UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Joe Orton : the Oscar Wilde of the welfare state Levinson, Karen Janice 1977

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J O E ORTON: T H E OSCAR WILDE OF THE WELFARE S T A T E by KAREN J A N I C E L E V I N S O N B.A. (H o n o u r s ) , U n i v e r s i t y C o l l e g e , London, 1972 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department o f E n g l i s h ) We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s as c o n f o r m i n g to the r e q u i r e d s t a n d a r d THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA A p r i l , 1977 (c) Karen J a n i c e L e v i n s o n , 1977 i i In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the requ i rement s f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumb ia , I ag ree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s tudy . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s u n d e r s t o o d that c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i thout my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f E n g l i s h  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 30 A p r i l 1977 ABSTRACT T h i s t h e s i s has a dual purpose: f i r s t l y , t o c r e a t e an awareness and a p p r e c i a t i o n o f Joe Orton's p l a y s ; moreover t o e s t a b l i s h Orton as a f o c a l p o i n t i n modern E n g l i s h drama, as a p l a y w r i g h t whose work g r e a t l y i n f l u e n c e d and a i d e d i n t h e d e f i n i t i o n o f a form o f drama which came t o be known as B l a c k Comedy. Orton's f l a m b o y a n t l i f e , and the e q u a l l y s t a r t l i n g method o f h i s d e a t h , d i s t r a c t e d c r i t i c a l a t t e n t i o n from h i s p l a y s f o r a l o n g t i m e . In the l a s t few y e a r s t h e r e has been a r e v i v a l o f i n t e r e s t i n O r t o n ; but most c r i t i c s have o n l y noted h i s l i n g u i s t i c i n g e n u i t y , h i s a c c u r a t e e a r f o r the humour i n h e r e n t i n t h e language o f e v e r y d a y l i f e which l e d Ronald Bryden to dub him "the O s c a r W i l d e o f W e l f a r e S t a t e g e n t i l i t y . " T h i s t h e s i s demonstrates Orton's t r e a t m e n t o f s o c i a l m a t t e r s : he i s c o n c e r n e d w i t h the p l i g h t o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l i n s o c i e t y ; he s a t i r i s e s v a r i o u s elements o f modern l i f e , p a r t i c u l a r l y t h o s e i n s t i t u t i o n s which w i e l d a u t h o r i t y ( l i k e the Church and t h e P o l i c e ) , and thus c o n t r o l men. Orton's s a t i r e on t h e s e i n s t i t u t i o n s may be seen as e x t e n d i n g t o an a t t a c k on the W e l f a r e S t a t e , a s o c i a l phenomenon which e p i t o m i s e s a l l t h e a s p e c t s o f c o n t r o l Orton d i s l i k e d so much. The t i t l e o f t h i s t h e s i s t h e r e f o r e makes t h e c o n n e c t i o n between Orton's v e r b a l b r i l l i a n c e and h i s c o n c e r n f o r humanity. The i n t r o d u c t o r y c h a p t e r d i s c u s s e s t h e a t r i c a l t r a d i t i o n s which may have been an i m p o r t a n t i n f l u e n c e on Orton's work. These t r a d i t i o n s a r e i v n o t o n l y c o n s i d e r e d i n g e n e r a l terms; they a r e a l s o d i s c u s s e d w i t h p a r t i c u l a r r e f e r e n c e t o p l a y w r i g h t s (and o t h e r a u t h o r s ) whom Orton a d m i t t e d t o a d m i r i n g g r e a t l y . W r i t e r s a n a l y s e d i n t h i s c h a p t e r i n c l u d e Ben T r a v e r s , S t r i n d b e r g , P i n t e r , and, o f c o u r s e , O s c a r W i l d e . These d r a m a t i s t s a r e n o t examined t o deny Orton's o r i g i n a l i t y , but r a t h e r t o prove i t ; i t i s shown t h a t Orton's p l a y s cannot be c a t e g o r i s e d ; h i s work i s a f u s i o n and r e v i s i o n o f s e v e r a l d i f f e r e n t t h e a t r i c a l forms. Orton's seven p l a y s can be d i v i d e d i n t o two groups: the e a r l i e r , more r e a l i s t i c dramas, and the l a t e r f a r c i c a l p l a y s . T h i s d i v i s i o n i s made p u r e l y on a c c o u n t o f form; the t h e m a t i c c o n c e r n s may d i f f e r s l i g h t l y from p l a y t o p l a y but do n o t v a r y from group t o group. The c e n t r a l themes i n t h e s e dramas i n c l u d e man's i s o l a t i o n i n s o c i e t y , the greed and b e s t i a l i t y o f mankind, the c o r r u p t i o n o f the Church and the P o l i c e , and man's h y p o c r i s y . Chapter II t r e a t s t h e e a r l i e r , more r e a l i s t i c "comedies o f language"; the major a n a l y s i s i s o f l i n g u i s t i c d e v i c e s , p a r t i c u l a r l y the c h a r a c t e r s ' use o f euphemism, and the d i s l o c a t i o n between the p r o p r i e t y o f t h e i r words and the a m o r a l i t y o f t h e i r deeds. C h a p t e r I I I d i s c u s s e s Orton's use o f f a r c e , and h i s g r e a t t h e a t r i c a l achievement i n u s i n g a t r a d i t i o n a l l y l i g h t - h e a r t e d genre t o make a s e r i o u s comment about mankind. Orton's f a r c e s show man as a v i c t i m o f modern s o c i e t y , the f r a n t i c pace o f f a r c e p r o v i d e s a t h e a t r i c a l c o r r e l a t i v e f o r h i s view o f man's s t r u g g l e f o r s u r v i v a l i n a h o s t i l e u n i v e r s e . In both t h e s e c h a p t e r s , each p l a y i s examined i n d i v i d u a l l y f o r themes, t o n e , form and l i n g u i s t i c d e v i c e s . The f i n a l c h a p t e r c o n s i d e r s Orton's e f f e c t on some i m p o r t a n t d r a m a t i s t s o f the l a t e 1960 1s and e a r l y 1970's. The works o f David Mercer, Simon V Gray, Tom S t o p p a r d and P e t e r Barnes a r e b r i e f l y examined, and s i m i l a r i t i e s t o Orton i n theme and tone a r e n o t e d . I t i s s t r e s s e d t h a t a l t h o u g h Orton's g r e a t e s t achievement may w e l l have been i n t h e e s t a b l i s h m e n t o f B l a c k Comedy as a genre, h i s i n f l u e n c e can be s a i d t o be w i d e - r a n g i n g s i n c e many modern w r i t e r s have emulated i n d i v i d u a l elements o f h i s s t y l e . However, t h i s c h a p t e r , and the t h e s i s as a whole, s t r e s s e s t h a t i n t h e f i n a l a n a l y s i s , Orton's work must be c o n s i d e r e d i n i m i t a b l e . T A B L E OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. 1 CHAPTER II . . . "I 6 CHAPTER I I I 5 1 CHAPTER IV 104 NOTES 114 BIBLIOGRAPHY 123 - v i -CHAPTER I In a l l t he h i s t o r y o f the New Drama i n B r i t a i n t h e r e i s no c a r e e r more s p e c t a c u l a r , and a l a s none b r i e f e r , than t h a t o f Joe O r t o n J T h i s comment by John R u s s e l l T a y l o r i n h i s book The Second Wave e p i t o m i s e s a s h i f t i n c r i t i c a l o p i n i o n about O r t o n . Only s i x y e a r s e a r l i e r , Mr. . T a y l o r had d i s m i s s e d E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. Sloa n e as " c o m m e r c i a l , a n d , u n t i l the b e g i n n i n g o f the 1970's, c r i t i c s p e r s i s t e d i n e i t h e r i g n o r i n g Orton e n t i r e l y , o r i n r e g a r d i n g him as an amusing, but somewhat t r i v i a l p l a y w r i g h t "who o u t d i d a l l h i s c o n t e m p o r a r i e s i n o f f e n d i n g t he t r a d i t i o n a l 3 West End a u d i e n c e . " There i s no doubt t h a t t he v i o l e n t manner o f Orton s death ( h i s l o v e r Kenneth H a l l i w e l l beat h i s b r a i n s o u t w i t h a hammer and then committed s u i c i d e ) d i d l i t t l e t o i n c r e a s e h i s d r a m a t i c r e p u t a t i o n , s i n c e t he m a j o r i t y o f c r i t i c s were f a s c i n a t e d by the " p o e t i c j u s t i c e " o f t h i s e v e n t , and d i s r e g a r d e d t he m a t e r i a l i n h i s p l a y s i n f a v o u r o f commenting on h i s e x c e p t i o n a l l y f lamboyant l i f e and de a t h . Of c o u r s e i t i s i m p o r t a n t t h a t Orton's d r a m a t i c c a r e e r was " c u t s h o r t by h i s own . de a t h , i n a manner r e m i n i s c e n t o f h i s own p l a y s , j u s t as i t i s i m p o r t a n t t o r e c o g n i s e t h a t Orton's p l a y s r e f l e c t h i s l i f e , and h i s v i s i o n o f the wo r l d . The am o r a l , v i c i o u s , c r u e l and e g o t i s t i c a l s o c i e t y d e p i c t e d i n Orton's work r e a l l y d i d e x i s t f o r him; because o f h i s d i a r i e s , l e t t e r s and o t h e r w r i t i n g s we a r e a b l e to see how h i s e x p e r i e n c e s a r e t r a n s l a t e d i n t o h i s p l a y s . - 1 -2 Orton l o v e d t o shock p e o p l e , i n h i s l i f e as much as i n h i s work. His b e h a v i o u r was o f t e n o u t r a g e o u s ; i n d e e d many o f h i s e x p l o i t s r e a d l i k e p o t e n t i a l p l a y s c r i p t s . He was an i n v e t e r a t e l e t t e r ^ w r i t e r , and h i s f a v o u r i t e nom-de-plume was t h a t o f Edna Welthorpe ( M r s . ) , an a l t e r ego who p e r p e t u a t e d the s c a n d a l s u r r o u n d i n g h i s p l a y s by w r i t i n g condemnatory l e t t e r s to the p r e s s . Edna Welthorpe, however, d i d n o t r e s t r i c t her a c t i v i t i e s t o t a l k i n g about the t h e a t r e ; she m a i n t a i n e d a wide c i r c l e o f c o r r e s p o n d e n t s , i n c l u d i n g a l o c a l v i c a r . Her l e t t e r t o the manager o f the R i t z H o t e l i n London i s an Orton c l a s s i c ; i t p r e s e n t s the v i s i o n o f c o r r u p t s o c i e t y and the d e s i r e t o shock the r e a d e r i n t o awareness t h a t we see i n Orton's dramas. Dear S i r , I had t e a i n y o u r p a l a t i a l e s t a b l i s h m e n t l a s t Wednesday. I must c o n g r a t u l a t e you on y o u r d e c o r . I was w i t h my f r i e n d Mrs. S u l l i v a n . Y o u ' l l remember her. She was the one i n the f u r c o a t . U n f o r t u n a t e l y I l e f t b e h i n d a brown Moroccan l e a t h e r handbag which c o n t a i n e d a Boots f o l d e r h o l d i n g snap-s h o t s o f m y s e l f and Mrs. S u l l i v a n i n r i s q u e poses. There was a l s o a p a i r o f g l o v e s made o f s t i c k y v e g e t a b l e m a t t e r . I f you c o u l d r e c o v e r t h e s e , Mrs. S u l l i v a n and I w i l l be enormously g r a t e f u l and r e l i e v e d . Yours s i n c e r e l y , Edna Welthorpe^ Orton's own b e h a v i o u r i s e q u a l l y e v i d e n t i n h i s work. Hi s a d m i t t e d l y amoral a t t i t u d e towards sex i s r e f l e c t e d i n such c h a r a c t e r s as S l o a n e i n E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. Sloane and Hal and Dennis i n L o o t . John L a h r , i n h i s i n t r o d u c t i o n to Orton's c o l l e c t e d p l a y s , quotes from Orton's d i a r i e s t o demonstrate t h a t a l l h i s t a l k about s e x u a l a d v e n t u r i n g was i n d e e d f a c t . Moreover, t h e s e d i a r i e s show t h a t many o f the s i t u a t i o n s i n a p l a y l i k e L o o t a r e based on r e a l i s t i c e x p e r i e n c e . A l t h o u g h L o o t was w r i t t e n -- and was i n f a c t b e i n g performed -- a t the time o f Orton's 3 mother's d e a t h , many i n c i d e n t s c o n n e c t e d w i t h the c o r p s e , c o f f i n and f u n e r a l seem t o be u n c a n n i l y foreshadowed by the p l a y . As the c o r p s e i s d o w n s t a i r s i n the main l i v i n g room i t means g o i n g o u t or w a t c h i n g t e l e v i s i o n w i t h death a t one's elbow. My f a t h e r , f u m b l i n g out o f bed i n the m i d d l e o f the n i g h t , bumped i n t o the c o f f i n and a l m o s t had the c o r p s e on the f l o o r . Peggy Ramsay s a i d how d r e a d f u l l y r e m i n i s c e n t o f L o o t i t a l l was.^ Orton was v e r y i n s i s t e n t t h a t h i s p l a y s were r e a l i t y , not f a n t a s y . In o r d e r t o impress t h i s p o i n t on the c a s t o f Loot he kept h i s dead mother's f a l s e t e e t h and p r e s e n t e d them t o the a c t o r s . 'Here, I thought you'd l i k e t he o r i g i n a l s . 1 He s a i d , 'What.1 ' T e e t h , 1 I s a i d . 'Whose?' he s a i d . 'My mum's,' I s a i d . He l o o k e d v e r y s i c k . 'You see,' I s a i d , ' I t ' s o b v i o u s y o u ' r e not t h i n k i n g o f the e v e n t s o f t h e p l a y i n terms o f r e a l i t y i f a t h i n g a f f e c t s you l i k e that.'° Of c o u r s e , much o f t h e s a t i r e i n Orton's p l a y s , p a r t i c u l a r l y h i s b i t i n g s a t i r e a g a i n s t t h e p o l i c e , and a u t h o r i t y i n g e n e r a l , sprung from h i s f e e l i n g o f b e i n g v i o l e n t l y p e r s e c u t e d by f i g u r e s o f a u t h o r i t y . H i s p r i s o n e x p e r i e n c e s (he was s e n t e n c e d t o s i x months imprisonment f o r s t e a l i n g and d e f a c i n g l i b r a r y b o o k s ) , r e i n f o r c e d h i s a t t i t u d e s and o p i n i o n s o f s o c i e t y . B e f o r e I had been v a g u e l y c o n s c i o u s o f something r o t t e n somewhere: p r i s o n c r y s t a l l i s e d t h i s . The o l d whore s o c i e t y r e a l l y l i f t e d up her s k i r t s , and the s t e n c h was p r e t t y f o u l . ^ T h i s ' f o u l s t e n c h ' i s seen t h r o u g h o u t Orton's canon, but i s p r o b a b l y most n o t i c e a b l e i n the e a r l i e r p l a y s , and p a r t i c u l a r l y i n The R u f f i a n on the S t a i r which was w r i t t e n o n l y a few months a f t e r h i s r e l e a s e from j a i l . A f t e r the s c a n d a l s u r r o u n d i n g Orton's death had d i m i n i s h e d , a r e v i v a l o f i n t e r e s t i n h i s p l a y s took p l a c e . A t t h i s t i m e , c r i t i c s began t o 4 note Orton's i m p o r t a n c e , but they r e s t r i c t e d t h e i r p r a i s e t o h i s amazing a b i l i t y w i t h words. His d e s i r e t o p o i n t o u t the c r u e l t y and h o r r o r o f s o c i e t y , and, perhaps most i m p o r t a n t o f a l l , h i s b r i l l i a n t d r a m a t i s a t i o n o f many c e n t r a l a t t i t u d e s o f the 1960's (t h e narrow d i s t i n c t i o n between madness and s a n i t y , the a b n o r m a l i t y o f the term "normal," and t h e n i g h t -m a r i s h , i s o l a t e d s i t u a t i o n o f man i n s o c i e t y ) have been a l m o s t t o t a l l y d i s r e g a r d e d . Many o f t h e s e i s s u e s d r a m a t i s e d by O r t o n and o t h e r p l a y -w r i g h t s o f the p e r i o d a r e d i s c u s s e d i n p s y c h o l o g i c a l terms by R. D. L a i n g . A l t h o u g h i t i s u n l i k e l y t h a t Orton had r e a d L a i n g , and thus h i s p l a y s must on no a c c o u n t be c o n s i d e r e d as a mere d r a m a t i s a t i o n o f p s y c h o l o g i c a l t h e o r y , L a i n g c r y s t a l l i s e s and d e f i n e s the c o n c e p t s o f i s o l a t i o n and a l i e n a t i o n so p r e v a l e n t i n the drama o f t h i s time. We a r e born i n t o a w o r l d where a l i e n a t i o n a w a i t s us. We are p o t e n t i a l l y men, but a r e i n an a l i e n a t e d s t a t e , and t h i s s t a t e i s not s i m p l y a n a t u r a l system. A l i e n a t i o n as our p r e s e n t d e s t i n y i s a c h i e v e d o n l y by outrageous v i o l e n c e p e r p e t r a t e d by human beings on human beings J O Orton's p l a y s p r e s e n t a v i s i o n o f t h i s w o r l d , an image o f a l i e n a t e d man. In p a r t i c u l a r , h i s works a r e concerned w i t h v i o l e n c e : v i o l e n c e , however, does n o t e x i s t o n l y i n p h y s i c a l terms; i t i s f a r more e f f e c t i v e and more dangerous when i t t h r e a t e n s one's emotions. V i o l e n c e attempts t o c o n s t r a i n the o t h e r ' s freedom, t o f o r c e him t o a c t i n the way we d e s i r e , but w i t h u l t i m a t e l a c k o f c o n c e r n , w i t h i n d i f f e r e n c e t o the o t h e r ' s own e x i s t e n c e o f d e s t i n y . We a r e e f f e c t i v e l y d e s t r o y i n g o u r s e l v e s by v i o l e n c e masquerading as l o v e J l Orton's views c o i n c i d e w i t h L a i n g ' s s u g g e s t i o n t h a t v i o l e n c e i s a t i t s most dangerous when i t i s masquerading as something e l s e ; thus h i s f o c a l p o i n t s o f a t t a c k a r e i n s t i t u t i o n s (such as t h e Church and the p o l i c e ) w h ich, w h i l e p r e t e n d i n g t h e i r c o n c e r n f o r mankind s p r i n g s 5 from l o v e and a d e s i r e f o r law and o r d e r , seek t he power t o c o n t r o l men and d i r e c t t h e i r b e h a v i o u r . Moreover the c a l l o u s i n d i f f e r e n c e o f s o c i e t y t r o u b l e s Orton g r e a t l y : many o f h i s p l a y s deal w i t h man's e s s e n t i a l l o n e l i n e s s i n the w o r l d ; t h e y show how human b e i n g s a r e t r e a t e d as machines, and d i s c a r d e d once they have o u t l i v e d t h e i r u s e f u l n e s s . O r t o n i s t h e r e f o r e f a r from b e i n g t he l i g h t - h e a r t e d , o u t r a g e o u s s t y l i s t t h a t many have thought him; he i s a s e r i o u s m o r a l i s t , a s o c i a l c r i t i c who d e m o l i s h e s many o f the f o u n d a t i o n s o f s o c i e t y t o r e v e a l t h e c o r r u p t i o n and e v i l l u r k i n g t h e r e . Of c o u r s e , i t would be a f a t a l e r r o r t o deny the b r i l l i a n c e o f Orton's humour: he a t t a c k s through l a u g h t e r ; h i s s a t i r i c t h r u s t o f t e n seems t o make h i s p o i n t more f o r c e f u l l y . He mocks B r i t i s h j u s t i c e , d e s t r o y s t he myth about t he wond e r f u l E n g l i s h p o l iceman i n a m a r v e l l o u s l y funny p o r t r a i t o f an i n e p t , but c u r i o u s l y s i n i s t e r d e t e c t i v e i n L o o t , c a s t s enormous doubt on the v a l i d i t y o f t h o s e who p r o f e s s t o be r e l i g i o u s ( o r even moral and g e n t e e l ) , by r e v e a l i n g t h e v a s t gap between t h e i r p r o t e s t a t i o n s and t h e i r a c t i o n s , and e f f e c t i v e l y d i m i n i s h e s f i g u r e s o f a u t h o r i t y by showing t h e i r i n h umanity and s t u p i d i t y . U n d e r l y i n g most o f t h i s s a t i r e , however, i s an e x t r a o r d i n a r y exuberance, a w i l l i n g n e s s t o laugh and a d e l i g h t i n t h e f o l l i e s and f o i b l e s o f mankind. L i k e many modern p l a y w r i g h t s , O r t o n i s co n c e r n e d w i t h s t r i p p i n g away the l a y e r s , t a k i n g o f f the mask o f g e n t i l i t y t o see what l i e s b e n eath. U n l i k e many w r i t e r s , however, he i s d e l i g h t e d by what he d i s c o v e r s . He has s a i d t h a t he found p e o p l e " p r o f o u n d l y bad, but 1 p i r r e s i s t i b l y funny," and i n s i s t e d t h a t E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e (and presumably h i s l a t e r p l a y s ) s h o u l d n o t be c a t e g o r i s e d w i t h whatever 6 l a b e l was c u r r e n t l y f a s h i o n a b l e . I t ' s j u s t a p l a y , which happens t o make p e o p l e laugh about sodomy and nymphomania. I t ' s a comedy i n s o f a r as t h e whole wor l d and the whole human s i t u a t i o n i s comic and f a r c i c a l . ^ T h i s v i s i o n o f t h e human c o n d i t i o n as f a r c i c a l s u g g e s t s a l i n k between Orton's image o f s o c i e t y and t h a t e x p r e s s e d by t h e d r a m a t i s t s o f t h e T h e a t r e o f t h e Absurd. However, i t would be an e r r o r t o p l a c e Orton f i r m l y i n the t r a d i t i o n o f the Absurd. As w i l l be s e e n , O r t o n ' s work d e f i e s c a t e g o r i s a t i o n ; i t i s a f u s i o n o f many t r a d i t i o n s which reforms and r e v i s e s a l l p r e v i o u s i n f l u e n c e s t o c r e a t e an o r i g i n a l c o n t r i b u t i o n to modern drama. The two most g e n e r a l l y acknowledged i n f l u e n c e s on B r i t i s h drama o f the 1960 1s and '70's a r e B e r t o l t B r e c h t and t h e T h e a t r e o f t h e Absurd. Laurence K i t c h i n , r e p h r a s i n g t h i s s t a t e m e n t i n more g e n e r a l terms, s t a t e s t h a t the two dominant forms o f drama i n t h e 1960's were e p i c and c o m p r e s s i o n -i s m . ^ Whatever terms we use, however, i t i s c l e a r t h a t t h i s d i v i s i o n o f i n f l u e n c e s cannot be s a t i s f a c t o r i l y a p p l i e d t o O r t o n . A t l e a s t one o f h i s p l a y s (The Erpingham Camp) has a somewhat B r e c h t i a n o r e p i c s t r u c t u r e ; i t r e p r e s e n t s a v e r s i o n o f the B r e c h t i a n P a r a b l e p l a y . On the o t h e r hand, l e s t we s h o u l d be i n c l i n e d t o deny the i n f l u e n c e o f the a b s u r d i s t s , many o f M a r t i n E s s l i n ' s comments on t h e s i g n i f i c a n c e o f the T h e a t r e o f the Absurd can (and i n d e e d , s h o u l d ) be a p p l i e d t o O r t o n . In the T h e a t r e o f the Absurd, t h e s p e c t a t o r i s c o n f r o n t e d w i t h t h e madness o f the human c o n d i t i o n , i s e n a b l e d t o see h i s s i t u a t i o n i n a l l i t s grimness and d e s p a i r . S t r i p p e d o f i l l u s i o n s and v a g u e l y f e l t f e a r s and a n x i e t i e s , he can f a c e t h i s s i t u a t i o n c o n s c i o u s l y , r a t h e r than f e e l i n g i t v a g u e l y below a s u r f a c e o f euphemisms and o p t i m i s t i c i l l u s i o n s . By s e e i n g h i s a n x i e t i e s f o r m u l a t e d he can l i b e r a t e h i m s e l f from 7 them . . . . I t i s the unease caused by t h e p r e s e n c e o f i l l u s i o n s t h a t a r e o b v i o u s l y o u t o f tune w i t h r e a l i t y t h a t i s d i s s o l v e d and d i s c h a r g e d through l i b e r a t i n g l a u g h t e r a t the r e c o g n i t i o n o f the fundamental a b s u r d i t y o f the u n i v e r s e . ^ A l t h o u g h Orton's w r i t i n g demonstrates many o f t h e s e q u a l i t i e s , we must be c a r e f u l to note t he ways i n which he d i f f e r s from t he a b s u r d i s t s . I t appears t h a t he has more i n common w i t h t he p h i l o s o p h i e s o f S a r t r e and Camus (both o f whom, i n c i d e n t a l l y , wrote dramas i n " t r a d i t i o n a l " forms) than w i t h many o f the e x t e r n a l a s p e c t s o f a b s u r d drama. The form o f a b s u r d drama i s v e r y i m p o r t a n t : "the d e v a l u a t i o n o r do w n r i g h t d i s s o l u -t i o n o f language, the d i s i n t e g r a t i o n o f p l o t , c h a r a c t e r , and f i n a l s o l u t i o n 16 which had been the h a l l m a r k o f drama" d i s t i n g u i s h e s a b s u r d p l a y s from o t h e r t y p e s o f drama. C e r t a i n l y Orton does n o t conform t o t h e s e e x t e r n a l s ; h i s language i s v i t a l l y i m p o r t a n t and i s honed to a sharp b r i l l i a n c e , h i s p l o t i s complex and w e l 1 - c o n s t r u c t e d , the c h a r a c t e r s a r e t r a d i t i o n a l ( i n t h e sense o f h a v i n g a c l e a r l y - d e f i n e d background, u n l i k e "absurd" c h a r a c t e r s ) , and a l l t he p l a y s have a r e c o g n i s a b l e , and i n d e e d , e s s e n t i a l , c l i m a x . The e f f e c t o f the a b s u r d i s t s , t h e r e f o r e , i s seen o n l y i n t h e i r themes; i n a s i m i l a r manner, Orton appears t o a c c e p t many o f A r t a u d ' s t h e o r i e s on the T h e a t r e o f C r u e l t y ( c o n s i d e r e d by most c r i t i c s t o be a c e n t r a l s o u r c e f o r many a b s u r d d r a m a t i s t s ) , but does n o t f o l l o w h i s i d e a s on s t a g i n g o r p r e s e n t a t i o n . The t h e a t r e w i l l never f i n d i t s e l f a g a i n . . . . e x c e p t by f u r n i s h i n g t he s p e c t a t o r w i t h the t r u t h f u l p r e c i p i t a t e o f dreams, i n which h i s t a s t e f o r c r i m e , h i s e r o t i c o b s e s s i o n s , h i s s a v a g e r y , h i s c h i m e r a s , h i s U t o p i a n sense o f l i f e and m a t t e r , even h i s c a n n i b a l i s m pour o u t on a l e v e l n o t c o u n t e r -f e i t and i l l u s o r y , but i n t e r i o r . ^ F ar from f o l l o w i n g A r t a u d ' s v i s i o n s o f a t h e a t r e o f B a l i n e s e d a n c e r s , and movement o f l i g h t and sound, Orton i n c o r p o r a t e d t h e s e t h e o r i e s i n t o 8 p l a y s t r a d i t i o n a l i n form, i n d e e d r e s e m b l i n g 18th and 19th c e n t u r y comedies o f manners i n c o n s t r u c t i o n and s t y l e . In p a r t i c u l a r h i s w i t and manner i s p o l i s h e d and s p a r k l i n g ; he mentions W i l d e , Congreve and S h e r i d a n as a u t h o r s whose s t y l e he admires, and presumably i s i n f l u e n c e d by. S i n c e Orton was q u i t e s p e c i f i c about which w r i t e r s he admired, the b e s t way to d i s c u s s the t r a d i t i o n s a f f e c t i n g h i s work i s t o examine th o s e a u t h o r s he admits t o have been an i n f l u e n c e . Among t h e s e a r e S w i f t , V o l t a i r e , Lewis C a r r o l l , S t r i n d b e r g , Ben T r a v e r s , B e c k e t t , P i n t e r and W i l d e J 9 The v e r y . v a r i e t y and range o f t h e s e a u t h o r s t e s t i f i e s t o o u r i n a b i l i t y t o c a t e g o r i s e O r t o n : the e f f e c t o f V o l t a i r e and S w i f t i s seen i n h i s v i s i o n o f mankind and h i s b i t i n g s a t i r e ; t h e i n f l u e n c e o f Lewis C a r r o l l i s echoed by the d r e a m - l i k e , a l m o s t n i g h t m a r i s h q u a l i t i e s o f some o f Orton's work, and, o f c o u r s e by the w o n d e r f u l l y n o n s e n s i c a l 20 n o n - s e q u i t u r s and o t h e r a s p e c t s o f h i s language. S t r i n d b e r g s e f f e c t on Orton's w r i t i n g i s h a r d e r to l o c a t e , p a r t i c u l a r l y s i n c e O r t o n s t r e s s e s the importance o f h i s l a t e r works l i k e The Ghost Sonata. Thus i t i s n o t the S t r i n d b e r g i a n c o n f l i c t between the sexes t h a t Orton i s i n f l u e n c e d by ( a l t h o u g h t h e r e may be v e s t i g e s o f t h i s i n The R u f f i a n on t h e S t a i r , E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e and What the B u t l e r Saw), but t h e l a t e r S t r i n d b e r g , which i s a d i r e c t s o u r c e o f the T h e a t r e o f t h e Absurd i n i t s b r i l l i a n t 21 p o r t r a y a l o f dreams and o b s e s s i o n s . M a r t i n E s s l i n ' s d e s c r i p t i o n o f S t r i n d b e r g ' s methods i n The Ghost Sonata --[He] m erely t r a n s l a t e d the p s y c h o l o g i c a l s i t u a t i o n o f the c h i e f c h a r a c t e r o f a p l a y l i k e The F a t h e r i n t o a d i r e c t image o f h i s nightmares and o b s e s s i o n s ^ — c o r r e s p o n d s d i r e c t l y to O r ton's c o n c r e t i z a t i o n o f man's p s y c h o l o g i c a l 9 s t a t e i n the f a r c e o f Loot and What the B u t l e r Saw. The d r a m a t i c v i s i o n p r e s e n t e d by t h e f r e n e t i c and f r a n t i c s c u r r y i n g o f the f a r c e e x p r e s s e s man's nigh t m a r e , h i s l o n e l i n e s s i n s o c i e t y and h i s i n a b i l i t y t o c o n t r o l any a s p e c t o f h i s l i f e o r b e h a v i o u r . Moreover, and perhaps more i m p o r t a n t l y , The Ghost Sonata i s an expose o f v i c i o u s n e s s and c o r r u p t i o n : i n the c h a r a c t e r o f Hummel, S t r i n d b e r g demonstrates the e v i l s o c i a l e f f e c t s o f man's d e s i r e f o r power; in d e e d a l l the f i g u r e s a t the g h o s t supper a r e drawn t o g e t h e r because o f t h e i r wicked and c r u e l b e h a v i o u r . The c o n n e c t i o n between t h i s image o f s o c i e t y and t h a t p r e s e n t e d i n Orton's p l a y s i s c l e a r . The i n c l u s i o n o f B e c k e t t and P i n t e r i n t h e l i s t o f i n f l u e n c e s t e s t i f i e s t o the importance o f the T h e a t r e o f t h e Absurd i n Orton's work. In a d d i t i o n , the e f f e c t o f P i n t e r can be seen d i r e c t l y i n Orton's e a r l y work. The R u f f i a n on t h e S t a i r has passages o f P i n t e r e s q u e d i a l o g u e --W i l s o n : ( s m i l i n g ) . I've come about the room. J o y c e : I'm a f r a i d t h e r e ' s been a m i s t a k e . I've n o t h i n g t o do w i t h a l l o t t i n g rooms. Make y o u r e n q u i r i e s e l s e w h e r e . W i l s o n : I'm n o t c o l o u r e d . I was brought up i n the Home C o u n t i e s . J o y c e : T h a t doesn't r i n g a b e l l w i t h me, I'm a f r a i d " -- and E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e i s v e r y r e m i n i s c e n t o f P i n t e r i n theme and tone. In both c a s e s , however, the i n f l u e n c e o f P i n t e r i s t r a n s c e n d e d , p a r t l y because Orton p e r v e r t s the t y p i c a l P i n t e r s i t u a t i o n o f an i n t r u d e r and two p e o p l e i n a room t h a t i s the b a s i s f o r t h e s e dramas, but m a i n l y because t h e s t y l e , t h e humour, and, d e s p i t e a h i n t o f P i n t e r , the language i s u n m i s t a k e a b l y o r i g i n a l . I t i s o n l y i n Orton's " r e a l i s t i c " dramas t h a t t h e e f f e c t o f P i n t e r can be seen; i n h i s l a t e r , more f a r c i c a l work t h i s i n f l u e n c e has c o m p l e t e l y d i s a p p e a r e d . 10 Orton's drama can be d i v i d e d i n t o two p e r i o d s : h i s e a r l y p l a y s (The R u f f i a n on t h e S t a i r , E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e and The Good and  F a i t h f u l S e r v a n t ) which are p r i m a r i l y comedies o f language, and h i s l a t e r , p r i m a r i l y f a r c i c a l works ( L o o t , The Erpingham Camp, F u n e r a l Games and What t h e B u t l e r Saw). I t i s , o f c o u r s e , t h i s l a t t e r group which shows the e f f e c t o f h i s a d m i r a t i o n f o r Ben T r a v e r s . Orton has done much OA to demonstrate t h a t " f a r c e i s the most s e r i o u s o f a l l a r t forms." Indeed, he has extended and d e v e l o p e d t h e b o u n d a r i e s o f f a r c e t o p r e s e n t an image o f man as a v i c t i m o f s o c i e t y . In f a r c e , p e o p l e are v i c t i m s o f t h e i r momentum. S u r v i v a l and i d e n t i t y a r e a t s t a k e . . . . The body and mind a r e p u l v e r i s e d i n t h e i r p u r s u i t o f o r d e r . Unheeding and f r a n t i c , c h a r a c t e r s rebound o f f one a n o t h e r , g r o p i n g f o r s a f e t y . 2 5 Once a g a i n , t h i s v i s i o n c o r r e s p o n d s to t h a t o f R. D. L a i n g . In h i s book The D i v i d e d S e l f , L a i n g shows how an " o n t o l o g i c a l l y i n s e c u r e " p e r s o n , a man w i t h o u t s u f f i c i e n t sense o f h i m s e l f to m i t i g a t e the d e s p a i r , t e r r o r and boredom o f e x i s t e n c e , o f t e n f e e l s he has no r e a l i d e n t i t y . The body i s f e l t more as an o b j e c t among o t h e r o b j e c t s i n t he w o r l d than as the c o r e o f the i n d i v i d u a l ' s b e i n g . L a i n g a l s o demonstrates how a person i n t h i s p o s i t i o n may f e e l " s p l i t " i n t o a body and a mind: Orton's p l a y s show the body as somehow d i s c o n n e c t e d from t h e mind; the body undergoes a p l e t h o r a o f u n d i g n i f i e d e x p e r i e n c e s through i m p u l s e , n o t through r a t i o n a l t h o u g h t . Thus f a r c e i s used to r e p r e s e n t and emphasise the s c h i z o p h r e n i c b e h a v i o u r o f man i n modern s o c i e t y . T h i s b e h a v i o u r i s a d i r e c t outgrowth o f t h e r e p r e s s i o n and v i o l e n c e f o r c e d on mankind; man f e e l s c o m p e l l e d to conform t o the "norms" o f s o c i e t y , and by so d o i n g , may t w i s t and p e r v e r t h i s c h a r a c t e r t o a s i t u a t i o n r e s e m b l i n g s c h i z o p h r e n i a . The g e n e r a l i n f l u e n c e o f Ben T r a v e r s , 11 the most p r o l i f i c and b e s t w r i t e r o f f a r c e s i n the t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y , i s e v i d e n t i n Orton's r e c o g n i t i o n o f the i n h e r e n t p o s s i b i l i t i e s o f the f a r c e form. A more s p e c i f i c i n f l u e n c e may be seen i n the a m o r a l i t y , g r e e d and c o r r u p t i o n o f many o f T r a v e r s ' c h a r a c t e r s , who seem t o p r e f i g u r e t h e s e c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s i n Orton's drama. I t i s p r o b a b l y no c o i n c i d e n c e , t h e r e f o r e , t h a t Orton's f i r s t f u l l - f l e d g e d f a r c e s h o u l d be c a l l e d L o o t , w h i l e one o f T r a v e r s ' b e s t known p l a y s (and perhaps t h e one t h a t p r e s e n t s the c l e a r e s t p i c t u r e o f t h e a m o r a l , greedy, s t a t u s - s e e k i n g s o c i e t y ) , i s e n t i t l e d P l u n d e r . The f i n a l , and c e r t a i n l y most o b v i o u s , i n f l u e n c e on Orton i s t h a t o f Oscar W i l d e . I t i s by now a c r i t i c a l commonplace t o p r a i s e Orton's b r i l l i a n t l y a c c u r a t e e a r f o r language and t o compare h i s w o n d e r f u l l y w i t t y epigrams and g l i t t e r i n g s t y l e w i t h t h a t o f W i l d e . C e r t a i n l y t h e s e p o i n t s o f comparison e x i s t : Ronald Bryden r i g h t l y dubbed Orton "the 27 O s c a r Wilde o f W e l f a r e S t a t e g e n t i l i t y , " and p o i n t e d o u t t h a t h i s drama must be c o n s i d e r e d as i f the language, r a t h e r than the p l o t were the supreme i n g r e d i e n t . T h i s l a t t e r p o i n t compares v e r y c l o s e l y to W i l d e . In a p l a y l i k e The Importance o f Be i n g E a r n e s t , t he p l o t i s a b s u r d , but the d i a l o g u e comments on l i f e . W i l d e ' s p l o t s and c h a r a c t e r s a r e comic; however as E r i c B e n t l e y a c c u r a t e l y p o i n t s o u t , h i s w i t t i c i s m s "are n o t comic but s e r i o u s r e l i e f . They a r e i n i r o n i c c o u n t e r p o i n t 28 w i t h t he a b s u r d i t i e s o f the a c t i o n . " T h i s p e r c e p t i v e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n can e q u a l l y be a p p l i e d t o Orton's methods. The s a t i r e i s n o t embedded i n t h e p l o t , but i n the language. Thus, i n L o o t , t he p l o t i s a l i g h t -h e a r t e d parody o f d e t e c t i v e f i c t i o n , but the v e r b a l w i t p r o v i d e s a d e v a s t a t i n g a t t a c k on B r i t i s h j u s t i c e . 