Carlo Gebler's new play especially written for Radio 3 dramatizes the extraordinary relationship between brother and sister, Charles and Mary Lamb, the writers of 'The Tales Of Shakespeare' (1807), the seminal children's introduction to Shakespeare, which is still in print.
What is less well known are the tragic circumstances, domestic and personal, behind the partnership of Charles and Mary.
The Lamb family were London born and bred, bohemian and penniless.
A combination of poverty and stress drove Mary insane and she committed a shocking crime.
Charles saved her from prison and promised he would always take care of her.
Mary was never 'sane' again but during the writing of 'The Tales' alongside her brother she was at her sanest.
Literary production gave order and structure to her life.
The main essence of this play explores the connection between literary creativity and mental equilibrium.
Carlo Gebler is an experienced novelist and playwright.
His novels include ' The Eleventh Summer', 'The Cure' and 'How To Murder A Man'.
His plays include an Irish version of 'The Dance Of Death', 10 Rounds ( both at The Tricycle London).
He has co- written with Brighton bomber Patrick Magee, 'My Father's Watch- The Story Of A Child Prisoner In The 70s' and has taught creative writing in Northern Ireland prisons for many years.
The leading part of Mary Lamb is played by Lia Williams (Oleanna at The Royal Court, Rosalind in 'As You like It' at the RSC, BAFTA Best Actress for the tv production, 'May 33', 'Earthquakes In London' at The National Theatre).
Charles Lamb is Paul Rhys (films: 'Chaplin' and 'Vincent And Theo' as well as playing Hamlet at The Young Vic, and in Tom Stoppard's 'Invention of Love' at The National Theatre)
They are supported by a strong cast which includes Anna Carteret ( tvs 'Juliet Bravo' and 'Peak Practice' as well as 'Burnt By Sun', 'Never So Good' etc at The National Theatre), Dudley Sutton ( Ken Russell's 'The Devils', tvs' Lovejoy'), Mark Bazeley ( 'The Special Relationship', 'The Damned United', 'The Queen' (tv/film), 'The Seagull' ( National Theatre) 'Death Of A Salesman' and 'Suddenly Last Summer' (West End), Marcella Riordan ( Sony BBC Radio Best Actress Award ) and distinguished radio rep actors Christine Kavanagh and Sam Dale.
The drama is directed by Roland Jaquarello, whose work includes periods as Senior Producer Radio Drama, BBC Northern Ireland, Director at The Abbey Theatre Dublin, Artistic Director, Redgrave Theatre Farnham and Artistic Director, Lyric Theatre Belfast.
Charles Lamb - Paul Rhys
Mary Lamb - Lia Williams
Elizabeth Lamb - Anna Carteret
John Lamb Senior - Duddley Sutton
John Lamb Junior - Mark Bazeley
Amelia James / Miss Love and Mrs Walden - Marcella Riordan
Mary Jane Godwin - Christine Kavanagh
Mr Quigg / Dr Pitcairn - Sam Dale
Other parts are played by members of the cast.
Carlo Gebler's play about relationship between the writers of The Tales Of Shakespeare.