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Nicholas Wright Biography

(1940– ), Treetops, The Crimes of Vautrin, Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes, The Custom of the Country

British dramatist, born in Cape Town. He trained as an actor in London and subsequently held posts as Director of the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs (19705), Joint Artistic Director of the Royal Court Theatre (19767), and Associate Director of new writing at the National Theatre (19849). Treetops (1978), his first full-length play, looked back on his South African childhood in Cape Town. The Crimes of Vautrin (1983), adapted from Balzac's Splendeurs et misères des courtisanes, was widely regarded as a critique of rampant materialism in Britain under Mrs Thatcher. It was followed by The Custom of the Country (1983), a romantic comedy on colonial themes set in the boom-town Johannesburg of the 1890s, and The Desert Air (1984), a satirical examination of political intrigue among British military and Secret Service agents in Cairo during the Second World War. Wright's best-known play, Mrs Klein (1988), set in London with a cast of three female psychiatrists, deals with a personal crisis in the life of the controversial Austrian psychoanalyst Melanie Klein (18821960), and her reaction to the sudden death of her son in a climbing accident in 1934.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Woking Surrey to Æ