12 Fay: You must prove me g u i l t y . T h a t i s t h e law. T r u s c o t t : You know n o t h i n g o f the law. I know n o t h i n g o f ~g the law. That makes us equal i n t h e s i g h t o f t h e law. In a d d i t i o n , B e n t l e y ' s comments about the e f f e c t o f the s a t i r e i n The Importance o f B e i n g E a r n e s t p r o v i d e an i l l u m i n a t i o n o f the r e a s o n f o r many c r i t i c s ' m i s c o n c e p t i o n s o f O r t o n . B e n t l e y m a i n t a i n s t h a t t h e p l a y i s f o r e v e r on t h e f r o n t i e r o r s a t i r e , f o r e v e r on t h e p o i n t o f b r e a k i n g i n t o b i t t e r c r i t i c i s m . I t never b r e a k s . The r i d i c u l o u s a c t i o n c o n s t a n t l y s t e p s i n t o a v o i d t h e break.30 Orton's p l a y s a r e c o n s t r u c t e d i n a s i m i l a r manner, a l t h o u g h sometimes the c r i t i c i s m does break through and d i s t u r b the b a l a n c e o f the p l a y . T h i s i s o n l y momentary however; the s t r u c t u r e o f t h e p l a y shakes, but then the l u d i c r o u s b e h a v i o u r o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s p r e v e n t s the drama from t o p p l i n g o v e r c o m p l e t e l y i n t o b i t t e r d i a t r i b e . Many c r i t i c s have d i s r e g a r d e d the s e r i o u s a s p e c t s o f both Wilde and O r t o n ; they have been m i s l e d by the w i t and f a r c e i n t o n e g l e c t i n g t h e s e r i o u s tone beneath t h e l a u g h t e r and thus m i s i n t e r p r e t i n g t h e s e a u t h o r s . A d i r e c t Wildean i n f l u e n c e can be seen t h r o u g h o u t Orton's language. Both a u t h o r s make e f f e c t i v e use o f t h e epigram as an i n s t r u m e n t o f moral anarchy. T h i s d e v i c e p r e s e n t s a c o n v e n t i o n a l image o f s o c i e t y , but i n t r o d u c e s a s l i g h t change i n the t r a d i t i o n a l wording so t h a t the moral tone i s p e r v e r t e d o r even c o m p l e t e l y r e v e r s e d . Thus W i l d e ' s epigram, 3 " L i f e ' s aim, i f i t has one, i s s i m p l y to be always l o o k i n g f o r t e m p t a t i o n s , " compares w i t h Orton's The t h e f t o f an a r t i c l e o f c l o t h i n g i s e x c u s a b l e . But p o l i c e m e n , l i k e r e d s q u i r r e l s , must be p r o t e c t e d . 3 2 In both cases t h e s t a t e m e n t appears a t f i r s t t o be r e a s o n a b l e , y e t both 13 e p i g r a m s , i n d i f f e r e n t ways, p e r v e r t the moral u n i v e r s e o f t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e p l a y s . Wilde c r e a t e s a v i s i o n o f a m o r a l i t y ; one would e x p e c t l i f e t o be a p e r p e t u a l a v o i d a n c e o f t e m p t a t i o n , r a t h e r than a c o n t i n u a l s e a r c h f o r i t . O r t o n , by r e d u c i n g the p o l i c e f o r c e t o the l e v e l o f an endangered s p e c i e s , and moreover to a s p e c i e s o f r o d e n t s , b r i l l i a n t l y d i m i n i s h e s i t s worth and even humanity. Moreover, on s e v e r a l o c c a s i o n s , O r t o n seems d e l i b e r a t e l y to invoke echoes o f W i l d e . Gwendolyn's demand f o r a p r o p o s a l i n The Importance o f B e i n g E a r n e s t --And t o s p a r e you any p o s s i b l e d i s a p p o i n t m e n t , Mr. W o r t h i n g , I t h i n k i t o n l y f a i r t o t e l l you q u i t e f r a n k l y b e f o r e h a n d t h a t I am f u l l y d e t e r m i n e d t o a c c e p t you^ -- i s d i r e c t l y echoed by Fay's r e q u e s t t o McLeavy. Go ahead. Ask me t o marry you. I've no i n t e n t i o n o f r e f u s i n g . On y o u r knees. I'm a g r e a t b e l i e v e r i n t r a d i t i o n a l " p o s i t i o n s . Orton goes beyond Wilde i n t h i s example, f o r the d o u b l e - e n t e n d r e o f " t r a d i t i o n a l p o s i t i o n s " has echoes o f Wycherley and o t h e r R e s t o r a t i o n comic d r a m a t i s t s . Orto n n o t o n l y models h i s s t y l i s t i c d e v i c e s o f language on W i l d e , but he a l s o uses W i l d e ' s work as a b a s i s f o r complete s c e n e s . The o p e n i n g i n t e r v i e w between Dr. P r e n t i c e and G e r a l d i n e i n What t h e B u t l e r Saw appears to have been d e r i v e d d i r e c t l y from Lady B r a c k n e l l ' s i n t e r r o g a t i o n o f Jack Worthing i n The Importance o f B e i n g E a r n e s t . The sexes have been r e v e r s e d i n Orton's p l a y , and o f c o u r s e t h e s i t u a t i o n has changed, but the s a l i e n t f e a t u r e s o f t h e s c e n e , i n c l u d i n g t h e q u e s t i o n s about p a r e n t s and t h e use o f n o t e - t a k i n g , a r e i d e n t i c a l i n each p l a y . One o t h e r p l a y w r i g h t who may be s a i d t o have had an i n d i r e c t e f f e c t on O r t o n i s Shaw. One o f Orton's trademarks o f language i s h i s wonder-f u l l y funny m i x t u r e o f e l e g a n c e and c o a r s e n e s s ; he a d m i t t e d t h a t he 14 found a m i x t u r e o f g e n t i l i t y and crudeness i r r e s i s t i b l y funny. T h i s comment c a l l s t o mind one o f the c l a s s i c comedy scenes i n E n g l i s h drama: the t e a - p a r t y i n Pygmalion. E l i z a ' s attempts a t the "new s m a l l - t a l k " and her woeful l a p s e s i n t o p hrases such as " I t ' s my b e l i e f t h e y done he r i n , " may w e l l have i n f l u e n c e d Orton i n some manner. Orton's use o f language i s p r o b a b l y the most i m p o r t a n t p a r t o f h i s work. He c o n c e i v e d o f words as weapons; h i s novel Head t o Toe d e s c r i b e s e x p e r i m e n t a t i o n w i t h words i n an attempt t o f i n d t h e most e f f e c t i v e and l e t h a l c o m b i n a t i o n s . H i s t e c h n i q u e i s v e r y w e l l e x p r e s s e d i n t h i s passage, p a r t i c u l a r l y h i s r e a s o n s f o r w r i t i n g p l a y s r a t h e r than n o v e l s : the e f f e c t o f t h e spoken word i s f a r g r e a t e r than t h a t o f t h e w r i t t e n p h r a s e . He t h o u g h t o f a book. But t h a t was no use . . . . To be d e s t r u c t i v e , words had t o be i r r e f u t a b l e . And then t h e book might n o t be r e a d . He was aware t h a t words and s e n t e n c e s o f t e n b u r i e d themselves i n t o r e a d e r s ' minds b e f o r e e x p l o d i n g and then went o f f h a r m l e s s l y . P r i n t was l e s s e f f e c t i v e than the spoken word becuase the b l a s t was g r e a t e r ; eyes c o u l d i g n o r e , s l i d e p a s t , dangerous verbs o r nouns. But i f you c o u l d l o c k the enemy i n t o a room somewhere and f i r e t h e s e n t e n c e ^ t them you would get a s o r t o f s e i s m i c d i s t u r b a n c e Language i s used f o r m a n i f o l d purposes i n Orton's p l a y s . H i s use o f the epigram shows t h e p e r v e r s i o n o f s o c i e t y , the l a c k o f communication among men i s demonstrated by a number o f d i s l o c a t e d exchanges i n which the r e p l y appears t o t a l l y u n r e l a t e d t o the q u e s t i o n ; t h e h y p o c r i s y and f a l s e g e n t i l i t y o f mankind i s d e l i g h t f u l l y s a t i r i s e d by h i s b r i l l i a n t e a r f o r d i a l o g u e , and the language o f modern s o c i e t y , t h e j a r g o n o f newspapers, t e l e v i s i o n and a d v e r t i s i n g i s a c c u r a t e l y and e f f e c t i v e l y r e p r o d u c e d . These and o t h e r uses o f language w i l l be d i s c u s s e d i n d e t a i l f o r each p l a y . 15 Orton's achievement can be summed up i n two main a r e a s : h i s r e j u v e n a -t i o n o f f a r c e and h i s wonderful use o f language. However, i t i s i m p o r t a n t not to f o r g e t h i s s u b j e c t m a t t e r : Orton s a t i r i s e d taboo s u b j e c t s , d e a t h , r e l i g i o n , s e x u a l i t y and t h a t acme o f s a c r e d n e s s , t he B r i t i s h p o l i c e m a n . The f a r c i c a l t r e a t m e n t o f t h e s e t o p i c s can be c a t e g o r i s e d as a new s u b d i v i s i o n o f drama: B l a c k Comedy. Orton was one o f t h e b e s t w r i t e r s o f B l a c k Comedy i n B r i t a i n i n the 1960's, and i f n o t t h e f i r s t a u t h o r to w r i t e i n t h i s v e i n , was p r o b a b l y t he p l a y w r i g h t who d i d most t o r e f i n e and d e f i n e t he ge n r e . The wide range o f i n f l u e n c e s which a r e found i n h i s work have been b r i e f l y d i s c u s s e d h e r e ; t h e c o n c l u s i o n t o t h i s t h e s i s w i l l d i s c u s s t he genre o f B l a c k Comedy and demonstrate how Orton h i m s e l f i n f l u e n c e d t he c o u r s e o f B r i t i s h drama i n t h e l a t e 1960's and e a r l y 1970's. CHAPTER II The t h r e e p l a y s d i s c u s s e d i n t h i s c h a p t e r a r e Orton's e a r l i e s t work. The b a s i s f o r t h e i r g r o u p i n g i s n o t m e r e l y c h r o n o l o g i c a l , however; i t i s a l s o s t y l i s t i c . These p l a y s can be c l a s s i f i e d as "comedies o f language," dramas which a r e b a s i c a l l y r e a l i s t i c i n tone and c o n t e n t . T h i s r e a l i s m d i s t i n g u i s h e s them from Orton's l a t e r , more f a r c i c a l , p l a y s . A l t h o u g h Orton found h i s m e t i e r as a f a r c e u r and d i d much o f h i s b e s t work i n t h a t genre, t h e s e e a r l y p l a y s s h o u l d n o t be n e g l e c t e d . They a r e i n t e r e s t i n g as f o r e r u n n e r s o f h i s l a t e r work, s i n c e we see a g r a d u a l movement towards f a r c e , an e x p e r i m e n t a t i o n w i t h a s p e c t s o f the form. Moreover, a l l t h r e e p l a y s , but E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. Sloane i n p a r t i c u l a r , a r e worth s t u d y i n g i n t h e i r own r i g h t . E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e (and t o a l e s s e r d e g r e e , The  R u f f i a n on the S t a i r and The Good and F a i t h f u l S e r v a n t ) i s a b r i l l i a n t l y w i t t y comedy o f manners; the language c a p t u r e s the e s s e n c e o f l o w e r - m i d d l e c l a s s g e n t i l i t y , y e t t h e t h r u s t o f t h e p l a y uncovers the u g l y f o r c e s o f greed and r u t h l e s s n e s s t h a t o p e r a t e beneath t h i s s u r f a c e . E n t e r t a i n i n g  Mr. Sloane shows the greed o f s o c i e t y ; the s a t i r e o f The R u f f i a n on the  S t a i r f o c u s e s on man's l o n e l i n e s s i n an i n d i f f e r e n t w o r l d , t h a t o f The  Good and F a i t h f u l S e r v a n t d e a l s w i t h a u t h o r i t y . In a l l t h r e e p l a y s (and i n d e e d , t h r o u g h o u t Orton's work), h y p o c r i s y o f e v e r y k i n d i s a t t a c k e d ; the mask o f s o c i a l c o n f o r m i t y i s r i p p e d o f f t o r e v e a l the b a s i c animal c r u e l t y , o r , a t the v e r y l e a s t , e g o t i s t i c a l i n d i f f e r e n c e , o f man. - 16 -17 The g r a d u a l movement towards f a r c e i n t h e s e dramas b e g i n s i n the f i n a l a c t o f E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e . Here the a c t i o n t e e t e r s on the b r i n k o f f a r c e as Kath's f a l s e t e e t h a r e knocked out i n her s t r u g g l e w i t h S l o a n e . Kath: My t e e t h ! (She c l a p s a hand o v e r her mouth). My t e e t h . ( S l o a n e f l i n g s her from him. She c r a w l s round the f l o o r , s e a r c h i n g ) . He's broke my t e e t h ! Where a r e t h e / P The Good and F a i t h f u l S e r v a n t d e v e l o p s t h i s movement by d w e l l i n g on Buchanan's need f o r f a l s e l i m b s . Orton wrote f a r c e s because he f o u n d i n the genre a means o f v i s u a l 1 y c r e a t i n g t h e image o f anarchy t h a t h i s language p o r t r a y e d so w e l l . Thus, Buchanan's a r t i f i c i a l attachments a c t as a v i s u a l m a n i f e s t a -t i o n o f h i s g r a d u a l decay and imminent c o l l a p s e . Orton foreshadows Loot i n h i s r e d u c t i o n o f man t o a s e r i e s o f a p p l i a n c e s . E d i t h : Your arms! Where has the e x t r a one come from? Buchanan: I t ' s f a l s e . E d i t h : Thank God f o r t h a t . I l i k e t o know where I s t a n d i n r e l a t i o n to the number o f limbs a man has.2 The R u f f i a n on t h e S t a i r , a l t h o u g h o r i g i n a l l y w r i t t e n b e f o r e t h e o t h e r two p l a y s , was r e v i s e d l a t e r , and so p r e s e n t s even more f a r c i c a l i n g r e d i e n t s , f o r example J o y c e ' s r e a c t i o n t o W i l s o n ' s d e a t h . W i l s o n : . . . . coughs, b l o o d s p u r t s from h i s mouth . . . . Am I d y i n g ? I t h i n k . . . Oh . . . He f a l I s f o r w a r d . S i 1ence. J o y c e : He's f a i n t e d , (p. 42) A l t h o u g h the g r a d u a l growth o f f a r c e i s i n t e r e s t i n g , t h e s e p l a y s a r e most i m p o r t a n t f o r t h e i r use o f language. Once a g a i n , E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. Sloane i s o u t s t a n d i n g . In t h i s p l a y Orton c e r t a i n l y d e s e r v e s h i s s o u b r i q u e t o f "the Oscar Wilde o f W e l f a r e S t a t e g e n t i l i t y " ; t he p l a y g l i t t e r s w i t h p o e t i c , y e t l u d i c r o u s language. Phrases l i k e "The a i r around Twickenham was l i k e wine," show the r i d i c u l o u s e l e v a t i o n o f man's 18 p r e t e n s i o n s . Orton b r i l l i a n t l y c a p t u r e s the nuances o f t h i s shabby g e n t i l i t y ; h i s c h a r a c t e r s r e v e a l t h e i r d a r k e s t s e c r e t s through e u p h e m i s t i c p h r a s e s , thus t h e humour e x i s t s i n the d i s c r e p a n c y between r e a l i t y and t h e i r s e l f -c o n c e i v e d images o f p r o p r i e t y . In a d d i t i o n , o f c o u r s e , a l l O r t o n ' s dramas demonstrate the d i s l o c a t i o n between word and a c t i o n ; t h e deeds o f h i s c h a r a c t e r s show t h e i r t r u e n a t u r e , but they p e r s i s t i n m a i n t a i n i n g an appearance o f e l e g a n c e and m o r a l i t y . D e s p i t e a c e r t a i n s i m i l a r i t y o f s u b j e c t m a t t e r and t r e a t m e n t , i t i s a m i s t a k e to d i s c u s s t h e s e p l a y s g e n e r a l l y . Orton's w i t , use o f language, and s p e c i f i c o b j e c t s o f s a t i r i c a t t a c k can b e s t be examined by an i n d i v i d u a l a n a l y s i s o f each p l a y . The R u f f i a n on the S t a i r was the f i r s t p l a y O r t o n wrote on h i s r e l e a s e from p r i s o n , and was, i n f a c t , h i s f i r s t work t o be a c c e p t e d f o r p u b l i c performance (as a r a d i o p l a y on t h e BBC), a l t h o u g h i t was n o t b r o a d c a s t u n t i l August 1964, a few months a f t e r the s u c c e s s o f E n t e r t a i n i n g  Mr. S l o a n e . The p l a y was performed a g a i n , i n a s u b s t a n t i a l l y r e v i s e d v e r s i o n , as h a l f o f a d o u b l e - b i l l e n t i t l e d Crimes o f P a s s i o n a t the Royal C o u r t T h e a t r e i n June 1967. In t h i s d i s c u s s i o n the t e x t under c o n s i d e r a -t i o n i s t h a t o f t h e s t a g e p l a y , which, i t i s g e n e r a l l y a g r e e d , r e p r e s e n t s a s i g n i f i c a n t improvement o v e r the r a d i o v e r s i o n . Many c r i t i c s have noted the p l a y ' s i n d e b t e d n e s s to P i n t e r . While t h i s i n f l u e n c e i s r e t a i n e d even i n the r e v i s e d v e r s i o n , t h e o r i g i n a l was n o t o n l y P i n t e r e s q u e i n i d e a and s i t u a t i o n , but a l s o i n d i a l o g u e . W i l s o n : I've come about the room. J o y c e : What room? W i l s o n : D i d n ' t you a d v e r t i s e ? In the shop down the road? J o y c e : Who s e n t you? 19 W i l s o n : I saw the c a r d i n t h e window. J o y c e : You must have made a m i s t a k e . W i l s o n : D i d n ' t you a d v e r t i s e ? I've got the wrong a d d r e s s ? J o y c e : We've no room.3 , The o v e r t o n e s o f menace and i n t r u s i o n i n t h i s passage a r e , o f c o u r s e , d e r i v e d from P i n t e r , and the whole i n t e r c h a n g e i s v e r y r e m i n i s c e n t o f h i s p l a y , The Room. Mr. Sands: W e l l , we'd b e t t e r t r y to g e t h o l d o f t h i s l a n d l o r d i f he's about. Rose: You won't f i n d any rooms v a c a n t i n t h i s house. Mr. Sands: Why not? Rose: Mr. Kidd t o l d me. He t o l d me. Mr. Sands: Mr. Kidd? Rose: He t o l d me he was f u l l up.4 The p l o t s o f t h e s e two p l a y s seem, a t f i r s t , r e m a r k a b l y s i m i l a r ; however Orton's p l a y d e v e l o p s i n a v e r y d i f f e r e n t manner. In The Room cause and e f f e c t a r e n o t c l e a r l y d i s t i n g u i s h e d ; moreover we a r e never r e a l l y c e r t a i n as t o the r e l a t i o n s h i p between Rose ( o r S a l ? ) and R i l e y , nor o f the s i g n i f i c a n c e o f Mr. and Mrs. Sands. The R u f f i a n onv'the S t a i r , on the o t h e r hand, has a h i g h l y d e v e l o p e d and c l e a r l y o r g a n i s e d p l o t : W i l s o n ' s s e a r c h f o r a room i s seen t o be p a r t o f a complex revenge p l a n . N e v e r t h e l e s s , and d e s p i t e Orton's r e v i s i o n s to the t e x t , t he p l a y , on a f i r s t r e a d i n g a t l e a s t , appears " d e r i v a t i v e o f P i n t e r as a whole. A deeper a n a l y s i s o f The R u f f i a n on the S t a i r demonstrates Orton's o r i g i n a l i t y . C h r i s t i a n W. Thomsen p o i n t s o u t t h a t Orton does n o t i m i t a t e P i n t e r b l i n d l y , but i n v e r t s P i n t e r ' s d r a m a t i c t e n s i o n . T h i s r e s u l t s i n a r e v e r s a l o f the t y p i c a l P i n t e r s i t u a t i o n : the i n t r u d e r becomes t h e v i c t i m . Es i s t w i e d e r h o l t bemerkt worden, dass d i e be i d e n Anfangsdramen Ortons noch d e u t l i c h e P i n t e r - E i n f l u s s e z e i g t e n , d i e S t i l -p r i n z i p i e n von dessen "comedy o f menace" nachahmten. Es i s t dabei j e d o c h ubersehen worden, dass s i c h sowohl i n " R u f f i a n on the S t a i r " wie i n " E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e " schon e i n e 20 s u b t i l e Umkehrung d e r P i n t e r s c h e n U r s i t u a t i o n des E i n d r i n g e n s d u n k l e r , drohender m y s t i f i z i e r t e r Macht i n einem bewohnten Raum v o l l z i e g t . 6 T h i s p o i n t i s o n l y p a r t i a l l y c o r r e c t s i n c e we cannot c l a s s i f y W i l s o n and S l o a n e t o g e t h e r . Sloane i s t r u l y the i n t r u d e r who becomes t h e v i c t i m ; W i l s o n ' s b e h a v i o u r , however, i s analogous t o J e r r y ' s i n A l b e e ' s The Zoo S t o r y , 7 s i n c e he, the i n t e n d e d v i c t i m , i s i n c o n t r o l o f t h e s i t u a t i o n . L i k e J e r r y , W i l s o n e x e r t s h i s w i l l and c u n n i n g on h i s k i l l e r , who m e r e l y a c t s o u t h i s s u i c i d a l t e n d e n c i e s . John Lahr t a k e s t h i s a n a l y s i s one s t e p f u r t h e r . He m a i n t a i n s t h a t Orton i s a t t a c k i n g "the m e l o d r a m a t i c c o n v e n t i o n s o f modern ' s e r i o u s t h e a t e r ' (and t h e i r i m p l i c a t i o n s ) . " ^ T h i s comment i s i l l u m i n a t e d by John R u s s e l l T a y l o r who s t a t e s t h a t Orton's i n t r i c a t e p l o t s " c r e a t e a 9 c r i t i c a l d i s t a n c e between p l a y and s p e c t a t o r . " Orton uses h i s p l o t s as a d e l i b e r a t e mechanism t o d i s t a n c e the a u d i e n c e and t o e n a b l e them to view h i s t r e a t m e n t o f s o c i e t y as o b j e c t i v e l y as p o s s i b l e . In t h i s sense he does a t t a c k modern t h e a t r i c a l c o n v e n t i o n s , not o v e r t l y , as Mr. Lahr seems t o s u g g e s t , but by t h a t most i n s i d i o u s and d e v a s t a t i n g o f a l l methods -- parody. The R u f f i a n on the S t a i r p a r o d i e s the "comedy o f menace" by r e d u c i n g the t h r e a t s and f e a r s i n h e r e n t i n t h i s genre t o a b s u r d i t y . We need o n l y r e a d t h e f i n a l l i n e s o f the p l a y t o r e a l i s e t h i s f a r c i c a l t r e a t m e n t . Joyce c o m p l e t e l y i g n o r e s t h e dead W i l s o n , whose s h e e t - c o v e r e d c o r p s e dominates the s t a g e , and bemoans t h e a c c i d e n t a l death o f her g o l d f i s h . J o y c e : They're dead. Poor t h i n g s . And I r e a r e d them so c a r e f u l l y . And w h i l e a l l t h i s was g o i n g on t h e y d i e d . Mike: S i t down. I ' l l f e t c h the p o l i c e . T h i s has been a crime o f p a s s i o n . T h e y ' l l u n d e r s t a n d . They have wives and g o l d f i s h o f t h e i r own. (p. 43) 21 I t s h o u l d be noted t h a t t h i s l i g h t - h e a r t e d t r e a t m e n t emphasises one o f t h e themes o f the p l a y : s o c i e t y ' s d i s r e g a r d f o r i n d i v i d u a l s (which l e a d s to t h e n e g a t i o n o f t h e importance o f human l i f e ) . In Orton's view, s o c i e t y i s more concerned w i t h i n a n i m a t e t r i v i a such as g o l d f i s h , o r w i t h s u p e r f i c i a l pomp and c i r c u m s t a n c e , as e x e m p l i f i e d by t h e B r i t i s h L e g i o n , than w i t h human b e i n g s . The Royal F a m i l y were ou t i n f u l l f o r c e . Furs and g a r t e r s f l y i n g . My o l d man was i n i t . He c o u l d n ' t come t o the f u n e r a l because he was on the B r i t i s h L e g i o n f l o a t . He r e p r e s e n t e d something . . . He thought more o f t a r t i n g h i m s e l f up than b u r y i n g h i s son. (p. 40) The R u f f i a n on the S t a i r p r e s e n t s Orton's most v i c i o u s view o f s o c i e t y . S i n c e the p l a y was w r i t t e n o n l y a few months a f t e r h i s r e l e a s e from p r i s o n , we can i d e n t i f y t h e reason f o r much o f h i s b i t t e r n e s s . Orton has spoken o f how imprisonment c r y s t a l l i s e d h i s a t t i t u d e s towards the r o t t e n a s p e c t s o f s o c i e t y : ^ i n h i s l a t e r p l a y s t h i s v i c i o u s v i s i o n i s c o v e r e d by a zany humour; here much o f t h e s o c i a l comment i s l e f t b a r e . Thus, a l t h o u g h the p l a y may parody v a r i o u s t h e a t r i c a l s t y l e s , t h e c o n t e n t o f the p l a y i s a s e r i o u s a t t a c k . The most r e v e a l i n g comments a b o u t t h i s s o c i e t y s u r r o u n d the c h a r a c t e r o f J o y c e . Her i s o l a t i o n and complete l o n e l i n e s s , her l a c k o f any s o l a c e from f r i e n d s h i p and r e l i g i o n , and above a l l , her t o t a l h o r r o r , are e x c e p t i o n a l l y s t r o n g images f o r man's u n s t a b l e p o s i t i o n i n t h e w o r l d . I c a n ' t be as a l o n e as a l l t h a t . Nobody ought t o be. I t ' s h e a r t b r e a k i n g , (p. 21) O r t o n demonstrates t h e l a c k o f human c o n t a c t w i t h d e v a s t a t i n g c l a r i t y . J o y c e i s i m p r i s o n e d i n her room, o n l y v i s i t e d by r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s o f b u r e a u c r a c y : t h e N a t i o n a l A s s i s t a n c e , the i n s u r a n c e man, and o f c o u r s e , t h a t u b i q u i t o u s c o n s o l e r o f l o n e l y women, the milkman. The e x - p r o s t i t u t e 22 i s l o n e l y and u n c a r e d - f o r , more unhappy i n her c o n v e r s i o n t o s o - c a l l e d r e s p e c t a b i l i t y than she was p r e v i o u s l y . Mike: Where d i d you go? J o y c e : Into Woolworths. Mike: What f o r ? J o y c e : The p e o p l e . The l i g h t s . The crowds, (p. 24) T h i s exchange e p i t o m i s e s t h e l o n e l i n e s s o f an i n d i v i d u a l i n s o c i e t y . The theme o f i s o l a t i o n i s not common i n Orton's p l a y s ; i n f a c t h i s o n l y o t h e r t r e a t m e n t o f i t i s i n The Good and F a i t h f u l S e r v a n t . However, the theme o f h y p o c r i s y i s one seen t h r o u g h o u t the Orton canon, and i s i n t r o d u c e d here w i t h g r e a t v i r u l e n c e . J o y c e , an e x - p r o s t i t u t e , i s r i d i c u l o u s -l y c o n c e r n e d w i t h the p r o p r i e t y o f o t h e r p e o p l e ' s language. W i l s o n : I never t r i e d t o i n t e r f e r e w i t h y o u , d i d I? J o y c e : Stop u s i n g t h a t k i n d o f t a l k . (p. 28) The l u d i c r o u s n e s s o f J o y c e ' s g e n t i l i t y foreshadows the b r i l l i a n t use o f euphemism i n E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e , where i t blossoms i n t o Kath's w o n d e r f u l l y g e n t e e l l a s c i v i o u s n e s s . A n o t h e r a s p e c t o f h y p o c r i s y i n t r o d u c e s a f u r t h e r , o f t e n - r e p e a t e d theme: Orton's a t t a c k on r e l i g i o n . Here, as i n h i s l a t e r work, i t i s n o t r e l i g i o n per se t h a t i s lampooned, but the h y p o c r i t i c a l use o f r e l i g i o n as a s h i e l d o r r e f u g e f o r n e f a r i o u s a c t i v i t i e s . Mike, l i k e Fay i n L o o t , p r o f e s s e s t o be a devout C a t h o l i c , but i s i n f a c t a p r o f e s s i o n a l murderer. Orton uses t h i s e x a g g e r a t e d example t o show h i s d i s l i k e o f t h o s e p e o p l e who a r e o n l y c o n c e r n e d w i t h the e x t e r n a l s o f r e l i g i o n and a r e c o m p l e t e l y unaware o f the t r u e meaning o f C h r i s t i a n i t y . Mike: What's y o u r p r o f e s s i o n ? W i l s o n : I'm a Gents H a i r d r e s s e r . Mike: You wouldn't have t o be d a b b l i n g w i t h b i r t h - c o n t r o l d e v i c e s ? T h a t ' s no way f o r a C a t h o l i c t o c a r r y on. (p. 29) 23 Of c o u r s e , Mike does not c o n s i d e r t h a t murdering a t l e a s t f i v e p e o p l e i n l e s s than two y e a r s i s no way f o r a C a t h o l i c t o behave. H i s c r e e d i s t h a t appearances a r e e v e r y t h i n g . H i s c o n c e r n w i t h how t h i n g s l o o k i s so extreme t h a t he i s u n w i l l i n g f o r Joyce t o l i e about W i l s o n ' s death s i n c e i t might l e a d to a d v e r s e p u b l i c i t y . J o y c e : . . . I ' l l t e l l them I was a s s a u l t e d . Mike: ( h o r r i f i e d ) . I t ' l l be i n the p a p e r s , (p. 43) His p h o bia w i t h e x t e r n a l s t a k e s precedence o v e r e v e r y t h i n g , even s a v i n g h i s own l i f e . F o r t h i s r e a s o n , C a t h o l i c i s m i s t h e f o c a l p o i n t f o r O r t o n ' s a t t a c k s on r e l i g i o n , s i n c e C a t h o l i c i s m , more than most o t h e r Western r e l i g i o n s , demands adherence t o e x t e r n a l s . The image o f s o c i e t y as a h y p o c r i t i c a l , u n c a r i n g s t e r i l e w a s t e l a n d i s r e i n f o r c e d by t h e s e l f i s h n e s s o f the c h a r a c t e r s . We have seen Mike's c o n c e r n w i t h e x t e r n a l s ; Orton i s a n x i o u s t o p r e s e n t t h i s r e g a r d f o r appear ances a s , i f not a n e u r o s i s , then a compulsion on Mike's p a r t . Our f i r s t s i g h t o f him i s a t h i s t o i l e t t e ; we r e p e a t e d l y see him b r u s h i n g h i s c l o t h e s , combing h i s h a i r , o r t e n d i n g t o a f l o w e r f o r h i s b u t t o n h o l e . Mike's s e l f i s h n e s s and v a n i t y a r e such t h a t he i s more co n c e r n e d w i t h h i s appearance than w i t h h e l p i n g J o y c e cope w i t h W i l s o n . J o y c e : S t a y where you a r e ! Stay here! She attempts t o grab h i s arm. He t r i e s t o shake  her o f f . She hangs on. He shrugs her away, v i o l e n t l y . She comes back. They s t r u g g l e . Mike goes t o the  m i r r o r and runs a comb thro u g h h i s h a i r , ( p . 26) The c o m b i n a t i o n o f s e l f i s h n e s s and v a n i t y l e a d s t o Mike's p r e v a i l i n g emoti j e a l o u s y . H i s comment I'd k i l l any man who messed w i t h you. Oh y e s , I'd murder him (p. 14) i s an outgrowth o f h i s s e l f i s h n e s s , r a t h e r than h i s a f f e c t i o n f o r J o y c e . 