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Butley

Comedy

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About Butley

Rapier-tongued lecturer Ben Butley is having a monumentally bad day. So bad, he's making sure everyone else has a worse one.  His estranged wife has taken up with the most boring man in London.  His beloved protégé has found a new benefactor (one he is actually sleeping with, to boot).  In an unprecedented act of betrayal even the English department's resident failure has a book deal.

Once a charismatic tutor and an authority on T. S. Eliot, he now sharpens his mind on his unfortunate colleagues while trying to evade his more persistent students.  Mischievous irony and gleeful trouble-making all feature in his arsenal; inevitably they prove to be the weapons of his own tragic self-destruction.

"Simon Gray asked me to direct Butley in 1970. I found its savage, lacerating wit hard to beat and accepted the invitation... The extraordinary thing about Butley, it still seems to me, is that the play gives us a character who hurls himself towards the destruction while living, in the fever of his intellectual hell, with a vitality and brilliance known to few of us. He courts death by remaining ruthlessly - even dementedly - alive. It's a remarkable creation....." Harold Pinter

 ‘Simon Gray's Best known play....a clever portrait of a brilliant man with a bankrupt soul' Variety