Saturday Night and Sunday Morning by Alan Sillitoe : Resource Material

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Saturday Night and Sunday Morning
By Alan Sillitoe
Adapted by Amanda Whittington

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Harrogate Theatre 22nd February - 8th March 2008
Directed by Joyce Branagh

Resource Material

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Alan Sillitoe's ground breaking picture of 1950's Britain, as seen through the eyes of the unforgettable Arthur Seaton (immortalised on screen by Albert Finney), is now brought raging back to life and bang up-to-date in a fast-moving new stage adaptation.

Classic kitchen sink drama blended with high energy action and a toe-tapping 1950's fuelled soundtrack makes this at turns funny and heart-rending tale of the life and loves of the original angry young man a must see for three generations.

ContentsPage

Brief Synopsis
Historical context
About the author
The adapted text
List of Characters
Principals Analysis
In different media
21st Century references

Synopsis

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning tells the story of Arthur Seaton, a young Nottingham factory worker, who is having an affair with Brenda, the wife of Jack, an older co-worker. He also has a relationship with Doreen, a woman closer to his own age. When Brenda becomes pregnant with Arthur’s child, he goes to his aunt for advice on aborting the child. Jack discovers the affair. His brother and a fellow soldier give Arthur a serious beating. The play ends on an ambiguous note, with a recovered Arthur and Doreen discussing marriage and the prospect of a new home.

Historical context

1958: The European Economic Community (Common Market) starts operation. The birth of Rock and Roll, which resulted in the emergence of clubs. Jerry Lee Lewis’s Great Balls of Fire reaches no 1 in the US charts. Women’s rights were still limited, but this was to change over the coming decade. Marie Stopes, a campaigner for women’s rights, dies, aged 69. The first man-made nuclear fusion was created.

The class divide was still very prominent and strong. Labour were in government.
Queen Elizabeth II had only recently been crowned. The idea of a new age had begun.

About the Author

Name:Alan Sillitoe
Born:4th March 1928, Nottingham.
Family:Second son of an illiterate tannery laborer. His father, Christopher Sillitoe, became one of the long-term unemployed during the 1930s Depression. On different occasions he worked as a house painter. Once he was imprisoned for "running up bills for food that he had no hope of paying." Sillitoe's mother, Silvina (Burton) worked in a lace factory. "We lived in a room on Talbot Street whose four walls smelled of leaking gas, stale fat, and layers of mouldering wall-paper," Sillitoe has recalled. Early life:Left school at 14

Sillitoe’s childhood was shadowed by the financial problems of the family, but he also found early on the joys of literature and started to plan his career as a writer. However, his first semi-fictional tale about his wild cousins was burned by his mother for being too revealing. At the age of 14 he left school and worked in a number of jobs in Nottingham factories, including a bicycle factory from 1942 to 1946. He served in the Royal Air Force, where he was a wireless operator. After returning from Malaya, he was discovered to have tuberculosis. Sill toe spent sixteen months in an RAF hospital. During this period he started to write again and read intensively. Pensioned off at 21 on 45 shillings at week, he lived in France and Spain for seven years in an attempt to recover. In 1951 he met an American poet, Ruth Fainlight, who was married, but they decided to go abroad together. From 1952 to 1958 they lived in France, Italy and Spain largely on Sillitoe's air force pension. Encouraged by Robert Graves, whom he met on the island of Mallorca in 1956, Sillitoe began to write his first novel, SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING (1958), a story about working-class life in Nottingham....
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