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Contemporary Scottish Theatre: Social Conditions.

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Presentation on theme: "Contemporary Scottish Theatre: Social Conditions."— Presentation transcript:

1 Contemporary Scottish Theatre: Social Conditions

2 Negativity  Controlling matriarch  Plight of the old  Violent culture  Deprived upbringing  Women and business  Lack of loving relationships  The cheapness of sex

3 Controlling Matriarch  Bernie prevents her daughters from believing in themselves by constantly undermining them.  She frequently reminds them that they have failed in all their attempts to make something of themselves: that Marty failed to make it at college and Melly failed in numerous hairdressing jobs.  She questions whether they will ever achieve anything: “What’s the odds of any of you lot making your own way in the world?

4 Controlling Matriarch  Bernie psychologically imprisons her daughters by undermining them (This is the same point as on the previous slide, but from a different angle)  None of them have successfully found an escape, which their mother tells them is due to their own lack of spirit: “There’s none of your sisters had the gumption to get themselves a man or a job or a life outside this scheme and I doubt you’d be any different”

5 Controlling Matriarch  She physically contains the girls in the flat following their father’s death: “I don’t want any of you putting a foot round the door until I say so.”

6 Controlling Matriarch  Bernie also imprisons Mary, her elderly mother.  Mary is ignored and locked up throughout the play, except when she manages to escape: “Will you get her out of here?” she orders her mother’s careworker.

7 Controlling Matriarch  Adie is the only member of the family who is prepared to stand up to her mother to try and rebel against their unhappy living conditions.  From the very beginning of the play, she protests against being cooped up in the house: “We can’t just stay locked up till – “

8 Controlling Matriarch  Bernie’s control and manipulation of her daughters’ lives ultimately leads to the suicide of her youngest daughter.  Bernie ruins Adie’s attempt to run away by leading Adie to believe she killed the man she wanted to be with.

9 Plight of the Old  Just like Granny in Men Should Weep and Mrs Culfeathers in The Steamie, the grandmother, Mary, is lonely and isolated.  The cold way that her family treats her leads her to compare them to lifeless dolls and she wants out: “I’m not stopping here with these dead bits of plastic.”

10 Violent Culture  One of the reasons Adie wants to escape from her unhappy home is the violent gang culture. “We’re getting away from all of you, all the blood and beatings and grubby piles of filthy money.”

11 Deprived Upbringing  Bernie is bitter about the harsh social conditions of her childhood.  She believes it was a great achievement to escape it: “I’ve only made it five miles from the hole I was born into and none of you have the strength I did.”

12 Women and Business  In the violent gangland that Bernie Alba lives in, she is deeply worried about her family’s ability to survive once her husband, the only male, has passed away.  She arranges a political marriage between her eldest daughter and the son of another local gang to ensure their security: “This family’s fortune is lying on the road where Tony dropped it and we only get to pick it up now if the big boys says we can,” she warns the daughter who is to be married.

13 Lack of Loving Relationships  Bernie seems to care more for herself and maintaining her own world than for the happiness of her family.  Even when Bernie grieves when her youngest daughter commits suicide, she worries about the impact on her own life, not about the unhappiness that drove her daughter to suicide: “Look what she’s done to me!”

14 A Loving Past?  In a tender moment, Bernie recalls a happier past.  When the girls were young and the father was still alive, times were easier: “Oh Adie… we’ve all been forgetting the old times, haven’t we?”

15 Lack of Loving Relationships  Bernie herself seems to be perpetuating a cycle of bad relationships.  Penny believes that Bernie has grown bitter as a result of her unhappy marriage to a violent man: “You took all the rage and dissapointment Tony put in your heart and let it flow all over them like lava.”

16 Lack of Loving Relationships  The grandmother, Mary, is shut away from the family and leads an isolated life in her room.  The cold way that her family treats her leads her to compare them to lifeless dolls and she wants out: “I’m not stopping here with these dead bits of plastic.”

17 Lack of Loving Relationships  Mary is one of the few characters who has experienced a loving relationship.  She recognises the difference between her and her grand-daughters: “None of them will ever be loved…They’ve got hearts like raisins.”

18 Lack of Loving Relationships  Penny, in contrast, loved her husband, who has now passed away, and her life was enriched by this love.  She advises the girls to look beyond one night stands and find meaningful, enduring love: “…if you want to be loved your whole life you need to love people for who they are.”

19 Lack of Loving Relationships  As an outsider, Penny comments that Bernie must be happy to have her family close around her.  Bernie has clearly failed to create a loving family unit, because she responds to Penny with suspicion: “What have you got your spoon into now?”

20 Lack of Loving Relationships  As an outsider, Penny can see the damage Bernie’s controlling nature is doing to her family: “They’d be far better out of all this but you won’t let them go.”

21 A Loving Relationship?  Adie is the one member of the family who displays hope and optimism.  She has a fierce belief that she will be happier if she leaves the oppression of her loveless family to elope with Peter Romanov: “I’m flying, I’m soaring over the lot of you.”

22 Lack of Loving Relationships  Adie’s love for Peter Romanov, however, ultimately exposes the dysfunction in the family.  The oldest sister is supposed to marry Romanov to ensure the family’s financial security, and another sister desires him fiercely.  Penny tries to warn her that her actions could destroy the family: “I don’t want to spend my days in a war zone.”

23 The Cheapness of Sex  Two characters who have known real love, the grandmother and Bernie’s bar worker, warn that the active but loveless sex life of the girls will not bring them happiness. “No real man would love them. Men that screw plastic dolls, that’s all they’re fit for.”


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