Weapons of Happiness

By Howard Brenton
Directed by David Hare

The National Theatre
First Performance: Lyttelton Theatre 14 July 1976
Closed 23 Oct 1976. Total 41 Performances.

Weapons of Happiness was the first commissioned play to be staged at the South Bank.

1976 Evening Standard Theatre Awards - Best Play


  • Josef Frank : Frank Finlay
    Ralph Makepeace : Michael Medwin
    Billy : Derek Thompson
    Ken : Billy Colvil
    Stacky : Nick Brimble
    Janice : Julie Covington
    Liz : Annie Hayes
    Alf : Frederick Radley
    Sylvia Makepeace : Thelma Whiteley
    Mr Stanley : Bernard Gallagher
    Inspector Miller : Maurice O' Connell
    Doubek, interrogator : Matthew Guinness
    Kohoutek, interrogator : Maurice O' Connell
    Russian Adviser : Michael Medwin
    Clementis : William Russell
    NKVD Men : Pat Connell, Martin Friend, Shaun Scott, Jeremy Truelove
    Stalin : Geoffrey Bateman
    Waiter : Chris Hunter
    Commentator : Geoffrey Bateman
    Guards : Martin Friend, Chris Hunter
    Constables : Pat Connell, Martin Friend, Jeremy Truelove


  • 'All the bright weapons of happiness wait only for a sign'
    Vasko Popa

    'I find it impossible to be a moralist, like Shaw. I hate that kind of moral pressure. Writers of my group all sense the enormous upheaval that is going to come. It is difficult to define the nature of that upheaval, but if you write a scene set in London today - about any class - that future upheaval will be present in that scene. A good playwright doesn't know any more. It is only by obsession and by craft and by personal accident that he can set down his vision of the world, and it shouldn't matter that some people may be offended by it.'

    Howard Brenton