from an original work by Terence Rattigan
Based on an unproduced screenplay by playwright Terence Rattigan, Rattigan’s Nijinsky explores the story of the relationship between the famous dancer Vaslav Nijinsky and the ballet impresario Sergei Diaghilev and the implications of the dramatisation of their story on Rattigan’s own life.
In a hotel room a once-lauded playwright meets Nijinsky’s elderly widow, Romola, to fight over his latest work. Meanwhile, in the same room, Diaghilev and the young Romola fight over the tormented Nijinsky. In 1974, Terence Rattigan wrote a television script for the BBC about the relationship between Diaghilev, the man behind the Ballets Russes, and Nijinsky, the most renowned dancer of all time, which Rattigan described as the ‘greatest love story since Romeo and Juliet.’ But the playwright withdrew the script and it was never produced. Nicholas Wright’s version re-imagines these events and investigates why Rattigan may have shelved the piece.
Rattigan’s Nijinsky was produced at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 2011 as part of the writer’s centenary celebrations.