Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 5519
Although David Storey considers himself primarily a novelist whose plays are offshoots of his fiction, it now appears certain, at least on the American side of the Atlantic, that he will be known and remembered more as a dramatist. If his novels are in the vein of D. H. Lawrence—with their attention to human beings’ physical and spiritual disharmony and their criticism of modern humankind’s separation from the elemental processes of nature—his plays qualify him as the principal disciple of Anton Chekhov in postwar British theater. Like the Russian master before him, Storey writes dramas in the mode of symbolic naturalism that, while they are firmly rooted in a specific social milieu, touch on the most universal of themes at the same time that they become swan songs for a dying civilization. Storey admits to finishing his plays very quickly, sometimes within a few days during periods when he is blocked in his novel writing, claiming that they “compose themselves” after a first sentence flashes into his mind. Several of the plays, in fact, reveal a close connection to one or another of the novels; The Changing Room, for example, takes a situation from This Sporting Life and expands on it, as The Contractor does from Radcliffe (1963) and Life Class from A Temporary Life (1973). Storey finds the writing of drama therapeutic, since work in the theater removes him from the solitary, inner process of creating a novel and transplants him into the outer, communal world of theatrical production.
Not that such a split is at all an unusual experience for this man of letters who was simultaneously both rugby player and art student. Such dichotomies are the wellspring of his creativity, and if they converge fortuitously with the central disharmonies of twentieth century life, so much the better. If the twentieth century is the century of the disintegration of society, of the dissociation of sensibility, and of schizophrenic humankind, fragmented and alienated, then Storey perfectly captures this widespread sense of vulnerability and mortality within both his fiction and his drama. Several of his works (especially This Sporting Life and The Changing Room) focus on the split between flesh and spirit, body and soul, the physical and the mental; others (such as Life Class), on the pull between life and art, reality and illusion, form and feeling; still others (including This Sporting Life, Radcliffe, and The Farm), on the conflict between the masculine and feminine sensibilities, discipline and intuition, activity and passivity. Further polarities that Storey explores include those between past fact and present memory (Home and Early Days), between nature and progress (The Contractor), between the word and the sword as well as between existence and essence (Cromwell), and between commitment and betrayal and dreams and practicality (Sisters). Furthermore, throughout Storey’s plays there is a wealth of imagery of the sterile wasteland, of what one of his characters terms the “computerized, mechanized, de-humanized, antiseptic society” that is modern industrial culture. As his characters search for meaning and order and some means to achieve integration, they look to the values of work, of communal spirit and support, and of an art whose essence is faithfully to record life so that human beings can see not only the literary reality but also the way in which moments in that reality, especially daily rituals, can achieve a transcendent, sacramental effect that allow people to reclaim some purpose and value—at least temporarily.
In nearly all of his plays, Storey practices an almost documentary realism, an absolute fidelity to the facts, even to the minutiae, of daily existence; yet in his best dramas he transcends this level of realism so that the events become, as they do for Chekhov, symbolic of much larger concerns, even allegories of human beings in the modern age. In 1973, Storey himself distinguished between the three types of plays that he writes: the decidedly literary plays, those written in the mode of poetic naturalism, and the overtly stylized works. Among the first group, he included The Restoration of Arnold Middleton, which focuses on one man’s use of elaborate pretense to escape confronting reality; In Celebration, which is set, like Storey’s own early life, in a coal-mining town in the North Country; and The Farm, which, while revolving like Arnold Wesker’s Roots (pr., pb. 1959) around an engagement that does not come to pass, explores a mother’s attachment to the poet-son and a father’s anger over his daughters’ failures to regenerate life. To these must be added Mother’s Day, an unsuccessful farce in the manner of Joe Orton, and Sisters, which, like Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire (pr., pb. 1947), sees a woman’s arrival threaten the arrangement between her sister and brother-in-law, until the woman’s retreat into insanity saves them all. These works, all of which are family problem plays, are literary in that their dialogue and handling of character are novelistic, their plots are linear and generally well made, and their settings are basically representational and not overtly symbolic.
