The Silent Lovers – R&D

When not mulling over the myriad ways of Britain’s still Victorian Britain, I love the 1920s.

In many ways, you could say ‘Who doesn’t?’

And you’d be right.

But I love the 1920s. Silent Film, especially.

I’ve always had a great admiration for Charlie Chaplin, not only because of his great films but, because of his upbringing. This particular luxurious film-maker – you may think all Hollywood types are – was not initially what Chaplin was: Chaplin lived, for a while, in a workhouse. He struggled as hard as anyone. He also never lost sight of his family and, as soon as was possible, shipped his ill mother and brother over to America. That’s all by the by, how, and why – you can read it in his excellent autobiography.

However his autobiography glosses over many things. One of those was an affair he had in 1925 with a very young dancer, at the time, named Louise Brooks.

Many of you will know Louise Brooks as Pandora or as the first Hollywood starlet to sport the flapper-bob haircut. She was also a prodigal dancer, thinker, and feminist.

These are just some of the things I’ve touched on in a play I wrote called The Silent Lovers.

In 1925, Charlie Chaplin and Louise Brooks had an affair but neither of them spoke about for 50 years. Two stars of the silent screen kept their silence – why?

Today, thanks to Emma Baggott, Roanna Mitchell, and Gruff Theatre, I get to see the research and development they’ve done bring sections of the play to life.

I can’t thank them enough and I hope it will lead to fascinating things.


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