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Plato's Symposium aka The Drinking Party


Working against all odds
Jonathan Miller Theatre director
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[Q] Have you ever thought about seeing a therapist about this?

Oh, yes, I think I have once or twice done that, but it’s just not worth it. I mean, I go on doing the work and I think I go on doing good work. I mean, I watch the things of mine that have been running for years. I mean, for example, my... well, these are things that I did much later, my Rigoletto, and you look at the early reviews and they’re very, very dismissive, and now it’s been in the repertoire at the English National for 27 years. The Mikado was also regarded, oh, wouldn’t you know it, of course he’s taken all the Japanese out of it, he’s got to be original in some way. Well, it was original in some way to the point that it ran for 25 years. But what I remember, and still live in, is this hydrogen sulphide secreted by these Platyhelminthes who infect my world.

[Q] What a shame.

It is a shame, hmm.

Jonathan Miller (1934-2019) was a British theatre and opera director. Initially studying medicine at Cambridge, Sir Jonathan Miller came to prominence with the production of the British comedy revue, Beyond the Fringe. Following on from this success he embarked on a career in the theatre, directing a 1970 West End production of The Merchant of Venice starring Laurence Olivier. He also started directing opera, famously producing a modern, Mafia-themed version of Rigoletto.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: Rigoletto, The Mikado

Duration: 1 minute, 3 seconds

Date story recorded: July 2008

Date story went live: 23 December 2008