The Browning Version
by Terence Rattigan
December 1990

Terence Rattigan's The Browning Version is a one-act play about an unpopular schoolmaster who, faced with the collapse of his career and marriage, snatches a last shred of dignity when he receives an unexpected gift from a pupil.

The play is set in the sitting-room of Arthur Crocker-Harris, a classics teacher at a boys' public school in the South of England, just as he is about to retire because of ill health. He is an unpopular teacher known for his strict discipline and stern lack of humour, and his younger wife Millie, embittered by his lack of passion and ambition, is having an affair with another teacher, Frank Hunter. But when John Taplow, a hitherto unremarkable pupil, makes Crocker-Harris a gift of a second-hand copy of Robert Browning’s translation of Aeschylus' Agamemnon, the unexpected gesture sets in motion a series of actions that force him to reflect on his past and confront his future.

The play was unanimously praised by the critics and went on to win the Ellen Terry Award for the best new play produced in London, the second time Rattigan had won the prize, having won it previously for The Winslow Boy.

Cast
Guy RichardsonTaplow
Maggie NixMillie Crocker-Harris
David SentonAndrew Crocker-Harris
Bryan HewittFrank Hunter
Tony Cole-HamiltonDr Frobisher
Dave NewtonPeter Gilbert
Jackie ClarkMrs Gilbert