The Info List - Michael Frayn

Michael Frayn, FRSL
(/freɪn/; born 8 September 1933) is an English playwright and novelist. He is best known as the author of the farce Noises Off[1] and the dramas Copenhagen
and Democracy. His novels, such as Towards the End of the Morning, Headlong and Spies, have also been critical and commercial successes, making him one of the handful of writers in the English language to succeed in both drama and prose fiction. He has also written philosophical works, such as The Human Touch: Our Part in the Creation of the Universe (2006).


1 Early life 2 Works 3 Awards 4 Bibliography

4.1 Novels 4.2 Plays 4.3 Short fiction 4.4 Non-fiction

5 Notes 6 References 7 External links

Early life[edit] Frayn was born to a deaf asbestos salesman[2] in Mill Hill,[3] then in Middlesex. He grew up in Ewell, Surrey, and was educated at Kingston Grammar School. Following two years of National Service, during which he learned Russian at the Joint Services School for Linguists, Frayn read Moral Sciences (Philosophy) at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, graduating in 1957. He then worked as a reporter and columnist for The Guardian and The Observer, where he established a reputation as a satirist and comic writer, and began publishing his plays and novels. Works[edit] The play Copenhagen
deals with a historical event, a 1941 meeting between the Danish physicist Niels Bohr
Niels Bohr
and his protégé, the German Werner Heisenberg, when Denmark is under German occupation, and Heisenberg is—maybe?—working on the development of an atomic bomb. Frayn was attracted to the topic because it seemed to 'encapsulate something about the difficulty of knowing why people do what they do and there is a parallel between that and the impossibility that Heisenberg established in physics, about ever knowing everything about the behaviour of physical objects'.[4] The play explores various possibilities. Frayn's more recent play Democracy ran successfully in London (the National Theatre, 2003-4 and West End transfer), Copenhagen
and on Broadway (Brooks Atkinson Theatre, 2004-5); it dramatised the story of the German chancellor Willy Brandt
Willy Brandt
and his personal assistant, the East German spy Günter Guillaume. Five years later, again at the National Theatre, it was followed by Afterlife, a biographical drama of the life of the great Austrian impresario Max Reinhardt, director of the Salzburg
Festival, which opened at the Lyttelton Theatre in June 2008, starring Roger Allam
Roger Allam
as Reinhardt.[5] His other original plays include two evenings of short plays, The Two of Us and Alarms and Excursions, the philosophical comedies Alphabetical Order, Benefactors, Clouds, Make and Break and Here, and the farces Donkeys' Years, Balmoral (also known as Liberty Hall), and Noises Off, which critic Frank Rich
Frank Rich
in his book The Hot Seat claimed "is, was, and probably always will be the funniest play written in my lifetime." His novels include Headlong (shortlisted for the 1999 Booker Prize), The Tin Men
The Tin Men
(won the 1966 Somerset Maugham Award), The Russian Interpreter (1967, Hawthornden Prize) Towards the End of the Morning, Sweet Dreams, A Landing on the Sun, A Very Private Life, Now You Know and Skios. His novel, Spies, won the Whitbread Prize for Fiction in 2002. He has also written a book about philosophy, Constructions, and a book of his own philosophy, The Human Touch. His columns for The Guardian
The Guardian
and The Observer (collected in The Day of the Dog, The Book of Fub and On the Outskirts) are models of the comic essay; in the 1980s a number of them were adapted and performed for BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4
by Martin Jarvis. He has also written screenplays for the films Clockwise, starring John Cleese, First and Last starring Tom Wilkinson, Birthday, Jamie on a Flying Visit, and the TV series Making Faces, starring Eleanor Bron.[6] He is now considered to be Britain's finest translator of Anton Chekhov[7] (The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard) as well as an early untitled work, which he titled Wild Honey (other translations of the work have called it Platonov or Don Juan in the Russian Manner) and a number of Chekhov's smaller plays for an evening called The Sneeze (originally performed on the West End by Rowan Atkinson). He also translated Yuri Trifonov's play Exchange, Leo Tolstoy's The Fruits of Enlightenment, and Jean Anouilh's Number One. In 1980, he presented the Australian journey of the BBC
television series Great Railway Journeys of the World. His journey took him from Sydney
to Perth on the Indian Pacific
Indian Pacific
with side visits to the Lithgow Zig Zag and a journey on The Ghan's old route from Marree to Alice Springs shortly before the opening of the new line from Tarcoola to Alice Springs. Frayn's wife, Claire Tomalin, is a biographer and literary journalist. Awards[edit]

1966: Somerset Maugham Award for The Tin Men 1975: London Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy, for Alphabetical Order 1976: Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy, for Donkeys' Years* 1980: London Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy for Make and Break 1982: London Evening Standard Award for Best Comedy, for Noises Off 1982: Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy, for Noises Off 1984: London Evening Standard Award for Best Play, for Benefactors 1986: New York Drama Critics' Circle
New York Drama Critics' Circle
Award for Best Foreign Play of the 1985-86 Season for Benefactors 1990: International Emmy Award for First and Last 1991: Sunday Express Book of the Year, for A Landing on the Sun 1998: Critics' Circle Theatre Awards for Best New Play, for Copenhagen 1998: London Evening Standard Award for Best Play, for Copenhagen 2000: Tony Award
Tony Award
for Best Play (USA) for Copenhagen 2000: New York Drama Critics' Circle
New York Drama Critics' Circle
Award for Best Foreign Play of the 1999-2000 Season for Copenhagen 2002: Whitbread Best Novel Award for Spies (the overall Whitbread Prize went to his wife, Claire Tomalin) 2003: Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book (Eurasia Region) for Spies 2003: London Evening Standard Award for Best Play, for Democracy 2003: Golden PEN Award for "a Lifetime's Distinguished Service to Literature".[8] 2005 Honorary DLitt
from the University of Birmingham[9] 2006: St. Louis Literary Award from the Saint Louis University
Saint Louis University
Library Associates[10]

