Collaboration and Taking Sides are companion pieces by Ronald Harwood. Taking Sides premiered at the Minerva Theatre, Chichester in 1995; Collaboration premiered at the same theatre in July 2008, when the two plays were staged in repertory. Collaboration In 1931, composer Richard Strauss and writer Stephan Zweig embark on an invigorating artistic partnership. But Zweig is a Jew and the Nazis are on the march. Is it possible to keep artistic aspiration and political action separate? How fine is the line between collaboration and betrayal? Taking Sides Prized by Hitler as the cultural jewel in the crown of the Third Reich, conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler became the perfect post-war target for interrogation as a Nazi sympathiser. Major Steve Arnold, who has witnessed the horrors of Belsen, is about to cross-examine him. 'What does the artist do in a brutal, totalitarian society? Can art ever claim to be above politics? Harwood's fierce moral debate is set in the American zone of occupied Berlin in 1946. The play acts as a powerful metaphor for the present and all those post-authoritarian societies busy ransacking their pasts.' Guardian 'A brave, wise and deeply moving play about the fatal confrontation between culture and power, between art and politics, between irresponsible freedom and responsible compromise. A gripping moral challenge in a cocksure and self-seeking age.' Sunday Times
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Ronald Harwood came to England from South Africa in 1951 and studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He was an actor for seven years, and began writing in 1960. Since then he has written numerous plays for the stage, including 'After the Lions', 'Tramway Road', 'Interpreters', 'Another Time', 'Quartet', 'Equally Divided' and 'Mahler's Conversion', and an adaptation of Chekhov's 'Ivanov'. He also wrote the screenplay for the film of his West End and Broadway hit, The Dresser, which received five Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Screenplay, and the screenplay for The Pianist, the Palme d'Or-winning movie directed by Roman Polanski.
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