Strengthening wisdom

Braham Murray

Many of our acclaimed authors are merely talented observers of contemporary life. An important artist is one who not only observes but has a wise perspective on the time and troubles in which we live. A major artist conveys his strengthening wisdom in a unique way, and creates a style or even a language to suit his content.

Russell Hoban is such an artist, but he also shares with great artists the ability to have one foot firmly in this world and one in the ‘other’ world, which is as real as this one and informs it crucially.

I know that Russell has the ability to help people live their lives well. He adapted Riddley Walker for my theatre, the Royal Exchange, in 1986. In fact he progressed the novel so that Riddley had a new show to perform at the end, a show which broke the negative cycle of destruction and violence.

Of all the productions I have done, this one received more letters of profound thanks from the audience than any other. I would add my thanks to theirs.

From my first encounter through Riddley Walker to the latest novel Her Name Was Lola (where the characters threw the same hexagrams in the I Ching that I had done the day before I read it), he has been a good deed in a naughty world.

Braham Murray was a Founding Artistic Director of the Royal Exchange Theatre Company. In 1964, his Oxford production of Hang Down Your Head And Die transferred to the West End and Broadway. He has directed over 55 productions for the Royal Exchange; including The Dybbuk, Riddley Walker (starring David Threlfall), Waiting For Godot, Hamlet, Maybe, The Count Of Monte Cristo, Miss Julie and Hedda Gabler and the world premiere of Brad Fraser’s Snake In Fridge.

Share this page