24 On t h e o t h e r hand, Joyce does p o s s e s s more humane f e e l i n g s . She e x p r e s s e s a genuine c a r e and c o n c e r n f o r W i l s o n , You poor boy. Oh you poor boy. She k i s s e s h i s cheek t e n d e r l y (p. 42) and her h e a r t b r e a k f o r the g o l d f i s h i s c l e a r l y an o u t b u r s t o f r e a l a f f e c t i o n . However, t h i s l o v e f o r the g o l d f i s h i s e s s e n t i a l l y a n e g a t i o n o f l o v e f o r humanity. She i s more t r o u b l e d by the s h a t t e r e d g o l d f i s h bowl than by W i l s o n ' s d e a t h ; not o n l y i s she unaware a t f i r s t t h a t he has d i e d , once she r e a l i s e s t h e f a c t , she shows l i t t l e c o n c e r n f o r h i s c o r p s e . Mike: B r i n g a s h e e t . Cover h i s body. J o y c e : I've a b i t o f s a c k i n g somewhere, (p. 42) W i l s o n , however, i s a v e r y d i f f e r e n t c h a r a c t e r . H i s g r i e f a t h i s b r o t h e r ' s death and h i s r e j e c t i o n o f the c a l l o u s and i n d i f f e r e n t s o c i e t y i s u ndoubtedly g e n u i n e , and i s i n d e e d the m o t i v a t i n g f o r c e f o r h i s own d e a t h . He can be seen as a type o f norm o r s t a n d a r d , a measure o f goodness and p u r i t y , by which we can more a c c u r a t e l y gauge t h e p e r v e r s i o n s and c a l c u l a t e d c o l d n e s s o f t h e r e s t o f t h e w o r l d . I f he i s i n t e r p r e t e d i n t h i s way, the f o r c e o f Orton's a t t a c k on s o c i e t y i s somewhat d i l u t e d , y e t W i l s o n ' s a n g u i s h e d c o n c e r n , h i s v o c i f e r o u s c o m p l a i n t s about t h e b e h a v i o u r o f h i s f a t h e r and h i s b r o t h e r ' s f i a n c e e r e i n f o r c e t h e b l e a k v i s i o n o f the p l a y . My b r o t h e r ' s fiance'e resembled you i n many ways. F i c k l e i n her emotions. She was t r y i n g on her wedding-gown when we got news o f Frank's d e a t h . Now she's had i t dyed i c e - b l u e and wears i t t o d i n n e r dances, (p. 40) I t has been noted t h a t Orton's use o f comedy emphasises h i s b r u t a l view o f s o c i e t y , s i n c e i t encourages a detachment on t h e p a r t o f the a u d i e n c e . The i n i t i a l r e a c t i o n i s l a u g h t e r ; the r e a l i s a t i o n f o l l o w s w i t h a g r e a t e r impact. In The R u f f i a n on the S t a i r , O r t on's comic method i s 25 e x t r a o r d i n a r y ; he attempts t o b a l a n c e f a r c e and r e a l i s m . John R u s s e l l T a y l o r a p t l y views t h e " c u r i o u s m i x t u r e " o f elements i n t h i s p l a y as "an i n t r i c a t e 'revenger's t r a g e d y ' compressed i n t o one a c t and p l a y e d as f a r c e . T h e f a r c i c a l a s p e c t s o f the p l a y a r e m a n i f o l d , and c o n s i s t t o a l a r g e e x t e n t o f mocking e s t a b l i s h e d d r a m a t i s t s and d r a m a t i c t r a d i t i o n s . Among t h o s e p a r o d i e d a r e , as we have seen, P i n t e r , n o t o n l y i n t h e o v e r a l l c o n c e p t i o n o f the p l a y , but a l s o i n t h e d i a l o g u e . J o y c e : I've had a busy day. Mike: A r e you t i r e d ? J o y c e : A b i t . Mike: Have a busy day, d i d you? J o y c e : ( s h a r p l y ) . Yes. Why don't you l i s t e n ? ( p. 19) A d i s t i n c t i o n must be made between t h i s and t h e d i a l o g u e p r e v i o u s l y quoted from t he o r i g i n a l r a d i o p l a y . T h i s passage a l s o shows the l a c k o f communica-t i o n , t h e sense o f each c h a r a c t e r ' s b e i n g i n h i s own p r i v a t e w o r l d , but the parody i s e v i d e n t i n J o y c e ' s q u e s t i o n which d e l i b e r a t e l y s h a t t e r s t h e mood, and thus t he P i n t e r e s q u e i l l u s i o n . The a b s u r d , and i n p a r t i c u l a r Ionesco's The B a l d Prima Donna, i s echoed i n a l u d i c r o u s v e r s i o n o f the mutual a c q u a i n t a n c e s ' "do you know" game. Mike: I once knew a l a d from S l i g o . Name o f Murphy. I wonder i f maybe y o u r Ma would've come a c r o s s him? W i l s o n : I ' l l make e n q u i r i e s . Mike: I'd be o b l i g e d i f you would. He had dark c u r l y h a i r and t a l k e d w i t h a pronounced brogue. Not an easy man to miss i n a crowd, (p. 28) In a d d i t i o n , C h r i s t i a n W. Thomsen sees a parody o f O t h e l l o ^ - j n t h e s i t u a t i o n between Mike and J o y c e , w i t h W i l s o n as Iago, d r o p p i n g poisonous a l l u s i o n s i n t o Mike's e a r . I might d e c i d e t o put Maddy i n t h e pudding c l u b . J u s t t o show my contempt f o r y o u r way o f l i f e . I n e v e r t a k e p r e c a u t i o n s . We're s k i n t o s k i n . Nature's method, (p. 36) T h i s i s an i n t e r e s t i n g comparison. C e r t a i n l y , Mike's monologue bemoaning 26 J o y c e ' s i n f i d e l i t y i s somewhat more i n t e r e s t i n g i f viewed i n t h i s l i g h t ; o t h e r w i s e we a r e i n c l i n e d to agree w i t h M a r t i n E s s l i n t h a t t h e monologue i s a l e f t o v e r from the o r i g i n a l r a d i o p l a y , a medium i n which monologues ar e n a t u r a l , "but appear as odd throwbacks i n t o V i c t o r i a n melodrama a s i d e s on the s t a g e . " However, Mr. Thomsen p r o v i d e s a much more i n t e r e s t -i n g and i m p o r t a n t p a r a l l e l when he l i k e n s W i l s o n ' s death t o t h a t o f J e r r y i n A l b e e ' s Zoo S t o r y . [ W i l s o n ] der s i c h a h n l i c h wie J e r r y i n A l b e e s "Zoo S t o r y " d i e s e n Tod auch noch gewunscht h a t , aber n i c h t , um a u f s o l c h e Weise e i n e q u a s i - m y s t i s c h e Kommunikation zwischen O p f e r und Morder zu e r r e i c h e n , sondern um s i c h f u r den Mord am s e i n e r Bruder zu r a c h e n J ^ Mr. Thomsen p o i n t s o u t the d i f f e r e n c e s i n t h e i r d e a t h s ; a l t h o u g h both have a d e a t h - w i s h , J e r r y ' s motive f o r death i s o s t e n s i b l y t o communicate w i t h P e t e r , w h i l e W i l s o n ' s i s o n l y t o avenge h i s b r o t h e r . Once a g a i n an element o f parody can be seen. J e r r y a c h i e v e s a type o f m y s t i c a l a t t a i n m e n t , a r e l e a s e which t r a n s c e n d s h i s s o r d i d d e a t h ; W i l s o n ' s death i s not o n l y s o r d i d , but i s a l s o debunked. There i s no sense o f m y s t e r y , j u s t a wry, a l m o s t r e s e n t f u l comment. He took i t s e r i o u s . How charming . . . . He's a b i t o f a n u t t e r i f you ask me. (p. 42) Thus the death w i s h , which i n Zoo S t o r y has o v e r t o n e s o f h e r o i s m , i s reduced to t h e l e v e l o f a s i l l y game. The h e a r t i s s i t u a t e d . . . (He p o i n t s ) . . . j u s t below t h i s badge on my p u l l o v e r . Don't m i s s , w i l l you? I don't want to be i n j u r e d . I want t o be dead. (p. 36) Beneath t h e f a r c i c a l element l i e s t he t r u t h . W i l s o n r e a l l y does want t o d i e , n o t o n l y t o avenge h i s b r o t h e r ' s death and thus b r i n g Mike to j u s t i c e , but because he cannot c o n c e i v e o f l i f e w i t h o u t h i s b r o t h e r . Here we have Orton's most s e r i o u s a c c o u n t o f h o m o s e x u a l i t y : an e x p l i c i t 27 a c c o u n t o f how p a i n f u l i t i s t o l i v e w i t h o u t one's b e l o v e d . I t i s i n t e r e s t -i n g t o note t h a t t h i s i s the most t o u c h i n g p o r t r a i t o f a f f e c t i o n i n Orton's p l a y s . As h i s c a r e e r p r o g r e s s e d , he d i d not ceas e w r i t i n g about homo-se x u a l c o u p l e s , but had an i n c r e a s i n g tendency to view sex o f any k i n d as a commercial e n t e r p r i s e . The R u f f i a n on the S t a i r i s a l l t he more remarkable s i n c e i t p r e s e n t s an o b v i o u s l y t r u t h f u l p i c t u r e o f d e v o t i o n --I'm g o i n g round t h e t w i s t w i t h h e a r t b r e a k . . . I don't want t o l i v e , see (p. 32) -- under f a r c i c a l e x t e r n a l s : t he parody o f the comedy o f menace and Orton's b r i l l i a n t use o f language. We had s e p a r a t e beds -- he was a s t i c k l e r f o r c o n v e n t i o n , but t h a t ' s as f a r as i t went. We spe n t e v e r y n i g h t i n each o t h e r ' s company. I t was t h e reason we never got any work done. (pp. 31-2) The f i r s t s e n t e n c e r e i n f o r c e s Orton's view o f man's o b s e s s i o n w i t h appear-a n c e s , and the e u p h e m i s t i c p o l i t e n e s s o f t h i s and a l l W i l s o n ' s speeches We were bosom f r i e n d s . I've never t o l d anyone t h a t b e f o r e . I hope I haven't shocked you (p. 31) adds t o the humour o f t h e p l a y . The second s e n t e n c e i s s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d , but t h e t h i r d i s a m a s t e r p i e c e . Orton d e l i b e r a t e l y r e d u c e s t h e l e v e l o f t h i s l o v e from something s p i r i t u a l and f i n e to s o r d i d r e a l i t y . Thus the i d e a o f l o y a l t y and f i d e l i t y i s d e s t r o y e d , o r a t l e a s t , d i m i n i s h e d i n a few words. I t w i l l be noted t h a t t h i s t r e a t m e n t o f W i l s o n demonstrates a b a s i c a m b i g u i t y o f t h e p l a y . Orton does n o t appear to c o n c e i v e o f him as a h e r o , s i n c e t he manner o f h i s d e a t h , t he whole c o n c e p t o f h i s revenge, and even h i s l o v e f o r h i s b r o t h e r i s t r e a t e d w i t h an element o f f a r c e . N e v e r t h e l e s s h i s ob v i o u s g r i e f and h i s powerful a t t a c k on s o c i e t y w i l l n ot a l l o w us t o a c c e p t him as a f o o l , a somewhat o v e r - e x c i t e d impetuous 28 y o u n g s t e r who does n o t r e a l i s e what he i s d o i n g . Thus the f o c u s o f the p l a y i s somewhat c o n f u s e d ; the u n c e r t a i n t y and v a r i e t y o f tone adds t o t h i s problem. J o y c e ' s euphemisms, as an a s p e c t o f her h y p o c r i s y , have been mentioned, as have W i l s o n ' s w o n d e r f u l l y p o l i t e comments about s e x u a l i t y . Orton does not use h i s b r i l l i a n t f l a i r f o r language o n l y t o a t t a c k h y p o c r i s y , however; here, as i n E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e , we see a s a t i r e on the media. Mike t a l k s i n the s t e r e o t y p e d cliChe's o f a d v e r t i s i n g ; he sounds as i f he i s promoting a new s u p e r - m a s c u l i n e a f t e r - s h a v e . I'm a p o w e r f u l l y a t t r a c t i v e f i g u r e . I can s t i l l cause a f l u t t e r i n f e m i n i n e h e a r t s , (p. 1.4) The most remarkable a s p e c t o f the language i n The R u f f i a n on t h e S t a i r i s i t s v a r i e t y . In a few l i n e s Orton ranges from the a b i l i t y t o c r e a t e a r e a l f e e l i n g o f menace and f e a r — Mike: Did he t r y t o get i n the room? J o y c e : No. Mike: C o u l d he have got i n i f he'd wanted? J o y c e : (pause) Yes (p. 25) "m t o complete a b s u r d i t y . J o y c e : He'd've k i l l e d me. Mike: How do you know t h a t ? You've no e v i d e n c e t o s u p p o r t y o u r t h e o r y . J o y c e : But . . . (wide-eyed) . . . I'd be dead i f I'd g o t e v i d e n c e . Mike: I'd p r o s e c u t e him on y o u r b e h a l f , J o y c i e . (p. 25) A n o t h e r unique f e a t u r e o f the language i n t h i s p l a y i s t h e use o f I r i s h speech rhythms. Orton's e a r f o r d i a l o g u e i s f a u l t l e s s ; here he a c c u r a t e l y p a r o d i e s t h e l y r i c i s m o f the I r i s h . I was born i n t h e shadow o f the h i l l s o f Donegal. We had a p e a t farm. I t was the a f t e r m a t h o f t h e t r o u b l e s drove us away. (p. 27) 29 The I r i s h a r e o b v i o u s l y a s o u r c e o f amusement t o O r t o n , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t h e i r a t t i t u d e to r e l i g i o n . W i l s o n : I'd be proud t o hear t he L a t e r a n r i n g w i t h t h e f u l l -t h r o a t e d blasphemies o f our n a t i v e l a n d . Mike: What a r e you t h i n k i n g o f ? The V i c a r o f C h r i s t d o e s n ' t blaspheme. W i l s o n : He would i f he were I r i s h and drank Guinness, (p. 29) Wi l s o n ' s f i r s t comment i s Wildean i n c o n s t r u c t i o n . L i k e W i l d e , O r t o n take s a common tho u g h t o r comment, and makes a s l i g h t change t o i t which r e v e r s e s t he moral tone and impor t . W i l d e ' s statement about t he House o f Commons, f o r example, R e a l l y , now t h a t t he House o f Commons i s t r y i n g t o become u s e f u l , i t does a g r e a t d e a l o f harm 15 i n which "harm" i s s u b s t i t u t e d f o r "good," i s o b v i o u s l y a model which Orto n i m i t a t e s h ere. The o v e r a l l r e s u l t o f The R u f f i a n on the S t a i r i s somewhat messy. The tone i s u n c e r t a i n : i t see-saws between o v e r w h e l m i n g l y b i t t e r s o c i a l comment and l i g h t - h e a r t e d parody o f t h e a t r i c a l c o n v e n t i o n s . Moreover, the c e n t r e o f the p l a y , W i l s o n ' s revenge p l o t , i s a m b i v a l e n t l y p r e s e n t e d ; Orton appears unsure as t o t h e e f f e c t he wishes t o c r e a t e . N e v e r t h e l e s s , t h i s i s a remarkable f i r s t p l a y , and v e r y i n t e r e s t i n g t o rea d i n the l i g h t o f Orton's l a t e r work, s i n c e i t i s f a s c i n a t i n g t o see t h e o r i g i n s and development o f h i s themes. I t i s a l s o noteworthy as a m a s t e r p i e c e o f l i t e r a r y parody, an amazing, and amusing, m i x t u r e o f s t y l e s and forms. Most i m p o r t a n t l y , t h i s work demonstrates Orton's f e l i c i t y w i t h language, an element which i l l u m i n a t e s and t r a n s c e n d s a l l o t h e r a s p e c t s o f the p l a y . 30 E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e , Joe Orton's f i r s t f u l l - l e n g t h p l a y and f i r s t p l a y t o be p u b l i c l y performed, has n o t been g i v e n enough c o n s i d e r a -t i o n by c r i t i c s . A l t h o u g h S i r Terence R a t t i g a n was w i d e l y quoted as s a y i n g i t was the b e s t f i r s t p l a y he'd seen f o r t w e n t y - f i v e y e a r s , and i n d e e d E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e won the London C r i t i c s V a r i e t y Award f o r t h e b e s t p l a y o f 1964, many c r i t i c s , w h i l e a d m i r i n g O r ton's a b i l i t i e s , c o n s i d e r e d t h i s p l a y m erely a commercial s u c c e s s . John R u s s e l l T a y l o r ' s i n t r o d u c t i o n to an e d i t i o n o f E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e e x c e l s i n t h i s t y p e o f p a t r o n i s i n g d e n i g r a t i o n . The New Drama has done i t s work w e l l i n c o n d i t i o n i n g a u d i e n c e s so t h a t i f they a r e n o t q u i t e ready to a c c e p t , s a y , Arden o r L i v i n g s s t r a i g h t , they a r e a t l e a s t p r e p a r e d f o r a good commercial s u b s t i t u t e . T h a t , i t seems to me, i s what E n t e r t a i n i n g  Mr. S l o a n e o f f e r s , and i t i s none the worse f o r t h a t . . . . Joe Orton i s t h e f i r s t d r a m a t i s t t o w r i t e a s o l i d , w e l l managed commercial p l a y which belongs s p e c i f i c a l l y and u n m i s t a k a b l y to the 1960's; and t h a t i n i t s e l f e n t i t l e s him t o q u i t e a s i z e a b l e s a l u t e . ^ American c r i t i c a l r e a c t i o n s were even more a d v e r s e . A p a r t from t h e c r i t i c who d i s m i s s e d E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e as h a v i n g t h e " s p r i g h t l y charm o f a mediaeval E n g l i s h c e s s p o o l , " ^ the p r e v a i l i n g c r i t i c a l o p i n i o n was t h a t the p l a y was "a work i m p o s s i b l e to take w i t h c r i t i c a l s e r i o u s n e s s " ' J too i n c r e d i b l e t o be drama and too r e a l i s t i c t o be comedy. T h i s p o i n t i s w e l l e x p r e s s e d by W a l t e r K e r r : E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e i s a b i z a r r e b l a c k comedy which i s s i m p l y n o t b i z a r r e enough t o d r i v e i t s p o i n t h o m e J 9 In r e c e n t y e a r s c r i t i c s have been k i n d e r t o t h e p l a y , a l t h o u g h many s t i l l tend t o r e g a r d i t as a p a l e shadow o f L o o t , an i n t e r e s t i n g example o f " e a r l y O r t o n . " K a t h a r i n e Worth i s o f t h i s s c h o o l , and a l t h o u g h she q u i t e r i g h t l y c o n c l u d e s t h a t the c h a r a c t e r s and movement a r e n o t t h o s e o f f a r c e , she i s unable t o come t o terms w i t h the p l a y . 31 . . . i t s terms a r e too human, the mechanism i s too slow, t o l e t us t a k e the c h a r a c t e r s as f i g u r e s o f f a r c e , and y e t t h e c e n t r a l e v e n t s , the b r u t a l m i s h a n d l i n g o f t h e o l d man and the s e x u a l b l a c k m a i l t h a t f o l l o w s , a r e p r e s e n t e d w i t h a k i n d o f u n y i e l d i n g comic aplomb t h a t u n d e r c u t s human respo n s e s and r a i s e s w o r r y i n g doubts about the p l a y w r i g h t ' s own sympathies.20 Ms. Worth i s q u i t e c o r r e c t up to a p o i n t , but she does not c a r r y her p e r c e p t i o n s f a r enough. The a t t a c k on Kemp and t h e s e x u a l b l a c k m a i l a r e c e r t a i n l y t r e a t e d w i t h "an u n y i e l d i n g comic aplomb," but why s h o u l d t h i s r a i s e doubts as t o Orton's sympathies? She c o n t i n u e s : I t i s hard t o a v o i d o r d i n a r y human u n e a s i n e s s about Mr. S l o a n e ' s a t t a c k on Kemp: t h e r e ' s too s t r o n g a f e e l i n g o f r e a l p a i n and f e a r i n i t to a l l o w the detachment Orton seems t o i n v i t e w i t h h i s tough j o k e s . . . .21 S u r e l y t h i s shows a b a s i c m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f Orton's method i n t h i s p l a y ; t h e humour i s an i n t e g r a l p a r t o f the v i o l e n c e , a d e v i c e t o make the a u d i e n c e more aware o f i t , and t o i n c r e a s e t h e i r shock. O r t o n h i m s e l f was e x p l i c i t on t h i s p o i n t . J u s t as t h e humour s h o u l d make the sex more r e a l , so t o o , i t s h o u l d make S l o a n e ' s murder o f Kemp more r e a l . Put a murder on the s t a g e w i t h a s t r a i g h t f a c e , and i t ' s j u s t a whodunnit and nobody take s i t s e r i o u s l y . Make i t funny and you make peop l e t h i n k about i t . 2 2 • We a r e n o t meant t o a v o i d b e i n g uneasy; t h e comedy i s i n t e n d e d t o make us f e e l more so. Orton's work i s an i n d i c t m e n t o f modern s o c i e t y , a comic -- and sometimes n o t so comic -- d i s t o r t i o n o f m e a n i n g l e s s s o c i a l c o n v e n t i o n s which c o v e r depths o f d e p r a v i t y , g r e e d , s t e r i l i t y and e g o t i s m . In a l l h i s p l a y s we see c l e a r l y t h a t t h e s e n s i b i l i t i e s ( o r r a t h e r i n s e n s i b i l i t i e s ) o f the c h a r a c t e r s a r e shaped by s o c i e t y . T h e r e f o r e the inhumane and c r u e l b e h a v i o u r o f t h e s e f i g u r e s r e f l e c t s on the s t a t e o f s o c i e t y i n g e n e r a l , n o t t h e s e p e o p l e i n p a r t i c u l a r . Moreover, Orton's p l a y s s u g g e s t t h a t 32 one needs t o be r u t h l e s s t o s u r v i v e i n today's w o r l d ; t h e weaker c h a r a c t e r s are always overcome by the tough and g r a s p i n g , no m a t t e r how u n f a i r o r immoral t h i s may be. A l l t h e c h a r a c t e r s i n E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. Slo a n e a r e d r a m a t i c r e p r e s e n t a -t i o n s o f "the p s y c h o p a t h i c s t y l e o f the '60's -- t h a t r e s t l e s s , r u t h l e s s s i n g l e - m i n d e d p u r s u i t o f s a t i s f a c t i o n , u n a w a r e o f e v i l , t r e a t i n g r a p e , murder, and sexual p e r v e r s i o n as everyday o c c u r r e n c e s i n t h e i r s e a r c h f o r s e l f - g r a t i f i c a t i o n . T h i s p l a y demonstrates t he e g o t i s t i c a l p u r s u i t o f s a t i s f a c t i o n i n sexual terms. The use o f t h i s a n a l o g y r e v e a l s t he h y p o c r i s y o f s o c i e t y . S e x . i s r a r e l y mentioned, and never i n o v e r t terms; the s u r f a c e b e h a v i o u r o f a l l the c h a r a c t e r s i s p o l i t e and g e n t e e l , y e t the m o t i v a t i n g f o r c e s f o r t h e i r a c t i o n s a r e v i t a l , animal and p r i m a l . One o f the reaso n s f o r Orton's use o f sexual p a s s i o n as an i l l u s t r a t i o n o f greed i s h i s d e s i r e t o break down s e x u a l b a r r i e r s , h i s wish f o r a l a c k OA o f " c o m p a r t m e n t a l i s a t i o n " i n sex. T h i s r e f e r s to h i s i n s i s t e n c e on se x u a l freedom; S l o a n e i s t h e r e f o r e b i s e x u a l and c o m p l e t e l y u n i n h i b i t e d about sex. Orton was co n c e r n e d w i t h c r e a t i n g an awareness and a c c e p t a n c e o f homo- and b i - s e x u a l i t y and w i t h p r o v i n g t h a t t he m o t i v a t i n g f o r c e s o f h e t e r o s e x u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s were i d e n t i c a l t o t h o s e o f homosexual a c t i v i t i e s . Ed's and Kath's p u r s u i t o f Slo a n e i s made w i l d l y funny. S l o a n e i s l i t e r a l l y a t t a c k e d from both s i d e s ; both a r e e x t r e m e l y j e a l o u s o f t h e o t h e r and ve r y a n x i o u s to p r o t e c t t h e i r own i n t e r e s t s . Kath's s e d u c t i o n t e c h n i q u e demonstrates her h y p o c r i s y ; d e s p i t e t r y i n g d e s p e r a t e l y t o ar o u s e S l o a n e by w a l k i n g around " i n the rude," she m a i n t a i n s t h a t he i s a t t a c k i n g h e r . Kath: You c a n ' t see through t h i s d r e s s can you? I been w o r r i e d f o r f e a r o f e m b a r r a s s i n g y o u . (S l o a n e 1 i f t s h i s hand and touches t he p o i n t where  he judges h e r n'ipple t o be.) 33 Kath: ( l e a p s back.) Mr. S l o a n e -- don't b e t r a y y o u r t r u s t . S l o a n e : I j u s t t hought --Kath: I know what you thought. You wanted t o see i f my t i t t i e s were a l l my own . . . . I must be c a r e f u l o f you. Have me naked on the f l o o r i f I g i v e you a chance, (pp. 26-7) The i n v e r s i o n o f t r u t h i n t h i s f i n a l l i n e i s w o n d e r f u l l y funny. Kath i s a b r i l l i a n t l y c r e a t e d c h a r a c t e r ; her overwhelming greed and d e s i r e f o r S l o a n e a r e m a n i f e s t e d by her p e r p e t u a l s u c k i n g o f sweets. Her g u s t a t o r y enjoyment s u g g e s t s her v o r a c i o u s s e x u a l a p p e t i t e ; moreover her p e r p e t u a l c o n c e r n w i t h f o o d , t a b l e t s o r sweets emphasises her greedy n a t u r e , which i s p e r e n n i a l l y i n s e a r c h o f s a t i s f a c t i o n . Ed's s e d u c t i o n o f S l o a n e i s on a d i f f e r e n t , more s i n i s t e r l e v e l , one which r e l a t e s the themes o f s e x u a l p a s s i o n and greed through S l o a n e ' s m a t e r i a l i s m . Ed uses h i s w e a l t h and p o s i t i o n as f a c t o r s t o i n f l u e n c e S l o a n e . I've a c e r t a i n amount o f i n f l u e n c e . F r i e n d s w i t h money. I've two c a r s . Judge f o r y o u r s e l f . I u s u a l l y spend my h o l i d a y s i n p l a c e s where t h e b i n t s have got r i n g s t h r o u g h t h e i r noses, (p. 35) The e q u a t i o n between s e x u a l i t y and greed i s c l e a r l y seen a t the c r i s i s p o i n t o f the p l a y when Kath and Ed argue f o r p o s s e s s i o n o f S l o a n e . I t s h o u l d be noted t h a t a t t h i s p o i n t both a r e aware t h a t he has murdered t h e i r f a t h e r , and Kath a l s o knows t h a t he has committed murder once b e f o r e . N e v e r t h e l e s s , both want t o t a l p o s s e s s i o n o f him, and r e s o r t t o s e x u a l t a u n t s t o a s s e r t t h e i r s u p e r i o r i t y . Kath: . . . What more c o u l d he want? Ed: Freedom. Kath: He's f r e e w i t h me. Ed: You're immoral. Kath: I t ' s n a t u r a l . Ed: He's c l e a n - l i v i n g by n a t u r e ; t h a t ' s e v e r y man's r i g h t , (p. 89) Through t h i s d i a l o g u e Orton makes us aware o f the h y p o c r i s y and a m o r a l i t y o f t h e s e p e o p l e . O b j e c t i v e l y * o f c o u r s e , Kath and Ed and S l o a n e a r e immoral, u n n a t u r a l , and a n y t h i n g but c l e a n - l i v i n g . 34 I t i s t h i s s e x u a l greed t h a t i s so b e a u t i f u l l y and a p t l y s a t i s f i e d by the r e s o l u t i o n o f the p l a y : Kath and Ed's s h a r i n g o f S l o a n e f o r a l t e r n a t e six-month p e r i o d s . Both are d e l i g h t e d by t h i s i d e a ; Ed m o d e s t l y a cknowledging i t as p a r t o f h i s e x p e r i e n c e i n b u s i n e s s . "Put i t down to my e x p e r i e n c e a t t h e c o n f e r e n c e t a b l e " (p. 97). T h i s e x p e r i e n c e i s e x p e r i e n c e i n s o c i e t y ' s d e h u m a n i s a t i o n o f p e o p l e , and t r e a t m e n t o f them as o b j e c t s . S l o a n e becomes an o b j e c t , t o be used, d e s p i s e d and passed on. He f a l l s to p i e c e s i n the p r e s e n c e o f t h i s v o r a c i o u s c o u p l e ; the c o o l s e l f - a s s u r e d young man becomes a h y s t e r i c a l g r o v e l l i n g w r e t c h . T h i s t r a n s f o r m a t i o n p o i n t s the " o b v i o u s " moral o f the p l a y : the b i t e r b i t . Sloane i s h i m s e l f the i n c a r n a t i o n o f g r e e d ; he p l a y s Kath and Ed o f f a g a i n s t each o t h e r t o have t h e e a s i e s t l i f e p o s s i b l e . He i s c o m p l e t e l y a m o r a l ; sex i s o n l y a t o o l , a way o f making money. Yes, y e s . I'm an a l l r o u n d e r . A g r e a t a l l r o u n d e r . In a n y t h i n g you c a r e to mention, (p. 34) However, S l o a n e ' s d o w n f a l l by no means c o n s t i t u t e s a . v i c t o r y f o r a l l good c i t i z e n s , s i n c e both Ed and Kath are r e v e a l e d as i n f i n i t e l y more h a r m f u l , inhuman and dangerous than the s e l f - c o n f e s s e d murderer S l o a n e . Orton's moral has t h e r e f o r e an unexpected t w i s t , a f u r t h e r p o i n t e r t o the c o r r u p t n e s s o f humanity. Anothe r a s p e c t o f s o c i e t y a t t a c k e d w i t h g r e a t vehemence i n t h i s p l a y i s s t e r i l i t y . The Kemp's house i s s i t u a t e d i n the m i d d l e o f a r u b b i s h dump, surr o u n d e d by t h e d e c a y i n g d e b r i s o f s o c i e t y . Many p r o d u c t i o n s have u t i l i s e d t h i s v i s u a l metaphor by p i l i n g s c r a p m e t a l , o l d t i r e s , and o t h e r c a s t - o f f p a r a p h e r n a l i a o f s o c i e t y a t the edge o f the s e t , as i f i t were g r a d u a l l y e n c r o a c h i n g on the Kemp f a m i l y ' s l i v e s : an image 35 r e m i n i s c e n t o f t h e c o r p s e i n Ionesco's Ame"dee. T h i s s t e r i l i t y i s the s t e r i l i t y o f c o r r u p t i o n , o f s t i f l e d l i f e . None o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s has a purpose, a r e a s o n f o r l i v i n g . The l a r g e , i m p o r t a n t i s s u e s o f l i f e a r e n o n - e x i s t e n t ; i n t h e i r p l a c e are t r i v i a . L i f e i s r e d u c e d to a s e r i e s o f b o r i n g and s t e r i l e a c t i v i t i e s . S l o a n e ' s d e s c r i p t i o n o f h i s p a r e n t s t y p i f i e s t h i s . From what I remember they was r e s p e c t e d . You know, H.P. d e b t s . B r i d g e . A l i t t l e l i g h t g a r d e n i n g . The u s u a l a c t i v i t i e s o f a c u l t u r e d community . . . . E v e r y y e a r I pay a v i s i t t o t h e i r g r a v e . I take sandwiches. Make a day o f i t . The g r a v e y a r d i s s i t u a t e d i n p l e a s a n t s u r r o u n d i n g s so i t ' s no h a r d s h i p , (p. 16) The e x t e r n a l s a r e a l l i m p o r t a n t t o t h i s s o c i e t y , and O r t o n g i v e s us a b r i l l i a n t l y s u b t l e view o f t h e s e e x t e r n a l s i n h i s s t a g e d i r e c t i o n s . Kath s p r a y s the room w i t h an a e r o s o l p r i o r t o s e d u c i n g S l o a n e -- p r o b a b l y a s i c k l y - s w e e t s c e n t e d f l o w e r s p r a y -- i n s t e a d o f opening a window; the s i d e b o a r d c o n t a i n s a m a r v e l l o u s s e l e c t i o n o f u s e l e s s , d e c a y i n g and i l l -a s s o r t e d a r t e f a c t s : a p i e c e o f u n f i n i s h e d k n i t t i n g , a t a t t e r e d k n i t t i n g p a t t e r n , a broken c h i n a f i g u r e and a doorknob. The theme o f s t e r i l i t y and f a l s e n e s s i s t h r u s t home when, a t the t e n s e s t moment o f t h e p l a y , the t e n s i o n i s u n d e r c u t by S l o a n e s h a k i n g o u t Kath's f a l s e t e e t h . "My t e e t h ! My t e e t h . He's broke my t e e t h . Where a r e t h e y ? " (p. 9 4 ) . T h i s wanton d e s t r u c t i o n o f m a t e r i a l t h i n g s annoys Ed more than S l o a n e ' s p r e v i o u s b e h a v i o u r , i n c l u d i n g the murder o f h i s f a t h e r . E x p e n s i v e equipment gone west now see? I'm annoyed w i t h y o u , boy. S e r i o u s l y annoyed . . . . Is t h i s what we l i s t e n t o the Week's Good Cause f o r ? A l o t o f a c t o r s and a c t r e s s e s making a p p e a l s f o r cash g i f t s to r a i s e h o o l i g a n s who c a n ' t c o n t r o l t h e m s e l v e s , (p. 94) These s t e r i l e p h y s i c a l e x t e r n a l i t i e s are p a r a l l e l e d by t h e s t e r i l e m e n t a l i t y , i n c l u d i n g t h e s i n g l e - m i n d e d greed mentioned p r e v i o u s l y . Other 36 mental l i m i t a t i o n s i n c l u d e an i n v e r s i o n o f morals -- w i t h i n l i m i t s . Ed, f o r example, sees S l o a n e q u i t e c l e a r l y as a m o r a l , but p e r c e i v e s h i m s e l f as a l i b e r a l h i g h - p r i n c i p l e d man. Ed: You're c o m p l e t e l y w i t h o u t m o r a l s , boy. I hadn't r e a l i s e d how depraved you were. You murder my f a t h e r . Now you ask me t o h e l p you evade J u s t i c e . Is t h a t where my l i b e r a l p r i n c i p l e s have brought me? S l o a n e : You've got no p r i n c i p l e s . Ed: No p r i n c i p l e s ? Oh you r e a l l y have u p s e t me now. Why am I i n t e r e s t e d i n y o u r w e l f a r e ? Why d i d I g i v e you a j o b ? Why do t h i n k i n g men everywhere show young boys the s t r a i t and narrow? F l a s h cheque books when d e l i n q u e n c y i s mentioned? Support the Scout-movement? P r i n c i p l e s , boy, b l e e d i n g p r i n c i p l e s , (p. 82) The humour i n Ed's r e p l y i s w o n d e r f u l . He i s r e v e a l e d as a narrow-minded homosexual whose " p r i n c i p l e s " a r e d i r e c t e d towards "redeeming young boys" f o r h i s own ends. In t h i s s o c i e t y terms l i k e morals and p r i n c i p l e s a r e debased and used w i t h o u t a thought f o r t h e i r r e a l meaning. W i t h i n the c o n f i n e s o f h i s s o c i e t y Ed may w e l l be moral and p r i n c i p l e d , but Orton e n a b l e s us t o see how f a l s e t h i s w o r l d i s . He c r e a t e s what appears t o be a c o n v e n t i o n a l s o c i a l s i t u a t i o n , then e n g i n e e r s i t s d i s l o c a t i o n t o p r e s e n t a p i c t u r e o f moral a n a r c h y . In t h i s p l a y , moral systems o n l y e x i s t i n s o f a r as they can be p e r v e r t e d t o s u i t p e r s o n a l ends; s o c i e t y may e s t a b l i s h laws, but i n d i v i d u a l s break them w i t h i m p u n i t y . I t i s Orton's use o f language t h a t has a t t r a c t e d most c r i t i c a l a t t e n t i o n , and r i g h t l y so. As John R u s s e l l T a y l o r p o i n t s o u t : The key t o Orton's d r a m a t i c w o r l d i s t o be found i n the s t r a n g e r e l a t i o n s h i p between t h e happenings o f h i s p l a y s , and the manner i n which t h e c h a r a c t e r s speak o f them. The happenings may be as outrageous as you l i k e i n terms o f m o r a l i t y , a c c e p t e d c o n v e n t i o n o r whatever, but t h e primness and p r o p r i e t y o f what i s s a i d h a r d l y e v e r breaks down.25 Most c r i t i c s a re unanimous i n t h e i r p r a i s e f o r Orton's d i a l o g u e , e s p e c i a l l y f o r i t s a c c u r a c y o f c h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n , "the prepacked phrases o f a d v e r t i s i n g , " 37 "the idioms o f the p o p u l a r p r e s s , the s t i l t e d l u s c i o u s n e s s o f Grade B m o v i e s . H i s trademark i s a f f e c t e d g e n t i l i t y ; t h e s p e a k e r s t r i v e s f o r e l e g a n c e , but somehow m i s s e s . I t i s o f t e n t h e d i s c r e p a n c y between the appearance o f the c h a r a c t e r and h i s language t h a t i s amusing, as w e l l as t h e d i s c r e p a n c y between word and a c t i o n . For example, Kemp, an a r c h e t y p i c a l l y rude, i g n o r a n t o l d man, e x p l a i n s the r e a s o n f o r h i s s t r a i n e d r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h h i s son i n mock-legal j a r g o n . Then one day, s h o r t l y a f t e r h i s s e v e n t e e n t h b i r t h d a y , I had cause to r e t u r n home unexpected and found him c o m m i t t i n g some k i n d o f f e l o n y i n the bedroom, (p. 19) Kath, whose "motherly" t e n d e n c i e s towards S l o a n e have been v e r y e v i d e n t , and who has c o n f e s s e d t o h a v i n g an i l l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d w i t h i n t h e f i r s t t h r e e minutes o f h i s c o n v e r s a t i o n w i t h a p e r f e c t s t r a n g e r , has t h e amazing a b i l i t y t o m a i n t a i n a p r e t e n c e o f p u r i t y . I'd the u p b r i n g i n g a nun would envy and t h a t ' s t h e t r u t h . U n t i l I was f i f t e e n I was more f a m i l i a r w i t h A f r i c a than w i t h my own body. That's why I'm so p l i a b l e , (p. 25) Kath's " p l i a b i l i t y " i s demonstrated d u r i n g t h i s speech by her o p e n l y l u s t i n g a f t e r S l o a n e , and s t r o k i n g h i s s k i n , under the g u i s e o f bandaging h i s l e g . The c o n t r a s t i n both t h e s e cases i s h i l a r i o u s . Kemp l o o k s and a c t s as i f he i s unable t o r e a d , l e t a l o n e pronounce such s e n t e n c e s as " I ' d done i t as a p r e c a u t i o n a r y measure," and t h e d i s c r e p a n c y between Kath's words and a c t i o n s i s c l e a r . A l l O rton's c h a r a c t e r s are masters o f euphemism; they s o f t e n the harshness o f r e a l i t y w i t h g e n t e e l p h r a s e s . The c o n t r a s t between the g l o s s o f g e n t i l i t y and the f a c t s i s one o f t h e c h i e f s o u r c e s o f Orton's humour. Kath: I've something t o t e l l you. (She l i f t s her a pron. S h y l y ) I've a bun i n t h e oven. 38 Ed: You've a whole bloody baker's shop i n the oven from the l o o k o f t h a t . Kath: Mr. S l o a n e was n i c e t o me. A r e n ' t you shocked? (p. 87) Kath's f i r s t s tatement r e v e a l s her t r u e o r i g i n s ; the humour o f Ed's r e s p o n s e i s o b v i o u s , but the more s u b t l e humour and attempt a t p r o p r i e t y o f "Mr. S l o a n e was n i c e t o me," coming from a rampant nymphomaniac, i s a m a s t e r p i e c e . The c o n t r a s t between Kath's p h y s i c a l i t y and h e r extreme g e n t i l i t y o f language i s w o n d e r f u l l y m a i n t a i n e d . She r e s o r t s t o euphemisms even when she i s on the p o i n t o f r a p i n g S l o a n e . T h a t s e a t i s e r e c t e d t o the memory o f Mrs. Gwen Lewis. She was a l a d y who took a l o t o f t r o u b l e w i t h i n v a l i d s . I t was n ear t h a t s e a t t h a t my baby was thought o f . (p. 42) The use o f e u p h e m i s t i c language i s n o t r e s t r i c t e d t o Kath. S l o a n e , t h e a m o r a l , s e x u a l l y a d a p t a b l e murderer, sounds t h e p i c t u r e o f p r o p r i e t y and g e n t i l i t y when d e s c r i b i n g the c i r c u m s t a n c e s under which he murdered a man. He wanted to photo me. For c e r t a i n i n t e r e s t i n g f e a t u r e s I had t h a t he wanted the e x c l u s i v e r i g h t o f p r e s e r v i n g . You know how i t i s . I d i d n ' t l i k e t o r e f u s e , (p. 73) Thus t h e e u p h e m i s t i c d i s l o c a t i o n i s one o f Orton's b e s t known l i n g u i s t i c t rademarks; n o t o n l y does i t c o n t r i b u t e s i g n i f i c a n t l y t o t h e humour o f the p l a y , i t a l s o d e f i n e s i t s moral u n i v e r s e , s i n c e i t i s an image o f the c h a r a c t e r s ' b e h a v i o u r . A n o t h e r a s p e c t o f d i s l o c a t i o n i n t h e language o f t h i s p l a y i s seen i n the terms o f domestic a f f e c t i o n which c o n s i s t e n t l y deny the r e a l n a t u r e o f the r e l a t i o n s h i p s b e i n g e s t a b l i s h e d . Thus the whole f a m i l y s i t u a t i o n i s p e r v e r t e d . In p l a c e o f f a t h e r , daughter and l o d g e r (who i s the d a u ghter's l o v e r ) , the language p r e s e n t s a h o r r i f y i n g p i c t u r e o f s e x u a l p e r v e r s i o n . Kath, i n r e f e r r i n g to h e r s e l f as S l o a n e ' s Mamma, e f f e c t i v e l y c r e a t e s an 39 O e d i p a l r e l a t i o n s h i p , an image r e i n f o r c e d by S l o a n e ' s murder o f the Dadda. Moreover she i n t r o d u c e s the i d e a o f i n c e s t , s i n c e she, the d a u g h t e r , i s a l s o the Mamma, and t h e r e f o r e presumably her f a t h e r ' s w i f e . T h i s v i s i o n o f a n a r c h i c m o r a l i t y i s once a g a i n a c h i e v e d by the d i s l o c a t i o n o f language. The Kemp.family's language i s formed by the media, by images o f g e n t e e l l i f e i n a d v e r t i s e m e n t s , magazines and f i l m s . Ed's comments on h i s a c t i v i t i e s c o u l d be t h e s c e n a r i o f o r an up-market c i g a r e t t e o r l i q u o r c o m m e r c i a l ; I s h a l l d r e s s i n a q u i e t s u i t . D r i v e up i n t h e motor. The C o m m i s s i o n a i r e w i l l s p r i n g f o r w a r d . There i n t h a t m i r a c l e o f g l a s s and c o n c r e t e my c o l l e a g u e s and me w i l l have a q u i e t d r i n k b e f o r e t h e b u s i n e s s o f the day (p. 38) whereas Kath's d e s c r i p t i o n o f her former l o v e r i s s t r a i g h t o u t o f the pages o f True Romances. He too was handsome and i n t h e prime o f manhood. Can you wonder I f e l l ? (p. 42) The b r i l l i a n t use o f language makes t h e s e c h a r a c t e r s e a s i l y i d e n t i f i a b l e and b e l i e v a b l e . S u r e l y Norman Nadel misses the p o i n t when he s a y s : "Orton's 28 c h a r a c t e r s f a s c i n a t e us but we don't r e a l l y b e l i e v e i n them." We s h o u l d see t h e s e p e o p l e as r e a l , perhaps too s t e r e o t y p e d t o be t o t a l l y b e l i e v a b l e as i n d i v i d u a l s , but c e r t a i n l y e a s i l y r e c o g n i s a b l e members o f s o c i e t y i n t h e i r d e s i r e s and i n t h e i r methods o f b e h a v i o u r . One f u r t h e r a s p e c t o f Orton's language needs e x a m i n a t i o n -- h i s a f f i n i t y w i t h W i l d e . The use o f the epigram as an i n s t r u m e n t o f moral anarchy has been d i s c u s s e d ; i n t h i s p l a y Orton's language emphasises the i m m o r a l i t y o f s o c i e t y . H i s comment: " I t ' s a l l any r e a s o n a b l e c h i l d can e x p e c t i f t h e dad i s p r e s e n t a t the c o n c e p t i o n " (p. 97) demonstrates t h i s moral anarchy and compares c l o s e l y i n rhythm, i d e a and c o n t e n t w i t h To l o s e one p a r e n t , Mr. W o r t h i n g , may be r e g a r d e d as a m i s f o r t u n e : t o l o s e both l o o k s l i k e c a r e l e s s n e s s . 