Time and the Conways is a British play written by J. B. Priestley in 1937 illustrating J. W. Dunne’s Theory of Time through the experience of a moneyed Yorkshire family, the Conways, over a period of nineteen years from 1919 to 1937. Widely regarded as one of the best of Priestley’s Time Plays, a series of pieces for theatre which played with different concepts of Time (the others including I Have Been Here Before, Dangerous Corner and An Inspector Calls) it continues to be revived in the UK regularly.
In 1984, the play was adapted for film by the Soviet studio Mosfilm and was directed by Vladimir Basov. It starred Rufina Nifontova as Mrs. Conway, Vladimir Basov, Jr. as Ernest Beevers in youth, Vladimir Basov as Ernest Beevers at maturity and Margarita Volodina as Kay.
Written by JB Priestley
Directed by Rebecca Taichman
The play works on the level of a universal human tragedy and a powerful portrait of the history of Britain between the Wars. Priestley shows how through a process of complacency and class arrogance, Britain allowed itself to decline and collapse between 1919 and 1937, instead of realizing the availability of immense creative and humanistic potential accessible during the post-war (the Great War) generation. Priestley could clearly see the tide of history leading towards another major European conflict as he has his character Ernest comment in 1937 that they are coming to ‘the next war’.