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Charles Wood Biography

(1932– ), Prisoner and Escort, Cockade, Dingo, H: Being Monologues at Front of Burning Cities, Jingo

plays

British dramatist, born in Guernsey, the son of professional actors, educated at Birmingham College of Art. He became a trooper in the 17/21st Lancers and drew on this background for the work that first won him attention in 1963, Prisoner and Escort, part of a trio of plays called Cockade. His scepticism about things military is also reflected in Dingo (1967), which angrily suggests that the Second World War was fought ‘for all the usual reasons’; H: Being Monologues at Front of Burning Cities (1969), about Christian pretension and violent practice during the Indian Mutiny; and Jingo (1975), set in Singapore at the time of the Japanese invasion of 1941 and highly critical of a smug, xenophobic English officer class. Wood's other notable plays, many of them concerned with the gap between illusion and reality, include Fill the Stage with Happy Hours (1966), about life in a small-town repertory theatre; two comedies about the making of movies, Veterans (1972) and Has ‘Washington’ Legs? (1978); Red Star (1984); and Across from the Garden of Allah (1986). He is also an accomplished screenwriter, the author of the scripts of The Knack, Help!, The Charge of the Light Brigade, and, more recently, Vile Bodies.

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