Entertaining Mr. Sloane

by Joe Orton

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Topics for Further Study

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Read John Lahr's biography of Orton, Prick up Your Ears (1978) or view the 1987 firm version of the biography to gather more specific information on Orton's upbringing and relationship with his parents, family, and friends. Discuss how these relationships are reflected in the characters, plot, humor, and tone of Entertaining Mr. Sloane.

View the film version of Entertaining Mr. Sloane. Compare it to your reading of the stage version and discuss the ways in which the film version either succeeds or fails to represent your experience of the play. Decide to what extent the differences between the two versions are related to the differences between the stage and film.

Research the history of homosexuality on stage in twentieth century theatre to see how Orton's portrayal of homosexual behavior relates to the ground-breaking representations of homosexual characters in the 1960s and succeeding decades.

Research the state of sexual permissiveness in the 1960s. You may also want to compare it to the relative openness about sexuality in the 1950s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Find specific examples that illustrate permissiveness (or the lack of it) and research explanations for why this openness should change from decade to decade.

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