Playing with Time

J.B. Priestley’s Time and the Conways is a great story. It interests us in many ways and we are happy to be able to work on it during season 2018-2019. Here is some information about the play and the aspects that ET Cetera intends on underlining in this production.

The play

The prosperous Conway family gathers for a party. Wealth is in the air. They all have personal aspirations and dream of a wonderful future for themselves and their loved ones. They are about to make a series of choices driven by greed, fear and resentment, and change their fate for the worse. Is it still possible for them to stop thinking time is ticking their lives away, to face their responsibilities and find themselves?

The author

Born in 1894, J.B. Priestly is an English novelist and playwright. His novel The Good Companions, which made him known to the public, won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for Fiction in 1929. His play An Inspector Calls, created in 1945, won several awards including the Tony Award. Two themes play an important role in his theatrical works: time and social inequality. During the Second World War, he broadcast a weekly radio show advocating progressive social and political policies. Priestley died in 1984, leaving behind great literary, theatrical, and activist works.

Playing with time

J.B. Priestley’s Time and the Conways explores brilliantly the theatrical potential of ‘disrupted time’. The play is uniquely structured: acts I and III tell a continuous story, cut by act II which projects the audience 18 years later. With this form, J.B. Priestley changes the meaning of events. He allows the audience to understand the situation with a clairvoyance inaccessible to the Conway family, to see that their choices threaten not only to dry up their dreams, but also to tear their family apart.

We have plans for the future that we want to complete and that will forge our identity. These plans assume that what carries us is our will and our choices. We therefore have incredible responsibility, both towards ourselves and towards those around us.

The form of Time and the Conways highlights the responsibility of the characters in the future they are building. As spectators, who observe them at both times of their lives, we have the tools to understand where they went wrong and how they can face their choices. By doing so, they can stop doing everything in their power to grab the best things, to the point of hurting each other.


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