This prominent British writer's best known film work includes the chilling psychodrama "Equus" (1977) and "Amadeus" (1984), the Oscar-winning account of the relationship between Mozart and his schemin...
Liverpool, England, GB
|Changing Stages||2000 1999 - 2000||Actor||Interviewee||20007|
|Equus||1976||Play as Source Material||("Equus")||1|
|The Royal Hunt of the Sun||1969||Play as Source Material||n/a||1|
|Amadeus||1984||Play as Source Material||("Amadeus")||1|
|Follow Me!||1971||Play as Source Material||n/a||1|
|The Pad, and How to Use It||1965||Play as Source Material||("The Private Ear")||1|
|Five Finger Exercise||1961||Play as Source Material||("Five Finger Exercise")||1|
|Worked at Bosey and Hawkes, music publishers|
|"The Royal Hunt of the Sun" premiered in UK|
|Adapted "Equus" for the screen|
|First screenplay, adaptation of "Lord of the Flies"|
|Wrote screen adaptation of "Amadeus"|
|"Five Finger Exercise" produced on Broadway|
|"Amadeus" premiered in London|
|"Equus" premiered in London|
|Worked at NY Public Library|
|First play, "Five Finger Exercise" produced in UK|
|Wrote teleplay "The Salt Land" for ITN and "The Prodigal Father" for BBC radio|
Shaffer was a writer, critic, and novelist (with his brother Anthony Shaffer under the pseudonym Peter Anthony) before turning to the theatre with "Five Finger Exercise" in 1958. Among the works that followed where "The Royal Hunt of the Sun: A Play Concerning the Conquest of Peru" (1964), as well as "Equus" (1975) and "Amadeus" (1980) both of which won the Tony Award as Best Play for their New York productions. Shaffer's comedy "Lettice and Lovage" (1987) featured a tour-de-force performance by Maggie Smith in London and on Broadway (and by Julie Harris in the US touring company).
In addition to adapting his best-known plays for the screen, Shaffer wrote the stunning 1963 adaptation of William Golding's novel "Lord of the Flies" His work has generally been marked by an underlining humanism, in which the so-called villains often drive the action by forcing the audience to see the more sympathetic characters through their eyes. Shaffer's villains sympathize with and understand the more likable foe, yet do what they need to do for their own ends, but not without shame or worse. For example, in "Amadeus", Salieri is angry with God for giving the undisciplined Mozart the musical power he so craves. Yet, Salieri destroys Mozart both out of envy and to protect his position. Similarly, the psychiatrist in "Equus" knows that he will destroy the lad who loves horses, but he reasons that society requires it. Motivations are neither evil nor good, but they serve the dramatic obstacle in a Shaffer play; they are intricate and offer psychological depth. The audience is often left wondering if their impulses make them closer to the villain or the tormented, and who, in fact, is the more tormented character.
|Anthony Shaffer||Brother||twin of Peter; died on November 5, 2001 of a heart attack|
|St Paul's School|
|University of Cambridge|
|Shaffer received the William Inge Award for Distinguished Achievement in the American Theater in 1992.|
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