The second group, those works that Storey designates as poetic naturalism, are closest to Chekhov in that their plots are minimal, with the external action that does exist unfolding on a highly symbolic plane. In the two plays that Storey included in this category, The Contractor and The Changing Room, the event that would appear to be central actually happens off stage (as is also true of In Celebration). One can add to this group Life Class, in which Storey hints at his philosophy of the artist as a singer of life, recording life in order that others may see it; if human beings partake of existence simply by “being” in the fullest sense of that word, then for Storey the work of art primarily “should not mean but be.” Storey’s opening direction for Life Class, as for Cromwell, specifies simply “A Stage,” providing an aesthetic comment about the empty space that needs to be filled, in the same way that the dramatist’s mind (like a blank page) is peopled through the imaginative act.
Among his third group of overtly stylized works for the stage, Storey had completed only Home and Cromwell—a history play for an unlocalized Shakespearean stage filled with imagery of light and dark—by 1973, but also belonging to this group is Early Days, as Pinteresque in its language of lyric threnody as is Home. Most characteristic of the plays in this category is the manner in which stage activity is stripped down to a minimum, in which the rhythmic dialogue becomes sparser and more poetic, sometimes elegiac, and almost at times a liturgical sequence of antiphons with responses. No matter, however, which of the three groups they fall into, almost all Storey’s plays are characterized by a use of the visual and verbal rituals of everyday life, the communal celebrations through which his men and women attempt to redeem the fallen world and to discover a validation for their own existence and some shared values in a diminished and precarious world akin to a modern wasteland.
In its surface details, In Celebration is Storey’s most Lawrentian and openly autobiographical play. Set in a coal-mining town in the North Country, it focuses on the conflict between the mother and the son-artist. In its structure, In Celebration is a traditional family problem play: Three sons return home to honor their parents’ fortieth wedding anniversary, and, while there, they dredge up a hurt from the past that continues to influence the present. The play’s observance of the unities of time and place, the emphasis on the parents’ guilt and its effects on the children, and the complex mix of love and hate that binds the family together, all make the work reminiscent of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night (pr., pb. 1956). Furthermore, the strategy of a slow disclosure of a secret from the past puts the audience in mind of the realistic, well-made plays of Henrik Ibsen’s middle period, such as Gengangere (pb. 1881, pr. 1882; Ghosts, 1885). Mr. Shaw, proud head of the family, refuses to retire even after forty-nine years in the mines, despite seemingly tenuous health, since hard work serves as a means of making retribution for his “sins.” Shaw idolizes his wife, whom he got pregnant before they married. The daughter of a pig breeder, better educated than her husband (ironically, she holds a diploma in domestic hygiene), and significantly more religious, she must have felt it a “let-down” to marry him. Their first child, Jamey, who could “draw like an angel,” was only seven when he died; Shaw had prayed, to no avail, that the son be spared and his own life taken instead, and Mrs. Shaw, six months pregnant at the time with their youngest child, Steven, had attempted to commit suicide. Shaw refused to have his three surviving sons follow him into the mines, seeing instead that they all went to college. Consequently, they have been forced from the working class into the lower middle class, with all the problems in social dislocation that this change traditionally causes for a Britisher.
The youngest son, Steven, a father of four, teacher, and sometime writer, is a brooding, sensitive, mostly silent man disturbed by what he terms a “feeling of disfigurement.” Although he would have died in the womb had his mother’s attempted suicide succeeded, he now appears to be her favorite. As a young man, he was disdainful of the establishment and for several years worked on a novel highly critical of the moral flabbiness of modern industrial society. Recently, however, he has reached an accommodation with life and given up his writing; he views this not as a compromise, but rather as an acceptance of things as they are. What deeply disturbs him now is more personal: nightmares and crying spells about the dead brother.
The middle son, Colin, a card-carrying communist during his school days, is now an industrial arbitrator of disputes between workers and management. Colin insists that the family not measure one another by their failures and, solely to raise his mother’s spirits at a troubled time and ease her mind about the future, fabricates the news that he will finally marry.
The eldest living son, Andrew, has left a career in law to become an artist, a painter of—as he describes them—abstracts with “no sign of life.” As a thirteen-year-old boy, he announced to his family that he had no belief in anything, and he continues to be an angry young man, reviling the factory automation that turns workers into robots and continually goading Steven into reasserting his lost venom. Most of all, Andrew’s present intention is revenge against his parents, particularly against his mother, who, after Jamey’s death, had sent him off for six weeks to stay at a neighbor’s and repeatedly had been deaf to his desperate cries to be let back into the house.
