Teatro da salotto. Il single play britannico dalle origini alla scomparsa
Keywords:single play, televisione britannica, teledramma, sceneggiato, Ken Loach, Troy Kennedy Martin, Mike Leigh, Dennis Potter
AbstractThe single play or teleplay was a ‘prestige’ programme in the BBC schedule since the early, experimental phase of the 1930s. At the beginning the plays were mostly adaptations of novels or theatrical dramas, and they were transmitted live using a multi-camera system. In the early 1950s, however, the staging had already reached a remarkable technical and narrative sophistication, as The Quatermass Experiment (1953) or 1984 (1954) show. After the systemic evolution triggered by the introduction of commercial television, the single play developed its own specificity with anthologies like Armchair Theater (ABC, 1956-1974), The Wednesday Play (BBC 1, 1964-70) and Play for Today (BBC 1, 1970-84). Many commentators dubbed this a "golden age", as it was a time of great creative freedom and heated discussions about the form and aesthetics of television narrative. The aim of this paper is to trace the history and evolution of the British single play, from its theatrical origins rooted in the "kitchen sink drama" to naturalism, from the revolution of "Cathy Come Home" (1966) to its almost complete disappearance in the new political and industrial climate of the 1980s. Asit will be argued, the single play disappeared because on the one hand it converged with cinema, on the other it evolved into the miniseries.
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