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Long before telephones, computers, and cameras all at once fit in the palm of your hand, seekers of truth and slaves to curiosity have always existed. Long before textbooks, the grapevine and nightly news evolved into Twittered tweets, blogs, and Google searches, the 'word' still got around. From the scandals of the famous and intrigues of the powerful, to the cherished superstitions that to this day still delight and perplex - all were noted and set down. "How these curiosities would be quite forgott, did not such idle fellowes as I am putt them down." ...John Aubrey 1626 -1697
Much has indeed been forgotten. Aubrey himself was sure that his own life's work would simply gather dust or be lost altogether. He was very nearly right, until a brilliant young playwright named Patrick Garland and one of the finest award-winning actors of this or any century, Roy Dotrice, returned the writings, and with them John Aubrey himself, back to living memory. And well a generation of theater-goers still fondly remembers the experience as this one-man play toured the world for a record-breaking 1,782 performances. Many revivals since (most notably a triumphant recreation by Roy Dotrice, O.B.E. in 2008), this original "Brief Lives" also seemed destined for yet another gentle oblivion. There had been just a single live performance recorded in 1979 and its master was lost in 2001. Only a single VHS-taped copy remained barely surviving into the millennium. There it waited for technology to lend an improving hand.
Now, John Aubrey does live again. This lovingly, if imperfectly restored video preserves - at least as well as quill and parchment ever could - an experience akin to time-travel. It records a day's visit with a very old friend - from rude awakening to final slumber. As one New York Times reviewer observed, the many "years are the bat of an eye lid and the past surrounds us like a still-fugitive mist..." For more on "Brief Lives" visit: CINEMIND.COM/AUBREY
On the Australian Broadcast Company in 1979.
Broke all records for the longest-running solo performance, becoming reigning champion for decades in the "Guinness Book of Records" with a total of 1,782 performances.