Letter: Henry Woolf obituary

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  • Henry Woolf
    English actor
  • Franz Kafka
    Bohemian novelist and short story writer
<span>Photograph: Tristram Kenton/The Guardian</span>
Photograph: Tristram Kenton/The Guardian

In the early 1970s at the Orange Tree Theatre Upstairs, Richmond, in Surrey, one Saturday lunchtime, the superb Henry Woolf ambled on to the floor space and addressed us, the audience. It was a play based on a 1917 short story by Franz Kafka – A Report to an Academy. Apartheid was a concerning topic.

From the moment this diminutive figure casually came in as if he were a bit late, we were captured and there was silence. Woolf began to torturously lumber about as he then eloquently delivered the lecture. It was a mix of shocking, bewildering and amusing, as he portrayed the dignified, civilised character. No scenery, no props.

He was magnetic in this stunning performance.

As parents of young children we had little money or time to go to the theatre, but this proved to be a wonder.

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