2 9 40 T h i s epigrammatic f a c i l i t y i s seen c l e a r l y t h r o u g h o u t Orton's work, but Ort o n i s v e r y c a r e f u l to c o n t r o l i t . I have t o be v e r y c a r e f u l i n t h e way I w r i t e , not t o l e t i t become s o r t o f a mannerism, i t c o u l d v e r y e a s i l y become a mannerism.30 Orton uses l a n g u a g e ' f o r r e a l i s m , f o r d e f i n i t i o n o f c h a r a c t e r ; he does not l e t h i m s e l f wallow i n f e l i c i t o u s p h r a s e s f o r t h e i r own sake. In t h i s r e s p e c t , he i s v e r y d i f f e r e n t from W i l d e . Many, i f n o t a l l , o f W i l d e ' s epigrams a r e j u s t as amusing out o f c o n t e x t ; Orton's p h r a s e s l o s e t h e i r b i t e when d i v o r c e d from the c h a r a c t e r . E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e s h o u l d t h e r e f o r e be seen as worthy o f d e t a i l e d c r i t i c a l a n a l y s i s . I t i s an i n d i c t m e n t o f s o c i e t y ; an attempt t o make the r e a d e r o r a u d i e n c e aware o f how we d e s t r o y o u r s e l v e s w i t h e x c e s s i v e g r e e d . To c r e a t e t h i s awareness, Orton employs taboos - - i n t h i s p l a y murder, h o m o s e x u a l i t y and nymphomania -- to c o n f r o n t t h e r e a d e r and shock him i n t o awareness -- through l a u g h t e r . I r o n i c a l l y , t h e p l a y i s d e d i c a t e d to Kenneth H a l l i w e l l , whose gr e e d and p o s s e s s i v e n e s s caused him t o murder O r t o n . Thus t h e p o r t e n t o f the drama was f u l f i l l e d , a p o i n t which s h o u l d n o t o n l y make the message even more p o i g n a n t , but s h o u l d a l s o demonstrate t h a t t h e w o r l d o f Orton's dramas was not f a n t a s y , but r e a l i t y . The Good and F a i t h f u 1 S e r v a n t was w r i t t e n i n 1964, a few months b e f o r e L o o t , but was n o t t e l e v i s e d u n t i l A p r i l 1967. The p l a y i s n o t one o f Orton's b e s t ; c o n s e q u e n t l y i t has been i g n o r e d by the m a j o r i t y o f c r i t i c s . John Lahr attempts t o p l a c e i t c h r o n o l o g i c a l l y , by v i e w i n g the p l a y as "the t r a n s i t i o n from S l o a n e t o L o o t , from the innuendo o f a comedy o f manners t o outrageous f a r c i c a l e x p l i c i t n e s s . " 3 1 The Good 41 and F a i t h f u l S e r v a n t s u f f e r s from t h i s d e f i n i t i o n , s i n c e the problem o f the p l a y i s p r e c i s e l y t h a t i t f a l l s between two s t o o l s : i t i s n e i t h e r a comedy o f manners nor a f a r c e . There i s none o f the b r i l l i a n t c h a r a c t e r i z a -t i o n o f E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e : most o f the c h a r a c t e r s a r e s t e r e o t y p e s , even Mrs. V e a l f o y , the most i n t e r e s t i n g f i g u r e , l a t e r r e i n c a r n a t e d i n the more f a s c i n a t i n g form o f Erpingham i n The Erpingham Camp, i s h a r d l y a c h a r a c t e r worthy o f comparison with., f o r example, Kath i n E n t e r t a i n i n g  Mr. S l o a n e . Moreover, a l t h o u g h c e r t a i n elements o f the p l a y (Debbie g i v i n g b i r t h d u r i n g her wedding, the scene i n Ray's bedroom) may be a c c u r a t e l y c l a s s i f i e d as f a r c i c a l , The Good and F a i t h f u l S e r v a n t does no t r e a l l y foreshadow any o f the b r i l l i a n t l y funny, mordant f a r c e o f L o o t . In f a c t i t i s an e r r o r t o view t h i s as a t r a n s i t i o n p l a y , s i n c e , i f i t i s remarkable a t a l l , i t i s f o r i t s uniqueness w i t h i n Orton's canon. T h i s i s O r ton's o n l y p l a y t o l e a v e the r e a d e r o r a u d i e n c e w i t h a p r e v a i l i n g mood o f s a dness; the s o c i a l comment, l i k e t h a t o f The R u f f i a n on the S t a i r , i s o n l y s l i g h t l y tempered by t h e humour. However, u n l i k e The R u f f i a n on t h e S t a i r , which l e a v e s a " n a s t y t a s t e , " a b i t t e r f e e l i n g o f v i r u l e n t anger, The Good  and F a i t h f u l S e r v a n t conveys a more g e n t l e sorrow. Perhaps i t i s t h i s unusual ( f o r Orton) h i n t o f compassion t h a t has l e a d t o e f f u s i o n s from t h o s e c r i t i c s who have commented on t h e p l a y . John R u s s e l l T a y l o r s t a t e s t h a t i t "shows a remarkable e x t e n s i o n o f h i s [ O r t o n ' s ] range"32 and m a i n t a i n s t h a t d e s p i t e the harsh i r o n y o f the p l a y . . . a s u r p r i s i n g amount o f compassion and human warmth -- not q u a l i t i e s we would n o r m a l l y a s s o c i a t e w i t h Orton -- comes through.33 P a r t s o f t h i s a n a l y s i s a r e a c c u r a t e : the p l a y i s n o t as funny as the r e s t o f Orton's work; h i s b i t i n g w i t i s r e p l a c e d by a g e n t l e r t o n e ; he 42 appears l e s s angry a t the reaso n s f o r the s i t u a t i o n than sad a t i t s e x i s t e n c e . N e v e r t h e l e s s , Mr. T a y l o r i s s t r e t c h i n g a p o i n t by c a l l i n g t h i s p l a y a remarkable e x t e n s i o n o f Orton's range; i t appears r a t h e r t o be a r e t r o g r e s s i v e s t e p , s i n c e i t c o n s i s t s o n l y o f a p l o t r e m i n i s c e n t o f any o f s e v e r a l " s l i c e o f l i f e " p l a y w r i g h t s , f o r example, C l i v e Exton and A l u n Owen -- e n l i v e n e d o f c o u r s e by Orton's e x t r a o r d i n a r y s t y l e . C h r i s t i a n Thomsen, a g r e e i n g w i t h John R u s s e l l T a y l o r t h a t t h i s p l a y r e p r e s e n t s a br e a k t h r o u g h f o r O r t o n , Zum erstenmal i n s e i n e r D r a m a t i k e r k a r r i e r e kommt Orton h i e r h i n t e r s e i n e r Deckung von I r o n i e und Zynismus h e r v o r , z e i g t s i c h verwundbar, b e w e i s t E i g e n s c h a f t wie m e n s c h l i c h e Warme, M i t l e i d und kam p f e r i s c h e n Hass 34 admits t h a t t h e theme o f t h i s p l a y i s not new; however, he m a i n t a i n s t h a t " S i e i s t aber i n d i e s e r Form f u r das e n g l i s c h e Drama neu."35 i t i s u n c l e a r e x a c t l y what Thomsen means by " i n t h i s form"; by the r e s t o f h i s argument, one assumes he i s r e f e r r i n g t o Orton's unique manner which i n f o r m s h i s t r e a t m e n t o f the theme. Orton's s t y l e and humorous v i e w p o i n t a r e i n d u b i t a b l y o r i g i n a l ; n e v e r t h e l e s s Mr. Thomsen cannot use t h i s somewhat tenuous argument as a p o i n t i n f a v o u r o f t h e u n o r i g i n a l p l o t . D e s p i t e t he s t e r e o t y p e d c h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n and t h e hackneyed theme, Orton p r e s e n t s a c o h e r e n t and w e l l - d e v e l o p e d s a t i r e a g a i n s t a u t h o r i t y . The e p i g r a p h t o t h e p l a y c o n s i s t s n o t o n l y o f the B i b l i c a l r e f e r e n c e t o "thou good and f a i t h f u l s e r v a n t " (Matthew 25:21), but a l s o p r o v i d e s the C o n c i s e O x f o r d D i c t i o n a r y ' s d e f i n i t i o n o f f a i t h . " F a i t h , n. R e l i a n c e , t r u s t i_n, b e l i e f founded on a u t h o r i t y " (p. 151). R e l i a n c e on a u t h o r i t y i s w o n d e r f u l l y s a t i r i s e d i n the c h a r a c t e r o f McLeavy i n L o o t . George Buchanan, i n The Good and F a i t h f u l S e r v a n t , i s n o t , however, a f i g u r e 43 o f f u n . Whereas McLeavy's b e l i e f i n the t r u s t w o r t h i n e s s o f t h e p o l i c e f o r c e and the e f f i c a c y o f the E n g l i s h j u d i c i a l system i s shown t o be l u d i c r o u s , Buchanan's t o t a l r e l i a n c e on h i s f i r m f o r f i f t y y e a r s o f h i s l i f e i s merely r a t h e r sad. B e l i e f i n and o b e d i e n c e t o s o c i e t y i n f o r m s Buchanan's u n i v e r s e . H i s f i r m i s p o r t r a y e d as a microcosm; Mrs. V e a l f o y o r g a n i s e s and makes arrangements f o r a l l p e r s o n n e l l i t e r a l l y from the c r a d l e to t h e g r a v e . Of c o u r s e t h i s image o f man as an automaton s u b s e r v i e n t t o a u t h o r i t y i s n o t new. W. H. Auden's poem, "The Unknown C i t i z e n " may p r o v i d e the model f o r many o f Orton's l i n e s . Was he f r e e ? Was he happy? The q u e s t i o n i s a b s u r d Had a n y t h i n g been wrong we s h o u l d c e r t a i n l y have h e a r d . ° T h i s statement r e s u r f a c e s i n The Good and F a i t h f u l S e r v a n t as Should y o u r p r i v a t e l i f e be i n v o l v e d , we s h a l l be t h e f i r s t t o i n f o r m you o f t h e f a c t . (p. 159) Orton's p l a y i s however, a much more damning p i c t u r e o f s o c i e t y than Auden's poem, s i n c e i t s t r e s s e s one o f the c r u e l e s t a s p e c t s o f modern l i f e -- i s o l a t i o n . Buchanan has no f a m i l y ( u n t i l t he v e r y end o f h i s l i f e ) , and does not appear t o have any f r i e n d s o r i n t e r e s t s o u t s i d e h i s work. The most powerful element o f t h i s p l a y i s the b r i l l i a n t l y a c u t e p i c t u r e o f a man w i t h n o t h i n g t o l i v e f o r . R e t i r e m e n t i s seen t o be d u l l and s t i f l i n g ; o l d age o f f e r s n o t h i n g e x c e p t d i s a p p o i n t m e n t . Orton p r e s e n t s a compassionate view o f the problems o f a g i n g : t h e image o f " o l d , t i r e d and d e p r e s s e d f a c e s " v a l i a n t l y t r y i n g to s i n g " a l l the songs w i t h 'Happy' i n them" i n r e s p o n s e to Mrs. V e a l f o y ' s e x h o r t a t i o n s i s e x t r e m e l y moving. However, i t would be a m i s t a k e t o imagine t h a t Orton's e n e r g i e s a r e d i r e c t e d s o l e l y a g a i n s t a u t h o r i t y ; i t i s t r u e t h a t he i s 44 e x p l i c i t about t h e a b r u p t n e s s o f Buchanan's d i s m i s s a l --A f t e r l u n c h y o u ' r e f r e e . We've no f u r t h e r need o f you. She s m i l e s and goes o u t . Buchanan j[S a l o n e . He p i c k s  up the p a r c e l s , j o i n s the l u n c h queue. No one speaks  t o him o r i s aware o f h i s p r e s e n c e . The queue moves  fo r w a r d (p. 161) -- and i s c o ncerned t h a t we s h o u l d make t h e e q u a t i o n between Buchanan no l o n g e r b e i n g needed and h i s l o n e l i n e s s , y e t he i s a l s o f i g h t i n g what John Lahr so a p t l y terms "the l i f e s l e e p o f t h e c r e d u l o u s , t h e a t t i t u d e s o f p e o p l e l i k e Buchanan who have l e t themselves be sucked d r y . One o f t h e themes o f t h i s p l a y , a view o f the worker as a m e c h a n i c a l p r o d u c t which wears o u t , i s w e l l e x p r e s s e d by Thomsen: Der A r b e i t e r e r s c h e i n t s e l b s t a l s h a l b m e c h a n i s i e r t e s P r o d u k t , welches a u s s c h l i e s s l i c h s e i n e A r b e i t s k r a f t r e p r o d u z i e r t und v e r k a u f t , der a u s g e n u t z t , a b g e w i r t s c h a f t e t und dann b e s e i t e g e s t e l l t und a b g e s c h r i e b e n wird.38 The c o n c e p t o f mechanisms b r e a k i n g down o r w e a r i n g o u t , i s o f c o u r s e , c e n t r a l t o t h i s p l a y . George's body i s seen i n mechanical terms: he needs h i s a r t i f i c i a l arm, h e a r i n g - a i d and g l a s s e s t o f u n c t i o n p r o p e r l y . On a_ t a b l e , an a r t i f i c i a l arm, a_ p a i r o f g l a s s e s , a_ h e a r i n g - a i d . E d i t h e n t e r s . . . She h e l p s Buchanan tp_ s i t up and g i v e s him  h i s g l a s s e s . Now you can see the w o r l d . She g i v e s him h i s h e a r i n g - a i d . Now you can hear. (p. 171) The t o a s t e r and c l o c k , Buchanan's r e t i r e m e n t g i f t s , a r e l i k e h i s body i n t h a t t h e y too do n o t f u n c t i o n p r o p e r l y . They a r e n o t o n l y metaphors f o r t he n a t u r a l d e t e r i o r a t i o n o f the body; they may a l s o s e r v e as images f o r t he breakdown o f s o c i e t y . L i k e s o c i e t y , the c l o c k and the t o a s t e r do not p r o v i d e t h e i r e x p e c t e d s e r v i c e s , but, l i k e s o c i e t y , a g a i n , they do more: they a c t u a l l y cause harm. Buchanan goes t o t h e s h e l f and p i c k s up the c l o c k . Buchanan: I t ' s g o i n g backwards! Something's wrong w i t h t h e works. (He_ t u r n s t h e c l o c k o v e r and drops i t ) Oh! 45 E d i t h : What i s i t ? Buchanan: Gave me a shock i t d i d . R i g h t up my arm. (He puts the c l o c k b e s i d e the t o a s t e r on the t a b l e ) E d i t h : Twith a shrug) They seem more l i k e murder weapons than g i f t s from a g r a t e f u l employer, (p. 177) Another a s p e c t o f a u t h o r i t y i n t h i s p l a y i s Mrs. V e a l f o y ' s i n s i s t e n c e on c o n t r o l l i n g p e o p l e ' s emotions. She w i l l n o t t o l e r a t e any d e v i a t i o n from her s t a n d a r d o f s l i g h t l y manic c h e e r f u l n e s s , Mrs. V e a l f o y : Repeat e v e r y t h i n g I say. Is t h a t c l e a r ? What were you t h i n k i n g j u s t now? Buchanan: N o t h i n g . Mrs. V e a l f o y : I don't a l l o w thoughts l i k e t h a t . (p. 189) and i n s i s t s t h a t Ray a c q u i e s c e to e v e r y t h i n g she s a y s . An a f f i r m a t i o n o f a n y t h i n g i s c h e e r i n g nowadays. Say 'Yes' as o f t e n as p o s s i b l e , Raymond. I always do. (p. 189) T h i s c o n t r o l o f p e o p l e ' s thoughts and emotio n s , r e m i n i s c e n t o f George O r w e l l ' s 1984, r e l a t e s t o the image o f man as a machine. Man i s n o t al l o w e d t o be human: he i s programmed t o be e f f i c i e n t and o b e d i e n t , to have no o r i g i n a l t houghts o r emotions. The c o n t r o l extends not o n l y t o f e e l i n g s but t o a l l a s p e c t s o f b e h a v i o u r . Any p o s s i b i l i t y o f f r i e n d -s h i p o r r e l a t i o n s h i p between the workers i s e f f e c t i v e l y p r e v e n t e d . Buchanan and E d i t h have worked i n the same f i r m f o r f i f t y y e a r s , but have never met. E d i t h : Which gate do you use? Buchanan: Number e i g h t . E d i t h : Ah, w e l l , you se e , t h a t e x p l a i n s i t . I've always e n t e r e d by number f i f t e e n , (p. 154) Whenever the employees do meet s o c i a l l y , Mrs. V e a l f o y i s on hand t o spy, p r e v e n t c o n f i d e n c e s and break up i n c i p i e n t f r i e n d s h i p s . Mrs. V e a l f o y : What a r e you s a y i n g ? Is i t i n t e r e s t i n g ? Can I hear? Are you t a l k i n g about o l d times as I t o l d you? Buchanan: No. Mrs. V e a l f o y : Why not? What were you t a l k i n g about? Both o f you have a l o t t o loo k back on. (Pause, s h a r p l y ) 46 Answer my q u e s t i o n ! What were you t a l k i n g about? (p. 187) As b e f i t s a symbol o f a u t h o r i t y , Mrs. V e a l f o y i s everywhere. Her m i s s i o n i s to f i n d o u t the employees i n n e r m o s t t h o u g h t s , and t o a r r a n g e t h e i r l i v e s f o r them. Her p o r t r a i t i s a v i c i o u s c a r i c a t u r e o f a t y p i c a l l y o f f i c i o u s do-gooder; one cannot see even a glimmer o f an honest wish to h e l p p e o p l e b e h i n d her d e l i g h t - i n p a t r o n i s i n g , p o n t i f i c a t i n g and o r g a n i s i n g . O r t o n a t t a c k s p e t t y b u r e a u c r a c y , and i t s i n s i s t e n c e on a myriad o f r i d i c u l o u s r u l e s and r e g u l a t i o n s . L i k e many o f f i c i a l s , Mrs. V e a l f o y seems t o t a l l y o b s e s s e d w i t h t r i v i a , t o the e x c l u s i o n o f more i m p o r t a n t i s s u e s . She cannot deal w i t h a b s t r a c t i o n s such as Debbie's worry about pregnancy and m a r r i a g e , so she t a k e s r e f u g e i n i n s i g n i f i c a n t d e t a i l s , such as the c o m p o s i t i o n o f t h e wedding bouquet. As through no f a u l t o f y o u r own, the ceremony l o o k s l i k e b e i n g d e l a y e d , we'd b e t t e r make i t o f some l a r g e and showy bloom. L i l i e s won't be a p p r o p r i a t e under the c i r c u m s t a n c e s . C h r y s a n t h e -mums would do. Or even p e o n i e s . I f we l e a v e i t much l o n g e r i t w i l l have to be s u n f l o w e r s , I'm a f r a i d , (p. 170) Mrs. V e a l f o y shows a l l the q u a l i t i e s o f l u d i c r o u s l i t e r a l n e s s t h a t mark Orton's p o r t r a i t o f Dr. Ranee i n What t h e B u t l e r Saw. Her comment There's a query b e s i d e the sex o f t h e c h i l d . I hope i t won't s t a y t h a t way (p. 169) i s so r i d i c u l o u s l y l i t e r a l - m i n d e d as to show us a woman d e v o i d o f any i m a g i n a t i o n o r f e e l i n g s , a w a l k i n g computer. The r e s t o f the c h a r a c t e r s a r e , as a l r e a d y mentioned, s t e r e o t y p e s . E d i t h i s c o m p l e t e l y d e v o i d o f i n t e r e s t ; Debbie i s too n a i v e and s t u p i d t o be c r e d i b l e ; even Ray i s merely a weaker v e r s i o n o f S l o a n e o r Hal i n L o o t , an amoral y o u t h who l i v e s " f o r k i c k s . " Buchanan i s meant t o be an Everyman: y e t he i s by no means s y m p a t h e t i c . The compassion 47 shown by Orto n i n t h i s p l a y i s s u r e l y u n d e r c u t by h i s t r e a t m e n t o f Buchanan. J u s t as we s h o u l d not take the d o w n f a l l o f McLeavy i n Loot as a t r a g e d y , because we a r e aware o f h i s h y p o c r i t i c a l q u a l i t i e s , we a r e meant t o see Buchanan's c h a r a c t e r i n the same l i g h t and be l e s s s y m p a t h e t i c t o him. George Buchanan i s e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y hidebound by c o n v e n t i o n . He wants to marry E d i t h , to "put t h i n g s t o r i g h t , " even though, as she q u i t e h o n e s t l y s a y s , " I t ' s o n l y f o r show. I t ' s a waste g e t t i n g m a r r i e d when yo u ' r e my age" (p. 180). H i s narrow o u t l o o k on l i f e , t o t a l a b s o r p t i o n i n the work e t h i c and l a c k o f a sense o f humour are e v i d e n c e d by h i s c o n v e r s a t i o n s w i t h Ray. Ray: I don't work. Buchanan: Not work!? (He s t a r e s , open-mouthed) What do you do then? Ray: I e n j o y m y s e l f . Buchanan: Th a t ' s a t e r r i b l e t h i n g t o do. (p. 167) C e r t a i n l y much o f Orton's s a t i r e i s d i r e c t e d a g a i n s t the Buchanans o f the w o r l d , men who c o n s i d e r t h a t l i f e c o n s i s t s o n l y o f working e v e r y day and c o n f o r m i n g to the c o n v e n t i o n s o f s o c i e t y . Buchanan i s shown t o be as u n i m a g i n a t i v e and l i t e r a l - m i n d e d as Mrs. V e a l f o y --Buchanan: I f y o u ' r e d e t e r m i n e d to p e r s e v e r e w i t h women I can see no f u t u r e f o r you. There a r e o t h e r group a c t i v i t i e s , you know. Ray: Yes, but t h e r u l e s a r e i n F r e n c h . Buchanan: Learn the language. A c q u i r e a f l u e n c y i n something e l s e . Ludo would be l e s s o f a s t r a i n i n the l o n g run (p. 176) -- an element o f h i s c h a r a c t e r , which, a l t h o u g h i t does n o t negate our p i t y f o r him, g r e a t l y d i m i n i s h e s i t . Moreover our sympathy i s l e s s e n e d s t i l l f u r t h e r by our r e a l i s a t i o n o f George's h y p o c r i s y . His language becomes w o n d e r f u l l y e u p h e m i s t i c when d e s c r i b i n g h i s l i a i s o n w i t h E d i t h . And as l u c k would have i t , our way l a y through a meadow and the g r a s s was h i g h . (p. 154) 48 In a d d i t i o n , he i s s e n t e n t i o u s , s e n t i m e n t a l and q u i t e u n r e a s o n a b l e . S i n c e he f a t h e r e d i l l e g i t i m a t e c h i l d r e n h i m s e l f , one would not e x p e c t him t o pass judgement on the morals o f o t h e r s , y e t he i s i n s u f f e r a b l y p i o u s about Ray's i n d i s c r e t i o n s w i t h Debbie: Buchanan: I'm o u t r a g e d by i t , I am. C a r r y i n g on above ou r heads. I would never have s l e p t easy i f I'd known. E l e v e n o ' c l o c k on a weekday morning! How many o f us d i d t h a t k i n d o f t h i n g ? E d i t h : Not many w i t h o u t a p r i e s t had s a n c t i o n e d t h e a c t . Buchanan: And not o f t e n t h e n . E d i t h : I t ' s something o f a m i r a c l e we had a s u c c e e d i n g g e n e r a t i o n a t a l l , we were so u n c o n s c i o u s o f t h a t s i d e o f t h i n g s . Buchanan: When I met you i t was a t l e a s t the a f t e r n o o n , (p. 175) The i r o n y w i t h which Orton i n v e s t s t h i s passage i s c l e a r ; we l a u g h u p r o a r i o u s l y a t t h i s comment, but w h o l e h e a r t e d l y condemn Buchanan f o r h i s h y p o c r i t i c a l a t t i t u d e . The p o r t r a i t o f Buchanan l e a d s t o the c e n t r a l problem o f t h e p l a y --how can we f e e l sympathy or compassion f o r t h i s f i g u r e ? O b v i o u s l y , i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o do s o , y e t the tone o f t h e p l a y seems t o encourage a s y m p a t h e t i c r e s p o n s e . C e r t a i n l y we do not respond c o n s i s t e n t l y w i t h l a u g h t e r ; a l t h o u g h many o f the l i n e s a r e w i t t y and epigrammatic i n Orton's b e s t manner, the o v e r a l l e f f e c t o f t h e p l a y i s n o t funny. Indeed the most e f f e c t i v e l i n e s a r e t h o s e t h a t convey a f e e l i n g o f s a d n e s s , o f l i f e h a v i n g passed us by. Buchanan s t a r e s a t the r i n g . Pause. S t a r e s i n t o E d i t h ' s f a c e . Buchanan: But . . . (He shakes h i s head.) . . . you were so b e a u t i f u l . Tp. 154) Orton i s p a r t i c u l a r l y good a t d e m o n s t r a t i n g how the most t r i v i a l and unimportant i n c i d e n t s take on g r e a t magnitude i n an o t h e r w i s e unremarkable l i f e . 49 E d i t h : I p a r t i c u l a r l y l i k e d t he photos o f t h e c a n t e e n . I swept i t o u t once. When one o f the k i t c h e n s t a f f was away they s e n t f o r me. Buchanan: They r e c o g n i s e d y o u r worth? E d i t h : Yes. Buchanan: They're good l i k e t h a t . (p. 171) T h i s exchange i s i n c r e d i b l y sad. In o n l y a few words Orton b r i l l i a n t l y d emonstrates t h e w a s t e l a n d o f E d i t h ' s l i f e . Thus the p r e v a i l i n g mood o f the p l a y i s one o f s a d n e s s , y e t t h e tone i s u n c e r t a i n . John R u s s e l l T a y l o r f i n d s t h a t " f o r once the s t y l e never seems i n danger o f t a k i n g o v e r c o n t r o l ; i t i s kept f i r m l y i n i t s p l a c e . " ^ ^ The s t y l e never seems i n danger o f t a k i n g o v e r c o n t r o l because t h e r e i s no e s t a b l i s h e d s t y l e ; t he p l a y i s a h o t c h - p o t c h o f w i t and s e n t i m e n t . There i s no doubt t h a t the language has many o f Orton's t r a d e m a r k s : euphemisms, Wildean epigrams and an a c c u r a t e e a r f o r c h a r a c t e r (and c l a s s ) d i s t i n c t i o n s ; however, i n k e e p i n g w i t h t h e u n c e r t a i n t o n e , the s t y l e f l u c t u a t e s w i l d l y . A t times the language i s v e r y amusing and r e m i n i s c e n t o f E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e . E d i t h : B e f o r e they d i e d they produced a son. Buchanan: With whose h e l p ? E d i t h : A young g i r l o f impeccable c h a r a c t e r who worked i n a pub. Buchanan: Was i t l e g a l ? E d i t h : No. Buchanan: Which one f a t h e r e d the c h i l d ? E d i t h : No one knows, (p. 155) Only Orton c o u l d w r i t e t h i s h i l a r i o u s passage. He shows t h e f a l s i t y o f such l a b e l s as "impeccable c h a r a c t e r " w i t h b r i l l i a n t c l a r i t y and wonder-f u l humour. The euphemisms i n t h i s p l a y a r e Orton a t h i s b e s t . Ray's comment about h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h Debbie I p ut something i n t o o p e r a t i o n a few months ago which l o o k s l i k e h a v i n g f a r - r e a c h i n g consequences (p. 173) i s a m a r v e l l o u s way o f c o n f e s s i n g to h a v i n g made her pregnant! In a d d i t i o n , 50 Mrs. V e a l f o y ' s c l i c h e s a r e an e x c e l l e n t v e r b a l m a n i f e s t a t i o n o f her s t e r e o t y p e d o p i n i o n s and c o n v e n t i o n a l a t t i t u d e s — He s h o u l d e r e d h i s s h a r e o f the burden which we a l l had i n t h o s e days (p. 160) — and E d i t h ' s inane c h a t t e r r e v e a l s t h e emptiness beneath her words: So much l a u g h t e r , so much j o y i n p e o p l e ' s h e a r t s , so many happy f a c e s a l l around, (p. 191) D e s p i t e the humour o f the l anguage, John Lahr i s r i g h t t h a t "the b l a s t o f i t s [ t h e p l a y ' s ] humour i s c u r i o u s l y muted by i t s n a t u r a l i s t i c f o r m a t . The i r o n y o f Ray's e n t e r i n g t h e f i r m , m a r r y i n g Debbie and condemning h i m s e l f to a l i f e l i k e Buchanan's i s much more sad than i t i s funny. E d i t h ' s comment, " I t got him m a r r i e d . S e t t l e d . With a f u t u r e b e f o r e him" (p. 191), f o l l o w i n g , as i t does, r i g h t a f t e r the n o t i c e o f Buchanan's de a t h , i s q u i t e p o i g n a n t . On t h e whole, however, t h e p l a y i s n o t a complete s u c c e s s , s i n c e the m i x t u r e o f s t y l e s work a g a i n s t each o t h e r : t h e humour i s dimmed by the sombre t o n e , w h i l e the compassion i s u n d e r c u t by O r ton's w i t . Orton's next t e l e v i s i o n p l a y , The Erpingham Camp, a l s o p o r t r a y s s o c i e t y as a microcosm, but t h i s time i n a f a r more o r i g i n a l s e t t i n g -- a h o l i d a y camp. T h i s s e t t i n g i s i n f i n i t e l y b e t t e r s u i t e d t o O r ton's unique q u a l i t i e s ; the t o t a l i t a r i a n i s m o f a u t h o r i t y i s h e i g h t e n e d by the f r i v o l o u s s u r r o u n d -i n g s . O r t o n seems more s u r e o f h i m s e l f , s i n c e t h e s t y l e i s c o n s i s t e n t and the tone c l e a r l y f a r c i c a l . The Good and F a i t h f u l S e r v a n t i s i n t e r e s t i n g f o r the r e a s o n s mentioned i n t h i s a n a l y s i s , but i s even more f a s c i n a t i n g when viewed as a f o r e s h a d o w i n g o f t h i s l a t e r p l a y . CHAPTER III The p i n n a c l e o f Orton's achievement can be seen i n h i s l a t e r p l a y s . I t has been s a i d t h a t he found h i s m e t i e r as a f a r c e u r , and t h a t he r e d e f i n e d and extended the b o u n d a r i e s o f f a r c e t o c r e a t e an image o f man as a v i c t i m o f modern s o c i e t y , but no d i s c u s s i o n o f f a r c e as a genre has been p r o v i d e d . There a r e few, i f any, adequate d e f i n i t i o n s o f f a r c e : The C o n c i s e O x f o r d Companion t o the T h e a t r e terms i t "an extreme form o f comedy i n which l a u g h t e r i s r a i s e d a t t h e expense o f p r o b a b i l i t y , p a r t i c u l a r l y by h o r s e p l a y and b o d i l y a s s a u l t , " ^ and s t a t e s t h a t comedy d i f f e r s from f a r c e i n t h a t comedies " c o n t a i n some s u b t l e t y and c h a r a c t e r - d r a w i n g . " These d e f i n i t i o n s a r e , t o a c e r t a i n e x t e n t , a c c u r a t e ( a l t h o u g h f a r c e need no t r e l y on l a u g h t e r " r a i s e d a t t h e expense o f p r o b a b i l i t y " ; i t i s o f t e n one o f the most l o g i c a l t h e a t r i c a l f o r m s ) , but on the whole they a r e w o e f u l l y i n a d e q u a t e . C e r t a i n l y f a r c e c h a r a c t e r s are l e s s f i n e l y drawn than t h o s e o f comedy, y e t , as E r i c B e n t l e y p o i n t s o u t , t h e s e b r o a d e r p o r t r a i t s have an i m p o r t a n t f u n c t i o n . They [ f a r c e c h a r a c t e r s ] a r e human n a t u r e i n t h e a b s t r a c t , i n the mass, i n the rough, i n the raw, i n a n y t h i n g but f i n e p e r s o n a l f l o w e r , . . . . They a r e monuments to s t u p i d i t y , y e t , s u r e l y , d e l i b e r a t e reminders t h a t God l a v i s h e d s t u p i d i t y on the human r a c e w i t h a r e c k l e s s l y p r o d i g a l hand. They put us i n mind o f our own s t u p i d i t i e s . 3 In B e n t l e y 1 s view, f a r c e demonstrates the w o r s t a s p e c t s o f mankind, and i s meant t o remind the s p e c t a t o r o f t h e s e elements i n h i s own c h a r a c t e r . - 51 -52 The key phrase i n the two d e f i n i t i o n s g i v e n above i s the q u a l i f i c a t i o n " p a r t i c u l a r l y by h o r s e p l a y and b o d i l y a s s a u l t . " The e f f e c t o f f a r c e i s to reduce man t o the l e v e l o f a body; he i s no l o n g e r a t h i n k i n g human b e i n g , but an automaton or mere puppet. T h i s e f f e c t i s b r o u g h t about by the f r e n e t i c t o - a n d - f r o i n g o f t r a d i t i o n a l f a r c e : t h e c h a r a c t e r s dash about the s t a g e i n r e s p o n s e to i m p u l s e s ; they do not s t o p t o t h i n k about t h e i r a c t i o n s , but succumb t o the p r e s s u r e s o f the moment. F a r c e c h a r a c t e r s t h e r e f o r e have t h e i r mental c a p a b i l i t i e s n e gated; thus t h e i r s u p e r i o r i t y to b e a s t s i s e f f e c t i v e l y d e n i e d . . F a r c e r e f u t e s , and even makes nonsense o f , t h e c o n c e p t o f t h e s o u l ' s d i v i n i t y ; i t s t r e s s e s man's e x i s t e n c e as an a n i m a l . Tragedy p r e s e n t s a n o b l e r , more pr o f o u n d image o f man . . . . F a r c e c o n f r o n t s the c r u d e r k i n d s o f man's s t r e n g t h , a l l o f which he m i s u s e s . Man, says f a r c e , may or may n o t be one o f the more i n t e l l i g e n t a n i m a l s , he i s c e r t a i n l y an animal Orton has, o f c o u r s e , r e d e f i n e d f a r c e i n the sense t h a t he "moves the l a u g h t e r o u t o f t h e p a r l o r and puts i t i n a mortuary ( L o o t ) and a p s y c h i a t r i c c l i n i c (What the B u t l e r Saw)."^ However, t h i s i s a minor a l t e r a t i o n , and o f no r e a l importance per s e ; i t i s Orton's use o f f a r c e as an i n t e g r a l p a r t o f h i s comment on s o c i e t y t h a t c o n s t i t u t e s h i s c o n t r i b u t i o n to the genre. F a r c e i s not o n l y the form o r v e h i c l e used to p r e s e n t t h e s o c i a l comment; i n a d d i t i o n , because i t conveys an image o f man's a n i m a l i t y and s t r e s s e s the w o r s t elements o f h i s c h a r a c t e r , the f a r c e a c t s as p a r t o f Orton's v i s i o n o f s o c i e t y and adds s i g n i f i c a n t l y t o h i s commentary. S i n c e f a r c e d e s t r o y s t h e myth o f man's s u p e r i o r i n t e l l i g e n c e , i t i s , as John Lahr has p o i n t e d o u t , "the most a n a r c h i c s t a g e form." F a r c e i s t h e r e f o r e a p e r f e c t t h e a t r i c a l c o r r e l a t i o n 53 f o r O r t on's view o f the a n a r c h i c s o c i e t y p r e s e n t e d i n the f o u r p l a y s i n t h i s c h a p t e r . Anarchy i s a l s o the c e n t r a l c o n c e r n o f two o f t h e s e p l a y s ; the S h a v i a n e p i g r a p h t o L o o t e x p r e s s e s t h i s theme: "Anarchism i s a game a t which the P o l i c e can beat you."^ In a d d i t i o n , t h e p l o t o f The Erpingham Camp can be seen as a p o l i t i c a l a n a l o g y i n which t h e f o r c e s o f anarchy r e v o l t a g a i n s t a t y r a n n i c a l d e s p o t . " T h e s e two p l a y s , i n p a r t i c u l a r , show Orton's b r i l l i a n t use o f the genre. F a r c e , as we have seen, s t r e s s e s the i m p e t u o s i t y and i m p u l s i v e n e s s o f man's a c t i o n s when he i s under p r e s s u r e . In f a r c e , p e o p l e a r e pushed out o f t h e i r minds, p r o p e l l e d by t h e momentum o f c i r c u m s t a n c e s , n o t f r e e will.