Kitchen sink drama

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Plays

Cuttin' A Rug

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Spanning the 1950s to the 70s, the Slab Boys trilogy – The Slab Boys, Cuttin' a Rug and Still Life – capture the rebellious mood of a post-war generation growing up to a backdrop of James Dean, Elvis, sharp-suited glamour, hope and despair.

John Byrne takes the slab room he worked in and makes it pure theatre: the scams, the dreams, the aloof but gorgeous girl, the despair of life back home, the obligatory tormenting of the office 'weed', and the mandatory boy chat and pranks all help the day to pass. Phil and Spanky explode onto the stage in a classic vaudeville double-act.

Now considered one of Scotland's defining literary works of the twentieth century, the Slab Boys trilogy premiered at the Traverse back in the late 1970s and early 80s taking Scotland, then Britain, and then Broadway by storm. Byrne returned to these characters thirty years later in Nova Scotia.

The Slab Boys

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Spanning the 1950s to the 70s, the Slab Boys trilogy – The Slab Boys, Cuttin' a Rug and Still Life – capture the rebellious mood of a post-war generation growing up to a backdrop of James Dean, Elvis, sharp-suited glamour, hope and despair.

John Byrne takes the slab room he worked in and makes it pure theatre: the scams, the dreams, the aloof but gorgeous girl, the despair of life back home, the obligatory tormenting of the office 'weed', and the mandatory boy chat and pranks all help the day to pass. Phil and Spanky explode onto the stage in a classic vaudeville double-act.

Now considered one of Scotland's defining literary works of the twentieth century, the Slab Boys trilogy premiered at the Traverse back in the late 1970s and early 80s taking Scotland, then Britain, and then Broadway by storm. Byrne returned to these characters thirty years later in Nova Scotia.

Still Life (Byrne)

Faber and Faber
Type: Text

Spanning the 1950s to the 70s, the Slab Boys trilogy – The Slab Boys, Cuttin' a Rug and Still Life – capture the rebellious mood of a post-war generation growing up to a backdrop of James Dean, Elvis, sharp-suited glamour, hope and despair.

John Byrne takes the slab room he worked in and makes it pure theatre: the scams, the dreams, the aloof but gorgeous girl, the despair of life back home, the obligatory tormenting of the office 'weed', and the mandatory boy chat and pranks all help the day to pass. Phil and Spanky explode onto the stage in a classic vaudeville double-act.

Now considered one of Scotland's defining literary works of the twentieth century, the Slab Boys trilogy premiered at the Traverse back in the late 1970s and early 80s taking Scotland, then Britain, and then Broadway by storm. Byrne returned to these characters thirty years later in Nova Scotia.

In the later 1950s, a term applied (often disparagingly) to the new wave of plays that dealt realistically with the domestic lives of working or lower middle class characters. The use of humdrum or seedy settings in such plays as Osborne’s Look Back in Anger (1956), Shelagh Delaney’s A Taste of Honey (1958), and Wesker’s Roots (1959), represented a decisive break with the elegant drawing-room comedies of (for instance) Noël Coward or Terence Rattigan. Roots actually begins with a character standing at a kitchen sink.

The term had previously been applied to the kitchen-sink school, a group of British artists, who held several joint exhibitions in the 1950s. They were known for painting scenes of working-class domesticity in a drably realistic style (e.g. John Bratby’s Still Life with a Chip Frier).

from Jonathan Law, ed., The Methuen Drama Dictionary of the Theatre (London, 2011).