Talk:Private Lives

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Private Lives[edit]

copied from project page:

I recently added a great deal of information to this article. User:Emerson7 then edited it by removing most of the wikilinks to other articles. Is Tony Award Best Actress in a Play (his version) preferable to Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play (my version), the accurate wikilink that will take you directly to the article? He offers no explanation for his changes, which I think detract from the article. Could someone please offer an opinion? Thank you. LiteraryMaven (talk) 15:05, 10 November 2008 (UTC) yo

I don't understand why Emerson7 prefers listing awards without accurate wikilinks or any wikilinks at all as he does in his version of the article at [1] instead of listing them as I did at [2]. He has not justified his reason for doing so. Would someone else please offer an opinion on which way is better? Thank you. LiteraryMaven (talk) 15:49, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
the award category names have changed over time, so if accuracy is the goal, technically, tammy grimes did not win a 'Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play'. --emerson7 15:59, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
The fact the wording of the category names has changed over time is irrelevant. If you go to Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play, you'll find Tammy Grimes listed there, and that's what counts. If you leave it the way you prefer, the link leads to Tony Award, period. You also haven't justified why you removed all the Drama Desk Award links. LiteraryMaven (talk) 16:14, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
customarily, the award name is linked only once, and the category is appended unlinked. also, i'm not so sure i understand the argument that listing an award by the wrong title is somehow irrelevant. --emerson7 16:25, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

If you had taken the time to look at my version of the article at [3], you would have noticed I did link the awards only once. Listing an award by the "wrong title" is not the issue, directing readers to the correct article by providing an accurate link is. If you are so concerned about the wording, I can change the link to Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play, which fulfills my goal by directing the reader to the right article and is more accurate than your way of linking. And you still haven't explained your reason for removing the Drama Desk Award links. LiteraryMaven (talk) 16:52, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

im sorry, perhaps i was unclear. the award name=Tony Award or Drama Desk Award, etc.; category=Best Actress in a Play. i undid your changes because this is how awards are typically listed. --emerson7 17:37, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
Just driving by (and I'm not watching this page). It's pretty obvious that Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play is the right page to link to, here. Cannot your disagreement be resolved using a piped link? AndyJones (talk) 16:58, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
Thank you for your support, Andy. In response to Emerson7's comment "this is how awards are typically listed", please refer to [4], [5], and [6]. All of these link the award categories the way I did. I have the feeling Emerson7's edits are based only on how he wants things to be and not the way they logically should be. LiteraryMaven (talk) 18:29, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
From what I can see at [7], an Awards section is optional (which surprises me) and "should contain a list of awards and what they were for." The way they should be listed or linked isn't specified at all, so I don't know how you're deciding your way is the right way. As far as I know, a link in any Wikipedia article should lead as directly as possible to the article that describes what is linked in depth. LiteraryMaven (talk) 18:36, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
the general rule in wikipedia is consistency. most of the formatting and such have evolved organically using the mos as guidelines. i have made no assertion about right or wrong--except for the title of the award listed incorrectly--and only offered a rationale for keeping the more-or-less standard formatting as used in the most of other articles on plays. --emerson7 19:55, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Literary Maven and Emerson, why not take a break from arguing about this relatively minor issue, and instead work on the major omissions in this article: It needs a better Synopsis, a critical reception section and lots more referencing. There should be in-line references throughout the Background section. See WP:CITE. That's how to improve this article. The reason that the Theatre project says that an awards list is optional is because a list of Drama desk nominations is relatively unimportant to readers of the encyclopedia. They need a good plot summary. Thanks for working on the article, and good luck with its improvement. Best regards, -- Ssilvers (talk) 19:17, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

sage advice....point well taken. --emerson7 19:55, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
There really isn't much more you can add to the synopsis. The play basically is a series of dialogues between Elyot and Amanda, there's not much more plot than that. As for adding in-line references throughout the Background section, the source for everything is the same Sheridan Morley book I cited under "References." Each sentence in the Background section isn't supposed to be followed by a reference to the specific page number in that source, is it? LiteraryMaven (talk) 20:08, 10 November 2008 (UTC)
Re: a critical reception section, should this pertain only to the reaction of critics to the original London and Broadway productions, when the play was a new work? I have found reviews of various Broadway revivals, but the bulk of them focus on the performances rather than the quality of the play, and it doesn't seem appropriate to quote reviews about Elizabeth Taylor or Joan Collins in an article that's about the play in general and not about any one production of it. I have more experience with film than theatre articles so I'm not sure what's acceptable. LiteraryMaven (talk) 20:42, 10 November 2008 (UTC)

