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Overview

Establishment

Subject: Religion

In ecclesiastical usage, the recognition by the State of a particular Church as that of the State. In OT Judaism and in much of the ancient world, religious observance was part of the ...

Fool

Fool  

A: Edward Bond Pf: 1975, London Pb: 1976 G: Drama in 8 scenes S: East Anglia and London, 1815–c.1845 C: 37m, 7fThe poet John Clare is one of the mummers performing their play at Christmas for Lord ...
Kitchen

Kitchen  

A: Arnold Wesker Pf: 1959, London Pb: 1959; rev. 1961 G: Drama in 2 acts S: Kitchen of a London restaurant, 1950s C: 18m, 12fThe action follows a day in the kitchen of the Tivoli, a busy London ...
Blue/Orange

Blue/Orange  

A: Joe Penhall Pf: 2000, London Pb: 2000 G: Drama in 3 acts S: Consulting room of London psychiatric hospital, 1999 C: 3mChristopher, an obstreperous black youth of 24, has been sectioned for 28 days ...
Stripwell

Stripwell  

A: Howard Barker Pf: 1975, London Pb: 1977 G: Pol. com. in 2 acts S: Stripwell's home, various locations in London and the Home Counties, and the jungle, 1970s C: 5m, 3fWhen Graham Stripwell, a ...
Fire-Raiser

Fire-Raiser  

AT: Biedermann and the Firebugs A: Max Frisch Pf: 1958, Zurich Pb: 1958 Tr: 1962 G: Drama in 6 scenes, prelude, and epilogue; German prose S: Middle-class home in Central Europe, late 1940s, and hell ...
Love of a Good Man

Love of a Good Man  

A: Howard Barker Pf: 1978, Sheffield Pb: 1980 G: Drama in 3 acts S: Battlefield subsequently war cemetery, Passchendaele, Belgium, 1920 C: 11m, 2fTwo years after the end of the First World War, ...
Weapons of Happiness

Weapons of Happiness  

A: Howard Brenton Pf: 1976, London Pb: 1976 G: Pol. drama in 2 acts S: Street, factory, waste-ground, Planetarium, and drain, London, and farm in Wales, 1976; interrogation room, Prague, 1951; ...
Ruling Class

Ruling Class  

A: Peter Barnes Pf: 1968, Nottingham Pb: 1969 G: Com. in 2 acts; with prologue and epilogue S: Gurney Manor and other locations, England, 1960s C: 17m, 5fWhen the 13th Earl of Gurney accidentally ...
Toller

Toller  

A: Tankred Dorst Pf: 1968, Stuttgart Pb: 1968 Tr: No pub. trans. G: Hist. drama in 30 scenes; German prose S: Various locations in Munich, 1919, and USA, 1939 C: 28 actors, playing over 50 rolesIn ...
Serjeant Musgrave's Dance

Serjeant Musgrave's Dance  

A: John Arden Pf: 1959, London Pb: 1960 G: Pol. drama in 3 acts S: Northern English mining town, 1879 C: 13m, 2fSerjeant Musgrave arrives with three soldiers, Sparky, Attercliffe, and Hurst, in a ...
Another Country

Another Country  

A: Julian Mitchell Pf: 1981, London Pb: 1982 G: Drama in 2 acts S: Library, head of house's study, dormitory, and cricket field of English public school, early 1930s C: 10mSeventeen-year-old Guy ...
Oh What a Lovely War

Oh What a Lovely War  

A: Charles Chilton and Theatre Workshop under Joan Littlewood Pf: 1963, London Pb: 1965 G: Hist. drama in 2 acts; prose and songs S: Pierrot show portraying events in Europe, 1914–18 C: 11m, 4fThe ...
Ascent of F6, The

Ascent of F6, The (1937)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

...assault; Gunn dies in a blizzard. Ransom reaches the summit, but dies there, in his fevered imagination seeing his brother as the Demon, with whom he plays chess. Ransom's heroic achievement is cheapened by patriotic clichés of the Establishment. This is a play of many themes and styles. It parodies the English Establishment, while celebrating the heroism of one of its agents; it urges revolt, while being cynical about the possibility of improving the world. It is an exciting adventure story and a philosophical meditation; it offers both prose parody and...

Oh What a Lovely War

Oh What a Lovely War (1963)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

...piece, Joan Littlewood with her left-wing Theatre Workshop members created one of the most powerful commentaries on the First World War. By juxtaposing popular song with the horrors of war, the empty optimism of the leaders with mass slaughter, and the profits made by the Establishment with the realities of trench warfare, the piece does not offer a balanced view (no mention of the colossal contribution by capitalist USA, for example) but provides satirical entertainment of the highest order. An extract from Richard Attenborough’s 1969 film version can be...

Ruling Class, The

Ruling Class, The (1968)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

...Jack speaks in the House of Lords, and his rousing speech, asserting that ‘The strong must manipulate the weak’, is cheered to the rafters. As Grace embraces the triumphant Jack, he reaches for his knife… Barnes's funny and vituperative dark comedy attacks the British Establishment, suggesting an unholy alliance between religion, politics, and law, and is based on the not wholly implausible premise that preaching a gospel of love is regarded as madness, while messages of hatred and intolerance are treated as sane. Jack the Ripper is more acceptable than...

Toller

Toller (1968)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

...in 30 scenes; German prose Setting/time of action: Various locations in Munich, 1919 , and USA, 1939 Cast: 28 actors, playing over 50 roles In the political vacuum following the defeat of Germany in the First World War, the revolutionary poet Erich Mühsam proclaims the establishment of a Councils' Republic in Bavaria on 6 April 1919 . The Central Council comprises a motley collection of intellectuals, workers, and peasants, and appoint as its chairman Ernst Toller, a young Jewish playwright and poet. Eugen Leviné, a Russian Communist, opposes the...

Weapons of Happiness

Weapons of Happiness (1976)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

...strategy and soon to fizzle out; hard-line Communism, with its lies and brutality, represented by the disillusioned Josef Frank (in fact hanged with Vladimir Clementis in 1952 ); the gradual reformism of Hicks, the Trade Unionist; and the despairing resignation of the Establishment, represented by...

Blue/Orange

Blue/Orange (2000)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

...While the focus is principally on the question of colour (hence the title) and its relationship with a paranoia that may well be rooted in the real experiences of ethnic minorities, the play also subtly explores the changing personal relationships between the three men, the establishment of trust and its painful...

Stripwell

Stripwell (1975)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

...piece, made more enjoyable at its Royal Court premiere by the playing of Michael Hordern in the title role. In appropriating the genre of West End comedy, Barker set out to explore ‘the ambiguous state of power, its mediation, the complicity of victims’ and so challenged Establishment figures from a Socialist viewpoint. As his wife says, Stripwell is ‘The sort of person who ends up running concentration camps’. More integrity is in fact shown by Cargill, the violent criminal. Barker employs a variety of styles: verbal wit, grotesque humour, psychological...

Another Country

Another Country (1981)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

...be Head of House. Offering a thinly disguised portrait of the homosexual double agent Guy Burgess, Mitchell , best known as a novelist, uses, in a more realistic and serious vein than Alan Bennett in Forty Years On , the English public school as a metaphor of the British Establishment. Guy Bennett, with his moral anarchy, and Judd, with his revolutionary aspirations, represent two ways of asserting: ‘there must be a better way to run...

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