Piese de Arnold Wesker

Annie Wobbler
Annie, an old tramp-cum-char-lady who 'does' for a poor Jewish family in London's East End, reminisces her sad old life and describes the family she works for - Wesker's parents. Annie Wobbler is the real name of a childhood memory. Anna, a working-class student who has just achieved her degree in French, and is making up to go on a date with her boyfriend. This date is going to be very different from previous dates - she's now a B.A. first-class honours and has gained a devastating confidence. Made up she looks stunning; but her red hair is a wig, and the dress she's put on is really two dresses.
Badenheim 1939
An adaptation of the novel by Aharon Appelfeld. Badenheim is a spa to which middle-class, bohemian Jews have been coming year after year. At its centre is an arts festival. In 1939 strange happenings occur. Sanitary inspectors gradually take over the spa and inform it's Jewish residents that soon they'll be going to Poland. Barbed wire springs up around the small town, guard dogs proliferate, other Jews appear, herded into the area, and the facilities begin to break down or cease to function. Over the summer the spa falls to pieces. On the last day all the Jews are marched to the station for transport to Poland. Some are quite looking forward to the journey. They imagine it will be a train that takes them to their destination.
Beorhtel's Hill
A play commissioned to celebrate the 40th birthday of the new town of Basildon. Because it is a community play engaging 125 members of the community, it is impossible to be performed by anyone else. But it's an interesting read, recording a fascinating history of London's East Enders who were the first Basildon dwellers. Out of their story is explored the theme of 'the stranger in our midst'.
Blood Libel
In 1144 a young boy, William, was found brutally murdered in Thorpe Wood, Norwich. The Jews were accused of slaughtering a Christian child to use his blood for Passover and mock the crucifixion. This is the genesis of the first ever 'blood libel' accusation - a calumny which has spread throughout Europe and persists to this day. The Prior of the Norwich Priory, Elias, did not believe the accusation. The charge was dropped. Twenty years later the monk, Thomas Of Mmonmouth, joined the priory and, together with the zealous priory monks, campaigned to have William named a martyr. They succeeded. Pilgrims came in search of miracles. The church grew rich. William's death would today be known for what it almost certainly was in the 12th century - a crime of sexual assault. Blood Libel repeatedly enacts this while playing out the myth of martyrdom - a contrapuntal of furious irony.
Bluey
Hilary Hawkins is a judge who has reached a crisis of confidence. A suppressed incident from the past has been working corrosively within his sub-conscious. A particularly nasty court case stirs memory of an incident during his student days when he worked on a building site, and reluctantly became involved with other builders in stealing lead from a roof which they were repairing. Failing to shout a warning before throwing down the lead HILARY badly scars a plumber's face. At the height of his crisis he goes in quest of the plumber. When he finds him he can only stand and observe him from a distance imagining three possible outcomes of a confrontation he has not the courage to face, as years ago he had not the courage face a dying old sweetheart.
Break, My Heart
A working-class couple - a carpenter and his wife. Maevehas outgrown her husband. She has discovered Shakespeare and poetry, which she learns by heart and recites to herself. Michael is intimidated by her new persona. His impoverished swearing sharply contrasts with Shakespeare's language. Maevewants to find a job, get out of the house. Michael's pride forbids her. "I don't want people to think I can't support my family." Each time she uses what he considers a long word he beats her. After each act of violence he is filled with remorse and she has to comfort him. The cycle of beating and remorse seems never-ending.
Breakfast
Mark Bell, an unconventional Jewish businessman, finds himself reading Primo Levi while on a business trip in Munich. Everyone he meets is kind. The Levi text, full of Nazi brutality, contrasts with m
Caritas
In the 14th century a young woman, Christine Carpenter asked the church to allow her to live the rest of her life in a cell attached to the church in the Sussex village of Shere. Through living the austere life of an anchoress she hoped to become pure enough to receive divine revelation. Three years on she realises that an anchoress's life is not her vocation - the word of God does not come to her. She asks the church to release her from her vows. They cannot. To do so, they argue, would be to make a cuckold of Christ. Victim of religious fervour she is doomed to live out her life imprisoned in her cell where she goes mad. A metaphor for wrong decisions - political, social, private, religious - which we make and which imprison us for life.
