey through life in Southwest France
Historical Fiction with a French Flavour
It isn't being John Malkovich, but it is being me
Writer + Researcher + Poet + Translator - Japanese Literature, Folklore, and Narrative Design & Pop Culture Studies.
Daily Reflections from My Home and Garden
The Power of Story
Unlocking the Door to Your Past
Not just a blog, a philosophy
by Jack Monroe, bestselling author of 'A Girl Called Jack'
Realist, writer, reader, reviewer and rocker.
The Real England is a concise, direct, and not-so-gentle window into the depths of the leftovers of the world’s once greatest empire. It is told from the perspective of one lone (or not so lone) long term visitor. It informs one of the dregs of the country and helps to explain quaint British oddities such as the crack addicted chav.
home and away...
Artists, Writers and Visionaries Blog on the Unique and Ordinary
Collected works and other excuses from a textile obssessive
has random thoughts
Airborne, Seadwellers and Landlubbers Lives
Working with dead people
Writing - Loving What I Do and Doing What I Love!
the darker side to sedge808
Photographs, music and writing about daily life. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Creative Intuitive from New Zealand
Family Saga Fiction by Adrienne Morris
Burgers, Books, Music, Movies, Offbeat Adventures & Pop Culture!
theatre, film & tv past and present 2001-2008 & 2013...
Candid cultural comments from the Isles of Wonder
Horror, Science Fiction, Comic Books and More
Traveling the World Through Others
A trip through life with fingers crossed and eternal optimism.
Art, Literature, Poetry, Politics and a little History
Travel and Wildlife Adventures
Writer & Author
it's all about the story, possums...
Observations of the illusion through the eyes of wonder...
Adventures in Watercolor Painting and Sketching, Watercolour Magazine, with Charlie O'Shields
Memoir, poetry, & writing theory
The Bridge between two countries
A lifestyle blog with a little bit of everything.
A personal exploration of autism from a brother’s perspective, including family relationships, philosophy, neuroscience, mental health history and ethics
Entertainment, travel and lifestyle blog