° T h i s c r e a t e s a v i s i o n o f man's b e h a v i o u r which Orton d e v e l o p s t o g r e a t e f f e c t . He demonstrates t h a t i n f a r c e p e o p l e appear t o a c t i r r a t i o n a l l y , but they a r e , i n r e a l i t y , m a n i p u l a t e d by c i r c u m s t a n c e s which p r o v i d e a l o g i c a l r eason f o r t h e i r b e h a v i o u r . The l o g i c , o f c o u r s e , depends upon a number o f f a c t o r s known o n l y to the c h a r a c t e r , thus the o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s (and sometimes t h e a u d i e n c e ) , brand t h i s b e h a v i o u r i r r a t i o n a l or even i n s a n e . Orton i s anxious t o show how we make judgements on o t h e r p e o p l e ' s a c t i o n s w i t h o u t h a v i n g any r e a l knowledge o f what m o t i v a t e s them. Dr. P r e n t i c e ' s b e h a v i o u r i n What the B u t l e r Saw i s a p e r f e c t example o f t h i s . Dr. P r e n t i c e s t a r e s about him i n d e s p e r a t i o n . He sees a t a l l  vase o f r o s e s . He removes the r o s e s and s t u f f s t h e under- c l o t h i n g and one shoe i n t o the v a s e . The second shoe won't  go i n . He pauses, p e r p l e x e d . He i s about t o r e p l a c e the  r o s e s when Mrs. P r e n t i c e e n t e r s . . . D r . P r e n t i c e c o n c e a l s  the shoe under h i s c o a t . Mrs. P r e n t i c e s t a r e s . He i s h o l d i n g  t h e r o s e s . He g i v e s a^  f e e b l e smi1e and p r e s e n t s them t o her  w i t h ia f l o u r i s h ^ A l l Dr. P r e n t i c e ' s a c t i o n s a r e supremely l o g i c a l ; however Mrs. P r e n t i c e , who i s n o t aware o f h i s d e s p e r a t e attempt t o c o v e r e v e r y t r a c e o f G e r a l d i n e ' s 54 e x i s t e n c e , q u i t e n a t u r a l l y assumes he i s g o i n g mad. Thus t h e f a r c e s e r v e s two p u r p o s e s : i t shows how s o c i e t y can l a b e l t he most l o g i c a l b e h a v i o u r 'mad', i f i t i s n o t aware what f o r c e s cause p e o p l e t o a c t s t r a n g e l y ; i n a d d i t i o n , i t demonstrates man's s t r u g g l e t o e x t r i c a t e h i m s e l f from a s e r i e s o f u n t e n a b l e p o s i t i o n s -- a view which c o r r e s p o n d s to Orton's v i s i o n o f man's p e r p e t u a l f i g h t f o r s u r v i v a l . T h e r e f o r e , i n What the B u t l e r Saw, a p l a y about the b l u r r e d d i s t i n c t i o n between madness and s a n i t y , f a r c e i s used " t o o f f e r a p r e c i s e t h e a t r i c a l c o r r e l a t i v e to Orton's view o f s o c i a l i n s a n i t y , " ^ and thus c o n t r i b u t e s v i s u a l l y and c o n c e p t u a l l y t o t h e l e a d i n g theme. E r i c B e n t l e y has s t a t e d t h a t t h e r e i s a c o n n e c t i o n between f a r c e and dreams, i n t h a t "both show the d i s g u i s e d f u l f i l l m e n t o f r e p r e s s e d w i s h e s . " ^ Orton's f a r c e s a r e more analogous t o nightmares than dreams; i n s t e a d o f (and i n What the B u t l e r Saw, as w e l l as) h a l f - n a k e d men and women romping around a bedroom, Orton's p l a y s p r e s e n t h o r r i f i c v i s i o n s o f bloody r i o t s , sawn-off hands, and the most u n s a c r o s a n c t , inhumane t r e a t m e n t o f a c o r p s e . T h i s use o f f a r c e demonstrates how e f f e c t i v e l y t h e genre can be used f o r s e r i o u s p u r p o s e s ; Orton's p l a y s a r e h i l a r i o u s l y funny, but beneath t h e humour i s a p a i n f u l v i s i o n o f l i f e . L o o t , Orton's second f u l l - l e n g t h p l a y , has been a n a l y s e d and d i s c u s s e d by c r i t i c s who have shown an i n c r e d i b l e d i v e r s i t y o f o p i n i o n s . Most a r e agreed t h a t i t has "a number o f w i l d and outrageous moments o f 1 ? f a r c i c a l humour" but v e r y few concur about how t h e s e e f f e c t s a r e c r e a t e d ; t h e r e i s no concensus o f o p i n i o n as t o t h e genre o f L o o t , o r t o the e f f e c t i v e n e s s o f Orton's commentary i n t h i s p l a y . These two 55 t o p i c s a r e o f c o u r s e i n e x t r i c a b l y r e l a t e d ; c r i t i c s who a r e unable t o come t o terms w i t h Orton's use o f f a r c e i n t h i s p l a y a r e e q u a l l y unable t o a p p r e c i a t e t h e l e v e l s and s u b t l e t y o f t h e s o c i a l comment. The l a c k o f agreement as t o L o o t ' s l i t e r a r y genre can be seen from t h e o p i n i o n s o f s e v e r a l l e a d i n g c r i t i c s . M a r t i n E s s l i n sees t h e p l a y as a drawing-room comedy, f o l l o w i n g the t r a d i t i o n o f R e s t o r a t i o n Comedy i n e l e g a n c e and e m p t i n e s s , but s p i c e d up by the a d d i t i o n o f some r e l i g i o u s j o k e s and a " t h r i l l i n g " p l o t : a s o r t o f " A r s e n i c and O l d Lace modernised and l a c e d w i t h a few c r a c k s a g a i n s t Roman C a t h o l i c s . " ^ A n o t h e r c r i t i c , Douglas Watt, u n w i t t i n g l y comes v e r y n e a r t o u n d e r s t a n d i n g t h e e s s e n c e o f L o o t when he d i s m i s s e s the p l a y as "Feydeau f a r c e masquerading as s o c i a l commentary."^ Simon T r u s s l e r appears to u n d e r s t a n d t h e genre o f L o o t i n h i s r e f u s a l t o c l a s s i f y i t as "a s o r t o f l a t t e r day comedy o f manners: a w e l f a r e s t a t e v e r s i o n o f a l l t h o s e u p p e r - c l a s s - o r i e n t e d s k i r m i s h e s i n v e r b a l gamesmanship."15 However, Mr. T r u s s l e r wrongly m a i n t a i n s t h a t t h e e s s e n t i a l d i f f e r e n c e between R e s t o r a t i o n Comedy and Orton's p l a y s i s t h a t Orton's c h a r a c t e r s , u n l i k e t h o s e o f R e s t o r a t i o n Comedy, a r e n o t p r o u d l y c o n s c i o u s o f t h e i r a m o r a l i t y , but v e r y c o n c e r n e d about t h e i r r e p u t a t i o n s . Of c o u r s e , the code o f s o c i a l p r o p r i e t y e x i s t s v e r y s t r o n g l y i n R e s t o r a t i o n Comedy; most c h a r a c t e r s a r e v i t a l l y c o n cerned w i t h t h e i r r e p u t a t i o n s , thus Simon T r u s s l e r ' s a n a l y s i s seems based on a somewhat shaky u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e a t r i c a l h i s t o r y . N e v e r t h e l e s s , because o f h i s i n t e r v i e w w i t h O r t o n , i n which Orton s t a t e d h i s a d m i r a t i o n o f S t r i n d b e r g and T r a v e r s , ^ T r u s s l e r s u g g e s t s L o o t i s a s y n t h e s i s o f S t r i n d b e r g ' s "jagged f l a i r f o r e l a b o r a t i n g sexual t e n s i o n , w i t h the l a t t e r ' s [ T r a v e r s ' ] exemplary use o f the f a r c i c a l v e h i c l e " : ^ a c o m b i n a t i o n 56 which r e s u l t s i n a h y b r i d o f t r a g e d y and f a r c e . I t i s an e r r o r t o s u g g e s t t h a t i n Loot,. Orton c r e a t e d a new genre; he i s merely e x p l o i t i n g f a r c e t o i t s f u l l e s t p o t e n t i a l , t a k i n g the t r a d i t i o n s and s t r e t c h i n g them t o t h e i r utmost l i m i t s . There can be l i t t l e doubt t h a t he i s working i n the f a r c i c a l t r a d i t i o n ; many o f E r i c B e n t l e y ' s comments on f a r c e can be a p p l i e d i n t o t o t o L o o t . F a r c e . . . b e g ins by a c c e p t i n g the b l a n d , p l a c i d i m p o s i n g facade o f l i f e [ t h e n ] proceeds t o become f a r c i c a l by k n o c k i n g the facade d o w n J 8 Orton f o l l o w s t h i s method c l o s e l y . In L o o t , as i n E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e , appearances a r e v i t a l , but t h e p r o p r i e t y o f t h e a ppearances i s o f t e n u n d e r c u t by the r e s t o f the s i t u a t i o n . Fay's b e h a v i o u r a t t h e b e g i n n i n g o f the p l a y seems s t r i c t l y c o n v e n t i o n a l ; her speeches show an i n s i s t e n c e on p r o p r i e t y , but t h e a u d i e n c e i s aware o f how tenuous the f a c a d e i s . We know t h a t Mrs. McLeavy has b e e n dead o n l y t h r e e days, t h a t Fay has l i t e r a l l y s t e p p e d i n t o her shoes ( o r s l i p p e r s a t l e a s t ) , and t h a t her p r e t e n s i o n s t o p r o p r i e t y a r e e x t r a o r d i n a r y i n view o f her p a s t . My husbands d i e d . I've had seven a l t o g e t h e r . One a y e a r on average s i n c e I was s i x t e e n , (p. 14) The f a c a d e g r a d u a l l y d i s i n t e g r a t e s w i t h the a c t i o n , and f i n a l l y c o l l a p s e s c o m p l e t e l y w i t h Fay's c o n f e s s i o n . Mrs. McLeavy was d y i n g . Had e u t h a n a s i a n o t been a g a i n s t my r e l i g i o n I would have p r a c t i s e d i t . I n s t e a d I d e c i d e d t o murder he r . (p. 67) The e x t r a o r d i n a r y -- and t o t a l l y o r i g i n a l -- a s p e c t o f Orton's work i s t h a t h i s c h a r a c t e r s s t i l l c l i n g t o t h e remnants o f t h e i r d i g n i t y , s t i l l a s s u r e themselves t h a t they a r e b e h a v i n g p o l i t e l y and w i t h p r o p r i e t y , even when i t i s o b v i o u s t o everyone t h a t they a r e renegades, e g o t i s t i c a l 57 e v i l - d o e r s , and, i n some c a s e s , m u r d e r e r s . T h i s d e v i c e i s seen t o g r e a t e f f e c t a t the end o f L o o t , when Fay, who has by then committed a t l e a s t e i g h t murders, c o n n i v e d i n a bank r o b b e r y f o r a s h a r e o f t h e s t a k e , and been i n s t r u m e n t a l i n s e n d i n g the i n n o c e n t McLeavy t o p r i s o n , i s as prim and p r o p e r as e v e r . Fay: When Dennis and I a r e m a r r i e d we'd have t o move ou t . H a l : Why? Fay: People would t a l k . We must keep up a p p e a r a n c e s . (She r e t u r n s t o her p r a y e r s , her 1 i p s move s l o w l y . ) (p. 87) Fay's r e j o i n d e r i s a m a s t e r p i e c e , but the s t a g e d i r e c t i o n i s a s t r o k e o f g e n i u s . Orton has shown the t o t a l d e m o l i t i o n o f the f a c a d e , y e t i n t h e s e few words he c a p t u r e s t h e h y p o c r i s y , a m o r a l i t y and s u b l i m e s e l f i s h n e s s o f t h i s s o c i e t y . Having e s t a b l i s h e d t h a t L o o t i s a farce,we can t u r n t o t h e problem o f the s o c i a l comment. M a r t i n E s s l i n r e p r e s e n t s t h e s c h o o l o f thought t h a t sees Loot as too commercial f o r any v a l i d s o c i a l commentary, he acknowledges Orton's p o t e n t i a l , but f e e l s t h a t he does n o t f u l f i l l i t i n t h i s p l a y . I wish Joe Orton had remained i n h i s p r e v i o u s sphere — which was no l e s s funny, no l e s s s a t i r i c a l , no l e s s amusing --and i n a d d i t i o n , a l s o much more s a t i s f y i n g ; t h e sphere o f drama as a v e h i c l e o f e x p r e s s i o n f o r someone who wants to say something because he has something u r g e n t and i m p o r t a n t t o say.19 Ronald Bryden p r e s e n t s t h e o p p o s i t e c r i t i c a l o p i n i o n . He m a i n t a i n s t h a t Loot i s marred because o f the t r u t h f u l n e s s o f the s a t i r e which " d i s t o r t s t h e f a b r i c o f t h e f a n t a s y , " s i n c e i n Mr. Bryden's o p i n i o n , " s a t i r e cannot both be a c c u r a t e and i n bad t a s t e . T h e s e comments are p e r c e p t i v e , y e t Bryden's r e f u s a l t o a c c e p t t h e b l e n d o f s a t i r e and f a r c e i s a n e g a t i o n o f Orton's o r i g i n a l i t y . Why cannot s a t i r e 58 be a c c u r a t e and i n bad t a s t e ? O r t o n f u n c t i o n s by p r e s e n t i n g t h e t r u t h , but by d i s g u i s i n g i t i n "bad t a s t e , " by c l o a k i n g the t r u t h i n a mechanism which provokes l a u g h t e r and an i n s t i n c t i v e a c c e p t a n c e o f the s i t u a t i o n as pure f a n t a s y . Then, d u r i n g t h e l a u g h t e r , awareness o f t h e r e a l i t y e n c r o a c h e s on t h e r e a d e r and the shock o f r e c o g n i t i o n i s k e e n l y r e a l i s e d . M a r t i n E s s l i n ' s s t a t e m e n t demonstrates an i n a b i l i t y t o see beyond the i n i t i a l r e a c t i o n ; he a c c e p t s O rton's work as f a n t a s y and c annot see the s o c i a l comment beneath i t . I f we a r e unaware o f t h i s method o f O r t o n ' s , we m i s u n d e r s t a n d much o f the p l a y . The most d a r i n g t h e a t r i c a l moment i n L o o t demonstrates t h i s p a t t e r n . T r u s c o t t : ( S t a n d i n g o v e r Hal) Where's th e money? H a l : In c h u r c h . ( T r u s c o t t k i c k s Hal v i o l e n t l y . Hal c r i e s o u t i n t e r r o r and p a i n . ) T r u s c o t t : Don't l i e t o me! H a l : I'm n o t l y i n g ! I t ' s i n c h u r c h ! T r u s c o t t : ( s h o u t i n g , k n o c k i n g Hal t o t h e f l o o r ) . Under any o t h e r p o l i t i c a l system I'd have you on t h e f l o o r i n t e a r s ! H a l : ( c r y i n g ) . You've got me on the f l o o r i n t e a r s . I n i t i a l l y we a c c e p t the humour o f t h i s r e p a r t e e , but g r a d u a l l y t h e h o r r o r o f i t dawns on us. K a t h a r i n e Worth's a n a l y s i s o f t h i s scene m i s s e s t h i s p o i n t . T r u s c o t t g e t t i n g Hal on t h e f l o o r and k i c k i n g him i s n ' t a p l e a s a n t s i g h t . But i t ' s kept a t a c a r e f u l d i s t a n c e , p a r t l y by b e i n g taken so f a s t , p a r t l y by the j a u n t i n e s s o f t h e d i a l o g u e a t the r e c e i v i n g end o f the v i o l e n c e . . . . So l o n g as t h e v i c t i m s can keep t h e i r end up w i t h t h i s s o r t o f s t o i c a l calm we can keep up our detachment too.22 Ms Worth i s c o r r e c t about the c a r e f u l d i s t a n c e and t h e i n i t i a l detachment --t h e a c c e p t a n c e o f t h e b r u t a l i t y as f a n t a s y -- but t h e i mportance o f t h i s scene i s the r e a l i s a t i o n o f t h e u g l i n e s s and c r u e l t y . The a u d i e n c e 59 a c c e p t s the s i t u a t i o n w i t h o u t r e a l i s i n g i t , and i s shocked a t i t s ready a c c e p t a n c e and l a u g h t e r when i t c l e a r l y r e c o g n i s e s the h o r r o r o f t h e e v e n t . What s o c i a l comment i s Orton making? Here, as i n t h e p r e v i o u s p l a y s we are p r e s e n t e d w i t h an i n d i c t m e n t o f modern s o c i e t y . However, whereas i n E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e we saw the e f f e c t o f s o c i e t y s a t i r i s e d i n the b e h a v i o u r o f c h a r a c t e r s , i n Loot the demands o f i n s t i t u t i o n s a r e the key t o the s a t i r e . The c e n t r a l theme i s n o t t h e a t t a c k on C a t h o l i c i s m per s e , o r even as John R u s s e l l T a y l o r s u g g e s t s , the a t t a c k on r e l i g i o u s h y p o c r i s y ; i t i s an a t t a c k on a system t h a t m a n i p u l a t e s p e o p l e , t h a t demands b l i n d , u n q u e s t i o n i n g o b e d i e n c e , and t h a t c o n c e n t r a t e s on t h e m i n u t i a e o f outward appearances t o t h e e x c l u s i o n o f t h e r e a l i t y w i t h i n . Thus Orton chooses C a t h o l i c i s m as a f o c a l p o i n t f o r h i s a t t a c k . A l l r e l i g i o n s and b e l i e f s can be used t o show the d i s c r e p a n c y between man's p r o f e s s i o n s o f goodness and h i s wicked deeds, but C a t h o l i c i s m a l s o demands many outward forms o f b e l i e f , and i n d e e d , i f p r a c t i s e d b l i n d l y , can l e a d to u n q u e s t i o n i n g a c c e p t a n c e o f dogma. Fay: She's t r e a t i n g i t as a s p e c i f i c a l l y C a t h o l i c problem. McLeavy: She t r e a t s washing her f e e t as a C a t h o l i c problem. Fay: She has e v e r y r i g h t t o do so. McLeavy: Don't P r o t e s t a n t s have f e e t then? Fay: The H o l y F a t h e r h a s n ' t g i v e n a r u l i n g on the s u b j e c t , and so, as f a r as I'm c o n c e r n e d , they haven't, (p. 9) I t i s t h i s u n q u e s t i o n i n g b e l i e f t h a t Orton wishes t o d e m o l i s h ; t h e b e l i e f t h a t a u t h o r i t y i s always r i g h t , man's l a c k o f a b i l i t y t o r e a l i s e the c o r r u p t i o n and e v i l s u r r o u n d i n g him. By f o c u s s i n g on t h a t acme o f s a c r e d n e s s , the B r i t i s h p o l i c e m a n , f o r the r e s t o f h i s a t t a c k , Orton s t r i k e s a t the h e a r t o f p r e s e n t day s o c i e t y . L o o t shows t h e greed and c o r r u p t i o n l u r k i n g b e h i n d t h e masks o f r e l i g i o n and r e s p e c t f o r 60 law and o r d e r . C r i t i c s have noted t h a t McLeavy, the o n l y i n n o c e n t f i g u r e , i s t h e v i c t i m i n L o o t , but have not emphasised the r e a s o n s why he i s v i c t i m i s e d . He i s n o t taken t o p r i s o n and " a c c i d e n t a l l y k i l l e d " because o f h i s i n n o c e n c e , but because o f h i s n a i v e t e , h i s extreme g u l l i b i l i t y . He i s the o n l y f i g u r e i n the p l a y w i t h a b e l i e f i n r e l i g i o n and an unshakeable f a i t h i n t h e j u s t i c e o f the law; thus he must l e a r n t h e t r u t h and s u f f e r . His f i n a l c r y p o i n t s t o the f u t i l i t y o f b e l i e f and t o the h o r r i f y i n g and a r b i t r a r y c r u e l t y o f s o c i e t y . I'm i n n o c e n t ! I'm i n n o c e n t ! Oh, what a t e r r i b l e t h i n g t o happen t o a man who's been k i s s e d by t h e Pope. (p. 86) O r t o n i s concerned t o show how t h e s e i n s t i t u t i o n s e x i s t o n l y t o demand obe d i e n c e from i n d i v i d u a l s , n o t to p r o t e c t them. A u t h o r i t y , i n the shape o f the Law o r t h e Church i s seen as b u r e a u c r a t i c , u n t h i n k i n g and inhuman. The nightmare o f t h e b u r e a u c r a c y o f a u t h o r i t y i s b r i l l i a n t l y conveyed by Orton's d i a l o g u e . McLeavy: I want t o see someone i n a u t h o r i t y . T r u s c o t t : I am i n a u t h o r i t y . You can see me. McLeavy: Someone h i g h e r . T r u s c o t t : You can see whoever you l i k e , p r o v i d i n g you c o n v i n c e me f i r s t t h a t y o u ' r e j u s t i f i e d i n s e e i n g them. (p. 86) The s a t i r e on a u t h o r i t y extends to the r e d tape o f o f f i c i a l s and bureau-c r a t s . T r u s c o t t , l i k e many o t h e r c i v i l s e r v a n t s , i s a t a l o s s when c o n f r o n t e d w i t h an unusual s i t u a t i o n . When he d i s c o v e r s L100,000 s t o l e n from the bank, he i s not i m m e d i a t e l y concerned w i t h a p p r e h e n d i n g t h e c r i m i n a l s , o r w i t h d i s c o v e r i n g the t r u t h o f the s i t u a t i o n , but i s w o r r i e d about the i r r e g u l a r i t y o f the e x p e r i e n c e ! How dare you i n v o l v e me i n a s i t u a t i o n f o r which no memo has been i s s u e d . In a l l my e x p e r i e n c e I've never come a c r o s s a case l i k e i t . E v e r y one o f t h e s e f i v e r s bears a p o r t r a i t 61 o f t h e Queen. I t ' s d r e a d f u l t o c o n t e m p l a t e the i s s u e s r a i s e d . Twenty thousand t i a r a s and twenty thousand s m i l e s b u r i e d a l i v e ! She's a c o n s t i t u t i o n a l monarch, you know. She c a n ' t answer back. (p. 82) Orton's v i t u p e r a t i v e p o r t r a y a l o f T r u s c o t t i s no doubt i n f l u e n c e d by h i s v a r i o u s u n p l e a s a n t e n c o u n t e r s w i t h the p o l i c e f o r c e . However, t h e enormous amounts o f power and t r u s t v e s t e d i n t h e E n g l i s h p o l i c e f o r c e can be e x t r e m e l y dangerous i n the hands o f a r u t h l e s s , i g n o r a n t and c o r r u p t i n d i v i d u a l . There i s a l m o s t c e r t a i n l y a modicum o f t r u t h i n t h i s d i a l o g u e between T r u s c o t t and Fay. Fay: I c a n ' t be had f o r a n y t h i n g . You've no p r o o f . T r u s c o t t : When I make out my r e p o r t I s h a l l say t h a t you've . g i v e n me a c o n f e s s i o n . I t c o u l d p r e j u d i c e y o u r c a s e i f I have t o f o r g e one. Fay: I s h a l l deny t h a t I've c o n f e s s e d . T r u s c o t t : P e r j u r y i s a s e r i o u s c r i m e . Fay: Have you no r e s p e c t f o r the t r u t h ? T r u s c o t t : We've a s a y i n g under the b l u e lamp 'Waste time on t h e t r u t h and y o u ' l l be pounding t h e beat u n t i l t h e day you r e t i r e . ' Fay: The B r i t i s h p o l i c e f o r c e used t o be run by men o f i n t e g r i t y . T r u s c o t t : T h a t i s a m i s t a k e which has been r e c t i f i e d , (pp. 67-8) The t r e a t m e n t o f T r u s c o t t i s v e r y s i m i l a r t o t h a t o f Fay. We see beneath the f a c a d e o f r i g h t e o u s n e s s t o t h e h y p o c r i s y and e v i l , y e t T r u s c o t t i s always concerned w i t h h i s r e p u t a t i o n . McLeavy: Has no one c o n s i d e r e d my f e e l i n g s i n a l l t h i s ? T r u s c o t t : What p e r c e n t a g e do you want? . . . Now t h e n , s i r , be r e a s o n a b l e . What has j u s t taken p l a c e i s p e r f e c t l y s c a n d a l o u s and had b e t t e r go no f u r t h e r than t h e s e t h r e e w a l l s . I t ' s not e x p e d i e n t f o r t h e g e n e r a l p u b l i c t o have i t s c o n f i d e n c e i n t h e p o l i c e f o r c e undermined, (p. 83) The c o o l n e s s o f t h i s f i n a l s t a t e m e n t echoes Fay's t o t a l s e l f - a b s o r p t i o n . Both t h e s e c h a r a c t e r s see n o t h i n g wrong w i t h t h e i r methods o f l i v i n g as l o n g as they a r e not found out. M o r a l i t y i n t h i s s o c i e t y bears no resemblance t o the f a c t s , o n l y to a ppearances. 62 Orton's view o f m o r a l i t y and i t s debasement i n the s o c i e t y o f t h i s p l a y i n f o r m s h i s t r e a t m e n t o f r e l i g i o n . C a t h o l i c i s m i n L o o t a f f e c t s o n l y e x t e r n a l m o r a l i t y ; Hal can s t e a l L-100,000, can s u g g e s t b u r y i n g t he money i n a c o f f i n and dumping h i s mother's c o r p s e i n a d e s o l a t e d s p o t , but r e f u s e s t o undress her dead body. I am a C a t h o l i c . I c a n ' t undress h e r . She's a r e l a t i v e . I can go to H e l l f o r i t . (p. 21) In t h e same way Fay appears t o be d e v o u t l y r e l i g i o u s . She i s c o n s t a n t l y s a y i n g her p r a y e r s ; she has a r o s a r y and a c r u c i f i x -- the e x t e r n a l t r a p p i n g s o f r e l i g i o n -- y e t has r e g u l a r l y "knocked i t o f f " w i t h Dennis under her p i c t u r e o f the S a c r e d H e a r t . R e l i g i o n i s t r e a t e d as a u s e f u l t o o l . Man may s i n , r e p e n t , and s i n a g a i n . O r t o n , as always, p r o v i d e s an e x a g g e r a t e d account o f t h i s t y p e o f b e h a v i o u r . I s h a l l accompany my f a t h e r t o C o n f e s s i o n t h i s e v e n i n g . In o r d e r t o purge my so u l o f t h i s a f t e r n o o n ' s e v e n t s . . . . A f t e r w a r d s I ' l l take you t o a remarkable b r o t h e l I've found. R e a l l y r e m a r k a b l e . Run by t h r e e P a k i s t a n i s aged between ten and f i f t e e n , (p. 79) T h i s may be an extreme example, but i t i s p e r i l o u s l y c l o s e t o the way many peop l e view c o n f e s s i o n . Fay's b e h a v i o u r i n t r o d u c e s a s a t i r i c a t t a c k on a n o t h e r i n s t i t u t i o n : the n u r s i n g p r o f e s s i o n . L i k e T r u s c o t t , she p e r v e r t s t he e s s e n t i a l q u a l i t i e s o f her p r o f e s s i o n ; i n s t e a d o f t e n d i n g h e r p a t i e n t s , she robs and murders them. The s a t i r e on a l l t h e s e i n s t i t u t i o n s which s h o u l d c a r e f o r p e o p l e , but a r e i n d i f f e r e n t t o t h e i r w e l l - b e i n g , can be seen as an a t t a c k on the W e l f a r e S t a t e . The W e l f a r e S t a t e i s supposed t o l o o k a f t e r the weaker members o f s o c i e t y ; however, a l l too o f t e n i t dehumanises t h e s e p e o p l e , s o t h a t t he w e l f a r e o f weaker i n d i v i d u a l s i s o f l e s s a c c o u n t than t h e s e l f - s e e k i n g a t t i t u d e s o f t h o s e who w i e l d c o n t r o l . 63 L o o t p r e s e n t s a v i s i o n o f a d e c a y i n g s o c i e t y , a moral u n i v e r s e which i s t o t a l l y c o n cerned w i t h a p p e a r a n c e s , but which i s r o t t e n t o t h e c o r e . The t r e a t m e n t o f Mrs. McLeavy's c o r p s e emphasises the inhumanity and b e s t i a l i t y o f man's b e h a v i o u r . Your sense o f detachment i s t e r r i f y i n g , l a d . Most p e o p l e would a t l e a s t f l i n c h upon s e e i n g t h e i r mother's eyes and t e e t h handed round l i k e nuts a t C h r i s t m a s , (p. 84) T h i s statement g a i n s g r e a t l y i n i r o n i c a l v a l u e when we r e a l i s e i t i s spoken by T r u s c o t t , whose sense o f detachment i s so marked t h a t he does n o t even r e c o g n i s e the g l a s s eye as a p a r t o f t h e human body. (He h o l d s i t t o the 1 i g h t i n o r d e r to g e t a b e t t e r view. P u z z l e d . He s n i f f s ert i t . He_ h o l d s r t c l o s e t o h i s e a r . He r a t t l e s i t T ) [p*. 58T" I t has been shown t h a t one o f the e f f e c t s o f f a r c e i s t o reduce man t o a body; Orton d e v e l o p s t h i s e f f e c t t o i t s v e r y l i m i t s by h i s use o f Mrs. McLeavy's c o r p s e as a t h e a t r i c a l image o f man's d e h u m a n i s a t i o n . Her body i s m a n i p u l a t e d i n t o . a number o f e x t r e m e l y u n c o m f o r t a b l e and u n d i g n i f i e d p o s i t i o n s ; t h e s e m a n i p u l a t i o n s may perhaps be seen as a c o r r e l a t i o n t o t h e e x t r a o r d i n a r y c o n t o r t i o n s which Orton c o n s i d e r s t o be p a r t o f man's s t r u g g l e f o r s u r v i v a l . Moreover t h e d i s i n t e g r a t i o n o f the c o r p s e ( h e r eyes f a l l o u t , her t e e t h a r e removed) may w e l l s e r v e as a g r o t e s q u e reminder o f the d i s i n t e g r a t i o n o f s o c i e t y . The c e n t r a l image f o r c o r r u p t i o n i n t h i s p l a y i s d e s i r e f o r money, as s u g g e s t e d by the t i t l e , L o o t . However, as i n E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e , greed and s e x u a l i t y a r e c l o s e l y r e l a t e d : Dennis wants h i s s h a r e o f the money t o impress Fay i n t o m a r r y i n g him, Hal dreams o f o p e n i n g a b r o t h e l w i t h h i s l o o t , and Fay, l i k e S l o a n e , r e g a r d s her s e x u a l i t y as a p u r e l y p r a c t i c a l means o f a s s u r i n g h e r s e l f o f a c o m f o r t a b l e and w e a l t h y e x i s t e n c e . A l l the c h a r a c t e r s i n t h i s p l a y c o r r e s p o n d t o B e n t l e y ' s 64 comments about f a r c e c h a r a c t e r s ; they a r e not w e l l - r o u n d e d , t h r e e -d i m e n s i o n a l f i g u r e s . However, i t i s a m i s t a k e t o d i s m i s s them as c o m p l e t e l y wooden; each has r e c o g n i z a b l e human o r s o c i e t a l a t t r i b u t e s . T r u s c o t t has been d i s c u s s e d i n some d e t a i l ; he i s perhaps the l e a s t i n t e r e s t i n g o f the c h a r a c t e r s , an a r c h e t y p a l a u t h o r i t y f i g u r e , a p p a l l i n g i n h i s i g n o r a n c e , y e t c l e v e r enough to be dangerous. McLeavy i s h i s f o i l , and as such i s p r o b a b l y the most complex c h a r a c t e r i n the p l a y . He appears t o be a good s o l i d c i t i z e n : Oh, we can r e l y on p u b l i c s e r v a n t s t o behave themselves . . . As a good c i t i z e n I i g n o r e s t o r i e s which b r i n g o f f i c i a l d o m i n t o d i s r e p u t e , (p. 29) However, the b a l a n c e o f Loot would be s p o i l e d i f we were t o see McLeavy's d o w n f a l l as a t r a g e d y , so Orton makes i t c l e a r t h a t he i s by no means a c o m p l e t e l y v i r t u o u s c h a r a c t e r . He, l i k e everyone e l s e i n t h e p l a y , i s i m p o s s i b l y s e l f i s h ; h i s o n l y c o n c e r n about h i s w i f e ' s death i s c a t a l o g u i n g the v a r i e t y o f r o s e s on the w reaths. Do you know what h i s o n l y comment was on my mother's death? . . . He s a i d he was g l a d she'd d i e d a t the r i g h t season f o r r o s e s , (p. 11) T h i s a t t i t u d e c a s t s an i n t e r e s t i n g l i g h t on the v a l i d i t y o f McLeavy's p r o f e s s e d C h r i s t i a n i t y . Beneath h i s p i o u s e x t e r i o r i s a v e r y smug, s e l f - s a t i s f i e d a t t i t u d e ; an a s p e c t b r i l l i a n t l y d e l i n e a t e d by O r t o n i n n e o - B i b l i c a l phrases and e v a n g e l i c a l language. The s m e l l o f c o r r u p t i o n and the i n s t r u m e n t s o f death behind them, the r i c h e s b e f o r e them. (p. 19) His pomposity and s e l f - c o n g r a t u l a t o r y a t t i t u d e i s c l e a r l y seen i n h i s d e s c r i p t i o n o f t h e f u n e r a l p r o c e s s i o n . We s e t o f f i n h i g h s p i r i t s . The weather was humid, a heat m i s t c o v e r e d the sky. The road t o the g r a v e y a r d l a y u p h i l l . 65 I t was a sad o c c a s i o n f o r me. In s p i t e o f t h i s I kept a t i g h t h o l d on my e m o t i o n s , r e f u s i n g t o show the e x t e n t o f my l o s s . . . . We got a d m i r i n g g l a n c e s f o r the f l o w e r s and s y m p a t h e t i c nods f o r me. (p. 49) A l t h o u g h he may be l e s s u n s c r u p u l o u s than the o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s , McLeavy i s not immune t o the p r e v a i l i n g p a s s i o n o f Loot -- g r e e d . H i s a t t i t u d e towards money i s t o r e s i s t s p e n d i n g i t , r a t h e r than t r y i n g to o b t a i n v a s t amounts. Come on! We'll have a damaged motor horn t o pay f o r n e x t ! . . . The number o f p e o p l e s t a y i n g away from the poor woman's f u n e r a l i s h e a r t b r e a k i n g . And I h i r e d a de l u x e model c a r because t h e y ' r e r o o m i e r . I c o u l d ' v e saved m y s e l f t h e expense, (p. 32) Even though a l l the c h a r a c t e r s resemble t h o s e o f t r a d i t i o n a l f a r c e , they d i f f e r g r e a t l y from t h i s genre i n t h e i r use o f language. The language o f f a r c e i s t r a d i t i o n a l l y " l a c k i n g i n s u b t l e t y " ; ^ O r ton's language i s b r i l l i a n t , i n g e n i o u s , and above a l l , s u b t l e . S i n c e the c h a r a c t e r s are more t h e m a t i c than r e a l i s t i c , the language echoes t h i s emphasis. As we have seen, Orton m a s t e r f u l l y c r e a t e s the language o f b u r e a u c r a c y , h y p o c r i s y and g r e e d . He i s o b v i o u s l y e n j o y i n g p l a y i n g w i t h v a r i o u s s t y l e s o f language i n t h i s p l a y ; t h e speeches o f t h e c h a r a c t e r s o f t e n parody t h e m s e l v e s . T h e r e f o r e T r u s c o t t speaks i n a parody o f d e t e c t i v e j a r g o n : My methods o f d e d u c t i o n can be l e a r n e d by anyone w i t h a keen eye and a q u i c k b r a i n . When I shook y o u r hand I f e l t a roughness on one o f y o u r wedding r i n g s . A roughness I a s s o c i a t e w i t h powder burns and s a l t . The two t o g e t h e r s p e l l a gun and sea a i r . (p. 26) as w e l l as i n the b r i l l i a n t o f f i c i a l language we have a l r e a d y n o t e d . The e u p h e m i s t i c d i s l o c a t i o n s t h a t Orton uses t o such g r e a t e f f e c t i n E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e a r e not m i s s i n g from L o o t , but t h e i r use i s 66 much more r e s t r i c t e d i n t h i s p l a y . H a l , f o r example, has n e v e r heard o f euphemism; we know he i s i n c a p a b l e o f l y i n g , " I t ' s a g a i n s t my n a t u r e , " but he a l s o seems unable t o use language t h a t has any p r e t e n s i o n s t o g e n t i l i t y . The d e s c r i p t i o n o f h i s i d e a l b r o t h e l i s a m a s t e r p i e c e o f b l a t a n t e a r t h i n e s s , and i n c i d e n t a l l y r educes t he moral / p o l i t i c a l i s s u e o f t h e c o l o u r bar to a m a t t e r o f s e x u a l p r e f e r e n c e . I'd have a spade b i r d . I don't agree w i t h t h e c o l o u r b ar. And a F i n n i s h b i r d . I'd make them k i p t o g e t h e r . To b r i n g out the c o n t r a s t . . . . I'd have a midget. And a t a l l b i r d w i t h b i g t i t s . (p. 38) Fay i s , o f c o u r s e , the master o f the e u p h e m i s t i c d i s l o c a t i o n ; she m a i n t a i n s a wonderful appearance o f g o o d - b r e e d i n g , even when t a l k i n g o f her seamy p a s t . And then I l i v e d under s t r e s s near Penzance f o r some ti m e . I've had t r o u b l e w i t h i n s t i t u t i o n s , (p. 14) What a b r i l l i a n t l y g e n t e e l way o f s u g g e s t i n g t h a t she has s p e n t some time i n p r i s o n ! The a n a r c h i c a s p e c t o f language i s v e r y i m p o r t a n t t o L o o t . S i n c e the p l a y shows the anarchy and c o l l a p s e o f s o c i e t y , t he language r e f l e c t s t h i s moral breakdown. T h i s i s seen c l e a r l y i n t h e s e r i e s o f " d i s l o c a t e d " q u e s t i o n s and answers which o c c u r when a q u e s t i o n i s answered on an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t moral p l a n e from t he one i t was asked on. McLeavy: D e s p i t e appearances t o the c o n t r a r y , c r i m i n a l s a r e poor s l e e p e r s . Fay: How do you s l e e p , H a r o l d ? H a l : A l o n e , (p. 17) Fay's q u e s t i o n i s o b v i o u s l y i n t e n d e d to s a t i s f y her s u s p i c i o n o f H a l ' s g u i l t ; Hal mi s u n d e r s t a n d s h e r , w i l f u l l y o r o t h e r w i s e , and so c r e a t e s t h i s d i s l o c a t i o n . The same e f f e c t can o c c u r i n c o n v e r s a t i o n . Fay i s c a s t i g a t i n g Hal f o r h i s l a s c i v i o u s b e h a v i o u r , and i n an attempt to 67 c o n v e r t him t o "a d e c e n t l i f e " she q u e s t i o n s him about h i s f u t u r e . Fay: What w i l l you do when y o u ' r e o l d ? H a l : I s h a l l d i e . Fay: I see you're d e t e r m i n e d t o run the gamut o f a l l e x p e r i e n c e , (p. 12) N e i t h e r H a l ' s r e p l y t o Fay, n o r her r e s p o n s e to him, i s on the same l e v e l o f m o r a l i t y and u n d e r s t a n d i n g . T h i s t e c h n i q u e emphasises the nightmare q u a l i t y o f the p l a y , t h e l a c k o f communication between c h a r a c t e r s . I t i s a n o t h e r image f o r the anarchy o f s o c i e t y . L o ot i s a wonderful p l a y . I t shows remarkable c o n s i s t e n c y : t h e genre, f a r c e , i s an i n t e g r a l p a r t o f Orton's v i s i o n o f a n a r c h y ; t h e major d r a m a t i c t e c h n i q u e , the d i s l o c a t i o n between c h a r a c t e r s ' p r o t e s t a t i o n s and t h e i r behaviour, i s echoed by the " d i s l o c a t i n g " use o f a t r a d i t i o n a l l y l i g h t - h e a r t e d genre t o communicate a s e r i o u s message. L o o t r e p r e s e n t s a g r e a t t h e a t r i c a l advance f o r O r t o n s i n c e i t not o n l y extends h i s s k i l l s , but r e j u v e n a t e s and expands t h e b o u n d a r i e s o f f a r c e i n the t h e a t r e . The Erpingham Camp was w r i t t e n i n 1965, i m m e d i a t e l y a f t e r L o o t , and was performed on t e l e v i s i o n on 27th June 1966, t h r e e months b e f o r e Loot reopened i n London a t the J e a n e t t a Cochrane t h e a t r e . The f a i l u r e o f the i n i t i a l p r o v i n c i a l t o u r o f L o o t ( i t opened i n F e b r u a r y and c l o s e d l e s s than a month l a t e r ) , and the o r i g i n a l a d v e r s e c r i t i c a l r e a c t i o n t o E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e had saddened and d i s g u s t e d Orton t o such an e x t e n t t h a t he d e t e r m i n e d t o w r i t e no more s t a g e p l a y s . I s h a l l throw the p l a y [ L o o t ] on the f i r e . And I s h a n ' t w r i t e a t h i r d s t a g e p l a y . I s h a l l e a r n my l i v i n g on T.V.24 F o r t u n a t e l y , however, L o o t d i d reopen i n London, and was a c r i t i c a l and b o x - o f f i c e s u c c e s s . Reassured by t h i s , Orton not o n l y wrote more st a g e 68 p l a y s , he a l s o rewrote The Erpingham Camp f o r the s t a g e . The t e x t under d i s c u s s i o n i s thus t h a t o f the v e r s i o n produced ( w i t h The R u f f i a n  on the S t a i r ) i n the Royal C o u r t double b i l l Crimes o f P a s s i o n i n June 1967. John Lahr p r o v i d e s an i l l u m i n a t i n g example o f Orton's i n d e b t e d n e s s to B r e c h t i a n t e c h n i q u e s i n an e a r l i e r d r a f t o f t h e p l a y . Orton . . . then d e v e l o p e d i t [The Erpingham Camp] as a B r e c h t i a n e p i c complete ( i n e a r l y s t a g e s ) w i t h i l l u s t r a t i v e banners such as SCENE 5: AN EXAMPLE OF THE ACTIVE LIFE OF THE CHURCH. ERPINGHAM PREPARES HIMSELF TO MEET THE PEOPLE. THEOLOGY DIS-CUSSED. THE PADRE PROVES THAT CHRISTIANITY IS ESSENTIAL TO GOOD HEALTH. 