Andrew resents the way in which his father has always enshrined his mother as a goddess out of some mishandled sense of guilt for having violated her, and he accuses the parents of needing to fashion Jamey into some impossible ideal of perfection to atone for their sins and of having too strictly controlled his life and that of his brothers as well. The home, to him, was a fetid atmosphere, and the parents’ guilt was responsible for their sons’ problems. Now, as his anniversary memento, he wants to bring all this out into the open, which to some extent he does—although Mrs. Shaw seems oblivious to much of it, perhaps deliberately refusing to face these truths. Steven, however, forbids Andrew to harm or damage their mother and father, and so a full confrontation is narrowly averted. Andrew dances with his mother—tellingly, with no music playing—and, like Arnold in Storey’s first play, somewhat unaccountably senses redemption, “salvation in his bones.” What undercuts the resolution, however, and marks the ending with uneasiness, is the way that the family’s final meal together—a breakfast of cold tea and dry toast—is left uneaten. No real communion has been established as the sons go off, leaving Mrs. Shaw with only Mr. Shaw to support her, a stage image much like that which concludes Storey’s next and finest play.
The Contractor retains elements of the conventional family problem play that Storey mined in In Celebration, but overlaying this probing of a family’s deterioration through three generations are new directions in Storey’s dramatic artistry that might even warrant the adjective “Storeyean”: the minimization of plot, the fascination with exact reproduction of minute details of daily activity (here the onstage erecting of a huge canvas marquee for a wedding reception), and the investing of concrete image and event with a multilayered network of symbolic meaning.
To describe the external action of The Contractor is to discover, from one perspective, how much meaning Storey can evoke from so little. Five workmen erect a tent on the lawn of the company owner’s house in the first two acts, then dismantle the tent in act 3, so that the stage image of three tent poles at the end of the play exactly replicates that at the beginning. The tent, like everything else that exists—family relationships, social institutions and structures, value systems—is transitory and ephemeral: All things under the sun pass away, and Storey examines the bedrock, if any, that remains. The workmen are carefully individuated (especially Kay, the foreman, who has been in prison for embezzlement and is sensitive to the emotional distress of others, and Glendenning, the sweets-loving, stuttering half-wit), but it is the group activity, the common goal of erecting the tent, that matters. Ewbank, the tent company owner and father of the bride, is set apart from his workmen by his economic and social status, and yet he insists on pitching in and helping. Not jaded by his station in life, he feels more comfortable with the laborers; he disparages money as more trouble than it is worth, and responds with compassion to Glenny, whom the others torment, and with heartbreak at the senseless damage done to the tent during the party. If Ewbank as overseer of the sewing of the beautifully stitched tent is a craftsman, Old Ewbank, his father, who is a rope maker, is an artisan. Throughout the play, Old Ewbank walks on and off, carrying a piece of rope that he is weaving (but that he eventually misplaces), contrasting it with today’s machine-made rope that lacks resilience, and commenting that the laborers, too, have lost their stamina, dependent on pills and drink. His handmade rope is a precious bit of the past, which loses out to the machine-made product of the present.
In contemporary life, there exists a dissociation between art and work, a devaluing of the artifact as impractical. Nevertheless, the possibility that work and art might once again merge, at least fleetingly, is hinted at in the setting up of the marquee. The third generation of the family is represented by Ewbank’s indolent son Paul, university-educated yet lacking any marketable skill. He admits to having no incentive to work purposefully and is content to loaf around the world (unsure of his destination) after the wedding. Alienated, rootless, not knowing his place in modern society, Paul does, however, have a flair for arranging the pots of flowers that decorate the tent. His grandmother recognizes this talent as the lingering touch of the artist in him, as the remnant of his grandfather’s artistry, yet his father can only disparage such a nonutilitarian skill.
The tent as symbol is amenable to richly various interpretations. Storey himself has spoken of it, first, in terms of “a metaphor for artistic creation”: the imaginative act of beginning with very little (three tent poles) and spinning around it a marvelous and ingenious structure, but then wondering, or having others wonder, what it is all worth. Second, Storey has connected the tent with “the decline of capitalistic society.” It is being erected on the grounds below the Ewbank home, itself beautiful yet tainted because it was built from the sweat of the laborers, and on a rise above the town. Once the valley boasted only farms and mills, yet now it is covered by a cloud of smoke from the industrialized city, where a television aerial adorns every roof. If human beings have become separated from nature and lost the connection between themselves and the earth, they have also lost any fixed point of reference for themselves as social beings. The long-overdue breakdown of the oppressive class system has arrived, and yet people, particularly those of the middle class, find it difficult to know where they belong in the new society, while many in the lower class still look back wistfully on the old stratification.