Chicken Soup with Barley
The play is about the Jewish Kahn family living in 1936 in London, and traces the downfall of their ideals in a changing world, parallel to the disintegration of the family, until 1956. The protagonists are the parents, Sarah and Harry, and their children, Ada, and Ronnie. They are Jewish Communists, and Wesker explores how they struggle to maintain their convictions in the face of World War II, Stalinism, or the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. Sarah is an adamant Socialist; she is strong, family-minded, honest though bossy; Harry, her husband, is weak, a liar, not at all manly and lacks conviction; Ada is extremely passionate about what she believes in, especially Marxism, and, like the others, is also romantic both personally and politically; and finally Ronnie is a youthful idealist and just as romantic as Ada. It is the first of a trilogy.
Cartofi prăjiți cu orice (Chips with Everything)
Pip Thompson is "conscripted for National Service", but prefers to be treated as an ordinary soldier and not become an officer. Pip is a socialist who has seen "squalor of London's East End, typified by greasy cafés offering ‘chips with everything’".
Cinders
Based on the biography of Cynthia Payne by Paul Bailey. Payne ran 'a house of sex' in Streatham. It was characterised by its absence of seediness. She wanted to provide a happy service. It was a 'fun' house to which people came and relaxed and went off with a girl every so often. Cynthia Payne was busted but made such a good impression in court that she subsequently became a minor celebrity. Wesker's adaptation, for reasons completely incomprehensible to him, roused the wrath of Paul Bailey who vetoed the play ever being performed. Nor has it been published.
Circles of Perception
Originally entitled 'The New Play'. Very personal, very experimental and not intended for performance. While trying to write The Old Ones the author developed writer's block. Accompanying this block was a profound urge not to write plays the old way. He was "…tired of the conventional stage with actors coming on and off, sets changing, slightly different characters with slightly different names …I decided to call everyone by their real name ... the play is about people and events I imagined were causing the block… technically ambitious I used everything - slides, films, the Czech device of 'Laterna Magica' …"
Denial
About the 'false memory syndrome'. Based on a case history of a daughter who turns on her parents accusing them of sexually abusing her as a child.
Four Portraits - of Mothers
RUTH - woman as unmarried mother NAOMI - woman as mother who never was MIRIAM - woman as failed mother DEBORAH - woman as mother earth In France and elsewhere they have been performed with Yardsale using STEPHANIE - woman as abandoned mother.
Groupie
MattieBeancourt, a 61 year old woman, reads the autobiography of Mark Gorman, a famous painter. Having grown up in the same East End streets she writes to him. A correspondence develops. She visits him unannounced, and discovers he lives in near poverty and neglect. Her personality is sunny, his is curmudgeonly. Their impact upon each other is startling
Joy and Tyranny
Arias and variations on the theme of violence.
Lady Othello
Stanton, professor of American literature, married with two children, has - in the course of a lecture tour in the States - fallen in love with Rosie, a black, New York 'mature' student. He's returning to that city to spend time with her and discover the true depth of his feelings. The play charts their riotous, sad, comic, bawdy days together during which he realises their relationship cannot work.
Letter To A Daughter
Melanie is an established 'chansonnier' with a cult following. She is writing a letter to her daughter, which she imagines is going to be a letter of advice. It develops into a letter confessing guilt for having been what she feels was an inadequate mother. The play is punctuated by six songs, five of which are part of the letter, the sixth is Melanieperforming in concert.
Little Old Lady
Set in the carriage of a moving London underground train. Two youngsters, an old lady, and others if extras can be afforded. At one of the stations a thuggish young man enters and begins to smoke. Smoking is forbidden. The old lady challenges him to put it out. He refuses. She asks the others to join in with her protest. No one dares. She threatens to pull the cord to stop the train. The thug intimidates her. Everyone waits to see if she'll pull the cord.
Longitude
In the early 18th century the inability to find longitude led to such loss of life and cargo that Parliament passed an act offering £20,000 to anyone who solved the problem. Isaac Newton knew a clock would solve it but did not believe such a clock could be invented. Scientists focused on the lunar solution. JOHN HARRISON, a carpenter and joiner from Lincolnshire, taught himself to mend clocks. He invented a land clock that ran accurately, and set himself the task of inventing a clock that could run accurately at sea. He spent his life perfecting it and, together with his son, fulfilled the tests required by Parliament. For complex reasons the complete prize was never awarded to him. The play traces a lifetime's conflict between uneducated genius and the establishment. An epic play in a Hogarthian setting calling for music - Harrison was also a choirmaster.
