Edward Bond’s early plays, The Pope’s Wedding and Saved, realistically depict the English working class. His later plays move toward mythological and historical drama, and their form seems to have been influenced by the works of both Bertolt Brecht and Shakespeare. In all of his work, Bond considers the connections of political power and violence in a society that reduces human beings to commodities.
Bond’s second play, Saved, created a succès de scandale, and much of his subsequent fame depended on the notoriety of this first production at the Royal Court Theatre. The play tells the story of a young man, Len, who is picked up by a young woman, Pam, and taken home by her. The first scene depicts Pam’s seduction of Len and his embarrassment at being interrupted by her father, Harry. Len rents a room in Pam’s parents’ flat, but the affair ends when Pam falls in love with another young man, Fred. All of these characters are clearly South London working class, but none is unemployed or desperate for money. The play instead examines emotional poverty and destructive relationships. Although Pam bears Fred’s child, Len continues to live with her parents, who have arranged their lives so that they hardly see or speak to each other.
Fred abandons Pam, who continues to pursue him and enlists Len’s aid in doing so. In scene 4, Len, Pam, Harry, and Mary, Pam’s mother,...
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