CLARK (1932-2021) is best known as the author of the multi-award-winning
play Whose Life is it Anyway?, first produced in the West End in 1978. His other work for the stage includes Can
You Hear Me at the Back?, The Petition, Kipling
and In Pursuit of Eve. He wrote over 20 television
plays and series, including Easy Go, Operation
Magic Carpet, Parole, Happy Returns,
Achilles Heel, The Saturday Party, The
Country Party, There's No Place, Late
Starter and the popular Telford's Change.
Can You Hear Me at the Back?
Brian Clark has earned a reputation for sharp
social comment and in his play Can You Hear Me at the Back?
he examines the world of architects and town planners who, instead
of designing buildings that fit the human scale, seem to succeed
only in creating a succession of ‘people filing cabinets’.
His central character, Philip Turner, Chief Architect of Feltonly
New Town, comments wryly: “You can stack flats one on top
of the other, and the pre-stressed concrete can stand the pressure.
But until someone discovers a way of pre-stressing people, the strain
breaks them down.” Originally starred Peter Barkworth and
(Cast 3m, 2f)
got a distinct charge from Mr Clark’s proselytising fervour
about urban blight ... the issue of buildings produces some splendid
~ (Michael Billington,
Clark peppers this old-fashioned social problem play with some bright
aphorisms and telling asides ... a complex earnest play...”
~ (Milton Shulman, Evening
In Pursuit of Eve
is the tale of a sexual predator who is forced to face his problem
and the damage he has done in the past when he falls in love with
a sensitive and intelligent woman. Can he change? Brian Clark's
In Pursuit of Eve deals with these difficult issues head-on
and, though shocking in some scenes, it emerges as a profoundly
moral piece. As far as the author is aware, this play is unique
in that it is written entirely in sonnet form. (Cast 1m)
hardly a new tale — insatiable singleton finds new love —
but playwright and performer Brian Clark tells it in a series of
sonnets ... The writing is, at times, extremely clever and droll...”
North, Time Out
by [Clark’s] intriguing desire to explore the sonnet as a
means of telling a love story. Working within such a strict framework
ensures that these reminiscences are honed with precision.”
Chapman, What’s On
“...Clark has chosen to deliver his confessional monologue
in sonnet form. This certainly gives the piece a disciplined shape
and structure and Clark offers some droll observations.”
Johns, The Times
agrees that the world could, and should, be a safer and better place.
But people have always disagreed over how we should achieve this.
Now, at last, there's an approach to the problem that brings all
reasonable people together. The Petition says, simply,
enough is enough. Peace can and will break out - but only when enough
voices are raised to demand it. Think about it. Then put your name
down for a safer future.’ Originally starred Sir John Mills
and Rosemary Harris at the National Theatre. (Cast 1m, 1f)
dialogue in which the husband, a retired General, simultaneously
discovers that his wife has three months to live and that she has
joined the campaign against nuclear warfare. The Petition
combines the marital and military battlefields.”
Irving Wardle, The Times
moving, poignant. Sometimes funny...”
funny ... bound to be a success...”
occasion for laughter and tears...”
(in Three One-Act Plays)
Ansty, personal assistant to a business tycoon, arrives for work
one morning unaware that her boss is dead. She takes over the running
of the office for the day with remarkable results. (Cast 3f, 2m)
— Also in this volume:-
Hot to Handle
day Suzanne discovers a horde of pornographic magazines in her husband’s
wardrobe. When he comes home from work that evening she confronts
him with the evidence.
(Cast 2f, 1m)
in London’s bed-sit land. Social worker Frances meets Louise,
who runs a call-girl service from the flat upstairs. They begin
to examine each other’s role and function in society and realise
that they are perhaps not so different after all. (Cast 2f, 1m)
New version - female lead
Original version - male
Whose Life is it Anyway?
the 1970s it took Brian Clark six years to find a West-End theatre
management brave enough to risk presenting a play in which the central
character is a tetraplegic faced with a future of total dependence
on a life-support machine. But it was a smash hit both here and
on Broadway winning several awards, and a film version followed.
The dilemma posed of a medical profession committed to save life
on the one hand, and an individual claiming the right to make their
own decisions about their life on the other, is one that has struck
a chord deep in the public imagination and is as real today as it
was 25 years ago. For a major 2005 revival in the West End Brian
Clark revised his play, changing the central role from male to female.
It starred Kim Cattrall (Samantha in TV's Sex and the City). (Cast
"Whose Life is it Anyway?, tweaked to make
the lead role female, is a great gut-thumper of a play."
~ Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
happened to Claire could happen to anyone. The questions raised
by the play are if anything even more urgent today than they were
when it was first produced in 1978."
~ John Gross, Sunday Telegraph
Clark for dramatising a momentous issue. And by making the protagonist
a woman rather than a man, as in the original, he turns the play
into an intriguing battle against a medical patriarchy."
~ Michael Billington, The
"References to stem-cell research, Stephen Hawking
and Christopher Reeve add to the sense that this is a play for 2005,
and an intelligent, compassionate one."
~ Benedict Nightingale, The
"Clark's strength is the humour and elegance with which
he sets out the arguments..."
~ John Nathan, Jewish Chronicle
rare to see comedy and tragedy combined with so much TLC."
Foss, What's On
still intriguingly subversive in what it says about the rights of
patients over those of hospitals, and the ethical issues that it
raises are as topical now as ever they were. When it comes to pricking
the pomposity of doctors, Clark is right up there with Moliere and
This play is available in two editions - the original version (male
lead) and the new version (female lead).
can buy Brian Clark's plays via this site at
Lane Press, 80 Hill Rise, Richmond-Upon-Thames, Surrey, TW10 6UB
:- +44(0)208 948 1427