If the tent symbolizes art and empire, it also suggests the transitoriness of relationships between parent and child, and husband and wife, and the brevity of life itself. The action of The Contractor, which occurs in very late summer, exudes an autumnal air: Ewbank remarks that he wishes he had time to do everything over again but that he is too old to start anew. “Come today. Gone tomorrow” might well serve as the play’s epigraph. The only things that might endure in the face of constant change and diminishment are close personal relationships—though even those may no longer be lasting—and the value of work. The picture at play’s end of Ewbank and his wife, alone now that their children have left, standing arm-in-arm and mouthing stoically “We’ll manage” in the face of loss, is somewhat consoling, even if a shadow is cast over the new marriage of daughter Claire to a doctor when she must plead with him to stay sober at their reception. With everything else breaking down and dying out, what provides cohesion and meaning is work, in which individuals lose their egotism and exert their energies to create something together outside themselves. If the ritual dance of the family members, which in traditional romantic drama would signify generativity, is here undercut since it is performed without music, the shared meal retains all its religious force as a secular sacrament. After the tent is dismantled, Ewbank comes out from the house carrying a tray with a bottle of whiskey and the leftover wedding cake. The men partake in a ritual of eating and drinking that symbolizes the communion, however temporary, between them—with Ewbank even hiding away a little extra cake for Glenny.
The Contractor remains Storey’s most Chekhovian play—and perhaps the most Chekhovian in all of modern British drama—as well as his most impressive work for the theater. It even verbally echoes Dyadya Vanya (pb. 1897, pr. 1899; Uncle Vanya, 1914) when Mrs. Ewbank announces near the end, “They’ve gone, then.” The departure is yet another among the many symbols in the play of things passing away with nothing new to take their place.
Storey received his inspiration for Home from an image at the end of The Contractor of an ornamental metal table and two chairs, which become virtually the only elements in the setting of the later play. If plot in drama is understood as a causally connected series of events that rises to some resolution of a conflict, then Home is nearly plotless. Storey here eschews action in favor of a more lyric structure, related to musical composition in its reverberation of motifs: It is a tone poem for voices. The play opens with two early-middle-aged men in a garden: Harry, who in his youth played amateur football, acted bit parts in the theater, and dreamed of becoming either a dancer or a flutist, and Jack, more dandyish in his dress, formerly in the Royal Air Force, who in his youth thought of becoming a priest. They talk and, in scene 2, walk on and off the stage as they are joined by two women of a lower social class. It is here, when Kathleen reveals that her shoelaces have been taken away and that she has painted on the walls, that the audience first realizes that the characters live in an asylum. The gentlemen, each of whom breaks into tears at three points in the play, escort the ladies to lunch. When they return for act 2, the furniture has been disarranged by Alfred, the play’s only other—and totally silent—character, whose ritualized movements of lifting and carrying off the metalwork chairs and table suggest that this apparently purposeless activity is all that remains of their lives.
On its literal level, the simple action creates the impression of lost souls, each locked into the home of his or her own psyche, only able to break out sporadically by means of communication with another person. Marjorie is Kathleen’s helpmeet, someone the other woman can physically lean on; the basis of their camaraderie is gossiping and tattling on others and sharing slightly bawdy ripostes. Harry and Jack, less well adjusted because clearly more sensitive, have developed a private language of their own, answering each other’s incomplete sentences almost intuitively. They are aware of time passing, very slowly, and of eventual mortality. Although they must wait—a favorite image in the contemporary theater—for their next meal to interrupt the monotony of the day and have devised other private means for filling up time, they do not, unlike the tramps in Samuel Beckett’s En attendant Godot (pb. 1952, pr. 1953; Waiting for Godot, 1954), wait in hopeless expectation for anything astounding and meaningful to happen to them. Rather, the mood is again elegiac: Everything notable and noble has already happened in the past, and is not likely to occur again.
