Wesker, Arnold. (b. 1932).
L i f e
- born as a son of an East End Jewish tailor > uses his Jewish roots and East End life experience in his writing
W o r k
- a prolific playwright, author of more than 40 plays
- kitchen sink drama: uses the kitchen and camp settings as a metaphor for the unfair hierarchical society
The Kitchen (1959):
- demonstrates his mastery of visual theatre: alternates periods of action and inaction in a restaurant
‘The Trilogy’: Chicken Soup with Barley (1958), Roots (1959), and I’m Talking about Jerusalem (1960):
- shows an acute sense of place: captures distinctive ways of speaking and distinctive rhythms of urban and rural domesticity
- relates his respect for working-class community to a social, historical, and political perspective
- begins with the anti-Fascist protest in the Jewish East End (1936), continues with the failure of a project to establish a New Jerusalem, and ends with a new idealist-socialist lifestyle in East England (1950s)
Chips with Everything (1962):
- a fictional development of his own experience with ‘National Service’
- describes moments of concerted physical action by a group of recruits
x but: also the sense of army conscription being no leveller, despite official pretensions to the contrary
"Do you think we really count? You don' wanna take any notice of what them ole papers say about the workers bein' all-important these days--that's all squit! 'Cos we aren't. Do you think when the really talented people in the country get to work they get to work for us? Hell if they do?"
From Roots (1959).
AuthorSir Arnold Wesker. (b. 1932). British.
WorkPlaywright. Author of Chicken Soup with Barley (1958).
GenresKitchen sink drama. Political and social drama.
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