[Braham Murray, in his Century Theatre Company's inaugural season at the University Theatre, Manchester.] Autograph Notes for his production of Eugene O'Neill's 'Long Day's Journey into Night'.

Braham Murray [Braham Sydney Murray, born Braham Goldstein] (1943-2018), director, one of five founding Artistic Directors, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester [Eugene O'Neill]
Publication details: 
[1965. The Century Theatre at] the University Theatre, Manchester.
SKU: 22937

An interesting artefact of what was to become the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. See Murray's Guardian obituary, 3 August 2018: 'Murray left Oxford in 1964 without sitting his finals but with a starry reputation. At 22 he was given the job of running the travelling Century Theatre, which toured non-theatre towns in three pantechnicons, and by 1969 he had joined 69 Theatre Company, founded by Michael Elliott, Casper Wrede, James Maxwell and Richard Negri, and operating out of the University theatre in Manchester, [...] The magnificent theatre-in-the-round into which [the Royal Exchange building] was transformed was opened by Laurence Olivier in 1976.' Murray deals with his 1965 production of O'Neill's 'Long Day's Journey into Night' in his 2014 autobiography 'The worst it can be is a Disaster'. It was his company's inaugural production in Manchester, on a double bill with Michael Meyer's 'The Ortolan', and 'in a fit of madness' Murray offered to 'guarantee the season against losses, which might amount to £10,000'. It was in this production, as the maid Cathleen, that Helen Mirren began her professional career. Mirren also acted in 'The Ortolan', and would perform in two more plays with the Century Theatre: 'Charley's Aunt' and 'The Merchant of Venice'. The present item is 78pp, 4to, on the ruled pages of a ring-bound 'College Note Book' with buff covers. Aged and worn, in heavily-worn covers, but sound, tight and intact. At top left of front cover Murray has written 'Notes on: | Long Days Journey into Night.' And at bottom right: 'Braham Murray, | University Theatre, | London. Filled with dense notes in Murray's untidy but legible backwards-sloping hand. Begins with the first of several stage layouts, then notes on costumes and lighting, props, sound, followed by the main section which comprises detailed notes, divided into 'Movements', with 'objectives' of the author and characters. Three pages at the end give 'Breakdown' and schedule for rehearsal. The last page carries a significant quotation from the play, about 'the meaning of life' and 'the truth'.