Bibliography[edit] Novels[edit]

The Tin Men
The Tin Men
(1965) The Russian Interpreter (1966) Towards the End of the Morning
Towards the End of the Morning
(US title: Against Entropy) (1967) A Very Private Life (1968) Sweet Dreams (1973) The Trick of It
The Trick of It
(1989) A Landing on the Sun
A Landing on the Sun
(1991)[11][12] Now You Know (1993) Headlong (1999) Spies (2002) Skios


The Two of Us, four one-act plays for two actors (1970)

Black and Silver, Mr. Foot, Chinamen, and The new Quixote

Alphabetical Order and Donkeys' Years (1977) Clouds (1977) The Cherry Orchard
The Cherry Orchard
trans. Chekhov (1978) Balmoral (1978) The Fruits of Enlightenment
The Fruits of Enlightenment
trans. Tolstoy (1979) Liberty Hall (1980) (revised version of Balmoral) Make and Break (1980) Noises Off
Noises Off
(1982) Three Sisters trans. Chekhov (1983, revised 1988) Number One (1984) translated from Jean Anouilh's Le Nombril Benefactors (1984) Wild Honey trans. Chekhov (1984) The Seagull
The Seagull
trans. Chekhov (1986) Uncle Vanya
Uncle Vanya
trans. Chekhov (1986) Balmoral (1987) (further revised version) The Sneeze (1988) based on short stories and plays of Chekov First and Last (1989) Exchange trans. adapted Yuri Trifonov
Yuri Trifonov
(1990) Listen to This: Sketches and Monologues (1990) Jamie on a Flying Visit; and Birthday (1990) Look Look (1990) Audience (1991) Plays: Two, Methuen (1991), (1994) ISBN 978-0-413-66080-0 Here (1993) La Belle Vivette, a version of Jacques Offenbach's La Belle Hélène (1995) Alarms and Excursions: More Plays than One (1998) Copenhagen
(1998) Plays: Three, Methuen (2000) Democracy (2003) [1][2] Afterlife (2008) [3] Matchbox Theatre: Thirty Short Entertainments (2014) ISBN 9780571313938

Short fiction[edit]

Speak After The Beep: Studies in the Art of Communicating With Inanimate and Semi-Animate Objects (1995).


The Day of the Dog, articles reprinted from The Guardian
The Guardian
(1962). The Book of Fub, articles reprinted from The Guardian
The Guardian
(1963). On the Outskirts, articles reprinted from The Observer (1964). At Bay in Gear Street, articles reprinted from The Observer (1967). The Original Michael Frayn, a collection of the above four, plus nineteen new Observer pieces. Constructions, a volume of philosophical twaddle (1974). Celia's Secret: An Investigation (US title The Copenhagen
Papers ), with David Burke (2000). The Human Touch: Our part in the creation of the universe (2006). Stage Directions: Writing on Theatre, 1970-2008 (2008), his path into theatre and a collection of the introductions to his plays. Travels with a Typewriter (2009), a collection of Frayn's travel pieces from the 1960s and 70s from the Guardian and the Observer. My Father's Fortune: A Life (2010), a memoir of Frayn's childhood.


^ " Michael Frayn British author and translator," Encyclopædia Britannica https://www.britannica.com/biography/Michael-Frayn Retrieved August 6, 2017. ^ My Father's Fortune, A Life by Michael Frayn ^ 2009 Interview in the Observer ^ "Interview with Michael Frayn". British Library (sound recording).  ^ Fiona Maddocks, “The History Play Man; Daring: Frayn's Drama Slips in and out of Rhyming Couplets "To Blur the Distinction between Theatre and Life Just as Rheinhardt Did," The Evening Standard, 3 June 2008. ^ "Michael Frayn". IMDb.  ^ Donald Rayfield, "Review: Chekhov: Four Plays and Three Jokes by Sharon Marie - adapting the four major plays", Translation and Literature Vol. 20, No. 3, Translating Russia, 1890-1935 (Autumn 2011), pp. 408-410? ^ "Golden Pen Award, official website". English PEN. Retrieved 3 December 2012.  ^ "Honorary Graduates of the University of Birmingham
University of Birmingham
since 2000" (PDF). Retrieved 16 July 2015.  ^ "Saint Louis Literary Award - Saint Louis University". www.slu.edu.  ^ John Banville. 1992. “Playing House. Rev. of A Landing on the Sun by Michael Frayn and Daughters of Albion by A. N. Wilson. The New York Review of Books. May 14, 1992. ^ New Statesman and Society. IV, September 13, 1991, p. 39.


Theatre Record and its annual Indexes

External links[edit]

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Michael Frayn

Michael Frayn at British Council: Literature Michael Frayn at the British Film Institute Shusha Guppy (Winter 2003). "Michael Frayn, The Art of Theater No. 15". The Paris Review.  Profile on BBC
Four (archived 2007-10-21) Michael Frayn at the Internet Broadway Database Michael Frayn at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database Profile at United Agents On Doollee Michael Frayn on IMDb

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