Love letters on blue paper
VICTOR, a retired Yorkshire trade union leader, is dying of leukaemia. He wants to keep this from his wife,SONIA. Instead he calls to his bedside his protégé, the young MAURICE STAPLETON, Professor of Art, in whom he confides, and with whom he attempts to confront 'the big questions'. SONIA writes letters to him with neither beginnings nor endings, posts them at the bottom of the road, and delivers them to him in the mornings with his other mail. Neither of them talks about the letters. They begin as simple recollections and end as passionate declarations. Through them she reveals a love she was unable to express and, in recalling their glorious life together, prepares him for death.
Men Die Women Survive
Her writer husband, Montcrieff, left Minerva, a businesswoman, five years ago. Mischa, a Hebrew scholar, left her financier husband, Leo, two years ago. Claire, researcher for, and mistress of, shadow cabinet minister, Vincent, has just been abandoned by him to pursue family and career. The three women have come together for dinner in order to console Claire. Each has prepared one of the three courses and selected an accompanying wine. Each explains the reason for their choice. In the process we hear of the relationships with their men and gradually realise that Claire has revenged herself by betraying her politician lover. In between, an actor plays out scenes from the life of the three men.
Menace
An evening in the lives of lonely, frustrated people living separate lives in separate rooms. Constantly recurring is the ominous sound of an aeroplane. The 'menace' is the threat of a nuclear attack. The final scene is of a folk dance which gives the tension release and a quality of joy.
One More Ride On The Merry-Go-Round
Jason, a Cambridge professor of philosophy, separated from his wife, Nita, is enjoying life with his mistress, MONICA, a young American university lecturer. He's contemplating the future. Should he retire and see more of the world, experience more of the life about which he philosophises? In the first act he's full of contempt for his wife whose image he projects as dowdy and uninteresting. In the second act we discover that she's far from this image. Nita is dazzling, energetic, and has a young lover. We realise that Jason and Nita had wished the other to be what each became, but only after they were separated! A comic plot involving academics who get high on a hash birthday cake, a recalcitrant daughter, and the appearance of an illegitimate son who's a magician.
Phoenix
Two couples, one Danish one English, share a warm Whitsun holiday in the Cambridgeshire countryside. Karl-Olaf, a historian, is spending a post-graduate year in Cambridge with his wife, Janika, a social worker, and their two children. Raphael, professor of history of art, (and one time senior lecturer to Karl-Olaf), together with his wife, Madeau, are visiting the Danes. Balmy days are spent eating, cycling, lazing in the sun, listening to music, and conversing. Karl-Olafand Janika are having matrimonial problems. Raphael is going through a crisis of political belief, with Madeau anxiously looking on. The calm and balmy days contrast with tensions of heart and mind.
Roots
It is the second play by Arnold Wesker in The Wesker Trilogy. The play focuses on Beatie Bryant as she makes the transition from being an uneducated working-class woman obsessed with Ronnie, her unseen liberal boyfriend, to a woman who can express herself and the struggles of her time.
Shoeshine
A student of philosophy achieves his degree but discovers philosophy can't earn him a living. Decides to open a shoeshine box - survival is essential. Family and friends argue that it is demeaning to shine people's shoes. He cannot understand why. The days of servility are past, they tell him. He can't accept their arguments. If there is no other work then he must do what is needed to survive. He considers their moral arguments hollow. In the street where he sets up his shoebox he encounters further hostility - beaten up by young thugs. Undeterred, he returns, to set up his shoeshine box.
Shylock
Set in the Jewish Ghetto of Venice, 1563, this play reworks not Shakespeare's 'The Merchant of Venice' but the three stories from which Shakespeare wove his play. The core plot remains, the relationships are different.
Sullied Hand
Three couples gather for dinner in the home of one of them. Malcom, the husband host, a desperate writer, has a brainwave for making a fortune. Demonstrating his 'brainwave' involves each of the guests enacting - to the deep consternation of Lynn, his wife - a compromising private action. Sad and funny.