2 5 I t i s g e n e r a l l y agreed t h a t t h e i d e a f o r t h i s p l a y came from L i n d s a y Anderson — he was d o i n g a f i l m which he'd got from t h e Bacchae. He asked i f I c o u l d do a n y t h i n g w i t h i t " — and t h a t when Anderson d e c i d e d n o t t o use Orton's s c r e e n p l a y , Orton d e v e l o p e d i t i n t o The Erpingham Camp, which was then b r o a d c a s t as p a r t o f a s e r i e s o f p l a y s e n t i t l e d "The Seven Deadly S i n s . " The i n f l u e n c e o f t h e Bacchae i s o b v i o u s i n the s t o r y o f the f o r c e s o f anarchy r e b e l l i n g a g a i n s t a t y r a n n i c a l d i c t a t o r and c a u s i n g h i s d e a t h , but few c r i t i c s have mentioned Orton's e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y B r e c h t i a n t r e a t m e n t o f the theme. Even though the i l l u s t r a t i v e banners no l o n g e r e x i s t i n the s t a g e v e r s i o n , a B r e c h t i a n tone seems t o pervade t h e p l a y . T h i s e f f e c t i s a c h i e v e d by two c e n t r a l d e v i c e s : the i n s i s t e n c e t h a t "no attempt must be made 27 to r e p r o d u c e the v a r i o u s l o c a l e s i n a n a t u r a l i s t i c manner," and the v i t a l importance o f the music, which s e r v e s s i m u l t a n e o u s l y t o e l e v a t e (and thus r i d i c u l e ) the a c t i o n s and c h a r a c t e r s , and t h e r e f o r e d i s t a n c e s the a u d i e n c e . These d e v i c e s r e p r e s e n t the e x t e r n a l elements o f B r e c h t , 69 as i m p e r f e c t l y u n d e r s t o o d by s e v e r a l exponents o f E n g l i s h t h e a t r e . However, t h e r e i s a more i m p o r t a n t B r e c h t i a n i n f l u e n c e i n t h e ' p a r a b l e ' s t r u c t u r e o f the p l a y and i n the p o l i t i c a l n a t u r e o f t h e drama. A l t h o u g h the p l a y may appear t o be a p o l i t i c a l a l l e g o r y , Orton i s n o t p r a i s i n g the v i r t u e s o f anarchy; the a u d i e n c e i s n o t t o i d e n t i f y w i t h e i t h e r p a r t y i n the s t r u g g l e , but s h o u l d be aware o f the d e f e c t s o f both. " A l i e n a t i o n " t e c h n i q u e s thus mock the p r e t e n s i o n s o f Erpingham ( a l t h o u g h they a r e by no means n e c e s s a r y f o r a r e a l i s a t i o n o f h i s p r i d e and d i c t a t o r i a l q u a l i t i e s ) , and p r e v e n t our s y m p a t h i s i n g w i t h the f o r c e s o f a n a r c h y , as p e r s o n i f i e d by E i l e e n and Kenny. I t i s c l e a r , however, t h a t t h e s e t e c h n i q u e s do not r e a l l y c o n t r i b u t e t o t h e r e v i s e d v e r s i o n o f t he p l a y , s i n c e Orton's e x c e l l e n t c h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n s e c u r e s our d e t a c h -ment by i t s own m e r i t s . S i n c e the B r e c h t i a n i n f l u e n c e s were s t r o n g e r i n d r a f t s o f The Erpingham Camp, one may h y p o t h e s i s e t h a t the i n i t i a l f a i l u r e o f L o o t l e d Orton t o e x p e r i m e n t w i t h t h e a t r i c a l methods i n an attempt t o c o n t r o l h i s a u d i e n c e ' s r e a c t i o n s . The subsequent s u c c e s s o f h i s work may have a l l o w e d a m o d i f i c a t i o n o f t h e s e t e c h n i q u e s i n The  Erpingham Camp, and i n c r e a s i n g c o n f i d e n c e i n h i s d r a m a t i c a b i l i t i e s and unique s t y l e i s e v i d e n c e d i n t h e l a c k o f any f u r t h e r s u p e r i m p o s i t i o n o f t h e a t r i c a l c o n v e n t i o n . In a d d i t i o n t o t h e o b v i o u s parody o f the Bacchae, C h r i s t i a n Thomsen su g g e s t s t h a t The Erpingham Camp p a r o d i e s v a r i o u s o t h e r types o f drama, n o t a b l y mediaeval mystery p l a y s and E l i z a b e t h a n t r a g e d y . Erpingham aber z u r n t wie G o t t v a t e r i n den m i t t e l a l t e r l i c h e n M o r a l i t i e s und Mystery P l a y s . . . . Der V e r g l e i c h i s t n i c h t g e s u c h t . O r t o n i m i t i e r t bewust m i t t e l a l t e r l i c h e s d r a m a t i s c h e s Erbe und abermals d i e e l i s a b e t h a n i s c h e T r a g o d i e . 70 Durch P r o p h e z e i u n g s e i n e r H y b r i s zu Beginn des S t u c k e s v o r b e r e i t e t , e r l e b t der Zuschauer nun Erpinghams S t u r z vom Z e n i t s e i n e r Macht . . . 28 Mr. Thomsen's c o n n e c t i o n between t h i s p l a y and E l i z a b e t h a n t r a g e d y i s q u i t e i n t e r e s t i n g , e s p e c i a l l y when we c o n s i d e r t h a t the manner o f Erpingham's death i s v e r y r e m i n i s c e n t o f Barabbas' f a l l t h r o u g h t h e t r a p door i n The Jew o f M a l t a . However, the comparison w i t h mediaeval drama proves even more u s e f u l . Erpingham does behave l i k e God: one o f t h e f o c a l p o i n t s o f s a t i r i c a t t a c k i n t h i s p l a y i s contemporary r e l i g i o n ; thus Erpingham's omnipotence and d e s p o t i s m , combined w i t h h i s d e l u s i o n s o f g r a n d e u r , e n a b l e us t o see him as a parody o f God, as r u l e r o f t h e " E a r t h l y P a r a d i s e . " A n o t h e r t r a d i t i o n which has c l e a r l y i n f l u e n c e d Orton's w r i t i n g o f The Erpingham Camp i s v a u d e v i l l e . The songs and dances, the emphasis on " e n t e r t a i n m e n t " t h r o u g h o u t the p l a y , and much o f t h e d i a l o g u e , p a r t i c u l a r -l y i n the e n t e r t a i n m e n t s sequence, has a d e c i d e d m u s i c - h a l l f l a v o u r . R i l e y : (To_ Kenny). I want you to put t h i s on. I t ' s our r e s i d e n t 'Tarzan' g e a r . Kenny take s t h e s k i n and i s about t o p u t v t on. Ri1ey s t o p s him. Y o u ' l l have to drop y o u r s l a c k s , my l a d . Kenny l o o k s d u b i o u s . Mason g i v e s a g i g g l e and a_ p r o f e s s i o n a l l y coy s m i l e . Mason: He doesn't want t o take them o f f i n f r o n t o f a l a d y . R i l e y : Where's the l a d y ? You're n o t t r y i n g to t e l l us t h a t y o u ' r e a l a d y , Miss Mason? Mason: I am. R i l e y : We'll have t o check y o u r c r e d e n t i a l s l a t e r . (To Kenny) Go w i t h Miss Mason. She p l a y s t o t h e house. Y o u ' l l have a whale o f a t i m e , but remember t o keep y o u r cheques and l e g s c r o s s e d , (p. 61) The i n t e r c h a n g e between R i l e y and Mason i s d e c i d e d l y v a u d e v i 1 1 i a n . Orton uses the t r a d i t i o n a l m a t e r i a l o f m u s i c - h a l l j o k e s ("That wasn't a l a d y , t h a t was my w i f e " ) , and even t h e s l i g h t l y r i s q u e ' d o u b l e - e n t e n d r e s 71 so b e l o v e d o f stand-up comedians. N a t u r a l l y t he c h o i c e o f music c o n t r i b u t e s t o t h i s e f f e c t , as does Mason's c o n c e r t i n a . Moreover, the amazing d i v e r s i t y and range o f the music o u t s i d e t he e n t e r t a i n m e n t s sequence (from "La M a r s e i l l a i s e " t o "Knees Up Mother Brown" and Gounod's "Ave M a r i a " ) , when c o n s i d e r e d i n c o n j u n c t i o n w i t h the many r e f e r e n c e s t o a r t and t h e e x t r e m e l y d e t a i l e d v i s u a l e f f e c t s s p e c i f i e d by Orton --The body o f Erpingham i s l e f t a l o n e i n the m o o n l i g h t w i t h t h e  re d b a l l o o n s and d y i n g flames i n a^  b l a z e from t h e d i s t a n t s t a i n e d  g l a s s . A g r e a t c h o i r i s heard s i n g i n g 'The Holy C i t y ' (p. 88) -- l e a d s Thomsen to view t h i s p l a y as a r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f Pop - T h e a t r e , a genre i n which d i v i s i o n s between the a r t s a r e broken down, r e s u l t i n g i n a type o f "happening" o r m u l t i - m e d i a a r t e x p e r i e n c e . ^ A l t h o u g h t h e s e i n f l u e n c e s and c a t e g o r i s a t i o n s a r e i n t e r e s t i n g , t h e pr i m a r y form o f the p l a y i s f a r c e . Orton d e v e l o p s and extends t he f a r c i c a l t r a d i t i o n he used i n Loot t o p r o v i d e an even s t r o n g e r v i s i o n o f anarchy and a b l e a k e r view o f man's b e s t i a l i t y . The d e s c r i p t i o n o f the e n t e r t a i n m e n t s sequence e m p h a t i c a l l y negates man's s u p e r i o r i t y o v e r o t h e r a n i m a l s . Lou and E i l e e n a r e s c r e a m i n g , Kenny i_s g r u n t i n g and g r i n n i n g  l i k e an ape and f l e x i n g h i s muscles a t an i n d i f f e r e n t Mason. Ted j_s d a n c i n g t he can - c a n , w h i l s t Mason p l a y s t he squeeze-box, (p. 64) Not o n l y does t h i s image deny t h a t man, as seen by O r t o n , has any i n t r i n s i c d i g n i t y , Kenny's T a r z a n i m i t a t i o n a l s o demonstrates man's a f f i n i t y w i t h p r i m a t e s , a p o i n t r e i n f o r c e d by the o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s ' behaving l i k e p e r f o r m i n g a n i m a l s . Moreover, t he a n i m a l i t y o f a l l mankind i s emphasised by the d e s c r i p t i o n o f the r i o t e r s . 72 They were r u n n i n g about h a l f - n a k e d spewing up t h e i r pork 'n beans. I counted e i g h t p a i r s o f women's b r i e f s on t h e s t a i r s . T h e r e ' l l be some unexpected v i s i t s t o t h e p r e - n a t a l c l i n i c a f t e r t o n i g h t , (p. 72) Thus, as i n L o o t , the f a r c e i s an i n t e g r a l p a r t o f Orton's v i s i o n o f s o c i e t y , i t emphasises the a n a r c h i c and b e s t i a l q u a l i t i e s o f modern man. Orton's f o c a l p o i n t s o f s a t i r i c a t t a c k i n t h i s p l a y a r e n o t new. He v i g o r o u s l y , renews h i s a t t a c k on the C h u r c h ; h e r e , u n l i k e L o o t , the f o c u s i s on C h r i s t i a n i t y i n g e n e r a l , not C a t h o l i c i s m o r any one p a r t i c u l a r r e l i g i o n . The o t h e r main s a t i r i c t h r u s t i s d i r e c t e d a g a i n s t a u t h o r i t y : o b v i o u s l y t h e r e i s a c o n n e c t i o n between t h i s and the Church, but t h e f o c u s o f t h i s a t t a c k i s s e c u l a r , i n the person o f Erpingham. Orton's a t t i t u d e s towards a t o t a l i t a r i a n s o c i e t y have been d i s c u s s e d i n The Good and F a i t h f u l S e r v a n t ; however, The Erpingham Camp i s , i n many r e s p e c t s , more s u b t l e i n i t s c r i t i c i s m . F i r s t l y , t h e c o n c e p t o f a on h o l i d a y camp as "a s o r t o f v o l u n t a r y c o n c e n t r a t i o n camp" J U i s more o r i g i n a l than the image o f t h e f i r m as microcosm used i n The Good and F a i t h f u l S e r v a n t , y e t i s j u s t as e f f e c t i v e . [ i t ] has enough r e c o g n i z a b l e t r u t h i n i t , enough r e l a t i o n t o the known t r a i t s o f s u f f i c i e n t l y b e l i e v a b l e human be i n g s t o produce resonances i n o u r minds beyond t h e c o n f i n e s o f what we see b e f o r e us . . .31 Moreover, s i n c e Erpingham, the c e n t r a l a u t h o r i t y f i g u r e , seems r i d i c u l o u s from t h e o u t s e t , and because h i s p r e t e n s i o n s t o g r a n d e u r are c o n s i s t e n t l y u n d e r c u t , both by e x c e l l e n t c h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n and t h e use o f " a l i e n a t i o n " d e v i c e s , Orton s u c c e s s f u l l y demonstrates the amusing i d i o c y o f h i s d e l u s i o n s and h i s subsequent d o w n f a l l . Erpingham: Rows o f E n t e r t a i n m e n t C e n t r e s down l o v e l y , u n s p o i l e d b i t s o f t h e c o a s t , a c r o s s d e s e r t e d moorland and b a r r e n m o u n t a i n s i d e . The E a r t h l y P a r a d i s e . Ah . . . 73 He s t a r e s r a p t l y i n t o the d i s t a n c e . I can hear i t . I can touch i t . And t h e s i g h t o f i t i s h a u n t i n g l y b e a u t i f u l , R i l e y . M usic: 'The Holy C i t y ' (p. 49) The f o l l y and f u t i l i t y o f dreams o f d i c t a t o r i a l omnipotence a r e c l e a r l y demonstrated h e r e , and thus the a u t h o r i t y f i g u r e i s d i m i n i s h e d . T h i s i s a more e f f e c t i v e t e c h n i q u e than t h a t used f o r Mrs. V e a l f o y i n The Good  and F a i t h f u l S e r v a n t . She was, i n a way, i m p e r v i o u s t o a s a t i r i c t r e a t -ment: too omnipotent, too s u c c e s s f u l t o be d e s t r o y e d . Thus we were p r e s e n t e d w i t h a b r i l l i a n t p o r t r a i t o f a f i g u r e o f a u t h o r i t y , but t h e s a t i r e c o u l d o n l y n i b b l e away a t d e t a i l s -- her p e t t y b u r e a u c r a c y , her o b s e s s i o n w i t h t r i v i a -- and n o t d e m o l i s h the c o n c e p t o f a u t h o r i t y . The c h u r c h i s a t t a c k e d through the c h a r a c t e r o f t h e Padre. In f a c t , t h a t phrase i s somewhat m i s l e a d i n g , s i n c e t h e Padre does not have a c l e a r l y d e v e l o p e d c h a r a c t e r ; he i s a two-dimensional f i g u r e , a symbol o f the i n e f f e c t i v e n e s s , h y p o c r i s y and f u t i l i t y o f t h e modern c h u r c h . R e l i g i o u s h y p o c r i s y i s one o f Orton's f a v o u r i t e themes, and t h e Padre behaves i n a manner t o t a l l y u n s u i t a b l e f o r a C h r i s t i a n p r i e s t ; he has been a c c u s e d o f m o l e s t i n g a teenage g i r l --You must g i v e up y o u r e v a n g e l i c a l f o r a y s i n t o teenage c h a l e t s . They're l i a b l e t o m i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n (p. 60) -- h i s d u t i e s seem m a i n l y t o c o n s i s t o f a d d i n g 'tone' to t h e p r o c e e d i n g s --I'd l i k e y o u r p r e s e n c e a t the b a t h i n g beauty c o n t e s t tomorrow, Padre. A c l e r i c a l f a c e always i n s p i r e s c o n f i d e n c e a t a g a t h e r i n g o f semi-nude women. And, i n the e v e n i n g , perhaps you'd mingle w i t h the o l d e r men and t e l l a few o f y o u r " o f f -c o l o u r " s t o r i e s ? (p. 67) - - a n d , f o r the f i n a l touch o f h y p o c r i s y , he, a p r i e s t , has somehow f o r g o t t e n o r m i s l a i d h i s symbol o f r e l i g i o n and C h r i s t i a n i t y : h i s c r u c i f i x . 74 Erpingham: Have you got a c r u c i f i x , Padre? Padre: No, s i r . I've come ou t w i t h o u t i t . (p. 81) Perhaps t h e most i n t e r e s t i n g a s p e c t o f the Padre's b e h a v i o u r , though, i s h i s c o n s t a n t attempt (and f a i l u r e ) t o make C h r i s t i a n i t y r e l e v a n t , t o r e l a t e contemporary i s s u e s t o t h e i r B i b l i c a l c o u n t e r p a r t s . He e x c e l s i n p r o d u c i n g p a t h e t i c and r i d i c u l o u s s i m i l e s ; h i s m o d e r n i s a t i o n o f the p a r a b l e o f t h e Gadarene swine i s h i l a r i o u s l y i n c o m p e t e n t . ^ We a r e meant to u n d e r s t a n d , s i r , t h a t w i t h madness, as w i t h vomit, i t ' s the p a s s e r - b y who r e c e i v e s the i n c o n v e n i e n c e . (p. 58) Not o n l y does t h i s show a fundamental m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e B i b l i c a l s t o r y , i t a l s o demonstrates Orton's t h e s i s : the Church (and thus by i m p l i c a t i o n , the B i b l e ) have no r e l e v a n c e i n modern s o c i e t y . T h i s p o i n t i s c o n t i n u a l l y t h r u s t a t us, sometimes by the Padre's l u d i c r o u s c o m p a r i s o n s , a t o t h e r times by h i s i n e f f e c t u a l b e h a v i o u r . R i l e y : Oh, s i r , ( P l e a d i n g l y ) c a l l them back. L e t ' s t h r a s h i t o u t o v e r a cup o f i n s t a n t . Padre: Had Pharoah done as C h i e f Redcoat R i l e y s u g g e s t s , ' s i r , the ten p l a g u e s would not have been i n f l i c t e d on the f a i r l a n d o f Egypt, (p. 76) The image o f Pharoah b a r g a i n i n g w i t h Moses o v e r "a cup o f i n s t a n t " i s i r r e s i s t i b l y funny. In a d d i t i o n , t h e Padre i s an a b j e c t f a i l u r e as a n e g o t i a t o r : he i s i n c a p a b l e o f t u r n i n g back t h e hordes o f r i o t e r s ( t h e comparison w i t h Pope Leo i s a f u r t h e r use o f e l e v a t i o n and h y p e r b o l e to d i m i n i s h a c h a r a c t e r ) , and h i s p r a y e r s i n the m i d s t o f s l a u g h t e r a r e t o t a l l y p a t h e t i c . R i l e y and W. E. H a r r i s o n a r e f i g h t i n g o f f t h e a t t a c k s o f t h e  o t h e r campers. Kenny i s v i c i o u s l y b e a t i n g up Erpingham. E i l e e n i_s_ s c r e a ming and h i t t i n g J e s s i e Mason. The Padre k n e e l s amid the carnage. H i s hands f o i d e d i n p r a y e r . Padre: Oh, M e r c i f u l F a t h e r , i n Thee we t r u s t when dangers t h r e a t e n . He i s h i t by an egg, (p. 85) 75 T h i s i g n o m i n i o u s a c t i o n t y p i f i e s Orton's a t t i t u d e towards t h e Church; in d e e d i t appears t o be O r ton's v i e w p o i n t t h a t t h e Padre v o i c e s . I t ' s L i f e t h a t d e f e a t s the C h r i s t i a n Church. She's always been w e l l - e q u i p p e d to deal w i t h Death, (p. 86) I t has been s a i d t h a t the Padre's c h a r a c t e r i s t w o - d i m e n s i o n a l ; t h i s comment can be e q u a l l y w e l l a p p l i e d t o any o f t h e o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s i n The Erpingham Camp. The s t a t e m e n t s made about c h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n i n L o o t a p p l y here: f a r c e demands a d i f f e r e n t type o f c h a r a c t e r d e l i n e a t i o n from o t h e r comedy, and the c h a r a c t e r s i n t h i s p l a y a r e c l e a r l y d e v e l o p e d , w e l l - c h a r a c t e r i s e d ( o r perhaps c a r i c a t u r e d ) and b r i l l i a n t l y s u c c e s s f u l . U n l i k e The Good and F a i t h f u l Servant,where t h e r e i s r e a l l y o n l y one i n t e r e s t i n g c h a r a c t e r , a l l the c a s t o f The Erpingham Camp ar e f a s c i n a t i n g Erpingham, i s o f c o u r s e , t h e c e n t r a l f i g u r e ; h i s g o d - l i k e f a n t a s i e s have been d i s c u s s e d , and t h i s d e l u s i o n extends t o h i s management o f the camp, h i s views on r e l i g i o n , m o r a l i t y --R i l e y : Two ducks. Made o f p l a s t i c . They were s t u c k t o g e t h e r . Erpingham: Beak t o beak? Was the j o i n e r y smutty? R i l e y : Well s i r — the E n g i n e e r i n c harge had t o p e r f o r m s u r g e r y . . . Erpingham: I want t h o s e ducks d e s t r o y e d . We've no time f o r h e d o n i s t s here. My camp i s a pure camp (p. 48) — and punishment. In f a c t Erpingham's i n t r a n s i g e n c e b e f o r e t h e d e p u t a t i o f campers i s t r u l y t h a t o f a d e s p o t . He i s c o n v i n c e d t h a t i t i s h i s duty to p u n i s h t h e m i s c r e a n t s , i n d e e d , t h a t i t would be wrong f o r him n o t to do so. You have damaged my p r o p e r t y , poured s c o r n on my s t a f f and i n s u l t e d me. You've c a s t my h o s p i t a l i t y i n my f a c e . And y e t , the b i t t e r t a s t e o f i n g r a t i t u d e not d r y upon my l i p s , you come t o me w i t h y o u r a r r o g a n t demands. No, you must be t a u g h t a l e s s o n , (p. 75) The language o f t h i s speech i s i m p r e s s i v e . Erpingham sounds and behaves 76 l i k e an a b s o l u t e monarch, a man whose power i s so complete t h a t he w i l l a l l o w no r e b e l l i o n . However, t h i s d i g n i t y i s i m m e d i a t e l y u n d e r c u t . I t i s my i n t e n t i o n t o d e f y the f o r c e s o f Anarchy w i t h a l l t h a t i s b e s t i n t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y c i v i l i s a t i o n . I s h a l l p ut a r e c o r d o f Russ Conway on t h e gram, and browse through a James Bond. (p. 76) Bond and Russ Conway are symbols o f m i d d l e - c l a s s m e d i o c r i t y ; a f r i g h t e n i n g image f o r " a l l t h a t i s b e s t i n t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y c i v i l i s a t i o n . " Once a g a i n , Orton uses h y p e r b o l e t o d e m o l i s h the f o r c e o f a s t a t e m e n t . The o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s a r e n o t dealt'; w i t h i n q u i t e the same way. With t h e e x c e p t i o n o f R i l e y , they a r e a l l e x c e l l e n t v i g n e t t e s : Mason i s a w o n d e r f u l l y h y p o c r i t i c a l nymphomaniac, Kenny a r a b b l e - r o u s e r , somewhat r e m i n i s c e n t o f Osborne's Jimmy P o r t e r , and E i l e e n a m a r v e l l o u s c r e a t i o n , a h a l f - w i t t e d , a d d l e - p a t e d g i r l who t h i n k s and t a l k s s o l e l y i n c l i c h e s , p a r t i c u l a r l y t h o s e o f s e n t i m e n t a l j o u r n a l i s m . We d e f i e d the ban on our l o v e ! I'm p r e g n a n t . I've a r i g h t t o p r o t e c t i o n , haven't I? (p. 70) R i l e y i s a more complex c h a r a c t e r . I t i s d i f f i c u l t t o d e c i d e whether he i s a nincompoop o r v e r y , v e r y c l e v e r . I t i s s u g g e s t e d t h a t he i s the l a t t e r ; he may have k i l l e d t h e E n t e r t a i n m e n t s O f f i c e r t o o b t a i n h i s j o b . C e r t a i n l y , whether w i t t i n g l y o r n o t , he i s the cause o f Erpingham's d o w n f a l l and d e a t h , and h i s f i n a l comments t o the dead body s u g g e s t an element o f g l o a t i n g . I ' l l a r r a n g e a C l a s s A ( H i g h e r Employee) wre a t h , s i r . I hope t h a t w i l l be a l l r i g h t ? Turns t o go. Looks back. Goodbye, s i r . Be s e e i n g you. (pp. 87-88) H i s f u n e r a l o r a t i o n f o r Erpingham shows him to be e i t h e r u t t e r l y hypo-c r i t i c a l and u n s c r u p u l o u s , o r c o m p l e t e l y i n c a p a b l e o f p e r c e i v i n g the t r u t h . 77 He was a g r e a t man. One o f the g r e a t e s t o f our time . H i s d e a t h , when i t came, found him q u i t e p r e p a r e d . He went q u i e t l y and w i t h g r e a t d i g n i t y , (p. 87) The b l a t a n t u n t r u t h f u l n e s s o f the f i n a l s t a t e m e n t ( s i n c e we have j u s t seen Erpingham f a l l through the s t a g e t o an e x t r e m e l y n o i s y and u n d i g n i f i e d d e a t h ) , s u g g e s t s t h a t R i l e y may be c l e v e r enough t o p e r v e r t a l l o c c a s i o n s to h i s own use; however, t h e p l a y does n o t a l l o w f o r s u f f i c i e n t e x p l a n a -t i o n o r development o f h i s c h a r a c t e r , and thus i n c o n s i s t e n c i e s remain. Orton's use o f language i s , as always, m a s t e r l y i n t h i s p l a y . H i s most o f t e n used t e c h n i q u e s a r e e l e v a t i o n ( t o make Erpingham, i n p a r t i c u l a r , l o o k f o o l i s h ) , and s i m p l i f i c a t i o n , a type o f r e d u c t i o ad absurdum, used t o g r e a t e f f e c t w i t h the Padre. Erpingham's f o o l i s h d e l u s i o n s o f grandeur a r e r e p r e s e n t e d as much i n h i s language as they a r e by t h e music, l i g h t i n g and o t h e r e f f e c t s . R i l e y : The R e s i d e n t M e d i c a l O f f i c e r went an hour ago. The C h i e f E n g i n e e r and t h e S e c u r i t y O f f i c e r have gone w i t h i n the l a s t few minutes. Erpingham: We've l o s t Medecine, S c i e n c e and Defence. Any more? R i l e y : The L i b e r a l A r t s , s i r . Represented by t h e woman a t th e p o s t c a r d s t a n d . (p. 81) The c o n c e p t o f e l e v a t i n g t he l a d y a t the p o s t c a r d s t a n d t o t h e r e p r e s e n t a -t i v e o f L i b e r a l A r t s e p i t o m i s e s Erpingham's g r a n d i l o q u e n t f a n t a s i e s . The language, as i t does so o f t e n i n Orton's p l a y s , demonstrates t h e h y p o c r i s y o f modern man. Here, as i n E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e and L o o t , i t shows the a f f e c t e d g e n t i l i t y and f a l s e m o r a l i t y o f the c h a r a c t e r s . Erpingham, as we have seen, has asked t h e Padre t o a t t e n d t he beauty c o n t e s t and t e l l d i r t y j o k e s t o the s p e c t a t o r s . However, he i s v e r y much concerned t h a t h i s camp s h o u l d appear moral and above r e p r o a c h , thus h i s i n s i s t e n c e on appearances i s seen t o be l u d i c r o u s . 78 Erpingham: ( s t a r i n g a t Ted, o u t r a g e d . ) What has become o f y o u r t r o u s e r s ? (To the Padre) T h i s i s no p l a c e f o r a p r i e s t . (Back t o Ted) I don't a l l o w i n d e c e n t exposure i n my camp. ~Tp. 70) Orton's m a s t e r l y r e v e l a t i o n o f t h i s h y p o c r i s y i s seen a g a i n t o g r e a t e f f e c t i n R i l e y ' s f u n e r a l o r a t i o n . E i l e e n ' s " s e n t i m e n t a l j o u r n a l e s e " has a l r e a d y been i d e n t i f i e d , and somewhat resembles Kath's cheap r o m a n t i c l o n g i n g s i n E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e ; however The Erpingham Camp i s remarkable f o r i t s unique use o f p o l i t i c a l language, i n which Orton e x a c t l y c a p t u r e s the r h e t o r i c and i n t e n s i t y o f a h i g h l y e f f e c t i v e demagogue. They have d e n i e d o u r c h i l d r e n b r e a d , i n s u l t e d our womenfolk and i g n o r e d our e v e r y p l e a . There i s n o t h i n g l e f t but d i r e c t a c t i o n . I say we s h o u l d break open t h e S t o r e s . Take t h e means o f s u p p l y i n t o our own hands, (p. 77) Indeed t h e r e i s more v a r i e t y o f language i n The Erpingham Camp than i n any o t h e r Orton p l a y . In a d d i t i o n t o t h e many d i f f e r e n t s t y l e s , t h e r e 33 are "many n i c e r u t h l e s s j o k e s i n Orton's b e s t f a n t a s t i c v e i n , " a l l d e s i g n e d t o show t h e h o l i d a y camp as a s h e l t e r f o r the worst a s p e c t s o f humanity. Erpingham: Our d i s a b i l i t y bonus was won by Mr. L a u r i e Russel o f Market Harborough. Both L a u r i e ' s l e g s were c e r t i f i e d ' a b s o l u t e l y u s e l e s s 1 by our R e s i d e n t M e d i c a l O f f i c e r . Yet he performed the T w i s t and t h e Bossa Nova t o t h e tune s p e c i f i e d on t h e e n t r a n c e form. Ted: He f e l l o v e r , though. Twice. Lou: They h e l p them a l o t , don't they? T h a t b l i n d woman would've never found t h e d i v i n g board' i f t h e a u d i e n c e hadn't shouted o u t . (p. 51) The t r a d i t i o n a l c o m p e t i t i o n s and e v e n t s i n h o l i d a y camps a r e t w i s t e d , p e r v e r t e d and p a r o d i e d by Orton t o p r o v i d e an u g l y view o f mankind. Man i s seen as e n j o y i n g the d i s a b i l i t i e s o f o t h e r s , d e r i v i n g p l e a s u r e from dubious s e n s a t i o n s , and g e n e r a l l y l a c k i n g compassion f o r t h o s e who s u f f e r . 79 In The Erpingham Camp, Orton shows us s o c i e t y en masse, and demonstrates how e a s i l y man can be swayed t o v i o l e n c e and d e s t r u c t i o n . The p l a y i s n o t a p o l i t i c a l a l l e g o r y i n the sense t h a t i t c e l e b r a t e s the triumph o f anarchy o v e r d e s p o t i s m , but i t does have a s o c i a l message. Man i s viewed as an a n i m a l : i r r a t i o n a l , ready t o f o l l o w t h e h e r d , u n s y m p a t h e t i c , and above a l l , u n c o n t r o l l a b l y v i o l e n t . The f o r c e o f t h i s image, combined w i t h the s a t i r e on t h e Church and a u t h o r i t y , makes The Erpingham Camp Orton's most powerful o n e - a c t p l a y . Funeral Games, Orton's l a s t o n e - a c t p l a y , was w r i t t e n i n the f i n a l months o f h i s l i f e , and produced on t e l e v i s i o n i n August 1968, o v e r a y e a r a f t e r h i s death. The p l a y was b r o a d c a s t o n l y a few days a f t e r the R u s s i a n i n v a s i o n o f C z e c h o s l o v a k i a , t h e r e f o r e most t e l e v i s i o n c r i t i c s commented n o t o n l y on Orton's " s t y l i s t i c a l l y e l e g a n t and g r a v e l y w i t t y " ^ ^ h a n d l i n g o f the theme, but a l s o noted t h a t t h e " v i s i o n o f l i f e as a h o r r i b l e and v i o l e n t f a r c e seemed r e l e v a n t . . . t o a g r e a t d e a l we had been w a t c h i n g . " ^ Orton's view o f mankind must have seemed p a r t i c u l a r l y apt a t such a t i m e ; i n d e e d the c o i n c i d e n t a l r e l e v a n c e o f the p l a y may a c c o u n t f o r the d i s c r e p a n c y i n o p i n i o n between the t e l e v i s i o n c r i t i c s and the l a t e r , more academic r e v i e w s . N e a r l y e v e r y c r i t i c i n t h i s l a t t e r group c o n s i d e r s F u n e r a l Games a d i s a p p o i n t m e n t : a t b e s t i t i s thought t o be a b l a c k comedy which " f a i l s to r a i s e i t s theme o f r e l i g i o u s h y p o c r i s y above the l e v e l o f cheeky f u n , " a t w o r s t a t a s t e l e s s c o l l e c t i o n o f j o k e s about d e a t h , w i t h a n t i - r e l i g i o u s t e n d e n c i e s . C e r t a i n l y the p l a y does l i t t l e t o enhance Orton's r e p u t a t i o n : many o f t h e b r i l l i a n t l y funny l i n e s c o n s o l i d a t e h i s p o s i t i o n as a master o f language, but the 80 e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y (and u n n e c e s s a r i l y ) complex p l o t , i n c o n j u n c t i o n w i t h the u n s u b t l e (and, on o c c a s i o n , u t t e r l y l u d i c r o u s ) s a t i r i c comment, p r e v e n t s t h e c e n t r a l t h r u s t o f the p l a y , t he a t t a c k a g a i n s t r e l i g i o n and r e l i g i o u s h y p o c r i t e s , from b e i n g taken v e r y s e r i o u s l y . F u n e r a l Games i s d e f i n i t e l y one o f the f u n n i e s t o f Orton's p l a y s , and i t may be t h i s humour t h a t d i l u t e s t he f o r c e o f t h e s a t i r e . In Orton's o t h e r works the l a u g h t e r i n c r e a s e s t h e s a t i r i c t h r u s t ; i n L o o t , f o r example, t h e au d i e n c e laughs a t T r u s c o t t k i c k i n g H a l , then r e a l i s e s the t r u t h o f Orton's comment on p o l i c e b r u t a l i t y . Here t h e humour e x i s t s because o f the sh e e r r i d i c u l o u s n e s s o f the s i t u a t i o n ; t h e l a u g h t e r may be l o u d e r , but the u t t e r l u d i c r o u s n e s s d i m i n i s h e s t he deeper comment. P r i n g l e : What shape i s y o u r hot water b o t t l e ? Caul f i e l d : I haven't g ot one. P r i n g l e : Too proud. Mine t a k e s t h e form o f a c r o s s . T h e r e ' s p i e t y f o r you.38 T h i s i s a v e r y funny i n t e r c h a n g e , and does in d e e d d i s c u s s one o f Orton's f a v o u r i t e themes: the importance o f appearances ( e s p e c i a l l y t o r e l i g i o u s h y p o c r i t e s ) . N e v e r t h e l e s s , t h e c o n c e p t o f a hot-water b o t t l e i n t h e shape o f a c r o s s i s so u n l i k e l y t h a t much o f t h e t h r u s t i s l o s t . Indeed, John R u s s e l l T a y l o r ' s comment t h a t "the a c t i o n t a k e s p l a c e i n a nev e r -never l a n d , 1 a l t h o u g h n o t s t r i c t l y a c c u r a t e , has much t r u t h i n i t . I t i s d i f f i c u l t t o r e c o g n i s e t he s o c i e t y i n t h i s p l a y : Orton i s remarkable f o r h i s o f t e n d i s t o r t e d , but always r e a d i l y i d e n t i f i a b l e views o f man-k i n d ; here, however, h i s i m a g i n a t i o n appears t o have taken f l i g h t . C e r t a i n l y t h e r e a r e r e c o g n i s a b l e elements i n F u n e r a l Games, b u t , on the whole, the v i s i o n o f a l u s t f u l , h y p o c r i t i c a l , greedy, and somewhat maniacal clergyman employing a homosexual p h o t o g r a p h e r ' s model t o i n v e s t i g a t e , and s u b s e q u e n t l y murder, h i s w i f e (not t o mention a l l t he o t h e r i n t r i c a c i e s 81 o f the p l o t , i n c l u d i n g an o l d , mad, b l i n d donkey-keeper) can o n l y w i t h d i f f i c u l t y be r e l a t e d t o modern s o c i e t y . Mr. T a y l o r makes t h i s p o i n t q u i t e f o r c e f u l l y : In t h e c i r c u m s t a n c e s i t i s hard t o r e l a t e c h a r a c t e r s o r e v e n t s t o any e x t e r n a l r e a l i t y , and t h e r e f o r e t o any e x i s t i n g code o r c o n v e n t i o n o f m o r a l i t y , p r o p r i e t y and what-have-you. But i f t h i s i s a f a n t a s y w o r l d where a n y t h i n g goes, then how can you hope to b r i n g o f f e f f e c t s which depend on a sense o f o u t r a g e a t the b r e a k i n g o f taboos? Shock cannot e x i s t w i t h o u t a t l e a s t some p a r t i a l , p r o v i s i o n a l s e n s e o f b e l i e f . 