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Trevor Griffiths Biography

(1935– ), Occupations, The Party, Comedians, Sam, Sam, The Gulf Between Us, Thatcher's Children

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Francis Edward Grainger Biography to Thomas Anstey Guthrie Biography

British playwright, born in Manchester, the son of a labourer, educated at Manchester University. Occupations (1970), set during the 1920 Fiat strike in Turin, and focusing on arguments between a humane Gramsci and the ruthless Soviet apparatchik Kabak, was followed by two other plays written from a Marxist stance and asking how radical social change is best achieved: these were The Party (1973), in which a representative cross-section of leftists debate the student uprising in the Paris of 1968 while it unfolds on television, and Comedians (1975). Other works for the stage include Sam, Sam (1972), a semi-autobiographical piece about a young man who, for better or worse, remains trapped by his working-class roots while his brother makes an emotionally damaging journey into the middle class; The Gulf Between Us (1992), about English builders isolated in Iraq during the hostilities that followed the invasion of Kuwait; and Thatcher's Children (1993), which follows the lives of a group of friends from primary school in 1973 to the cruder, harder, more violent England we can expect to see in 1999. Griffiths has also adapted other people's work, freely transforming Chekhov's Platonov into the overtly socialist Piano (1990), and written plays for television, among them Absolute Beginners (1974), a drama about Lenin; Through the Night (1975), about a mastectomy patient in a notably impersonal hospital; and a series about a left-wing Labour politician, Bill Brand (1976).

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