Look Back in Anger transformed the face of British theatre; legend has it that audiences gasped at the sight of an ironing board on a London stage. John Osborne's play launched the 'angry young men' movement, writers from working or middle class background who had become disillusioned with British society, were sick of contemporary theatre's escapism, and wanted their work to reflect life as they knew it. The play tells the story of a love triangle between Jimmy, an intelligent and educated man of working class background, his upper-middle-class wife Alison, and her superior and disdainful best-friend Helena. Jimmy hates his wife's background, almost as much as he hates himself. Dark and savage, Look Back in Anger makes readers and audiences re-examine what was once called 'the good life'.
John Osborne was born in London in 1929. Before becoming a playwright he worked as a journalist, assistant stage manager and repertory theatre actor. Seeing an advertisement for new plays in The Stage in 1956, Osborne submitted Look Back in Anger. Not only was the play produced, but it was to become considered as the turning point in post-war British theatre. Osborne's protagonist, Jimmy Porter, captured the rebelliousness of an entire post-war generation of 'angry young men'. His other plays include The Entertainer (1957), Luther (1961), Inadmissible Evidence (1964), and A Patriot for Me (1966). He also wrote two volumes of autobiography, A Better Class of Person (1981) and Almost a Gentleman (1991) published together as Looking Back: Never Explain, Never Apologise. His last play, Deja Vu (1991), returns to the characters of Look Back in Anger, over thirty years later. Both Look Back in Anger and The Entertainer were adapted for film, and in 1963 Osborne won an Academy Award for his screenplay for Tom Jones. John Osborne died on 24 December 1994.
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