Awards section; Literary Analysis[edit]

I wonder if the very large "awards" section on prizes given to participants in 1970s revivals etc is really appropriate to an article about the play. The awards are for performances etc and not for the play itself. I cannot recall seeing a similar section for other old plays. What do other editors think? Also, the section on Private Lives as Queer comedy is rather long, and I should like to trim it, if no-one objects. Views gratefully received. Tim riley (talk) 20:03, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

I agree with both the points made by Tim riley above - I also do not think the article needs an awards section; in addition, the 'Private Lives as representing homosexuality' section needs trimming to a more reasonable length, and also possibly renaming to something more succinct. Jack1956 (talk) 20:36, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
I think that most of this the *information* needs to be there - I don't think that most of this information is irrelevant, but I think it should be presented FAR more concisely. I'll take a crack at it, and if you still disagree, let me know. An alternative would be to move the information into the Productions section next to the information about the corresponding productions. As you can see from the discussion above, though, several editors, while disagreeing on details, agreed that the information was relevant. I think we ought to give a cite to the Tony Awards winners page and the Drama Desk awards page. As to the queer comedy section, trim away! -- Ssilvers (talk) 20:54, 5 March 2011 (UTC)

Thanks! Next steps[edit]

I noticed that we did not mention any Olivier Awards, so I looked around on our Olivier Awards site, and sure enough, the play has won awards for the 2002 production, and Sara Crowe won "best supporting" - I assume Sybil, not Amanda, right? - for a National Theatre Lyttleton production in 1991 that we do not otherwise describe; so I mentioned those, but I haven't had time to look for refs. We also need refs for the Broadway productions. Besides finding nearly all the British production refs, Tim has done a super job with the Literary Analysis section. Once we get the refs, the article will be very close to B-class, unless we want to add a separate "Critical reception" section. We have some "critical reception" info in the Productions section, although more could certainly be said about some of the most important productions, I guess. Tim, I left a couple of HIDDEN questions for you in the article, which you can see on the edit screen. Would you kindly take a look at those? Also, thanks to Jean for continuing to add new references. Well done, both! -- Ssilvers (talk) 18:52, 6 March 2011 (UTC)

Further to the above, I see that we lost this text: "A 1930s HMV recording of Coward and Lawrence performing scenes from the play still survives and is available on CD. The play was referenced heavily in the 1945 British farce See How They Run." Is all of this wrong, or did you deem it too trivial to retain? Also, can we indicate more clearly which of the revivals were the most successful? Thanks! -- Ssilvers (talk) 19:05, 6 March 2011 (UTC)
I've included the recording in two sections (the history and crits sections). I am very fond of See How They Run, a well-constructed mid 20th century farce (I once saw my mother play Penelope in it), but it has no place in this article, any more than having a balcony scene gives Private Lives a place in the article on Romeo and Juliet. Tim riley (talk) 13:04, 7 March 2011 (UTC)


  • Here's a link to a bunch of comments/reviews of the 1930 original, if you want to use it, or some quotes:[[8]], from The Guardian;
  • I can't find any references to the pre-Broadway run at the Kennedy Center for the Taylor-Burton production, only the Boston, as I have referenced. I used Lexis-Nexis to search, don't know what else to do;
Found the KC and rest of post-Broadway mini-tour, added with refsJeanColumbia (talk) 11:29, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
  • I would like to know how long the Cattrall production ran (I think until around May);
  • Up too early, bye for the week.JeanColumbia (talk) 10:30, 7 March 2011 (UTC)
Some plums in there. Loud applause! I've added the run of the Eyre prod as requested. I've also used the New Statesman quote from your Guardian find. Tim riley (talk) 13:18, 7 March 2011 (UTC)

Well done! This is a proud B-class article now. -- Ssilvers (talk) 14:28, 7 March 2011 (UTC)