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Elliot Norton Reviews; Emlyn Williams As Charles Dickens


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Elliot Norton Reviews
Emlyn Williams As Charles Dickens
Program Number


Series Description

Boston theatre critic Elliot Norton interviews prominent actors, directors and producers on their craft. (Aired from October, 1958 to 1982. Winner of both Peabody and Tony Awards.) Series release date: 1958

Program Description

Elliot Norton interviews the Welsh dramatist and actor Emlyn Williams about his one-man show, “Emlyn Williams as Charles Dickens” at the Spingold Theatre at Brandeis University. Before taking the play to Brandeis, he took it on a tour around the world. Along with autobiographies, novels, and screenplays, Williams is known for writing stage plays, including the thriller, “Night Must Fall” (1935), and the semi-autobiographical “The Corn is Green” (1938), in which he starred at the Duchess Theatre in London in 1938. Williams speaks about the difference of writing novels and plays; novels are meant to be read and plays are meant to be acted. This affects his use of tone and style.

The first half of the episode is spent talking about the two and a half years of in-depth research at the Royal Palace that went into his newest novel, “Headlong” (1980). It is the fictitious story of a boy with a drop of royal blood who is named king after the entire royal family is wiped out in a freak accident in 1930.

For his Dickens production, Williams had to adapt Dickens’ dialogue for the theater. Dickens’ original writings contained a lot of padding, so Williams had to figure out a way to cut it down without losing the original language. Although Dickens performed his “Murder of Nancy” and other writings on tours, Williams did not take these performances under consideration for several reasons. Dickens did not cut any of his original language and reviews of these performances are inconsistent and therefore not reliable.

Director: Richard Heller. Taped 3/24/1981.

Asset Type

Broadcast program

Media Type


Talk Show
Performing Arts
Chicago: “Elliot Norton Reviews; Emlyn Williams As Charles Dickens,” 03/24/1981, WGBH Media Library & Archives, accessed October 27, 2016, http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_D36329F744334FBBADB2FB0462817BC0.
MLA: “Elliot Norton Reviews; Emlyn Williams As Charles Dickens.” 03/24/1981. WGBH Media Library & Archives. Web. October 27, 2016. <http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_D36329F744334FBBADB2FB0462817BC0>.
APA: Elliot Norton Reviews; Emlyn Williams As Charles Dickens. Boston, MA: WGBH Media Library & Archives. Retrieved from http://openvault.wgbh.org/catalog/V_D36329F744334FBBADB2FB0462817BC0
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