If, in this play, with its multivalent symbolism, the home of the title is the psychic retreat of these four souls, it is also England itself, just as Chekhov’s orchard was Russia. At one time, a lord and lady occupied the house now turned into the asylum; at one time, England’s unique geography as an island led to the creation of a civilized culture and democracy. In a reverent litany of the poets and discoverers and inventions that once made England great, Harry and Jack name Charles Darwin, Sir Isaac Newton, John Milton, and Sir Walter Ralegh; radar, the steam engine, and penicillin.
Perhaps Storey even wishes his audience to recall John of Gaunt’s famous set piece from William Shakespeare’s Richard II (pr. c. 1595-1596) apostrophizing England as “this sceptred isle” and “other Eden, demi-paradise,” for one of the characters inhabiting what little garden remains at the asylum recalls the local tale that Adam and Eve actually lived in the Vale of Evesham. As the characters remark, however, the “sun has set” on the Empire, and its like will not be seen again. Where once great minds and great ideas flourished, now there is only uniformity and boredom; where once there was camaraderie in battle, responsibility for family members in need, and respect for the “gentler sex,” now there is aimlessness, appalling manners, and lack of moral fiber; where once there was sun, now there is little beauty in an industrialized, soot-covered wasteland. Everything, now, has become little, and just as the patients have no hope of release from their home, there is little hope of a future for the larger home that is England. Kathleen yearns for death, lest she go mad—not realizing that she already has; Harry recognizes that there no longer exist any great roles for the actors on the great stage of the world, but only tiny parts on a little platform. Jack muses over metaphysical concerns, the why for God’s actions, the mystery at the center of existence, finding no answers. To make life bearable, one can only hold out a hand to another person once in a while and be tolerant of the lapses of others, of the little falls from grace in the midst of the larger fall that has overtaken Western civilization. This swan song for a dying world that apparently is not waiting for anything to be born ends with an image of Harry and Jack desolate and in tears over their awareness of loss.
The Changing Room
Just as the central action of the wedding reception that the audience expects to see in The Contractor happens between the acts, so, too, the action of the rugby match occurs off stage in The Changing Room. What the audience does see is the preparation for the football game (the stripping, bandaging, greasing of bodies, and suiting up), the treatment of the wounded gladiator during the match, and the aftermath of victory (the ritual of bathing, locker-room badinage, singing, and dressing in street clothes before returning to the world). Much of this activity, observed with Storey’s usual eye for concrete detail, is choreographed almost like a ballet in performance. Storey manages, despite the large ensemble cast of twenty-two, to give some individuality to members of the team, among them the narcissistic Patsy, who lovingly stands in front of mirrors combing and recombing his hair; the studious-looking schoolmaster Trevor, who wears a club blazer and has an economist for a wife; the fastidious team captain Owens, evidently in his next to last season in the rugged sport, who takes full advantage of the special privileges due him; Walsh, quick with bawdy jokes and gestures as a cover for his sexual insecurity; and most of all the childlike Kendal, who treasures the electric tool kit he has bought to build bookshelves for his wife and who is brought in bloodied from a broken nose.
If the location of Storey’s play is literally a changing room where men discard their everyday clothes and don their rugby shirts and shorts, it is also a setting employed symbolically, for these men undergo not only a change in clothing; they change from individuals into a group, as the lining up and passing of the ball from one to another before the match indicates, imbued with a sense of team spirit and commitment. The team breaks down social distinctions, equalizing workers and professionals, who can use the game as a means of improving, on one level, their economic condition; even the team’s owner, Sir Frederick Thornton, though he sees the players as robots, likes to feel himself one of the men, as Ewbank does in The Contractor.
More important, playing rugby is a way of escaping the dulling routine of a machine-dominated existence through a physical ritual that takes on religious overtones of purification and renewal, since it enables these men to get in touch with the energies of their bodies (playing football is “life at the extreme,” claims Storey, who knows from his own experience); the bodily exertion becomes a means of enlivening the spirit and, even though the fusion is only temporary, an organic harmony replaces fragmentation and dissociation. Like man alone, however, even men together are still subject to vulnerability and mortality. Storey even turns the nudity, occurring naturally here and with greater aesthetic justification than in almost any other contemporary drama, into a visual symbol of man’s shared humanity: Bodies may be fine-tuned, yet they can become broken, and they do age; even pain, however, can be a measure of a man. If it is fashionable for contemporary writers to use sport as a metaphor for war or for the struggle for existence, or to portray it as a sublimation for sex or a substitution for power, Storey eschews such negative connotations to focus instead on the way in which sport, like art, can be a transcendence of the moment in time and of the purely self-centered tendency in man.