4 0 T h i s i s a p e r c e p t i v e comment, but the s o c i e t y o f t h e p l a y i s n o t r e a l l y a " f a n t a s y w o r l d " ; i t i s however, too e x a g g e r a t e d and d i s t o r t e d an image o f r e a l i t y f o r a s t r o n g f e e l i n g o f shock t o e x i s t . S i n c e the c e n t r a l c h a r a c t e r s i n t h i s p l a y a r e c l e r g y m e n , Orton i s a b l e t o s a t i r i s e the f u n c t i o n and b e h a v i o u r o f the Church i n many d i f f e r e n t ways. On o c c a s i o n t h e a t t a c k seems t o be l i m i t e d t o P r i n g l e ' s e s o t e r i c s e c t , whose a c t i v i t i e s a r e d e s c r i b e d i n terms a p p r o p r i a t e f o r a gang o f h o o l i g a n s . Have you heard o f my group? The B r o t h e r h o o d . We hang about on s t r e e t c o r n e r s , (p. 324) However, t h e B r o t h e r h o o d ( o r B r e t h r e n , as i t i s sometimes c a l l e d ) i s not s a t i r i s e d on i t s own a c c o u n t . Orton uses t h i s s e c t t o p r e s e n t a v i c i o u s l y funny c a r i c a t u r e o f C h r i s t i a n i t y i n g e n e r a l . From P r i n g l e ' s i r r e v e r e n t remarks about the h o l y water --I t ' s r e p o r t e d t o have m i r a c u l o u s powers. I use i t as a l a x a t i v e m y s e l f (p. 324) -- to h i s d e s c r i p t i o n o f C h r i s t m a s (where the t o n g u e - i n - c h e e k a t t i t u d e i s e v i d e n t , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the pun on "the u n u s u a l n e s s o f t h e c o n c e p t i o n " ) , we can see t h a t O r t o n i s d e l i g h t e d l y mocking a l l t h e s a c r e d r i t u a l s o f the e s t a b l i s h e d Church. 82 C h r i s t m a s . We c a l l t h a t t h e f e s t i v a l o f t h e Renewal o f t h e S p i r i t . We have a c o t w i t h a baby i n i t o u t s i d e the c h u r c h . I dare say y o u ' r e s u r p r i s e d by t h e u n u s u a l n e s s o f t h e c o n c e p t i o n , (p. 324) The B r o t h e r h o o d , t h e r e f o r e , i s t o be viewed as a microcosm; a l l the sex, v i o l e n c e and h y p o c r i s y so r i f e i n t h a t o r g a n i s a t i o n c o r r e s p o n d t o Orton's v i s i o n o f the b e h a v i o u r o f C h r i s t i a n man. Of c o u r s e O r t o n cannot r e s i s t p o k i n g f u n a t the Church whenever p o s s i b l e . Thus, the p l a y has, as a type o f r u n n i n g j o k e , a s e r i e s o f exchanges which c o m p l e t e l y p e r v e r t a l l t h e i d e a l s o f C h r i s t i a n i t y . C a u l f i e l d : I've an appointment a t t h e nude c a l e n d a r shop. I've been commissioned t o do F e b r u a r y . McCorquodale: The Church G a z e t t e put o u t a n i c e c a l e n d a r . They might be a b l e t o use you. (p. 334) The thought o f a nude male model i n t h e Church G a z e t t e i s h i l a r i o u s , but h a r m l e s s . Not so funny o r h a r m l e s s , however, i s C a u l f i e l d ' s i n j u n c t i o n to P r i n g l e : U n l e s s you k i l l y o u r w i f e s h e ' l l a c c u s e you o f n o t b e i n g her murderer. You're a clergyman. I t ' s time you p r a c t i s e d what you p r e a c h . (p. 353) The consequences o f t h e c l e r g y i n F u n e r a l Games p r a c t i s i n g what t h e y preach a r e i n d e e d h o r r i f y i n g . In Orton's u n i v e r s e t h e p r e v a i l i n g emotions t h a t govern a l l men's l i v e s a r e revenge, l u s t , g r e e d , and above a l l , a d e s i r e f o r s e l f - g r a t i f i c a t i o n . Thus Orton i s anxious t o demonstrate t h a t men must n o t View the Church, and p a r t i c u l a r l y the c l e r g y , as s a c r e d and i n v i o l a t e . S i n c e p r i e s t s a r e human, th e y e x p e r i e n c e t h e same emotions as a l l mankind; i n f a c t i n Orton's view, they d i f f e r from o r d i n a r y men o n l y i n t h a t they use t h e i r r e l i g i o n and p o s i t i o n as a c o v e r t o i n d u l g e more f r e e l y i n t h e i r animal n a t u r e s . A l t h o u g h the c h a r a c t e r s are a t t a c k e d f o r v a r i o u s a s p e c t s o f h y p o c r i s y , 83 f o r e x a m p l e , P r i n g l e ' s b u r n i n g d e s i r e f o r w e a l t h y women, the c e n t r a l s a t i r i c t h r u s t o f t h e p l a y comments on t h e p h y s i c a l v i o l e n c e c o n n e c t e d w i t h r e l i g i o u s b e l i e f s . O r t on's t h e s i s has been d e s c r i b e d as an attempt t o prove t h a t " v i o l e n c e and r e l i g i o n a r e f o r e v e r d e s t i n e d to go hand i n hand";^! a s i t u a t i o n t h a t M c C o r q u o d a l e 1 s p a i n t i n g d e p i c t s e m b l e m a t i c a l l y . McCorquodale: I t was my i n t e n t i o n t o r e p r e s e n t -- i n a s y m b o l i c f a s h i o n -- the C h r i s t i a n Church. T e s s a : A b i r d o f prey c a r r y i n g an o l i v e b r a n c h . You've put i t i n a n u t s h e l l , (p. 355) S i n c e the p l a y i s concerned w i t h v i o l e n c e , i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t o l o o k a t the way f o r c e i s p r e s e n t e d . On a t l e a s t two o c c a s i o n s t h e power o f t h e v i o l e n c e i s such t h a t i t breaks through t h e l a u g h t e r and s h a t t e r s t h e a u d i e n c e i n t o shocked s i l e n c e . T h i s o c c u r s f i r s t when P r i n g l e p r e p a r e s t o k i l l T e s s a . The f u n and j o k e s c o n t i n u e u n t i l T e s s a becomes aware o f the r e a l danger and screams. We, the a u d i e n c e , r e a c t e q u a l l y v i o l e n t l y ; t he u g l i n e s s o f r e a l i t y seems a l l the more s h o c k i n g i n c o n t r a s t t o t h e f a r c e . P r i n g l e p o i n t s t h e gun a t T e s s a ' s h e a r t . She backs away. Screams, s u d d e n l y a f r a i d . C a u l f i e l d p i c k s up a^  b o t t l e and c r a s h e s i t o v e r P r i n g l e ' s head. P r i n g l e drops the gun and f a l l s t o the ground. T e s s a : (pause, t o C a u l f i e l d ) . You want t o be c a r e f u l . You might h u r t somebody, (p. 339) The humour o f T e s s a ' s comment t o a man who has saved her l i f e i s o b v i o u s ; i t r e s t o r e s t h e p l a y t o the l e v e l o f f a r c e . N e v e r t h e l e s s , Orton i s u s i n g v i o l e n c e f o r p a r t i c u l a r e f f e c t h e r e ; l e s t we s h o u l d miss the p o i n t , he demonstrates i t a g a i n i n a r e m a r k a b l y s i m i l a r i n c i d e n t . T e s s a is_ t r a p p e d . She s h r i n k s away. T e s s a : No. Don't touch me. P l e a s e l e t me a l o n e . C a u l f i e l d pushes t h e gun i n t o her f a c e . He p u l l s t h e t r i g g e r . 84 C l i c k o f b a r r e l t u r n i n g . He p u l 1 s t h e t r i g g e r a g a i n . C l i c k  o f b a r r e l t u r n i n g . C a u l f i e l d examines the gun. C a u l f i e l d : I t s empty. Te s s a g i v e s a c r y o f r e l i e f and b u r s t s i n t o t e a r s , (p. 357) Once a g a i n t h e t e n s i o n i s g r e a t e r than t h e l a u g h t e r . Orton breaks down the d i s t a n c e between a c t o r and a u d i e n c e ; he smashes t h e a t r i c a l c o n v e n t i o n s t o g i v e h i s p l a y s t h e g r e a t e s t p o s s i b l e r e l e v a n c e . Here he i s c o n c e r n e d not w i t h m a i n t a i n i n g the c o r r e c t p r o p o r t i o n s o f humour and suspense to c r e a t e a funny, i n t e r e s t i n g p l a y , but w i t h e m p h a s i s i n g t h e amount o f v i o l e n c e i n our l i v e s , ; not n e c e s s a r i l y i n such a c o n c r e t e p h y s i c a l form, but as a metaphor f o r mental and e m o t i o n a l v i o l e n c e . Thus t h e c o n n e c t i o n between r e l i g i o n and b r u t e f o r c e works on two l e v e l s : f i r s t , i t i s an e x c e l l e n t , and amusing, image o f h y p o c r i s y . What an amazing s i g h t — two men o f God t r y i n g t o t h r o t t l e one a n o t h e r . (p. 356) M o r e o v e r , i t demonstrates Orton's view o f the e f f e c t r e l i g i o n has on men's minds, s i n c e he e n v i s i o n s r e l i g i o u s dogma as an attempt t o m a n i p u l a t e and c o n t r o l mankind. The a t t a c k on h y p o c r i s y i n t h i s p l a y i s n o t r e s t r i c t e d t o t h e c h a r a c t e r s ' a t t i t u d e s t o r e l i g i o n : P r i n g l e ' s p r o t e s t a t i o n s o f d i s r e g a r d f o r money ( d e s p i t e d i r e c t e v i d e n c e t o t h e c o n t r a r y ) , and McCorquodale's i n a b i l i t y to admit the t r u t h about h i s b e h a v i o u r a r e a l s o s a t i r i s e d . We know McCorquodale has k i l l e d h i s w i f e , y e t he i s a n x i o u s t o m i n i m i s e h i s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r her death. McCorquodale: The a c t u a l b u r i a l was done by t h e N a t i o n a l Coal board. She's under a ton> o f smokeless. I got i t a t t h e r e d u c e d summer r a t e . C a u l f i e l d : You're a murderer? McCorquodale: These 'with i t ' e x p r e s s i o n s a r e n ' t f a m i l i a r t o me. (pp. 331-2) 85 The s e m a n t i c q u i b b l i n g i s v e r y e f f e c t i v e . McCorquodale demonstrates h i s g u i l t by h i s f u t i l e e q u i v o c a t i o n ; he a l s o makes h i s a m o r a l i t y c l e a r . In t h i s s o c i e t y , murder i s a mere term; McCorquodale, who c o n s i d e r s he had adequate r e a s o n s f o r k i l l i n g h i s w i f e , does not t h i n k o f h i m s e l f as a murderer. Here, as i n most o f Orton's p l a y s , a c o m p l e t e l y amoral u n i v e r s e e x i s t s ; t h e c h a r a c t e r s behave " n a t u r a l l y " -- t h a t i s th e y f o l l o w t h e i r i n s t i n c t s and emotions; they obey no laws o f s o c i e t y e x c e p t to m a i n t a i n an appearance o f g e n t i l i t y . Indeed,the amoral p e r v e r s i t y o f s o c i e t y i s shown q u i t e c l e a r l y i n Fune r a l Games. P r i n g l e i s i d o l i s e d by a l l women once i t i s th o u g h t he has murdered h i s w i f e : " I t ' s my unsavoury r e p u t a t i o n . A t t r a c t s them l i k e f l i e s " (p. 343). T h i s p o r t r a i t i s a parody, a p e r v e r s i o n o f t h e t y p i c a l r a k i s h hero o f novel and s c r e e n . These heroes a r e n e a r l y always w i c k e d , " l o v e 'em and l e a v e 'em" t y p e s , men who a r e a t t r a c t i v e f o r t h e i r d e v i l - m a y - c a r e a t t i t u d e s , and t h e i r r e c k l e s s , r u t h l e s s approach to l i f e . P r i n g l e i s the a l m o s t l o g i c a l e x t e n s i o n o f t h e p r o t o t y p e , y e t he d i f f e r s i n one v i t a l r e s p e c t : he i s supposed t o be a murderer. T h i s v i t a l d i f f e r e n c e , which s h o u l d make women wary o f him, o n l y s e r v e s to make him even more a t t r a c t i v e ; s o c i e t y i s so s e n s a t i o n - s e e k i n g t h a t a murderer i m m e d i a t e l y a c h i e v e s a c e r t a i n s t a t u s , a measure o f n o t o r i e t y . ^ T h i s was a p r e s e n t from a woman j o u r n a l i s t . She wanted t he p r i v i l e g e o f k i s s i n g hands t h a t had taken human l i f e . (p. 334) There can be l i t t l e doubt t h a t t h i s view o f mankind i s e a s i l y r e c o g n i s a b l e : t h i s i s one o f t h e most e f f e c t i v e themes o f the p l a y . McCorquodale's r e f u s a l t o admit h i s g u i l t , and P r i n g l e ' s f e a r l e s t h i s i n n ocence be d i s c o v e r e d a r e m o t i v a t e d by the same cause: an 86 overwhelming c o n c e r n w i t h a p p e a r a n c e s . In t h i s p l a y , as i n much o f Orton's work, the d i s c r e p a n c y between what t h e c h a r a c t e r s a c t u a l l y do and the f a c e they p r e s e n t t o the w o r l d i s g r e a t . Here, Orton uses a n e a t t w i s t : f o r once, one o f the c h a r a c t e r s i s t r a d i n g on h i s ' e v i l ' r e p u t a t i o n . P r i n g l e ' s h y p o c r i s y i s a d i r e c t i n v e r s i o n and parody o f McCorquodale's; he i s p r e t e n d i n g t o be g u i l t y , McCorquodale t o be i n n o c e n t . T h i s h i l a r i o u s c o n t r a s t r e i n f o r c e s man's l u d i c r o u s c o n c e r n w i t h how t h i n g s seem; and the humour o f the s i t u a t i o n i s t y p i f i e d by T e s s a ' s d i s c u s s i o n o f h e r murder. I t i s n ' t the k i n d o f death I'd hoped f o r . However, as l o n g as I was f u l l y d r e s s e d and had r e c e n t l y a t t e n d e d some p l a c e o f w o r s h i p I won't w i t h h o l d my c o n s e n t , (p. 341) O r t o n ' s b r i l l i a n t f a c i l t y f o r language c a p t u r e s t h e e u p h e m i s t i c d i s l o c a t i o n between a c h a r a c t e r ' s b e h a v i o u r and h i s words.. In F u n e r a l Games euphemisms abound. Some o f t h e s e a r e , however, s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t ; t hey a r e d o u b l e - e n t e n d r e s , s l i g h t l y smutty j o k e s masquerading under a c o v e r o f g e n t i l i t y . Thus when P r i n g l e admits t o t h e s e d u c t i o n o f V a l e r i e h i s language seems p u r e , even ecumenical on the s u r f a c e , but has a n o t h e r , q u i t e o p p o s i t e and v e r y s e x u a l meaning. The s p i r i t o f t h e B r o t h e r h o o d e n t e r e d V a l e r i e about a y e a r p r i o r t o her death, (p. 358) A n o t h e r a s p e c t o f d i s l o c a t i o n i n the language o f t h i s p l a y i s seen i n a number o f exchanges i n which t h e r e p l y i s based on a m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g , or p a r t i a l u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e p r e v i o u s s t a t e m e n t . T e s s a : I've bought a cake. McCorquodale: Is i t an a n n i v e r s a r y ? T e s s a : No. I t ' s a Dundee, (p. 347) T h i s e p i t o m i s e s man's i n a b i l i t y t o communicate w i t h o t h e r men; i t i s a l s o a wonderful example o f T e s s a ' s a b s u r d l i t e r a l n e s s , her i n s i s t e n c e 87 on t a k i n g e v e r y comment a t f a c e v a l u e . T e s s a : What happened t o y o u r w i f e ? McCorquodale: She was taken up to Heaven. In a f i e r y c h a r i o t . D r i v e n by an a n g e l . T e s s a : What nonsense. V a l e r i e would never a c c e p t a l i f t from a s t r a n g e r , (p. 351) T h i s d e v i c e e n c a p s u l a t e s many o f the f r u s t r a t i o n s o f man's e f f o r t s t o make h i m s e l f u n d e r s t o o d ; however Orton a l s o uses i t f o r i t s v e r y funny e f f e c t s . P r i n g l e : A l o v e - n e s t a d j a c e n t t o a bookshop. I do hope she h a s n ' t b e t r a y e d me w i t h a seedy i n t e l l e c t u a l . C a u l f i e l d : ( t u r n i n g t h e l e t t e r o v e r ) . The watermark i s i n the form o f a f r o g . P r i n g l e : A French i n t e l l e c t u a l would be even worse, (p. 326) T h i s t e c h n i q u e i s v e r y c l o s e t o a n o t h e r l i n g u i s t i c form used i n t h i s p l a y : the v a u d e v i l l i a n o n e - l i n e j o k e . The b e s t examples o f t h i s d e v i c e are both punning and somewhat " s i c k , " but v e r y , v e r y amusing. C a u l f i e l d : I c o u l d n ' t get her head o f f . I t must be g l u e d on. McCorquodale: She always was a h e a d s t r o n g woman. C a u l f i e l d : I had t o take a hand i n s t e a d . T e s s a : ( t o C a u l f i e l d , o v e r her s h o u l d e r ) . Do you want t o wash y o u r hands b e f o r e t e a . C a u l f i e l d : Yes. C a u l f i e l d goes t o the s i n k . He washes t h e hand and h i s own, (p. 348) The humour here i s o b v i o u s ; i n d e e d i t i s the l i n g u i s t i c i n g e n u i t y t h a t e n a b l e s us t o laugh a t the v i s i o n o f C a u l f i e l d v a i n l y t r y i n g to s e v e r the c o r p s e ' s neck w i t h a meat c l e a v e r , and t o a c c e p t t h e s i g h t o f t h e bloody s e v e r e d hand. The bloody hand, the murder and the g e n e r a l l y v i o l e n t tone o f t h e p l a y , p l a c e s i t f i r m l y i n the t r a d i t i o n o f Grand G u i g n o l . I t seems a t times as i f O r t o n i s making fu n o f t h e c o n v e n t i o n a l h o r r o r o f t h i s t r a d i t i o n ; c e r t a i n l y T e s s a ' s r e s p o n s e t o f i n d i n g a human hand i n her cake t i n shows l e s s o u t r a g e and shock than remarkable p r e s e n c e o f mind. 88 " I t ' s r e a l . I can s p o t p l a s t i c f i n g e r s a m i l e o f f " (p. 350). The humour o f t h i s l i n e i s w o n d e r f u l ; one i s tempted not t o a n a l y s e i t o r t o probe f o r any deeper meaning. However, i f t h e r e i s an u n d e r l y i n g comment t o be f o u n d , the v i s i o n o f s o c i e t y p r e s e n t e d here must s u r e l y be s i m i l a r t o t h a t i n L o o t when T r u s c o t t i s unable t o r e c o g n i s e Mrs. McLeavy's eye. T e s s a does r e c o g n i s e the hand as " r e a l , " but t h e manner i n which she does so negates some a s p e c t s o f her humanity. There i s n o t much v a r i e t y t o the language s i n c e t h e r e i s l i t t l e d i s t i n c t i o n made between the c h a r a c t e r ' s methods o f s p e a k i n g . P r i n g l e does a t times l a u n c h f o r t h w i t h e v a n g e l i s t i c f e r v o u r : T r u s t i n the L o r d . We s h a l l meet i n the g l o r y o f t h e I n f i n i t e Morning, (p. 341) In g e n e r a l , however, the language, a l t h o u g h v e r y funny, s u f f e r s from the f a u l t s o f t h e p l a y as a whole. The c h a r a c t e r s a r e v e r y weak -- even f o r f a r c e c h a r a c t e r s ; they are by no means as f u l l y drawn as t h o s e i n Loot o r The Erpingham Camp, f o r example. Thus the language tends t o be o n e - d i m e n s i o n a l and d i r e c t e d towards g e t t i n g a l a u g h , r a t h e r than an o r g a n i c outgrowth o f the c h a r a c t e r . F u n e r a l Games b r i e f l y s a t i r i s e s o t h e r a s p e c t s o f s o c i e t y -- McCorquodale's l o n e l i n e s s , V a l ' s f e r v e n t b e l i e f i n a u t h o r i t y , t h e n u r s e ' s l a c k o f c o n c e r n f o r her p a t i e n t -- a l l t o p i c s t r e a t e d i n i n f i n i t e l y more d e t a i l i n p r e v i o u s p l a y s . Indeed, i n t h i s p l a y t h e s e i d e a s a r e j u s t thrown i n as o n e - o f f j o k e s and a r e never f u l l y d e v e l o p e d . In c o n t r a s t t h e r e l i g i o u s s a t i r e i s o v e r - d e v e l o p e d , i n t h a t P r i n g l e ' s b e h a v i o u r i s o f t e n so u n c h r i s t i a n t h a t f o r t h e most p a r t one f o r g e t s t h a t he i s a p r i e s t ; thus t h e f o r c e o f t h e a t t a c k i s d i m i n i s h e d . Orton does n o t make t h e b e s t use o f h i s m a r v e l l o u s a b i l i t y to shock us i n t o awareness; we a r e amused but do n o t 89 r e a l l y a c c e p t much o f t h e s a t i r e as r e l e v a n t . The f e e l i n g o f u n r e a l i t y , o f f a i r y - t a l e , i s compounded by the e n d i n g , i n which, f o r t h e o n l y time i n O r t o n ' s p l a y s , t h e f o r c e s o f e v i l a r e v a n q u i s h e d . One o f t h e most e f f e c t i v e elements o f Orton's work i s h i s uncompromising r e a l i s m : a m o r a l i t y i s seen to pay; c o n t r a r y to p o p u l a r r e p o r t , s o c i e t y does n o t c a r e f o r and p r o t e c t t he meek and good. I t i s t h e r e f o r e an e x t r e m e l y u n s a t i s f a c t o r y e n d i n g t o Fu n e r a l Games t o have P r i n g l e a r r e s t e d , a l t h o u g h one can see t h a t Orton's sense o f p o e t i c j u s t i c e was amused a t t h e thought o f a r r e s t i n g a man f o r a crime he had boasted o f , but n o t committed. The u n s a t i s f a c t o r y a s p e c t c o n s i s t s o f the a r r e s t s o f McCorquodale, T e s s a and C a u l f i e l d , s i n c e by a r r e s t i n g McCorquodale, j u s t i c e i s a c t u a l l y b e i n g done. In f a c t t he whole p l o t appears too i n t r u s i v e , t o o i m p o r t a n t and. complex i n and o f i t s e l f , and thus d e t r a c t s from t he f o r c e o f t h e s a t i r e . There i s l i t t l e o f the powerful f e e l i n g we u s u a l l y g e t from an Orton p l a y : no sense o f man b e i n g m a n i p u l a t e d , o n l y a s l i g h t g l i mpse o f the a n a r c h i c and n i g h t m a r i s h q u a l i t i e s o f s o c i e t y , and a v e r y weak s a t i r i c e f f e c t . D e s p i t e some w i t t y j o k e s , t h e r e f o r e , F u n e r a l Games must be c o n s i d e r e d the l e a s t s a t i s f a c t o r y o f Orton's p l a y s . What t h e B u t l e r Saw, Orton's f i n a l p l a y , produced posthumously i n 1969, has c r e a t e d more c r i t i c a l c o n t r o v e r s y than any o f h i s p r e v i o u s work. John R u s s e l l T a y l o r ' s i n i t i a l r e a c t i o n was t o c a l l i t "a v e r y 43 bad p l a y , " an o p i n i o n which he m o d i f i e d o n l y s l i g h t l y on r e f l e c t i o n . Both [ F u n e r a l Games and What t h e B u t l e r Saw] g i v e t h e i m p r e s s i o n o f b e i n g , a t b e s t , rough d r a f t s which he [ O r t o n ] would s u r e l y have changed, e n r i c h e d , r e f i n e d o r perhaps even have chucked away a l t o g e t h e r . . . . 44 The t h e a t r e c r i t i c o f The Times, I r v i n g Wardle, c o n c u r r e d w i t h Mr. 90 T a y l o r ; however both H a r o l d Hobson i n The Sunday Times and Ronald Bryden i n The O b s e r v e r r e c o g n i s e d p a r t o f Orton's achievement. Hobson m a i n t a i n s t h a t t h e t e c h n i c a l a s p e c t o f the p l a y -- a f a r c e which a l s o p a r o d i e s the c o n v e n t i o n s o f f a r c e — i s h i s o n l y i n t e r e s t , and t h a t t h i s element i s " t o t a l l y s p o i l e d by g r a t u i t o u s o b s c e n i t y , " 4 5 but Bryden braves a l l o t h e r c r i t i c a l o p i n i o n t o s t a t e c a t e g o r i c a l l y : "In c o n s t r u c t i o n and she e r d e n s i t y o f w i t , i t seemed t o me Orton's b e s t p l a y . " ^ I t must be noted t h a t much o f the a d v e r s e c r i t i c a l o p i n i o n may be accou n t e d f o r by c o n s i d e r i n g t h e a u d i e n c e r e a c t i o n . What t h e B u t l e r Saw had a t e r r i b l e r e c e p t i o n ; t he a u d i e n c e j e e r e d and booed t o such an e x t e n t t h a t t h e y p r a c t i c a l l y p r e v e n t e d t he a c t o r s from c o n t i n u i n g t h e i r performance. There has been no adequate reason g i v e n f o r t h i s o c c u r r e n c e ; t h o s e c r i t i c s who d i s l i k e d t he work tended to view t h i s extreme b e h a v i o u r as j u s t i f i e d annoyance on t h e p a r t o f the a u d i e n c e , but Bryden s u g g e s t s t h a t t he a u d i e n c e may have been o u t r a g e d a t t h e s c u r r i l o u s a n t i - C h u r c h i l l j o k e s . Whatever the cause , t h e r e i s no doubt t h a t t h e a p p a l l i n g r e c e p t i o n p r e j u d i c e d some c r i t i c s ; t h e r e v i v a l o f What t h e B u t l e r Saw a t the Royal C o u r t i n 1975 produced more temperate a u d i e n c e s and r e v i e w s . O r t o n i n v e n t e d h i s own genre -- e p i g r a m m a t i c , s u b v e r s i v e f a r c e -- and t h i s p i e c e i s i t s f i n e s t , i f n o t i t s trimmest, f l o w e r . 4 7 The r e a c t i o n s among academic o r l i t e r a r y c r i t i c s were much as one would have e x p e c t e d . Without e x c e p t i o n , Orton's c r i t i c s f a l l i n t o two camps: t h o s e , l i k e John R u s s e l l T a y l o r and Keath F r a s e r , who c o n s i d e r t h a t E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. Sloa n e i s Orton's b e s t work, and t h a t h i s l a t e r p l a y s r e p r e s e n t a p r o g r e s s i o n down q u i t e t h e wrong path f o r h i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c t a l e n t s . . . t a k i n g h i m s e l f f o r a f a r c e u r when r e a l l y he was a c h a r a c t e r comedian.48 91 and, on the o t h e r hand, the s c h o o l r e p r e s e n t e d by John Lahr and K a t h a r i n e Worth who f e e l t h a t Orton's g r e a t e s t achievement i s h i s use o f f a r c e , and t h a t What the B u t l e r Saw r e p r e s e n t s t h e c u l m i n a t i o n o f t h i s achievement. In s p i t e o f , and perhaps because o f the a d v e r s e c r i t i c a l and p u b l i c o p i n i o n s o f t h i s p l a y , t h i s l a t t e r group o f c r i t i c s a r e r e s o u n d i n g i n t h e i r p r a i s e ; i n d e e d Frank Marcus, the a u t h o r o f t h e c o n t r o v e r s i a l p l a y The K i l l i n g o f S i s t e r George, f i n d s depths t o What the B u t l e r Saw o f which c r i t i c s do n o t c o n c e i v e - . I do c o n s i d e r i t t o be a c r u c i a l p l a y . I t h i n k f o r example i t ' s a much more profo u n d and s e r i o u s p l a y than Chips With  E v e r y t h i n g o r Look Back i n Anger. And I t h i n k i t w i l 1 s u r v i v e and t e l l p e o p l e more about what i t f e l t t o be a l i v e i n the S i x t i e s than a l m o s t a n y t h i n g e l s e o f t h a t p e r i o d . 4 9 There can be l i t t l e doubt t h a t t h e s u b j e c t m a t t e r o f What t h e B u t l e r Saw i s p o t e n t i a l l y p r o f o u n d and s e r i o u s . The p l a y ' s motto, taken from The Revenger's Tragedy, s e t s o u t t h e c e n t r a l theme: S u r e l y we're a l l mad p e o p l e , and they Whom we t h i n k a r e , a r e n o t . Orton's f o c u s o f a t t a c k i s p s y c h i a t r y , which, l i k e C a t h o l i c i s m i n L o o t , i s s a t i r i s e d n o t f o r i t s own s a k e , b u t because i t s e r v e s "as a metaphor f o r a system which o p e r a t e s by m a n i p u l a t i n g m i n d s . " ^ The m a n i p u l a t i o n here c o n s i s t s o f t h e a r b i t r a r y l a b e l s bestowed by s o c i e t y , n o t o n l y i n the terms o f s a n i t y and i n s a n i t y , but a l s o i n s e x u a l m a t t e r s . L o o t was d e s c r i b e d as a " p l e a a g a i n s t c o m p a r t m e n t a l i s a t i o n , " ^ but t h i s phrase i s even more a p p l i c a b l e t o What t h e B u t l e r Saw. Indeed, Orton i s e x t r a -o r d i n a r i l y o v e r t about h i s purposes i n t h i s p l a y . The purpose o f Dr. P r e n t i c e ' s methods i s "t o l i b e r a t e and e x p l o i t madness," r e s u l t i n g i n "a l e s s e n i n g o f t e n s i o n between t h e sane and i n s a n e " (p. 32). O r ton's 92 purpose i s to d e s t r o y myths about i n s a n i t y : t h e a u d i e n c e i s aware t h a t P r e n t i c e ' s b e h a v i o u r i s q u i t e n a t u r a l , o r a t t h e v e r y l e a s t , l o g i c a l , y e t a p p r e c i a t e s why t h e o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s c l a s s i f y him as mad. I n s a n i t y i s thus seen t o be i n t h e mind o f t h e b e h o l d e r ; a l l i n f o r m a t i o n , whether r a t i o n a l o r l u d i c r o u s , i s t w i s t e d i n t o p r o o f . Ranee: Has Dr. P r e n t i c e a t any time g i v e n you c a u s e t o doubt h i s own s a n i t y ? Mrs. P r e n t i c e : He's a r e s p e c t e d member o f h i s p r o f e s s i o n . H i s work i n a l l f i e l d s has been p r a i s e d by numerous c o l l e a g u e s . Ranee: R a d i c a l t hought comes e a s i l y t o t h e l u n a t i c , (p. 33) S o c i e t y i s seen t o m i s c o n s t r u e t h e most i n n o c e n t o f i n c i d e n t s and o c c u r r e n c e s . Mrs. P r e n t i c e : Are you ashamed o f the f a c t t h a t you w r i t e t o s t r a n g e men? P r e n t i c e : There's n o t h i n g f u r t i v e i n my r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h t h e e d i t o r o f The G u a r d i a n , (pp. 37-8) T h i s d e t e r m i n a t i o n t o a s c r i b e a b i z a r r e purpose f o r e v e r y a c t i o n extends t o an i n a b i l i t y to p e r c e i v e t h e n a t u r a l and p r o p e r f u n c t i o n s o f p e o p l e and o b j e c t s . Ranee: A s k y l i g h t t o o ? Is i t f u n c t i o n a l ? P r e n t i c e : No. I t ' s p e r f e c t l y u s e l e s s f o r a n y t h i n g -- e x c e p t to l e t l i g h t i n . (p. 21) T h i s exchange demonstrates t h e p e r v e r t e d p e r c e p t i o n s o f s o c i e t y . What i s t h e f u n c t i o n o f a s k y l i g h t -- e x c e p t t o l e t l i g h t i n ? In t h i s s o c i e t y , however, n a t u r a l b e h a v i o u r i s d i s c o u n t e d and man i s p e r p e t u a l l y s e a r c h i n g f o r t h e o b t u s e , a b s t r u s e and n o n - e x i s t e n t . The n a t u r a l e x t e n s i o n o f t h i s a t t i t u d e i s t h a t o r d e r and n o r m a l i t y , a l t h o u g h t h e y a r e words used w i t h g r e a t a u t h o r i t y by the c h a r a c t e r s , must be r e c o g n i s e d as o n l y r e l a t i v e terms. The keyword o f What the B u t l e r Saw i s "normal," and i n t y p i c a l O r t o n f a s h i o n t h e meaning o f t h i s word i s s t r e t c h e d , p e r v e r t e d and even i n v e r t e d , u n t i l we have no i d e a what n o r m a l i t y i s . When Dr. 93 Ranee i n q u i r e s "Were y o u r r e l a t i o n s w i t h y o u r s e c r e t a r y n o r m a l ? " , he assumes t h a t n o r m a l i t y i s a h e t e r o s e x u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p . G e r a l d i n e ' s comment -- "I l i v e d i n a normal f a m i l y . I had no l o v e f o r my f a t h e r " --shows a n o t h e r a s p e c t o f " n o r m a l i t y " i n t h i s s o c i e t y , w h i l e O r t o n emphasises the p o i n t by p r o v i d i n g a t h i r d c r i t e r i o n . Ranee: Did you f a t h e r have any r e l i g i o u s b e l i e f s ? G e r a l d i n e : I'm sure he d i d . Ranee: Yet she c l a i m s t o have l i v e d i n a normal f a m i l y . The depth o f h e r c o n d i t i o n can be measured from such a statement, (p. 26) Orton's own v i e w p o i n t , the l a c k o f any t r u e s t a n d a r d o r t o u c h s t o n e o f n o r m a l i t y i s put f o r w a r d by Ranee. "His b e l i e f i n n o r m a l i t y i s q u i t e abnormal" (p. 73). T h i s comment may seem i c o n o c l a s t i c and u n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c o f Ranee, but i n f a c t i t demonstrates the Catch-22 i m p l i c a t i o n s o f h i s own r a t i o n a l p s y c h i a t r y . Ranee a g a i n p o i n t s o u t t h e c e n t r a l theme o f the p l a y : the d i s c r e p a n c y between t h e appearance o f o r d e r / s a n i t y / n o r m a l i t y and the r e a l i t y : Ranee: (To N i c k ) Suppose I made an i n d e c e n t s u g g e s t i o n t o you? I f you a g r e e d , something might o c c u r w h i c h , by and l a r g e , would be r e g a r d e d as n a t u r a l . I f , on t h e o t h e r hand, I approached t h i s c h i l d -- (He s m i l e s a t G e r a l d i n e ) -- my a c t i o n c o u l d r e s u l t o n l y i n a g r o s s v i o l a t i o n o f the o r d e r o f t h i n g s , (p. 60) T h i s i s a b r i l l i a n t t h e a t r i c a l moment. Of c o u r s e N i c k i s d r e s s e d as a g i r l , and G e r a l d i n e as a boy, t h e r e f o r e Ranee b e l i e v e s he i s s u b s c r i b i n g t o s o c i e t y ' s norms. However, Orton u t i l i s e s t h e s e d i s g u i s e s v e r y c l e v e r l y ; he breaks down sexual compartments so t h a t n o t o n l y i s Ranee's statement w i l d l y funny, i t i s a l s o l u d i