Is the play Saved by Edward Bond (1965) modernist, postmodernist, or neither? Why?

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If Edward Bond's Saved is to be regarded as part of a literary and theatrical movement, it is best viewed as neither modernist nor postmodernist but as part of the school known as "kitchen sink realism." This style of play is generally regarded as beginning with John Osborne's Look Back in Anger, which premiered nine years before Saved in 1956 at the same venue, The Royal Court Theatre in Sloane Square, London. The Royal Court became associated with kitchen sink dramas, which featured working-class protagonists and focused on social alienation, the frustrations of poverty, and the brutal, banal lives of people trapped in the inner cities.

Saved is more violent and shocking than Look Back in Anger. The infamous scene in which a group of young men torture a baby, rub its face in its own excrement, and eventually stone it to death is far more extreme than anything in kitchen sink realism before this point. The anger that is repressed and verbal in Jimmy Porter is all too physical in Pete, Colin, Barry, and Mike, the baby's killers. Nonetheless, it is recognizably the same type of play and is worlds away from the modernist plays of Beckett and Ionesco or the stylistic innovations of postmodern theatre. Unlike either of these, the style of Saved is starkly realist, which adds to the horror of the events it portrays.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 14, 2019
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