Saturday 18 May 2024

AA Milne

AA Milne adapted parts of the book into a popular stage version, Toad of Toad Hall,MILNE, A.A. Toad of Toad Hall A Play from Kenneth Grahame's Book "The Wind in the Willows" published by Methuen in 1929. It was originally produced by William Armstrong at the Repertory Theatre Saturday December 21st 1929

    Above: A page "Toad Of Toad Hall" by A.A. Milne Preformed at The Liverpool Repertory Theatre Saturday 
December 21st 1929

In 1930 it came to the West End, at the Lyric Theatre on 17 December 1930 and the Savoy Theatre on 22 December 1931 and it has been revived frequently by many theatrical companies.

"One can argue over the merits of most books, and in arguing understand the point of view of one's opponent. One may even come to the conclusion that possibly he is right after all. One does not argue about The Wind in the Willows. The young man gives it to the girl with whom he is in love, and if she does not like it, asks her to return his letters. The older man tries it on his nephew, and alters his will accordingly. The book is a test of character. We can't criticise it, because it is criticising us. It is a Household Book; a book which everybody in the household loves, and quotes continu­ally; a book which is read aloud to every new guest and is regarded as the touchstone of his worth. But I must give you one word of warning. When you sit down to it, don't be so ridiculous as to suppose that you are sitting in judgement on my taste, or on the art of Kenneth Grahame. You are merely sitting in judge­ment on yourself. You may be worthy: I don't know. But it is you who are on trial." A.A. MILNE

"There are familiarities which we will allow only ourselves to take. Your hands and my hands are no cleaner than anybody else's hands, yet the sort of well-thumbed bread-and-butter which we prefer is that on which we have placed our own thumbs. It may be that to turn Mr Kenneth Grahame into a play is to leave unattractive finger-marks all over him, but I love his books so much that I cannot bear to think of anybody else disfiguring them. That is why I accepted a suggestion, which I should have refused in the case of any other book as too difficult for me, that I should dramatize The Wind in the Willows." A.A. MILNE


"There are two well-known ways in which to make a play out of a book. You may insist on being faithful to the author, which means that the scene in the aeroplane on page 673 must be got in somehow, however impossible dramatically, or, with somebody else’s idea in your pocket, you may insist on being faithful to yourself, which means that by the middle of act III everybody will realise how right the original author was to have made a book of it. There may be a third way, in which case I have tried to follow it. If, as is more likely, there isn’t, then I have not made a play of The Wind in the Willows. But I have, I hope, made some sort of entertainment, with enough of Kenneth Grahame in it to appease his many admirers, and enough of me in it to justify my name on the title page." A.A. MILNE


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