Themes and Meanings

(Survey of Dramatic Literature)

One of the functions of The Changing Room is to mark, and perhaps to lament, the passing of a way of life. This is expressed in several nostalgic monologues, phrased by stupid or inarticulate characters. In one outburst in act 2, Harry expresses the opinion that the world is degenerating: The players are not the men their fathers were; increased prosperity has not been distributed fairly; it would be as well if the communists invaded and took over. No one shares his political views, but Fielding, a senior player, remarks in act 1 that the extra money he has earned, and which his wife has made him use to buy a house in the country, has left him less happy than he was when he lived in the dirty, cramped, industrial center of town. In act 2, Kendal, dazed and in pain from his broken nose, seems to regret having come up from the coal mines and the amateur game. Several characters regret the passing of old days, finding in them community, friendship, and certainty—if also drunkenness, poverty, and hardship.

Not all agree, though, and this disagreement creates much of the play’s tension. A few players are clearly on their way up. Patsy, some of them remark after he has left, saves all of his money and has a schoolmistress as a girlfriend. Trevor, the team’s fullback, is himself a schoolteacher in daily life. Attending to a cut on Trevor’s ear, Mackendrick remarks that they have to take care of “professional men,” unlike the others, who are...

(The entire section is 562 words.)