“I loathe us, I loathe our stupid puerile view of the World … That WE have only to do it, that WE have only to go puff, and the monster buildings will go splat…”
London, the early 70s. Poverty, homelessness, rising inequality, unemployment, industrial disputes. Five young activists squat a disused building and try to make a stand against it all.
Fired up by left-wing idealism but short on pragmatism, they discover that the revolution may be a long time coming, and when the protest leads to tragedy, some of them are driven to more violent methods. Meanwhile, two Tory MPs meet for a quiet chat to pass over the reins of power.
Both epic and intimate, Magnificence takes us from the grubby barracks of the revolutionary struggle, to the heart of centre-right Tory politicking, creating a panoramic vision of Britain at a pivotal moment in history. Many of its themes remain burning issues today – police brutality, drug abuse, the deceptions of professional politicians, the social housing crisis, and whether violence can ever be justified for political ends.
Magnificence originally premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in June 1973, directed by Max Stafford-Clark, and with a cast including Pete Postlethwaite, Kenneth Cranham, Michael Kitchen and Robert Eddison.
The run will be accompanied by the FINBOROUGHFORUM, a series of informal post-show discussions and debates, on Wednesday evenings: 26 October, 2, 9 and 16 November. All events are free to ticketholders for that evening's performance of the play. FINBOROUGHFORUM events will all be Twitter friendly with live tweets from @FinboroughForum. Using the hashtag #finfor, the speakers will also answer questions posed on Twitter so everyone can be included, no matter where they are in the world. The events will feature a Q&A session with Howard Brenton, discussions with academics on the political parallels between the early 70s and today, and panel talks with present-day activists campaigning on similar themes.