This volume of Christopher Fry's original stage work concludes his 'Season Plays' with Venus Observed ('Autumn') and The Dark is Light Enough ('Winter').
In the first of these, commissioned by Laurence Olivier, a confident but ageing duke asks his grown-up son to choose a new wife for him. Written with a superbly light touch, this is a surprisingly reflective play about love, power and forgiveness.
The Dark is Light Enough, set during Hungary's revolt against Austria in the 1850s, concerns an imperious, inscrutable aristocrat who seems prepared to sacrifice family and household for the sake of her daughter's scapegrace ex-husband.
Also included is Fry's biographical play about King henry II, Curtmantle. Working with the 'epic' theatrical style of the time and utilising a new, leaner verse language, Fry captures Henry's energy, quick wit and quick temper, his relationship with Thomas Becket - Chancellor and friend, Archbishop and enemy - and his ultimately tragic struggles with his four ambitious sons.