The Confession
A woman persuades her lover to trust her and confide in her his most heinous act. As soon as he does she is so appalled that she taunts him with it. Disappointed, his love fades. For revenge she betrays his trust.
The Four Seasons
ADAM and BEATRICE have been bruised by their separate marriages and love affairs, and have agreed to spend time together in a remote cottage - a kind of sabbatical from life. In winter she is catatonic, he must attend to things. By the spring his caring has thawed her frozen feelings. When summer comes they are in love, and BEATRICE begs ADAM to come away and begin a new life together in the real world. He hesitates, afraid. They linger till Autumn. Mistakes, which destroyed previous relationships, are repeated. Love dies.
The Friends
A brilliant group of friends from working-class backgrounds have become very successful interior designers, and opened many shops selling their designs. They find their success hollow because their designs were not bought by the working-class people whom they hoped would respond to 'things of beauty'. Now they are gathered round one of their number, ESTHER, who is dying of leukaemia. Death makes them reassess both who they are and what they imagined they had achieved. It also forces them to confront their own mortality.
The Journalists
Mary Mortimer, the central character, a tough journalist with her own column becomes obsessed by a charismatic Labour politician she suspects is a charlatan, and is determined to bring him down. In the process she destroys the life of one of her children.
Bucătăria (The Kitchen)
The play follows the staff in a cafe's kitchen during the course of a busy morning.
The Merchant
Adaptare după ”Neguțătorul din Veneția” de W. Shakespeare
The Mistress
Samantha is a famous dress designer. Her lover is a married man. She is constantly at the mercy of his family demands. Being famous she receives endless appeals for money to worthy causes. These she pushes aside until there are so many she has to make a decision where to donate her money. On this evening, in her workshop, she is pretending she is there to work when in truth she's waiting for 'that phone call'. Between waiting for the call and deciding on her charities she slowly becomes drunk.
The Nottingham Captain
Speeches by Byron, Castlereagh, and Jeremy Bentham set a scene of industrial unrest and threatening rebellion in the early nineteenth century. The action concerns the government's employment of OLIVER, an agent provocateur, to incite a pathetically ill-organised but potentially effective uprising. Three leaders, including the so-called Nottingham Captain, Jeremiah Brandreth, are hanged for treason. Two version of this work - one in the jazz idiom (music composed by Dave Lee) and one in the classical idiom (music composed by the late Wilfred Josephs) - were performed at the festivals in a double-bill with Stravinsky's 'The Soldier's Tale', directed by Colin Graham.
The Old Ones
The 'old ones' are: SARAH, her two brothers, BOOMY - the pessimist, and MANNY - the optimist; MANNY'S wife, GERDA, and SARAH'S eccentric friends - TERESSA, MILLIE and JACK. The young are the children of SARAH and BOOMY. Manic MANNY and gloomy BOOMY constantly quarrel due to an incident in their youth. Their form of quarrel is an eccentric ritual: a 'quotation competition' in which each seeks to confront the other with the ultimate, the irrefutable quotation from the classics to prove that life is either good or bad. Set against scenes of defiant old age 'The Old Ones' plays out the conflict between the optimistic and pessimistic spirit.
The Rocking Horse Kid
Stage adaptation from radio version about a black teenager who wants to go round the world on a horse.
The Wedding Feast
Louis Litvanov, a shoe manufacturer with idealistic notions about the need to treat your employees as equals, finds himself outside a house from which come the sounds of a wedding. He recognises the voices and realises it's the wedding of one of his employees. Litvanov persuades himself that if he joins the wedding guests he will be warmly greeted, and admired for calling in to wish them well. He doesn't plan to stay but is persuaded to, as an honoured guest. Slowly he becomes drunk with them. The proximity of their employer invites the abuse of his employees. The wedding party ends as a comic, chilling disaster.
The Wesker Trilogy - Chicken Soup with Barley
The play spans twenty years - 1936 to 1956 - in the life of the communist Kahn family: Sarahand Harry, and their children, Ada and Ronnie. Beginning with the anti-fascist demonstrations in 1936 in London's East End and ending with the Hungarian uprising in 1956, the play explores the disintegration of political ideology parallel with the disintegration of a family. It is the son, Ronnie, who is the most deeply affected and turns on his mother who insists on remaining a communist. Her reply ends the play on a note of desperate optimism.
