Mary Rose
by J.M.Barrie

BBC World Service

Broadcast: Sunday 2nd June 1991.

In "Mary Rose", Barrie, best known for "Peter Pan", ventures back into the dangerous world of fantasy and is presented through prisms of time covering more than three decades. The story begins just after the war, when a stalwart seaman named Harry returns to the empty house that was once his childhood home where the rooms are stripped bare and the wallpaper peeling. There he revives a painful past.

The story jumps back three decades to observe the house's former inhabitants, Mr. and Mrs. Morland, in a happier time, on that golden day when their beloved daughter Mary Rose becomes engaged to a nice young man named Simon, on leave from the war. But before her parents consented to the marriage, they revealed a strange secret to the prospective bridegroom that not even Mary Rose knew.

It was seven years back when Mary Rose, then 11-years-old, inexplicably disappeared when she and her father were fishing on a small island in the Scottish Hebrides -- only to return a month later with no memory of her extraordinary experience.

Simon and Mary Rose married, but one day, after the birth of Harry, their first child, the couple decided to visit the small island in the Scottish Hebrides where Mary Rose first disappeared. She disappears again, not to re-appear for another 25 years, having not aged nor believing any time has passed ...

The play provides a mixture of joy and foreboding that perfectly captures Barrie's conflicted feelings about the eternal youth of lost children -- and no doubt appealed to postwar audiences grieving for their own lost sons and daughters.

Abridged for radio by Jill Graham from J. M. Barrie's stage play, "Mary Rose", first produced at the Haymarket Theatre in 1920 (for 433 performances).

With Moir Leslie [Mary Rose], David Collings [Simon Blake], Douglas Blackwell [Mr. Morland], Eva Stuart [Mrs. Fanny Morland], Nigel Anthony [Harry, Mary Rose's Son], Crawford Logan [Mr. Cameron], and Barbara Atkinson [The Housekeeper].

Directed by Jill Graham.

"Mary Rose" has been said to have been Alfred Hitchcock's favourite play.

60 minutes.


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