[About This Site]  [Her Books]  [Her Life]

D o r i s L e s s i n g



Play with a Tiger
A Play in Three Acts

Year First Published: 1962
Published by: Michael Joseph
Category: Drama
This Edition: British first edition
click on image
for larger version

This play was first produced at the Comedy Theatre, London, on March 22, 1962, by Oscar Lewenstein, with the following cast:
ANNA FREEMAN
TOM LATTIMER
MARY JACKSON
HARRY PAINE
JANET STEVENS
DAVE MILLER
Siobhan McKenna
William Russell
Maureen Pryor
Godfrey Quigley
Anne Lawson
Alex Viespi

The action takes place in Anna Freeman's room on the first floor of Mary Jackson's house in Earls Court, London, S.W.5

At the opening of the play the time is about nine in the evening; at its close it is about four in the morning

Directed by Ted Kotcheff
CHARACTERS

ANNA FREEMAN: A woman of thirty-five, or so, who earns her living on the artistic fringes.

DAVE MILLER: An American, about thirty three, who is rootless on principle.

MARY JACKSON: About ten years older than Anna: a widow with a grown-up son.

TOM LATTIMER: Who is on the point of taking a job as business manager of a woman's magazine. About thirty five, a middle-class Englishman.

HARRY PAINE: Fifty-ish. A journalist.

JANET STEVENS: In her early twenties, the daughter of an insurance agent - American.


From the book jacket:
Mrs Lessing was writing plays in Southern Rhodesia long before she ever saw a play on the stage - and has been writing them ever since. Of the twenty of so she has done most have become dated, but she still stand by five of them. Her first serious production was Each His Own Wilderness at the Royal Court Theatre four years ago and The Truth About Billy Newton was done at the Salisbury Playhouse in 1958.

Doris Lessing considers Play With a Tiger to be her best play to date and the most complicated in form. It is about people who, having thrown over conventional morality, live emotionally from hand to mouth according to their own rules, often coming to grief in the process. The two central characters, an Australian woman and an American man, love each other but are too different temperamentally to marry. The most interesting aspect of the play is the middle section where the two characters, Dave and Anna, alone on the stage, create their pasts and futures in a game which breaks the realistic form of the play into a kind of expressionism.

Comments:

Also broadcast on BBC2 on December 18, 1967

Producer: MICHAEL BAKEWELL
Director: STUART BURGE
Principal Cast: BARBARA JEFFORD, MICHAEL GOUGH, JEREMY BURNHAM, JOHN TURNER, PATRICIA LAWRENCE, SHARON CATHNESS

O T H E R . E D I T I O N S

Plays of the Sixties, Volume One
Pan Books Ltd., a Pan original
British paperback original
Published 1966
Second printing 1970
ISBN: 0-330-3100-0
Play with a Tiger
Davis-Poynter
British Softcover Reprint
Published 1972
ISBN: 0 7067 0016 3
Includes "Postscript, 1972"
[Current Edition]
Play with a Tiger and Other Plays
Flamingo (HarperCollins)
British softcover reprint
Published 1996
ISBN: 0-00-649867-1