JOHN OSBORNE (1929 - 1994)
Osborne's "Look back in Anger" was first staged on 8th May, 1956 by the English Stage Company, founded in that same year, in order to support young dramatists and regenerate English theater.
The play became a kind of manifesto of a generation of young men, "the angry young men", disillusioned and dissatisfied by the Labor Government. They became the symbol of the protest of young people against Establishment and represented what was later called the "generation gap" between the values of the older and younger generations.
The hero of "Look back in Anger", Jimmy Porter, embodies a young rebel with some traits of Osborne himself.
Osborne was born of working-class parents in London and grew up in a suburban area. He went to school and found it intolerable and started doing many jobs including journalism and acting. He worked on new techniques and he was curious about the European experimental drama by Brecht, Pirandello and Jonesco.
His fame remains linked to the "Kitchen sink" drama "Look back in Anger". The play develops mostly in a one-room flat the Porters (Jimmy and his wife Alison) share with their friend Cliff. They can't afford any other accommodation. The situation itself, reinforced by the use of a colloquial, slang, harsh and violent language, lends a provocative effect to the play.
The play has been defined revolutionary because, despite its traditional pattern and structure, the use of a crude language, constituted a separation from the trite verbal cliches of earlier playwrights. The presence of a predominant character contributes to create the sense of isolation and the lack of certainties which made Osborne's creatures anti-heroes.
"Look back in Anger" is still very meaningful today since it represents an investigation into the existential failure of a generation. It describes the pain of being alive having nothing to do with the past traditional values, but lacking new ideals to believe in.
Osborne's production is greatly "varied" since he was always been in search of new forms of expression. He was also the co-founder of a film company and h has won the Film Academy Oscar Award with the script of the film "Tom Jones".