News and Events

Tissot Play Goes to Tate Britain

On Monday 5 March 2018 a rather unusual event happened at Tate Britain. After the venerable museum closed its doors to the public, and reopened to a group of special friends, a rehearsed reading of Peter Lantos’s fourth play, Light and Shadow took place in the Tissot Room of the exhibition of Impressionists in London.

This play was written well before the exhibition was even conceived, but its presentation in a room full of Tissot’s pictures was an extraordinarily happy coincidence. The play is the story of Tissot’s extraordinary love affair with Kate Newton – the muse of many of his paintings – a beautiful, divorced, Irish Catholic with an illegitimate child. Their love survived the official prejudices of the puritanical Victorian era and only ended with Kate’s premature death. Tissot, the most successful chronicler of London’s social life left for Paris after three days of mourning, never to return.

The play was directed by Sarah Berger in the production of the So and So Arts Club. Ben Porter played Tissot, and Georgie Oulton was Kate. Other actors included Jessica Claire, Nigel Fairs, Sian E Green and George Potts.

 

Rehearsed reading Peter’s third play, Stolen Years

Despite the inclement weather of freezing cold and icy snow on 1 March 2018, The Tristan Bates Theatre, Covent Garden, London was full for the first rehearsed reading of Stolen Years. The play reflects the febrile times of 1989 on the eve of the collapse of Communism in Hungary. Four friends meet in an apartment in Budapest after thirty years. One of them, Robi has returned from New York where he fled after the failed Revolution of 1956. His arrival revives painful memories of deceit, torture and lies, and triggers the uncertainties of the future.

The play was directed by Dave Spencer in the production of the So and So Arts Club. The cast included Kate Harper, Keith Hill, Tony Keetch and Louise Templeton.

Article in the Guardian about a remarkable book SURVIVOR

The Weekend Magazine of the Guardian’s 14 January 2017 issue had an interview with six Holocaust survivors, including Peter Lantos; each accompanied by portraits from Harry Boden’s book, Survivor published by Cassell. The beautifully produced book, with a forward by Howard Jacobson is a collection of 102 portraits, each accompanied by a few sentences written by the subject in their own handwriting and complemented by brief biographies at the end. Harry is an internationally known portrait photographer who worked on this project for years and the result is moving; uplifting rather than depressing. The Guardian

Parallel Lines goes to South Wales

After having been in New South Wales in Australia twice, including the Sydney Literary Festival, I am happy to report that Parallel Lines goes to South Wales, UK. I was invited by Helen Harman to Newbridge in South Wales.  At the Newbridge  Memo on Friday, 3 February 2017 I will meet the Reading Group in the Library in the afternoon, and I will talk to an audience in the evening (See: www.newbridgememo.co.uk.).

Translating the script of an extraordinary film

In the spring of 1945, the Ministry of Information in London asked Sydney Bernstein (who later founded ITV) to make a documentary film about the liberation of concentration camps. The project started with Bergen-Belsen, the camp liberated by the British Army in April 1945, but soon became a larger project to involve concentration camps liberated by the Americans and Soviets. Bernstein asked his friend Alfred Hitchcock to advise; he duly arrived and although did not direct the film, he contributed substantially with excellent ideas. By the time the film was nearing its completion, the Allies’ priorities changed: instead of confronting the Germans with the atrocities they had committed, the priority became to get them on the side of the Allies in what was becoming the Cold War. For this reason the film was shelved for 70 years in the Imperial War Museum (IWM). It was not until recently that the film,  German Concentration Camps Factual Survey was restored and the last unfinished reel completed under the direction of Dr Toby Haggith, Senior Curator of the IWM (www.iwm.org.uk). Not only the list of the takes, but also the script, written by Richard Crossman and Colin Wills have survived.

The original film was complemented by an 7-8 minute introduction, explaining the eventful history of the documentary and an “epilogue” in which experts, historians, curators, psychologists, archivists and filmmakers talk about their  opinions, the restoration of the film and its significance. As a survivor I was asked to comment on the film. German Concentration Camps Factual Survey was projected on several occasions in the British Film Institute (BFI), including the London Film Festival and will be distributed by the BFI (www.bfi.or.uk). As part of this development, the script is being translated into foreign languages, and I was asked to prepare the Hungarian translation. This has been delivered to the BFI before Christmas.