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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 ...

Ascent of F6, The

Ascent of F6, The (1937)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

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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...

Blue/Orange

Blue/Orange (2000)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

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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...

Fire Raisers, The

Fire Raisers, The (1958)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

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2015

...the area, Biedermann is inveigled into offering Schmitz shelter for the night. The Chorus of firemen report that all is quiet. The following day, Biedermann is alarmed to discover that his wife has taken in Schmitz's friend Willi Eisenring, who lost his job as waiter when his establishment burnt down. When Biedermann discovers his two unwanted guests rolling in barrels of petrol, he threatens to throw them out. He is interrupted by a policeman, informing him that an employee that he unfairly sacked has committed suicide. Telling the policeman that the barrels...

Fool, The

Fool, The (1975)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

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2015

...has been rendered inarticulate. Subtitled ‘Scenes of Bread and Love’, The Fool expresses Bond's affinity with Clare, a fellow poet from a working-class background. Set against contemporary political upheavals, Clare is shown being manipulated and finally silenced by the Establishment...

Another Country

Another Country (1981)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

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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...

Kitchen, The

Kitchen, The (1959)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

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2015

...pregnant waitress has to be taken to hospital. Provoked by a trivial quarrel with a waitress, Peter vents all his pent-up frustration, smashing crockery and slashing his hands. Mr Marango, who considers himself a good employer, wonders why his staff would want to sabotage his establishment. This play is remarkable in taking the realism of post-war British theatre towards almost total naturalism. Ideally to be played without an interval (although Wesker ‘recognizes the wish of theatre bars to make some money’), the author, who had himself worked as a pastry-cook,...

Love of a Good Man, The

Love of a Good Man, The (1978)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

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2015

...Mrs Toynbee holds a séance, the mentally disturbed War Graves Commissioner Bride shoots himself, and the Prince of Wales declares his love for Mrs Toynbee. The cemetery completed, everyone returns to England – or Ireland. The grotesque humour of this powerful satire of the Establishment is reminiscent of Bond's Early Morning . It shows how the ‘love of a good man’ for his country can be exploited in the defence of Empire that led to the slaughter of millions in the First World War and will continue the killing in Ireland. Hacker sums it up memorably: ‘You...

Oh What a Lovely War

Oh What a Lovely War (1963)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

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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...

Stripwell

Stripwell (1975)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

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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...

Toller

Toller (1968)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

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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.)

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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...

Ruling Class, The

Ruling Class, The (1968)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

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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...

Serjeant Musgrave's Dance

Serjeant Musgrave's Dance (1959)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

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2015

...recruiting for the army. The town is in unrest, with striking miners rebelling against the forces of law and order: the Parson, the Constable, and the Mayor, who is also the mine owner. The miners are concerned that the soldiers have come to break the strike, while the Establishment figures welcome the recruiters, hoping that they will ‘get rid o' the troublemakers’. The soldiers lodge at an inn, and Sparky reveals that they have taken part in an atrocity in the colonies. The recruiting meeting will be an opportunity for them to tell the English citizens...

Threepenny Opera, The

Threepenny Opera, The (1928)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

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2015

... Beggar's Opera , the plot of which (apart from the introduction of ‘Tiger’ Brown) he followed fairly closely, is Brecht's most popular work – and therein lies a problem in terms of its political comment. While the piece is intended to show that major crime and the capitalist establishment are mutually interdependent, the colourful characters, racy songs (some of them lifted from writers like François Villon and Rudyard Kipling), and, above all, Kurt Weill's unforgettable music, too easily make The Threepenny Opera a piece of uncomplicated entertainment. As...

Look Back in Anger

Look Back in Anger (1956)   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Plays (2 ed.)

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2015

...1950s Cast: 3m, 2f On a typical English Sunday, Jimmy Porter and his friend Cliff Lewis read newspapers and converse desultorily, while Jimmy's wife Alison is ironing. Jimmy, owner of a sweet-stall, sneers at Alison's upper-class family and fulminates against the British Establishment: ‘Nobody thinks, nobody cares. No beliefs, no convictions and no enthusiasm.’ In a mock-fight with Cliff, Jimmy knocks over the ironing board, and Alison's arm gets burnt. Jimmy goes out, while Cliff comforts Alison, who reveals that she is pregnant but afraid to tell Jimmy....

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