An age less fastidious than our own

by Chris Bertram on December 10, 2005

I went to see a production of Robert Bolt’s “A Man for All Seasons”: in Bath last night. Martin Shaw was marvellous as More. I was surprised that I already knew much of the dialogue (certainly from “the Fred Zinnemann film”: ). And there are many great moments such as the confrontation between More and Roper in Act 1 concerning the conflict between conscience, God’s law and the laws of England. I wondered, watching the play, whether anything had been mucked about with to make the performance more “topical”, and I was sure it must have been when the “Common Man” declaimed at the start of Act 2:

bq. Only an unhappy few were found to set themselves against the current of their times, and in so doing to court disaster. For we are dealing with an age less fastidious than our own. Imprisonment without trial, and even examination under torture, were common practice.

But no. Those lines are there in Bolt’s original.