Peace in our Time

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DOI: 10.5040/9781408164402.00000018
Acts: 2. Scenes: 8. Roles: Male (18) , Female (12) , Neutral (0)

‘The idea of Peace in Our Time’, Coward wrote, ‘was conceived in Paris shortly after the Liberation . . . I began to suspect that the physical effect of four years intermittent bombing is far less damaging to the intrinsic character of a nation than the spiritual effect of four years enemy occupation. This in time led me to wonder what might have happened to London and England if, in 1940, the Germans successfully invaded and occupied us, which they so very nearly did.’

Peace in Our Time was first produced in Brighton at the Theatre Royal on 15 July 1947 and then in London at the Lyric Theatre on 22 July 1947 in a production directed by Alan Webb. Set in a London pub, it presents a picture of occupied Britain after a successful German invasion. There the new regime seeks to convince and coerce its new-found subjects, but finds that the resistance and resilience of the English middle classes are not so easily conquered. Arriving so soon after Liberation, it was well received, with the Daily Telegraph writing that ‘This play cannot possibly fail. It is too moving, too exciting, too deft – and too timely. We need to be reminded, just now, that we are people of spirit.’

From Coward Plays: 7

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Bloomsbury Publishing

Noël Coward

ISBN: 9780413734006

Series: World Classics

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