Terence Mervyn Rattigan was born on June 10, 1911, in London, the son of a career diplomat and serial philanderer whose indiscretions resulted in his being cashiered by the Foreign Office. As a member of the lower upper-middle class in the inter-war period, the young Rattigan received a first-rate education at Harrow and Trinity College, Oxford. His was a privileged and intellectual background, and this is reflected in his plays. For a decade after the Second World War he was one of England’s leading playwrights, but the eruption of the “kitchen sink” school of English drama in the mid-’50s scuttled his critical reputation.
When he was 25 Rattigan achieved his first success as a playwright with the light comedy “French Without Tears” (1936), which was a smash in the West End. Determined to do more serious work, he wrote the satirical social drama “After the Dance” in 1939, which skewered the failure of the class of “Bright Young Things” to prevent another war. The play’s run… read more