For a writer never much regarded as a writer of plays in his own time - only three of his eight full-length plays were published before he died, and his plays were so substantially forgotten afterwards as to leave even competent scholars doubtful about what he had written - Lawrence has achieved a surprising posthumous success as a dramatist. Three of his plays (A Collier's Friday Night, The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd and The Daughter-in-Law) have, since the middle 1960s, entered the English repertory of theatre, radio and television, and another (The Fight for Barbara) has received occasional performances; while all eight of his full-length plays, even The Married Man (which at some point lost its first five pages in manuscript), have been staged.
This is the more remarkable because Lawrence – although an avid theatregoer – had no practical experience of theatre. He never saw a play of his own on the stage, never went back-stage, and until 1924 had only a passing acquaintance with actors.3 What is more, living abroad a good deal, he was only distantly concerned with the small number of performances his plays received while he was alive.
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