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Quartermaine's Terms is a play by Simon Gray which won The Cheltenham Prize in 1982. Plot The play takes place over a period of two years in the 1960s in the staffroom at a Cambridge school for teaching English to foreigners. It deals with the interrelationship between seven teachers at the school in particular that between St John (pronounced 'Sinjon') Quartermaine and the others. The dominant theme is loneliness and during the course of the play all of the characters experience the trauma of being or feeling alone. Mark’s wife leaves him; Derek, from Hull, finds Cambridge initially unwelcoming; Eddie is ultimately bereaved by the loss of a partner; Anita’s husband is a philanderer; Henry is trapped in a dysfunctional nuclear family and Melanie is similarly trapped caring for a Mother who she despises. Quartermaine is a painfully lonely bachelor with seemingly no friends or hinterland other than his colleagues at the school. The events in the lives of the teachers take place off stage and involve characters who do not appear. Quartermaine’s Terms is a quintessentially British play and Simon Gray pokes gentle fun at the British penchant for “muddling through” and “not complaining” – coupled with a tendency not to take firm action when necessary. Quartermaine is clearly an incompetent teacher but Eddie and his partner Thomas (who we do not see) avoid the need to get rid of him out of kindness and fear of embarrassment. The verbal style is characteristically British with form and euphemism dominant and with real issues constantly being ducked out of politeness. When clouded signals are offered (especially signals that suggest a character needs help) they are so obscure that it is possible for others to ignore them – and they usually do. Whilst the play is at times highly comical it has a very serious theme and the struggles of each character with their own type of loneliness are moving and sad. Above all Quartermaine himself is an increasingly pathetic figure lost in his own confused thoughts - and ultimately deserted. His future as the play closes is poignantly bleak. Productions and adaptations Quartermaine's Terms Directed by Bill Hays Written by Simon Gray (play) Simon Gray (adaptation) Starring John Gielgud Edward Fox Eleanor Bron Clive Francis Tessa Peake-Jones Peter Jeffrey Paul Jesson Music by Jeremy Nicholas Release date(s) 1987 Country UK Language English Quatermaine's Terms was made into a made-for-TV film in 1987. Melanie ...... Eleanor Bron Quartermaine ...... Edward Fox Mark ...... Clive Francis Eddie ...... John Gielgud Henry ...... Peter Jeffrey Derek ...... Paul Jesson Anita ...... Tessa Peake-Jones Producer BBC Director Bill Hays It was adapted as a radio play on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday 17 June 2006. Quartermaine ...... Michael Palin Anita ...... Francesca Faridany Mark ...... James Fleet Eddie ...... Clive Francis Derek ...... Andrew Lincoln Henry ...... David Yelland Melanie ...... Harriet Walter Producer Catherine Bailey Director Maria Aitken There was also an earlier BBC Radio 3 production on 26 May 1991 (Producer G. House) External links Quartermaine's Terms at the Internet Movie Database This article on a play from the 1980s is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.v · d · e