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A Man For All Seasons - St. Thomas More - Saturday Night Theatre

33 Views· 11/16/23
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Play by Robert Bolt based on the life of St. Thomas More. An early form of the play had been written for BBC Radio in 1954.

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It was also a one-hour live television version starring Bernard Hepton was produced in 1957 by the BBC, but after Bolt's success with The Flowering Cherry, he reworked it for the stage.

The plot is based on the historical events leading up to the execution of More, the 16th-century Chancellor of England, who refused to endorse Henry VIII's wish to divorce his wife Catherine of Aragon, who did not bear him a son, so that he could marry Anne Boleyn, the sister of his former mistress. The play portrays More as a man of principle, envied by rivals such as Thomas Cromwell and loved by the common people and by his family.

The title reflects 20th century agnostic playwright Robert Bolt’s portrayal of More as the ultimate man of conscience. As one who remains true to himself and his beliefs while adapting to all circumstances and times, despite external pressure or influence, More represents "a man for all seasons." Bolt borrowed the title from Robert Whittington, a contemporary of More, who in 1520 wrote of him:

"More is a man of an angel's wit and singular learning. I know not his fellow. For where is the man of that gentleness, lowliness and affability? And, as time requireth, a man of marvelous mirth and pastimes, and sometime of as sad gravity. A man for all seasons."

Originally Broadcast 2/28/1959

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