If there is a central character in The Changing Room, it is, ironically, the only one on stage who neither participates in nor watches the game—the menial workman Harry, who hoses out the bath, stokes the fire, lays out the clothes and towels, and sweeps up after the men. The broken-down, hymn-singing Harry, mentally deficient as the result of an accident years ago, is, for the players, a nearly anonymous presence, taken for granted and noticed only when he fails to supply their needs. Harry is obsessively paranoid over the threat of Russia and what he sees as its vast plot to destroy the West. Russia is even responsible for the cold weather that has turned the playing field into a frozen waste; the communists, he claims, have planted listening devices in the changing room and are using a poison gas to slow the thinking processes and thus brainwash humankind. What Harry says about England is more pointed and closer to the truth: Convinced that his own job has value, that he knows precisely who he works for, he decries—as Old Ewbank had—the detrimental effects of machinery on man’s energy and the blurring of class distinctions that mean that men no longer know their place. Like old Fiers in Chekhov’s Vishnyovy sad (pr., pb. 1904; The Cherry Orchard, 1908), who longed to maintain the days of serfdom when he felt secure in a lowly station in life, Harry questions progress, feeling that the present cannot measure up to the past, that it is “too late” for any redemption. The final image of Harry sweeping the empty room symbolizes the way that the present continually displaces the past and all that it stands for. The certainty of old values has broken down, and man appears unable to discover ways to reinvigorate and renew his existence. Even the game can serve only as a temporary ritual that gives the pain of existence during the rest of the week a meaning. Storey’s final attitude, then, is deliberately ambiguous and as double-edged as Chekhov’s: There is mostly loss, but there is also some possibility for gain. The only certainty for man, however, is the fact of change, which is always unsettling.
The Changing Room, like other plays by Storey, such as The Contractor and Home, might seem, on the surface, to be apolitical, to be an exercise in documentary realism raised to the level of art. The surface reality is so precisely observed and re-created that the symbolic levels and allegorical equivalencies never seem to be imposed from without but always appear to be discovered by Storey as emanating from within that very reality and then subtly articulated. It could, however, be argued that Storey is the quintessential nonproselytizer among the contemporary British social and political dramatists. His plays are about England. He differs from most other—and usually younger—British social dramatists of the present day in the breadth of his vision. Working by symbol and indirection, he reveals the ills of the time but espouses no narrow platform for curing them. His political attitude, as he suggested in a remark in Cromwell, might sound like a self-serving excuse, but perhaps it is simply the realistic if somewhat cynical conclusion of a sensitive man thrown up against an insensitive system: No matter what side a person takes politically, and no matter what political decision that person makes, the decision ends by defeating the very values that the person originally tried to uphold. Storey proposes no answer, for probably none exists. He recurrently dramatizes diminution, decay, and mortality, with every once in a while a moment of compassion and shared humanity, through a daily ritual such as a bath or a meal, to help his oftentimes desolate people along the way.
In Caring, an experimental one-act play published in 1992, Storey avoids politics but continues to focus on diminished and decaying people who simultaneously “care” for and castigate each other. The play, which resembles the drama of Samuel Beckett, has no set, no props, no plot, no stage directions, and characters whose identities are never really defined. The play centers on a couple, presumably aging theatrical or vaudeville performers, who seem to be at the end of their careers. As the play progresses, Zena and Clarke correct each other, argue, insult, and perhaps even rehearse lines from a play or plays that have been staged or are in rehearsal. As they reproach each other for the affairs both have had with other performers, they also defend their lovers, whom they tend to romanticize. In fact, it is difficult to tell what is theatrical and what is real. At first the two characters seem to be a married couple, but later they appear to be married to other people. When Clarke asks, “Same time, next week?” he seems to suggest that this is a regular assignation with well-established dialogue and clearly both characters derive some pleasure from the acerbic repartee. Near the end of the play, Storey’s use of rhymed dialogue implies that their conversation is a routine or performance for their own entertainment. As such, it can be altered to suit their needs.
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