J. B. Priestley's Time Plays

J. B. Priestley's Time Plays

J. B. Priestley's Time Plays

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The 'Time Plays' are a series of dramas written by British author J. B. Priestley written during the 1930s and 40s. They are so called because each plays with a different concept of time. In each play an alternative theory of time becomes the central metaphor or theatrical device of the play, the characters' lives being affected by how they react to the unusual temporal landscape they encounter.

The Time Plays are usually thought of as including Dangerous Corner, in which exposure of a group of characters' dark secrets is wiped out when the play returns to the beginning at the fall of the curtain; Time and the Conways, which explores J. W. Dunne's theory of simultaneous time expounded in the book An Experiment with Time; I Have Been Here Before, which is inspired by P. D. Ouspensky's theory of eternal recurrence from A New Model of the Universe; Johnson Over Jordan, in which a man encounters a series of trials in the afterlife; The Long Mirror, in which a woman (an artist) has a curiously intimate relationship with a man (a musician) she has never met in the real world before. After five years of sharing his life in the spirit they finally meet at a Welsh hotel and, most famously, An Inspector Calls, in which a family undergo a police investigation into a suicide which they later discover has not happened yet.

Of all the theories of time employed in the plays Priestley professed to believe only in one: that of J. W. Dunne. Although these plays are still popular with audiences...
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