by Yasmina Reza
translated by Christopher Hampton
Playwright & Translator
Christopher Hampton was born in the Azores in 1946. He wrote his first play, When Did You Last See My Mother about adolescent homosexuality at the age of eighteen. From 1964 he read German and French at New College, Oxford, as a Sacher Scholar, and graduated with a starred First Class Degree in 1968. Hampton became involved in the theatre while at Oxford University where Oxford University Dramatic Society performed his play When Did You Last See My Mother.
Hampton sent the work to the play agent Peggy Ramsay, who interested William Gaskill in it. The play was performed at the Royal Court Theatre in London, and that production soon transferred to the Comedy Theatre, resulting in Hampton, in 1966, becoming the youngest writer to have a play performed in the West End in the modern era. From 1968 to 1970, he worked as the Resident Dramatist at the Royal Court Theatre, and also as the company’s literary manager.
His plays have included The Philanthropist, Savages, Tales from Hollywood, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, White Chameleon, The Talking Cure and Appomattox. He has translated plays by Ibsen, Molière, Horváth, Chekhov, Florian Zeller (including The Father), Daniel Kehlman and Yasmina Reza (including Art and Life x 3). Musicals include Sunset Boulevard and Stephen Ward, both with Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black. His television work includes adaptations of The History Man and Hotel du Lac. His screenplays include The Honorary Consul, The Good Father, Dangerous Liaisons, Mary Reilly, Total Eclipse, The Quiet American, Carrington, The Secret Agent and Imagining Argentina, the last three of which he also directed, and A Dangerous Method, based on his play The Talking Cure. Appomattox was first presented on the McGuire Proscenium Stage of the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis, USA, in September 2012 as the centrepiece of a major retrospective of his plays and films. It was subsequently turned into an opera by Philip Glass and premiered at the Kennedy Center, Washington in November 2014.
Hampton won numerous awards for his work, including the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 1988 for the screen adaptation Dangerous Liaisons of his play Les Liaisons Dangereuses. He was nominated again in 2007 for adapting Ian McEwan‘s novel Atonement.
He is currently working on his adaption of the Mankiewicz film All About Eve, which he will also be directing for the Theater in der Josefstadt in 2018.