Tonight...Charlie Chaplin

by  Gillian Plowman

Full Length Play

“Even in the orphanage, I thought of myself as the greatest actor in the world. I had to feel the exuberance that comes from utter confidence in myself. Without it you go down to defeat”

It is 1959. Charles Chaplin is 70 years old, talking across the years to the young Charlie Chaplin – the Little Tramp who was never allowed to speak in the silent movies. Now he has a voice, confronting his older self and revealing the passions and torments that formed his life.

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Tonight...Charlie Chaplin

by  Gillian Plowman

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Charlie Chaplin was the very first icon of the silver screen and is one of the most recognisable faces in Hollywood. But what of the man behind the moustache? The director holding the camera as well as acting in front of it? The cockney boy beneath the stage make-up? Born into poverty and hardship and in the absence of his father, he spent most of his childhood in and out of orphanages and workhouses.

Charlie survived by making himself invulnerable. This exuberance later became part of his screen persona. The Little Tramp always picks himself up and walks jauntily into the distance.


I have always loved Charlie Chaplin, in particular the Little Tramp persona, so much of which was based on his early poverty-stricken life in London, a life to which I can trace my own roots - rags to riches is a persuasive theme!  Creating a scenario whereby the Little Tramp can speak to his older self enabled me to explore the themes of hope and nostalgia in a typically Chaplinesque, exuberant way! - Gillian Plowman
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Gillian Plowman

Gillian won the Verity Bargate award in 1988 with Me and My Friend, a poignantly funny play about the release of four patients from a psychiatric hospital into the community. It was first produced at the Soho Poly Theatre in 1990 and at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 1992, directed by Ian Rickson. The Purity Game ...

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