1936: BERLIN AND OTHER PLAYS
by Tom McNab
- A unique collection of plays by Olympic coach and bestselling author
About the Collection
A collection of three plays by former Olympic Coach and best-selling author Tom McNab delving into the murky world of Olympic politics (1936: Berlin), the troubled mind of George Orwell (Orwell on Jura), and an imaginary meeting between the acclaimed director Orson Welles and infamous fellow filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl, who directed Hitler’s propaganda film The Triumph of the Will, and filmed the 1936 Olympic Games (Whispers in the Heart).
1936: Berlin Set in the run up to the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, at the height of Hitler’s rise to power. 1936: Berlintells the story of the legendary Jesse Owens and of a young German Jewish athlete, Greta Bergmann and the Irish American who fought for a boycott of the Games because of Hitler’s treatment of the Jews and nearly won. A play about international politics and infighting, greed and naked ambition. 1936: Berlin premiered at the Arcola Theatre in London in 2010 with four star reviews, and featured as part of the Cultural Olympiad in London 2012.
Orwell On Jura: Set on the remote island of Jura in the west of Scotland in 1947. Plagued by ill-health, George Orwell travelled to this remote island determined to write his last work. Orwell on Jura is the vivid portrait of a man wrestling with his ghosts as he struggles to finish his seminal novel 1984. The play depicts his life on the island as he deals with his visitors, real and imagined, with wry humour and perceptive wit.
Whisper In The Heart: Set in 1955 Spain, McNab imagines a fictitious meeting between two great film directors: Orson Welles and Leni Riefenstahl. It is 1955 and a down-at-heel Orson Welles is reduced to making a documentary on the ball game pelota. Leni Riefenstahl, banned from making films because of her association with Hitler, is struggling to make a living. They both meet in Spain, where Leni is secretly employed to assist Orson and edit his film. In Whisper In The Heart, McNab draws the parallels in their careers as they find a mutual respect in adversity.
On 1936: Berlin… “A powerful, thought-provoking, richly rewarding piece of theatre.” What’sOnStage
1936 “… poses an intriguing question: knowing what it did about the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany, should America… have woken up to its responsibilities sooner, and might a boycott of the games have prevented the Holocaust?” – The Telegraph
“There’s no doubt McNab has a fascinating story to tell… This battle of ideals and ambition is where the play takes flight, as McNab provocatively parallels America’s treatment of its black athletes, Jesse Owens included, with racism under the Third Reich.” – The Guardian
About the Author
Tom McNab is a leading figure in the sporting world, having won five titles in the Scottish triple jump and coached Greg Rutherford to a gold medal as a long jumper and the English rugby team to win silver in 1992. He was Technical Director on the film Chariots of Fire and has written several radio plays and novels including best seller Flanagan’s Run, with film rights sold to Disney. In 1982 he won the Scottish Novelist of the Year award. He has been a commentator for ITV and Channel 4, a freelance journalist for the Observer, Sunday Telegraph, Times and Independent.