[lit-ideas] Re: The Ostnia/Westland Room

  • From: "LLOYD MITCHELL" <rmitchell@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 14 Nov 2007 21:47:55 -0500

Hello, there - 

You might try Herod's speech in _For the Time Being_ (a really beautiful 
nativity drama). A poignantly humorous segment, at precisely the most 
heart-wrenchingly tragic portion of the nativity story.

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx 
  To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2007 8:29 PM
  Subject: [lit-ideas] The Ostnia/Westland Room


  "Does anyone know the name of a W. H. Auden poem about leaders meeting in a 
villa retreat and making decisions in that safe and privileged atmosphere that 
will rain death down on cities? I've looked through many of Auden's collected 
works, but can't find it. I can't remember more than what I've just told 
unfortunately. I'm 98% positive it exists out there in the world of print. If 
it rings a bell, please let me know."

  Well, this is one takes place in the office of a dictator. But not precisely 
your scenario.  

  On the Frontier: A Melodrama in Two Acts, by W. H. Auden and Christopher 
Isherwood, first published in 1938. 

  The play tells the story of the outbreak of war between the fictional 
European countries of Ostnia and Westland. Some of the action takes place in 
the "Ostnia-Westland Room", an imaginary setting in which two rooms, one in an 
Ostnian household, one in Westland household, each occupy half the stage, and 
the family in one house are unaware of the family in the other - although the 
son and daughter of the two families sense each other's existence. Other scenes 
take place in the office of the Westland dictator. The play ends in a visionary 
scene between the two lovers who have never met in real life. The play was 
produced in October 1938 at the Arts Theatre, Cambridge, in a production by the 
Group Theatre (London). The music for the play was composed by Benjamin Britten.

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