Shaffer, Peter

Shaffer, Peter

(shăf`ər), 1926–2016, English playwright, b. Liverpool, grad. Cambridge, 1950. Before turning to the stage he wrote for radio and television and was the author of several mystery novels. He penned both historical and contemporary dramas, work ranging from the tautly dramatic to the farcically comic. His first successful play, Five Finger Exercise (1958), is a study of the tensions in an upper-middle-class family. The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1964), is an epic of Pizarro's destruction of the Incan civilization. Equus (1973) is a dialogue between a psychoanalyst and a deranged, horse-obsessed youth; the Tony-winning Amadeus (1979) relates the rivalry between the composers MozartMozart, Wolfgang Amadeus
, 1756–91, Austrian composer, b. Salzburg. Mozart represents one of the great peaks in the history of music. His works, written in almost every conceivable genre, combine luminous beauty of sound with classical grace and technical perfection.
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 and SalieriSalieri, Antonio
, 1750–1825, Italian composer and conductor. He received his first training in Italy, going afterward (1766) to Vienna, where he remained as conductor of the opera and later (1788–1824) as court conductor to Joseph II, the emperor of Austria.
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. Shaffer's other plays include The Private Ear and The Public Eye (1962), Black Comedy (1965), Lettice and Lovage (1987), and The Gift of the Gorgon (1993). Several of his plays have been made into films.

Bibliography

See G. A. Plunka, Peter Shaffer: Roles, Rites and Rituals in the Theater (1988); C. J. Gianakaras, ed., Peter Shaffer: A Casebook (1991); M. K. MacMurraugh-Kavanagh, Peter Shaffer: Theater and Drama (1998).

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