"Look Back in Anger" by John Osborne

"Look Back in Anger" is a drama by John Osborne. He once wrote about this play that it "shocked and irritated a great many people. Other were enthusiastic and threw their hats in the air. Some said it was boring living in a world without morality, others that its sense of morality was overwhelming. Naturally I was delighted. No playwright could ask for more. To become angry is to care, and, surrounded as we often are by pedantic indifference, apathy and a general state of casual funk, it does no harm if one can move a few people to tip up their seats and walk out of the theatre. Every artist expects to be misunderstood. It is difficult enough for him, heaven knows, to understand what his own work is all about. It is not surprising, therefore, that some people's response should seem unexpected or even fantastic."

In regard to producing the show he would also later write, "It is essential that the mood of the play and mental climate of its characters is established in the opening moments. When I say mood, this is not something that is defined by drawing on adjectives like liquid, bitter, etc. People who believe that the setting of Look Back in Anger is inutterably squalid are simply unaware of the facts of life; that there is a housing shortage, that a great many houses are not only old, dirty and hideous but are unaware of the ugliness that they have helped create themselves. And when you are young and neither the house nor the furniture is your own, there is not a great deal of incentive to improve things. One simply waits to get out. The Porters are waiting to get out even if they don't know where they are going.


A love triangle involving an intelligent and educated but disaffected young man of working class origin (Jimmy Porter), his upper-middle-class, impassive wife (Alison), and her haughty best friend (Helena Charles). Cliff, an amiable Welsh lodger, attempts to keep the peace. The action takes place in the Porter's one-room flat in a large town in the Midlands. The time is the present (1957).

Act 1: Early evening, April.
Act 2, Scene 1: Two weeks later.
Act 2, Scene 2: The following evening.
Act 3, Scene 1: Several months later.
Act 3, Scene 2: A few minutes later.


  • Jimmy Porter
  • Cliff Lewis
  • Alison Porter
  • Helena Charles
  • Colonel Redfern

Production History

Date Venue Company
Feb 2, 1912 Laura Pels Theatre Roundabout Theatre Company
Oct 17, 1999 East 13th Street / CSC Theatre Classic Stage Company
Jun 6, 1980 Roundabout Stage 1 Roundabout Theatre Company
Oct 1, 1957 Lyceum Theatre National Actors Theatre
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