Citizen Action Monitor

Summer Day’s Dream, a 1949 play with lifestyle implications for a post-pandemic world?

John Gielgud heads the cast in this 1994 BBC TV ‘Performance’ adaptation of J.B. Priestley’s 1949 play. —

No 2652 Posted by fw, August 10, 2020 —

J.B. Priestley

Summer Day’s Dream is a play by J. B. Priestley first performed in 1949. A BBC TV video production of the play, reposted below, was broadcast in 1994. The story is set in 1975, and evokes a world where a nuclear Third World War has caused Britain to revert to a pre-industrial, pre-capitalist state. It takes its title from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is being produced by two members of the English family the play is based around – Christopher and Rosalie Dawlish.

Plot summary and the cast of main characters

Set in Sussex’s South Downs in 1975, depopulated and deindustrialized by an atomic war soon after the end of World War 2, England survives as an agrarian society dominated by farming families. One such family is the Dawlishes — Stephen Dawlish, 80, (John Gielgud) living with his daughter-in-law, Margaret (Rosemary Harris), grandson, Christopher (Paul Rhys), and granddaughter, Rosalie (Emily Watson). The Dawlishes are pressed into hosting three representatives from the surviving great powers of the world: Franklyn Heimer (Mike McShane) from the US; Irina Shestova, (Saskia Reeves) of the Soviet Union; and Dr Bahru, (Paul Bhattacharjee) from India. They’re on a mission to develop a major industrial plant to create synthetic products out of the area’s abundant supply of chalk. Initially critical of the lack of economic and industrial progress they see around them, they soon find themselves captivated by the Dawlish family and a growing appreciation for their lifestyle values. Unable to carry out their mission, Franklyn, Irina, and Dr Bahru depart with a newfound sense of love and contentment.

Given our current pandemic crisis, which has dealt a crushing blow to the West’s capitalist economies, I personally found that Summer Day’s Dreams raised pertinent questions about lifestyle choices that, hopefully, we will face in a post-pandemic world.

Here’s to Priestley’s lyrical prose that lives in this play.

To watch the video on the You Tube site, click on the following linked title.


John Gielgud in ‘Performance’ – Summer Day’s Dream by J.B. Priestley (26th November 1994), Posted on You Tube (1:45:44)

John Gielgud heads the cast in this 1994 BBC TV ‘Performance’ adaptation of J.B. Priestley’s 1949 play.


We are Doomed if, in the Post-Covid-19 World, We Cannot Abandon Non-Essentials by Ashish Kothan, Miloon Kothari, Resilience, August 11, 2020 — “Unsustainable and inequitable production processes and lifestyles across the world are linked to unbridled affluence. Such processes and lifestyles require the destruction of forests, the mining of lands, the damming of rivers, the conversion of enormous areas into industrial meat or monocultural crop production. Apart from irreversible ecological damage, they lead to the displacement of millions of people from their homes and lands.”

Four Reasons Civilization Won’t Decline: It Will Collapse by Craig Collins, Resilience, August 10, 2020 — “… unless it is abolished, capitalism will not disappear when boom turns to bust.  Instead, energy-starved, growth-less capitalism will turn catabolic. Catabolism refers to the condition whereby a living thing devours itself. As profitable sources of production dry up, capitalism will be compelled to turn a profit by consuming the social assets it once created. By cannibalizing itself, the profit motive will exacerbate industrial society’s dramatic decline.”

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This entry was posted on August 10, 2020 by in creative protest, moral & ethical counterpower, political action and tagged , .
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