This Was a Man

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This Was A Man is a play in three acts by Noël Coward. It deals with the adulterous affairs of aristocrats. Its main characters are Edward Churct, a successful modern portrait painter and his wife Carol whose "vivid personality is composed of a minimum of intellect and a maximum of sex". Carol is prone to having affairs with other men, but Edward is fully aware of this and for the most of the play does not seem to mind. It is typical of inter-war period drama due to its lightheartedness and overall sense of fun.

Controversy surrounded the play due to its comic way of dealing with the issue of adultery. It is seen as commonplace in the play and there are few repercussions to it. Even at the very end, when Edward finally declares he is going to divorce Carol, he nonchalantly goes off to lunch, while the last line "there's always time to shoot yourself" brings the play back firmly into comic territory.

This Was A Man was refused licence by the Lord Chamberlain (Britain's theatre censor) at the time, despite allowing The Vortex, Noel Coward's play about drug addiction, on the public stage a few years earlier. The reality is that adultery was far more available to the masses than illegal narcotics were and after much debate in the Lord Chamberlain's office it was decided that it should be refused licence. The show played in New York in 1926.

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