The Wesker Trilogy - I'm Talking about Jerusalem
Ada Kahn, the daughter of the 'Chicken Soup' family, marries Dave Simmonds. They move to an isolated house in Norfolk where they struggle through a back-to-the-land experiment. Dave makes furniture by hand. Friends and family visit them throughout their 12 rural years charting and commenting on the fortunes of their experiment. It doesn't work, but they end gratified to have had the courage to try.
The Wesker Trilogy - Roots
Explores the theme of 'self-discovery'. Beatie Bryant, daughter of Norfolk farm labourers, has fallen in love with Ronnie Kahn from the 'Chicken Soup' family. She returns from London to visit her family all of whom await the arrival of Ronnie. During the two-week waiting period Beatie is full of Ronnie's thoughts and words. To greet him the family gathers for a huge Saturday afternoon tea. He doesn't turn up. Instead comes a letter saying he doesn't think the relationship will work. The family turns on Beatie. In the process of defending herself she finds, to her delight, that she's using her own voice.
Their Very Own and Golden City
ANDREW COBHAM, an apprentice draughtsman, and his young friends from Durham spend a day sketching in Durham Cathedral. On entering, ANDREW is overwhelmed. The year is 1926. As though by osmosis ANDREW knows that one day he will become an architect. The youthful, exuberant friends talk about the future that is all before them. They will build six beautiful cities, which will be paid for and owned by the people who live in them. Industry will be capitalised by the Trade Unions.
Voices On The Wind
A play about energy defeating lethargy, enacting a story within a story within a story employing street games, strange and ethereal moments, a storm at sea, ghostly voices, simple story-telling (against a background of action), flying, quick-change sets, construction on stage, a birth, masks, electronic sounds and original music. An old man is part of a shipload of people going to a new land. He was born with magical powers to fly, foretell the future, and hear voices on the wind. One voice he falls in love with fades after many years. He has spent his life looking for it. He's found it again and is on his way to meet her. In the process of telling his story to a family on the boat he tells the story of the woman he fell in love with.
Whatever happened to Betty Lemon
LADY BETTY LEMON, widow of a Labour peer, 'crippled by everything old age brings', receives a letter informing her she's been voted 'Handicapped Woman of the Year'. It appals her. She spends the next 45 minutes rehearsing the speech she will never give and raging on behalf of those handicapped by fear of their priests, charlatans, charismatic politicians, marriage, ignorant teachers and bigoted parents. At a certain moment her motorised wheelchair takes on a life of its own - yet another of her life's vicissitudes. The only surrealistic play in the cannon, and one that the author describes as 'a self-portrait of defiance and despair'.
When God Wanted a Son
Joshua, professor of semantics, is Jewish; Marthe is Gentile. They were married and are now separated. Connie is their daughter struggling to be a comedienne. Her humour is sophisticated and sardonic. She's not having much success. She returns home for comfort, hoping to understand and reconcile her confused and confusing background. Her mother, attempting to dabble in the stock market, is a closet anti-Semite. JOSHUA returns to persuade his estranged wife to forgive and forget and invest money in his wild scheme: a project to build a machine that will detect true character through the inflections of the human voice. Martha respect him. He is too uncomfortable a personality. The play argues that anti-Semitism, like stupidity, is here to stay.
Primăvară sălbatică (Wild Spring)
Gertie, a forty-four year old actress at the peak of her career, befriends Sam, aged nineteen. He believes he can only ever be a black car park attendant, she believes she can be more useful than a mere actress. Each tries to argue the other out of the fond images they have of themselves. Fifteen years later, Gertie's career is in crisis. She's in love - unrequited - with Kennedy, the younger black company manager who believes he's an 'artist' but who in fact is a born entrepreneur. The play explores acting as a metaphor for the false images of ourselves with which we fall in love.
Yardsale

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Biografie Arnold Wesker 

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Arnold Wesker

Arnold Wesker s-a nascut la data de 24 mai 1932 in Stepney, London, Marea Britanie.


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