British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Swan Song

Synopsis
Radio drama. An adaptation, by Michael Frayn, of Anton Chekhov’s one-act play. An elderly actor, having given his final and benefit performance, falls asleep drunk in the theatre. He wakes up, still in his clown costume, and reflects with his prompter about his life on the stage. He dwells on loneliness and death and questions the value of what he has achieved. He has always played the fool or clown and wishes he had acted in grander roles. He recites from Shakespeare those lines from the tragedies which relate to his own situation. He recites King Lear ‘Blow winds and crack your cheeks!' (III ii). The Prompter reads the Fool’s part; the relationship between Actor and Prompter mirroring Lear and his Fool; Hamlet ‘O, the recorders. Let me see one’. (III ii) and Othello ‘O now for ever/Farewell the Tranquil mind, farewell content!' (III iii). In this production the words ‘Othello’s occupation gone’ are the last words spoken in the play before the director’s credit is announced. The line is then repeated before other production credits are read out.
Language
English
Country
Great Britain
Medium
Radio
Transmission details
12 Mar 2006 at 18:30 (Channel: BBC Radio 3)
Duration
20 mins

Credits

Director
Martin Jenkins (2)
Writer
Michael Frayn
Cast
Paul ScofieldOthello
Alec McGowanThe Prompter
Anton Chekhov 
Paul ScofieldThe Actor

Additional Details

Production type
Television and Radio Drama
Plays
Hamlet; King Lear; Othello
Subjects
Drama
Keywords
Shakespeare, William (1564-1616)

Production Company

Name

Pier Productions

Email
info@pierproductionsltd.co.uk
Phone
01273 691401
Address
8 St Georges Place
Brighton
BN1 4GB

Archive

Name

British Library Sound Archive

Email
listening@bl.uk
Web
http://www.bl.uk/nsa External site opens in new window
Phone
020 7412 7676
Fax
020 7412 7441
Address
96 Euston Road
London
NW1 2DB

Record Stats

This record has been viewed 371 times.