c r o u s i n i t s c o n c e r n w i t h e x t e r n a l s , and t h o u g h t - p r o v o k i n g i n t h a t i t i n s p i r e s i n s t i n c t i v e d i s t r u s t i n s o c i e t y ' s methods o f c a t e g o r i s i n g p e o p l e . I t s h o u l d be noted t h a t a s u p e r f i c i a l r e a d i n g o f t h e p l a y w i l l n o t n e c e s s a r i l y r e v e a l a l l t h e s e q u a l i t i e s , 94 p a r t l y because "the p a r a d o x i c a l theme o f madness and s a n i t y i n a p s y c h i a t r i c CO c l i n i c seems hackneyed," and p a r t l y because o f t h e humour o f t h i s p l a y . The amazing speed o f the a c t i o n , t h e b r i l l i a n c e o f t h e d i a l o g u e , and t h e ( s u p e r f i c i a l l y ) o b v i o u s moral t e n d t o o b s c u r e -- a t . l e a s t f o r the l e s s aware r e a d e r or s p e c t a t o r -- the deeper elements o f t h i s p l a y . What the B u t l e r Saw r e p r e s e n t s Orton's g r e a t e s t achievement: an e x c e l l e n t i n t e g r a t i o n o f h i s comments on s o c i e t y i n t o (what appears t o be) t r a d i t i o n a l bedroom f a r c e . C h a r a c t e r s z i p on and o f f the s e t i n v a r i o u s s t a g e s o f u n d r e s s , men d i s g u i s e themselves as women and v i c e v e r s a , m i s t a k e n i d e n t i t i e s abound; i n s h o r t t h e whole tone o f t h e p l a y i s b r i l l i a n t l y summed up by the t i t l e , What t h e B u t l e r Saw -- the t r a d i t i o n -a l t i t l e o f penny s l o t machines on p i e r s i n E n g l i s h s e a s i d e towns, which show a s e r i e s o f r i s q u e " t a b l e a u x . T h i s t i t l e " e x a c t l y c a t c h e s the saucy and s l i g h t l y menacing n o t e s " 5 3 o f the p l a y , but beneath t h e v u l g a r e x t e r i o r (which i s r e m i n i s c e n t o f a n o t h e r E n g l i s h s e a s i d e t r a d i t i o n , t he s a u c i l y humourous Donald G i l l p o s t c a r d ) , Orton's a t t a c k on a l l h i s p r e v i o u s t a r g e t s i s renewed. As has been n o t e d , What the B u t l e r Saw i s b r i l l i a n t l y s u c c e s s f u l i n b r e a k i n g down se x u a l b a r r i e r s , and a l l t h e more e x t r a o r d i n a r y f o r so d o i n g i n t h e c o n t e x t o f what i s s u r e l y one o f the most s e x i s t o f g e n r e s : bedroom f a r c e . However, no t o n l y a r e s e x u a l compartments r e d e f i n e d ; i n t h i s p l a y Orton i s concerned w i t h examining and a b o l i s h i n g the s e x u a l taboos o f s o c i e t y . Rape, i n c e s t , t r a n s v e s t i s m , nymphomania, b i s e x u a l i t y , l e s b i a n i s m , masochism -- a l l t h e s e and o t h e r s o c i a l l y condemned a b e r r a t i o n s are t r e a t e d as a m a t t e r o f c o u r s e . Orton i s e x p r e s s i n g h i s i d e a l o f sexual freedom; a l l a s p e c t s o f sex a r e t o be seen as n a t u r a l , and sex 95 i t s e l f i s t o be viewed as a p l e a s u r a b l e r a t h e r than a commercial o r s o c i a l e n t e r p r i s e . H y p o c r i s y about sex i s s a t i r i s e d ; Mrs. P r e n t i c e p r e t e n d s she has r e p u l s e d an a s s a u l t from N i c k , y e t appears not t o have w i t h h e l d v e r y much. When I gave m y s e l f t o you the c o n t r a c t d i d n o t i n c l u d e c i n e m a t i c r i g h t s , (p. 14) Indeed a t t h e end o f the p l a y she c o n f e s s e s t h e t r u t h . My son has a c o l l e c t i o n o f i n d e c e n t photographs which prove beyond doubt t h a t he made f r e e w i t h me i n t h e same h o t e l . . . (p. 90) Not o n l y does Mrs. P r e n t i c e l i e t o both Ranee and P r e n t i c e about t h e a s s a u l t , she a l s o c o n s t a n t l y a c t s i n a manner d i r e c t l y c o n t r a r y t o h e r s e x u a l f e e l i n g s . P r e n t i c e c a l l s her a "rampant nymphomaniac," y e t admits t h a t D e s p i t e a l l appearances t o t h e c o n t r a r y , Mrs. P r e n t i c e i s h a r d e r to g e t i n t o than the r e a d i n g room a t the B r i t i s h Museum, (p. 40) T h i s comment, when c o n s i d e r e d w i t h h e r a d m i s s i o n "My u t e r i n e c o n t r a c t i o n s have been f a l s e f o r some time" (p. 16) b u i l d s a v e r y complex, and some-what c o n f u s e d p i c t u r e o f s e x u a l f r u s t r a t i o n . However, Orton i s n o t concerned w i t h a c c u r a t e s e x u a l a n a l y s i s -- i n d e e d i t would be d i f f i c u l t t o i d e n t i f y Mrs. P r e n t i c e ' s p r e d i l e c t i o n s w i t h any degree o f a c c u r a c y --but merely w i t h mocking h y p o c r i t i c a l s e x u a l p r e t e n s i o n s , whether t o g e n t i l i t y o r t o a m o r a l i t y . U n h y p o c r i t i c a l s e x u a l i t y i s t r e a t e d as an a c c e p t e d norm. Dr. P r e n t i c e i n i t i a t e s a s e d u c t i o n o f h i s s e c r e t a r y as p a r t o f t h e i n t e r v i e w . Perhaps you have o t h e r q u a l i t i e s which a r e n o t i m m e d i a t e l y a p p a r e n t . L i e on t h a t couch, (p. 10) Rape and i n c e s t a r e d i s m i s s e d i n an e q u a l l y c a v a l i e r f a s h i o n ; t r a n s v e s t i s m 96 becomes a m a t t e r o f c o u r s e , and Mrs. P r e n t i c e ' s m a s o c h i s t i c d e s i r e s a r e made w i l d l y funny. ( e a g e r l y ) A r e you g o i n g t o beat me? Do i f you w i s h . Your p s y c h o t i c e x p e r i e n c e s a r e immensely v a l u a b l e t o you and s h o u l d be encouraged r a t h e r than thwarted o r r e p r e s s e d . (Dr. P r e n t i c e s e i z e s h e r , smacks her f a c e and t e a r s the d r e s s from h e r . She s t r u g g l e s . ) ( g a s p i n g as he s l a p s h e r ) . Oh my d a r l i n g ! T h i s i s the way t o s e x u a l a d j u s t m e n t i n m a r r i a g e , (pp. 74-5) The a t t i t u d e t o s e x u a l i t y i n t h i s p l a y , the emphasis on a m o r a l i t y o r s e x u a l anarchy i s s y m b o l i s e d by the m i s s i n g p a r t o f S i r Winston C h u r c h i l l . Orton's a u d a c i t y i n r e d u c i n g t h e g r e a t e s t o f modern E n g l i s h statesmen to a p h a l l i c symbol r e i n f o r c e s h i s c o n n e c t i o n between sex and s o c i e t y . For O r t o n , sexual r e p r e s s i o n i s an emblem f o r s o c i e t y ' s c o r r u p t i o n ; i n t h i s c a s e , s o c i e t y ' s narrow-mindedness and i n s t a n t d e s i r e t o t h i n k t h e w o r s t o f p e o p l e i s condemned. I t w i l l be remembered t h a t Mrs. B a r c l a y ' s o n l y " r e l a t i o n s h i p " w i t h S i r Winston was t o have been k i l l e d i n t h e same gas e x p l o s i o n t h a t d e s t r o y e d h i s s t a t u e . N e v e r t h e l e s s she i s spoken o f as a whore. S h o r t l y b e f o r e her death her name has been l i n k e d i n a most u n p l e a s a n t way w i t h t h a t o f S i r Winston C h u r c h i 1 1 . Mrs. B a r c l a y ' s a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h the g r e a t man gave o f f e n c e i n some c i r c l e s , (p. 46) The outrageous use o f C h u r c h i l l as a p h a l l i c symbol i s compounded by Orton's b r i l l i a n t i n t r o d u c t i o n o f h i s u b i q u i t o u s c i g a r . The m i s s i n g p a r t i s e x p l i c i t l y i d e n t i f i e d . How much more i n s p i r i n g i f , i n t h o s e dark d a y s , we'd seen what we see now. I n s t e a d we had t o be c o n t e n t w i t h a c i g a r --the symbol f a l l i n g f a r s h o r t , as we a l l r e a l i s e , o f the o b j e c t i t s e l f , (p. 91) John Lahr sees t h i s as an emblem o f Orton's d r a m a t i c achievement. The p h a l l u s i s the emblem o f comedy's r u t h l e s s s e x u a l m i s c h i e v o u s -ness and a m o r a l i t y . Nobody came c l o s e r than Orton t o r e v i v i n g t h i s s p i r i t on t h e E n g l i s h stage.54 97 Of t he o t h e r a s p e c t s o f Orton's a t t a c k i n t h i s p l a y , r e l i g i o n i s d i s m i s s e d as "Always t he l a s t d i t c h s t a n d o f a man on t h e b r i n k o f d i s a s t e r " (p. 3 5 ) , and the i d e a o f a genuine r e l i g i o u s e x p e r i e n c e i s b r i l l i a n t l y r i d i c u l e d . Ranee: When were you f i r s t aware o f a s p e c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h t h e A l m i g h t y ? N i c k : When I was p r e s e n t e d w i t h a copy o f t h e B i b l e bound i n c a l f . Ranee: Was i t an autographed copy? N i c k : I don't t h i n k God a c t u a l l y s i g n e d i t . Ranee: W e l l , o f c o u r s e , t h e s e t h i n g s s l i p one's memory. Was t h e r e an i n s c r i p t i o n ? N i c k : Yes. Ranee: What d i d i t say? N i c k : W. H. Smith and Sons. Ranee: Oh. They count as God. You've c l e a r l y had a genuine r e l i g i o u s e x p e r i e n c e , (pp. 59-60) The law i s e f f e c t i v e l y r i d i c u l e d by t h e v i s i o n o f Se r g e a n t Match i n a l e o p a r d - s k i n d r e s s . Not o n l y i s h i s appearance a t r a v e s t y o f t h e B r i t i s h p oliceman's p r o p r i e t y , h i s mental c a p a b i l i t i e s a r e a t r a v e s t y t o o . P r e n t i c e : Y o u ' l l be d i s a p p o i n t e d , S e r g e a n t , i f you imagine the boy has l o s t h i s v i r g i n i t y . Match: I hope h e ' l l be c o n s i d e r a b l y more e x p e r i e n c e d b e f o r e he l o s e s t h a t , s i r . (p. 53) Once a g a i n , the common man's f a i t h i n j u s t i c e and i n t h e h o n e s t y , u p r i g h t -ness and i n c o r r u p t i b i l i t y o f the p o l i c e f o r c e i s seen t o be m i s p l a c e d . P r e n t i c e : You imagine y o u ' l l be s a f e from a c t s o f i n d e c e n c y i n a p o l i c e s t a t i o n ? G e r a l d i n e : Of c o u r s e . P r e n t i c e : I wish I sh a r e d y o u r optimism, (p. 54) The l u n a t i c a c t i o n s o f t h e d o c t o r s a r e s u r e l y a parody o f t h e w h i t e -c o a t e d i d e a l image propagated by t e l e v i s i o n s e r i e s . Ranee's language s u p p o r t s t h i s s a t i r i c a t t a c k ; h i s p r o s e i s t h a t o f a r o m a n t i c n o v e l , h i s themes and p l o t s t h o s e o f m e d i c a l soap o p e r a s . A r e s p e c t e d member o f t h e med i c a l f r a t e r n i t y i s m a r r i e d to a d a z z l i n g l y b e a u t i f u l woman. H o p e l e s s l y i n l o v e , b u t , through mutual d i s t r u s t , r e f u s i n g t o admit i t . . . (p. 68) 98 Ranee i s a l s o the key t o a n o t h e r a t t a c k i n t h e p l a y -- a s a t i r e on o v e r -l i t e r a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s , o r t a k i n g t h i n g s too s e r i o u s l y . Ranee i s a c c u r a t e l y and c o n c i s e l y d e s c r i b e d by K a t h a r i n e Worth. He i s the epitome o f l i t e r a l n e s s and e a r n e s t n e s s and q u i t e t h e maddest c h a r a c t e r i n the p l a y , n e v e r f u r t h e r from t h e t r u t h then when he's c o n g r a t u l a t i n g h i m s e l f on h a v i n g found the r i g h t a n s w e r s . 5 5 Thus h i s d i a g n o s i s o f Dr. P r e n t i c e ' s i n s a n i t y and the o r i g i n s o f h i s i l l n e s s i n c o r p o r a t e e v e r y l i t t l e p i e c e o f i n f o r m a t i o n he has managed to g a t h e r . I t r a c e t h e o r i g i n s o f h i s i l l n e s s as f a r back as t h a t f i r s t l e t t e r t o The G u a r d i a n . From the s t a r t l i n g i d e a s o f Dr. Goebbels on t h e f u n c t i o n o f the male s e x u a l organ we pass q u i t e l o g i c a l l y to w h i t e g o l l i w o g s . An a t t e m p t , i n f a c t , t o change the o r d e r o f c r e a t i o n -- h o m o s e x u a l i t y s l o t s i n here -- d a b b l i n g i n the b l a c k a r t s . (p. 68) Ranee's t h e m a t i c f u n c t i o n s a r e m a n i f o l d . He r e p r e s e n t s t h e m e d i c a l p r o f e s s i o n as an o b j e c t o f O r ton's a t t a c k , but a l s o e p i t o m i s e s t h e madness o f s o c i e t y , and p a r t i c u l a r l y o f the b u r e a u c r a c y . I r e p r e s e n t Her M a j e s t y ' s Government. Your immediate s u p e r i o r s i n madness, (p. 20) A l t h o u g h many c r i t i c s d e s c r i b e the p l a y as a parody o f a f a r c e , they do n o t e x p l a i n t h e i r reasons o r Orton's i n t e n t i o n s i n so d o i n g . C e r t a i n l y Orton u t i l i s e s the e x t r a o r d i n a r y p h y s i c a l i t y t h a t f a r c e demands; t h e p l a y moves a t an amazing speed, and many o f the images we r e t a i n a r e o f man's c o n t o r t e d and f r e n z i e d movements: t e a r i n g o f f c l o t h e s , h i d i n g b e h i n d p i e c e s o f f u r n i t u r e , r u n n i n g on and o f f s t a g e . In L o o t most o f these f r e n z i e d movements a r e r e s t r i c t e d t o a c o r p s e ; What t h e B u t l e r Saw makes a more p o i g n a n t comment i n v i e w i n g humanity as p u p p e t s , "numbed 56 and d i z z i e d by the speed o f e x p e r i e n c e , " by l i f e i t s e l f . The s t a g e d i r e c t i o n s p r e s e n t a powerful p i c t u r e o f man's c o n f u s i o n and impotence. 99 Mrs. P r e n t i c e f i r e s . Dr. P r e n t i c e ducks and runs q u i c k l y  from t he room i n t o the garden. Mrs. P r e n t i c e f o l l o w s and f i r e s  a g a i n . S e r g e a n t Match runs out o f t h e d i s p e n s a r y , t e r r i f i e d .  S e e i n g him Mrs. P r e n t i c e screams. S e r g e a n t Match g i v e s a b e l l o w o f f r i g h t and runs i n t o t h e h a l l . N i c k runs from b e h i n d  the desk~~into the h a l l . . . G e r a l d i n e . . . runs i n t o t h e  d i s p e n s a r y . Mrs. P r e n t i c e runs t o the ward door. As she  rea c h e s i t a s h o t i s heard and Nick r e - e n t e r s , moaning and  c l u t c h i n g h i s s h o u l d e r ! (pp. 80-1) What an a c c u r a t e image o f man's entrapment i n s o c i e t y , h i s f e a r and h i s t o r t u r e d s c u r r y i n g h i t h e r and t h i t h e r -- a l l t o no a v a i l . 1 Orton i s not p a r o d y i n g f a r c e h e r e , he i s e x t e n d i n g the genre, as he d i d i n L o o t , by making i t an i n t e g r a l p a r t o f h i s comment on s o c i e t y . O r t o n i s w e l l known f o r h i s v e r b a l a b i l i t i e s , but on the s t r e n g t h o f t h i s p l a y he can be h a i l e d as a master o f t h e p h y s i c a l image. The s t a g e d i r e c t i o n s a r e , as we have seen, v e r y i m p o r t a n t i n e m p h a s i s i n g man's f r a n t i c s t r u g g l e s t o es c a p e ; t h i s image o f imprisonment i s r e p e a t e d w i t h g r e a t e r emphasis a t the end o f t h e p l a y . A s i r e n wai1s. Metal g r i l l e s f a l l o v e r each o f the d o o r s . The l i g h t s go out"! (~P- 86) The s e t has l i t e r a l l y become a p r i s o n . S o c i e t y i s seen t o have no e s c a p e ; 57 " t h e b a r s a r e a s t i r r i n g image o f s p i r i t u a l s t a l e m a t e , " o f t h e s t e r i l i t y o f l i f e . The b r i l l i a n c e and d a r i n g o f t h i s t h e a t r i c a l image i s s u r p a s s e d o n l y by t h a t a t the end o f t h e p l a y . S e r g e a n t Match, t h e deus ex machina, s t i l l i n h i s l e o p a r d - s k i n d r e s s , l i k e an e x t r a o r d i n a r y melange o f T a r z a n CO and "a B a c c h a n a l i a n b i s e x u a l god," r e s c u e s humanity by means o f a rope l a d d e r through t h e s k y l i g h t . The c h a r a c t e r s p i c k up t h e i r c l o t h e s and weary, b l e e d i n g , drugged and drunk, c l i m b t he rope l a d d e r i n t o t he b l a z i n g l i g h t , (p. 92) What amazing r e s i l i e n c e Orton a t t r i b u t e s t o mankind^ The v i s u a l e f f e c t s o f t h e s e s t a g e d i r e c t i o n s e l e v a t e What the B u t l e r Saw above t h e l e v e l TOO o f f a r c e t o the s t a t u s o f a p l a y t h a t c o n t r i b u t e s a comment on man's s t r u g g l e f o r s u r v i v a l . In a d d i t i o n t o r e a c h i n g new h e i g h t s i n t h e p h y s i c a l a s p e c t s o f t h i s p l a y , Orton m a i n t a i n s a b r i l l i a n t l y c o n s i s t e n t l e v e l o f v e r b a l humour. A p a r t from the o b v i o u s j o k e s t h a t can be made about sexual c o n f u s i o n , What t h e B u t l e r Saw p o s i t i v e l y teems w i t h funny o n e - l i n e r s , b e a u t i f u l l y p o i n t e d Wildean epigrams, r i d i c u l o u s j u x t a p o s i t i o n s , and o f c o u r s e , Ortonesque euphemisms. One o f the most i m p o r t a n t f u n c t i o n s o f language i n t h i s p l a y i s t o emphasise the f a r c i c a l element. The t o r t u r e d v e r b a l g ymnastics echo t h e p h y s i c a l c o n t o r t i o n s . Ranee: Have you s u f f e r e d from l a p s e s o f memory b e f o r e ? P r e n t i c e : I c a n ' t remember. Ranee: Your memory p l a y s you f a l s e even on the s u b j e c t o f i t s own inadequacy? P r e n t i c e : I may have had a b l a c k o u t . I don't r e c a l l h a v i n g one on any o t h e r o c c a s i o n . Ranee: You might have f o r g o t t e n . You admit y o u r memory i s n ' t r e l i a b l e , (p. 31) The s a t i r i c f u n c t i o n o f t h e language i s f u l f i l l e d through Ranee's " l u r i d n o v e l " p r o s e , and h i s w o n d e r f u l l y l i t e r a l (but m i s t a k e n ) i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s o f a l l f a c t s . O f t e n t h i s emphasis on l i t e r a l n e s s mocks t h e m e d i c a l o r s c i e n t i f i c p r o f e s s i o n s . As a t r a n s v e s t i t e , f e t i s h i s t , b i - s e x u a l murderer Dr. P r e n t i c e d i s p l a y s c o n s i d e r a b l e d e v i a t i o n o v e r l a p . We may get n e c r o p h i l i a t o o . As a s o r t o f bonus, (p. 72) A t o t h e r times i t r e i n f o r c e s the theme o f the p l a y : t h e l a c k o f any c l e a r d i v i s i o n between madness and s a n i t y , n o r m a l i t y and a b n o r m a l i t y , r e a l i t y and i l l u s i o n . Mrs. P r e n t i c e : Is t h i s b l o o d r e a l ? Dr. Ranee: No. Mrs. P r e n t i c e : Can you see i t ? Ranee: Yes. 101 Mrs. P r e n t i c e : Then what e x p l a n a t i o n i s t h e r e ? Ranee: I'm a s c i e n t i s t . I s t a t e f a c t s . I cannot be e x p e c t e d to p r o v i d e e x p l a n a t i o n s . R e j e c t any para-normal phenomena. I t ' s t h e o n l y way to remain sane. Mrs. P r e n t i c e : I t seems r e a l . Ranee: Who a r e you t o d e c i d e what r e a l i t y i s ? (pp. 83-4) Of c o u r s e much o f t h e humour i n What t h e B u t l e r Saw s p r i n g s from Ranee's l u d i c r o u s l y l i t e r a l r e p l i e s . Some o f t h e s e a r e o b v i o u s l y based on m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g and are Orton's v e r s i o n o f t r a d i t i o n a l m u s i c - h a l l c r o s s - t a l k --Match: The d o c t o r s a i d he wanted t o put t h e boy i n some k i n d o f c l u b . Ranee: I t ' s no good t r y i n g t o do t h a t . Boys c a n ' t be put i n t he c l u b . T h a t ' s h a l f t h e i r charm (p. 54) -- o t h e r s are founded on a t o t a l l a c k o f communication, on p u r s u i n g one's own t r a i n o f thought r e g a r d l e s s o f t h e r e s p o n s e . Ranee: What have you i n t h e way o f dogs? P r e n t i c e : A s p a n i e l and a m i n i a t u r e p o o d l e . Ranee: L e t them be u n l e a s h e d ! (p. 30) What t h e B u t l e r Saw a l s o r e f i n e s an a s p e c t o f language seen p r e v i o u s l y i n L o o t : the s e r i e s o f " d i s l o c a t e d " r e s p o n s e s , where a r e p l y i s g i v e n on an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t moral p l a n e from t h a t o f the p r e v i o u s s p e a k e r . Mrs. P r e n t i c e : The y o u t h wanted t o rape me. Ranee: He d i d n ' t succeed? Mrs. P r e n t i c e : No. Ranee: The s e r v i c e i n t h e s e h o t e l s i s d r e a d f u l , (p. 34) As i n L o o t , t h i s t e c h n i q u e demonstrates t h e nightmare q u a l i t y o f the p l a y and a c t s as an image f o r the anarchy o f s o c i e t y . Orton's debt t o Wilde i s seen more c l e a r l y here than i n any o f h i s p r e v i o u s p l a y s . Of c o u r s e the language i s e p i g r a m m a t i c a l and t h e w i t W i l d e a n , but as K a t h a r i n e Worth d e m o n s t r a t e s , t h e p l o t s o f The Importance o f B e i n g E a r n e s t and What the B u t l e r Saw a r e " s t r i k i n g l y c l o s e a t c r u c i a l 59 p o i n t s . " She shows how Orton c o m p l i c a t e s W i l d e ' s i d e n t i t y theme: 102 As W i l d e ' s A l g e r n o n s t e a l s t h e i d e n t i t y o f E r n e s t , so N i c k and G e r a l d i n e s t e a l each o t h e r ' s s e c o n d a r y i d e n t i t i e s . . . G e t t i n g r i d o f the a l t e r ego, as i n W i l d e ' s p l a y , proves more d i f f i c u l t than c r e a t i n g i t . . . A g a i n , as i n Wilde's p l a y , t h e crowning j o k e comes a t t h e end when t h e i n v e n t e d i d e n t i t i e s t u r n o u t t o be, a f t e r a l 1 , t he t r u e ones.60 There can be no doubt as t o Orton's debt t o The Importance o f B e i n g E a r n e s t . The denouement o f t h i s p l a y i s an e x c e l l e n t parody o f W i l d e : the l i n e n cupboard a t the S t a t i o n H otel has many o f the s y m b o l i c q u a l i t i e s o f Miss Prism's handbag; the l u d i c r o u s d e t a i l s about t h e b r o o c h , " I t f e l l from the c o l l a r o f a p e k i n e s e , " mock the p r e c i s e d e s c r i p t i o n o f the bag, Yes, here i s the i n j u r y i t r e c e i v e d t h r o u g h the u p s e t t i n g o f a Gower S t r e e t omnibus i n younger and h a p p i e r d a y s ^ l and Ranee's d e l i g h t a t h a v i n g h i s p s y c h o l o g i c a l t h e o r i e s proved t r u e i s a m a r v e l l o u s mockery o f the d e l i g h t e x p r e s s e d by the c h a r a c t e r s a t the end o f E a r n e s t . Oh what j o y t h i s d i s c o v e r y g i v e s me! (Embracing Mrs. P r e n t i c e , G e r a l d i n e and N i c k ) . Double i n c e s t i s even more l i k e l y t o produce a b e s t - s e l l e r than murder, (p. 90) The t i t l e o f W i l d e ' s p l a y i s o f g r e a t importance t o O r t o n , f o r s u r e l y Dr. Ranee e p i t o m i s e s the dangers o f b e i n g E a r n e s t . E a r n e s t n e s s i n What the B u t l e r Saw i s "the d e t e r m i n a t i o n t o c a t e g o r i z e and l a b e l and p i n CO p e o p l e down," the v e r y c e n t r e o f Orton's a t t a c k . What t h e B u t l e r Saw i s Orton's g r e a t e s t p l a y . I t p r e s e n t s h i s most p r o f o u n d view o f s o c i e t y , embedded i n a t h e a t r i c a l l y b r i l l i a n t , w i t t y , f a s t - m o v i n g f a r c e , which i n i t s e l f a c t s as an image f o r man's s i t u a t i o n . The language i s a r a z o r - s h a r p i n s t r u m e n t o f a n a r c h y ; t h e v i s u a l e f f e c t s p r e s e n t a p o i g n a n t and p r o f o u n d p i c t u r e o f man's s t r u g g l e . O r t o n i s 103 c a p a b l e o f making us laugh h y s t e r i c a l l y , then s t o p s h o r t i n f e a r when we r e a l i s e we have been l a u g h i n g a t o u r s e l v e s . I t i s a t r i b u t e t o h i s a b i l i t i e s t h a t we can read What t h e B u t l e r Saw, l a u g h c o n s t a n t l y t h r o u g h -o u t , y e t l e a v e t h e p l a y f e e l i n g as i f we have l e a r n e d something v i t a l a bout both o u r s e l v e s and the human c o n d i t i o n . CHAPTER IV The purpose o f t h i s s t u d y has been t w o f o l d : f i r s t l y , t o c r e a t e an awareness and a p p r e c i a t i o n o f Orton's d r a m a t i c t a l e n t s through a d e t a i l e d a n a l y s i s o f h i s p l a y s ; moreover, to show how Orton may be c o n s i d e r e d a f o c a l p o i n t i n E n g l i s h comedy. I t i s hoped t h a t Orton w i l l n e v er a g a i n be d i s m i s s e d w i t h t h e e p i t h e t "commercial"; a l t h o u g h h i s p l a y s may be b o x - o f f i c e s u c c e s s e s , they a r e by no means o n l y l i g h t -h e a r t e d f a r c e s i n t h e W h i t e h a l l t r a d i t i o n . Orton's work demonstrates a c o n c e r n w i t h t he i n d i v i d u a l i n s o c i e t y , a d e s i r e to show man how he i s d e s t r o y i n g h i m s e l f . In a d d i t i o n , i t s a t i r i s e s v a r i o u s elements o f modern s o c i e t y , i n p a r t i c u l a r p e rhaps, the W e l f a r e S t a t e , f o r t h i s s o c i e t a l phenomenon e p i t o m i s e s a l l t h o s e a s p e c t s o f a u t h o r i t y and c o n t r o l t h a t O r t o n d i s l i k e d so much. We can p r o b a b l y b e s t sum up Orton's d r a m a t i c achievement by d i s c u s s i n g the term B l a c k Comedy. While i t i s t r u e t h a t " g a l l o w s humour," o r s i c k j o k e s , o r whatever ph r a s e one wishes t o employ, i s c e r t a i n l y n o t a modern " i n v e n t i o n , " i t must be a c c e p t e d t h a t , i n B r i t a i n p a r t i c u l a r l y , i n the l a t e 1960's, a whole s p a t e o f new p l a y w r i g h t s were w r i t i n g i n the same v e i n -- a v e i n t h a t can be l o o s e l y c l a s s i f i e d as B l a c k Comedy. A l t h o u g h t h e r e a r e no r u l e s s e t down f o r t h i s t y p e o f p l a y , t h e m a j o r i t y o f p l a y w r i g h t s conform to two major a r e a s . The p r e v a l e n t form o f the comedy i s f a r c e : t he " b l a c k " a s p e c t u s u a l l y c o n s i s t s o f a t r e a t m e n t o f - 104 -105 taboo s u b j e c t s -- p a r t i c u l a r l y d e a t h , s e x u a l i t y and s e v e r e d i s a b l e m e n t . I t i s c l e a r t h a t Orton's p l a y s a r e w r i t t e n i n t h i s manner, thus i t may be p o s t u l a t e d t h a t he a c t e d as a model f o r many w r i t e r s o f t h i s type o f drama. I f we c o n s i d e r both h i s d r a m a t i c " a n c e s t o r s " and i m i t a t o r s , t he c o n c e p t o f a f o c a l p o i n t becomes more c l e a r . Some s p e c i f i c i n s t a n c e s o f i n f l u e n c e have been mentioned i n t h e i n t r o d u c t i o n ; however, even i f we deny the v a l i d i t y o f some o f t h e s e p a r t i c u l a r examples, we can n e v e r t h e l e s s draw some g e n e r a l c o n c l u s i o n s . Orton's work f u s e s the t r a d i t i o n s o f the comedy o f manners, the T h e a t r e o f the A b s u r d , and, o c c a s i o n a l l y , the p o l i t i c a l i m p l i c a t i o n s o f B r e c h t i a n t h e a t r e . The term Ortonesque has c r e p t i n t o our t h e a t r i c a l v o c a b u l a r y , but i s h a r d l y e v e r a d e q u a t e l y d e f i n e d . I f we examine e x a c t l y what i s meant by t h i s term, we see t h a t i t d e s c r i b e s Orton's unique b l e n d o f humour ( u s u a l l y c o n c e r n i n g a taboo s u b j e c t ) e x p r e s s e d i n h i s i n i m i t a b l e s t y l e . These elements can be t r a c e d t o the a f o r e m e n t i o n e d t r a d i t i o n s : the humour i s d e r i v e d from the t r a d i t i o n s o f f a r c e , the use o f language from the comedy o f manners, and the use o f taboos t o shock the r e a d e r i n t o an awareness i s taken from the T h e a t r e o f C r u e l t y , A r t a u d ' s m a n i f e s t o which " f o r m u l a t e d some o f t h e b a s i c t e n d e n c i e s o f the T h e a t r e o f t h e Absurd. Orton's d i r e c t i n f l u e n c e on l a t e r d r a m a t i s t s i s , o f c o u r s e , i m p o s s i b l e t o prove. However, t h e r e i s l i t t l e doubt t h a t h i s s t y l e and s u b j e c t m a t t e r d i d c r e a t e a t r e n d i n p l a y s , f i l m and t e l e v i s i o n . The movement towards b l a c k humour i n g e n e r a l , i s n o t , however, under d i s c u s s i o n h e r e ; we a r e c o n c e r n e d w i t h examining t h o s e i n d i v i d u a l modern p l a y w r i g h t s who can be s a i d t o be Ortonesque i n some r e s p e c t s . Among t h o s e a u t h o r s 106 who e x h i b i t t r a c e s o f Orton's i n f l u e n c e a r e David M e r c e r , Simon Gray, Tom S t o p p a r d and P e t e r Barnes. Mercer, whose e a r l y work i s contemporaneous w i t h O r t o n ' s , resembles him g r e a t l y . Many o f Mercer's p l a y s are L a i n g i a n i n t h e i r s y m p a t h e t i c c o n c e r n w i t h "madness, l o n e l i n e s s , n e u r o s i s and t h e b l u r r e d f r o n t i e r between what s o c i e t y c a l l s sane and i n s a n e . " H i s p l a y s about madness and s a n i t y , p a r t i c u l a r l y A S u i t a b l e Case f o r Treatment ( l a t e r f i l m e d as Morgan), may w e l l have i n f l u e n c e d O r t o n i n some ways. However, Mercer l a t e r work, p a r t i c u l a r l y F l i n t , seems rem a r k a b l y O r t o n e s q u e . ^ I t i s n o t o n l y the s l i g h t l y manic clergyman t h a t r e i n f o r c e s t h i s c o m p a r i s o n ; the s t y l e seems a t times t o be a d i r e c t copy o f O r t o n . I've been a g n o s t i c f o r o v e r f i f t y y e a r s . E v e r s i n c e I was o r d a i n e d . I doubt i f I c o u l d have s u r v i v e d w i t h o u t a complete l a c k o f f a i t h . ^ Moreover, the themes o f t h i s p l a y , a l t h o u g h more o v e r t l y p o l i t i c a l than most o f Orton's work, are v e r y s i m i l a r t o t h o s e o f L o o t , f o r exampl In F l i n t . Mercer i s c o n c e r n e d w i t h the a m o r a l i t y and i m m o r a l i t y o f the Church, the r i d i c u l o u s i n s i s t e n c e on the s u p e r f i c i a l a s p e c t s o f t h e C a t h o l i c f a i t h , r e l i g i o u s h y p o c r i s y , and the i n c r e a s i n g l y commercial a s p e c t s o f r e l i g i o n . C h r i s t m a s i s a commercial f a r c e , i s n ' t i t ? And take l a s t E a s t e r . I've got two boys and a g i r l , came l a t e i n l i f e . What's E a s t e r to them? C h o c o l a t e r a b b i t s , eggs, c h i c k e n s . . . (Pause.) I do have i r r e v e r e n t t h o u g h t s about i t a l l . Imagine i f you were t h e r e on c r u c i f i x i o n day. C a l v a r y . (Pause.) You walk up to t h e f o o t o f t h e c r o s s . You cup y o u r hands t o y o u r mouth and c a l l up. (Cups h i s hands to  h i s mouth) 'Jesus,' you shout. (Hands down) 'Yes?,' he s a y s . (Hands t o mouth.) 'I've brought y o u r c h o c o l a t e r a b b i t , ' you say. (Pause.) T h a t ' s g o i n g t o c h e e r him up, i s n ' t i t ? T h a t ' s a r a r e o l d C h r i s t i a n message, i s n ' t i t ? 5 1 0 7 A l t h o u g h t h e i r c o n c e r n s may be s i m i l a r , Mercer's t r e a t m e n t o f t h i s theme i s v e r y d i f f e r e n t from O r t o n ' s . Mercer i s v e r y o v e r t ; h i s c h a r a c t e r s e x p l i c i t l y s t a t e h i s v i e w p o i n t : "Christmas i s a commercial f a r c e . " Orton's c h a r a c t e r s h a r d l y e v e r do t h i s ; i n s t e a d Orton p r e s e n t s an i m p l i c i t d r a m a t i s a t i o n o f the s i t u a t i o n he wishes t o a t t a c k . In a d d i t i o n , many o f the o t h e r themes o f the p l a y , f o r example, F l i n t ' s v o r a c i o u s u n d i s c r i m i n a t i n g s e x u a l a p p e t i t e -- "What i f I'm j u s t omnisexual? What i f I j u s t e n j o y e v e r y t h i n g ? " -- and t h e comments on the c o r r u p t i o n o f the p o l i c e f o r c e appear t o have t h e i r o r i g i n s i n works l i k e t h o s e o f O r t o n ' s . Even the c h a r a c t e r s , p a r t i c u l a r l y t he l u n a t i c clergyman, F l i n t , a r e O rtonesque, as i s the v i s i o n o f anarchy p r e s e n t e d by the f a r c i c a l a s p e c t s o f t h e p l a y . However, Mercer i s by no means merely a p a l e i m i t a t i o n o f O r t o n : d e s p i t e h i s w o n d e r f u l use o f f a r c e , he c o n s i s t e n t l y b r i n g s h i s p l a y s back t o a l e v e l o f r e a l i s m . As K a t h a r i n e Worth p o i n t s o u t : His f a r c i c a l t e c h n i q u e f u n c t i o n s as a d e f u s e r , t a k i n g the heat o u t o f t h e w i l d e v e n t s , a l l o w i n g us t o c o n t e m p l a t e them c o o l l y and r a t i o n a l l y ; p a r a d o x i c a l l y the f a r c e i n h i s drama i s n ' t a t u r n i n g away from motive and t h e a n a l y s i s o f m o t i v e , but a way o f l e a d i n g back i n t o i t . 6 U n l i k e O r t o n , who never p r o v i d e s motives f o r h i s c h a r a c t e r s ' b e h a v i o u r , Mercer i s c o n s t a n t l y d e l v i n g i n t o p s y c h o l o g i c a l r e a l m s . D e s p i t e t h e s e e s s e n t i a l d i f f e r e n c e s , O r t o n and Mercer seem t o have s h a r e d a c o n c e r n w i t h c e r t a i n themes, and F l i n t c e r t a i n l y demonstrates Mercer's debt t o O r t o n . A n o t h e r d r a m a t i s t who i s s e e m i n g l y i n d e b t e d t o Orton i s Simon Gray. Whereas Mercer' s l a t e r p l a y s d e v e l o p Ortonesque t e n d e n c i e s , Simon Gray has moved from the w r i t i n g o f B l a c k Comedy t o works o f a more r e a l i s t i c 108 n a t u r e . H i s e a r l i e r p l a y s , e s p e c i a l l y Wise C h i l d and Dutch U n c l e seem v e r y much i n the s c h o o l o f O r t o n . 7 Wise C h i l d t r e a t s t h e themes o f h o m o s e x u a l i t y , t r a n s v e s t i s m , murder and r a c i s m . The i m p r e s s i o n g i v e n i s o f i m i t a t i o n O r t o n , p o s s i b l y because o f the use o f t a b o o s , but t h e r e i s no d e f i n i t e i n f l u e n c e t h a t can be shown i n t h i s p l a y , and c e r t a i n l y t he language i s much f l a t t e r , much l e s s s p a r k l i n g and funny than t h a t o f O r t o n . However, Dutch U n c l e shows a c l o s e r resemblance t o Orton's work. In t h i s p l a y , as John R u s s e l l T a y l o r s t a t e s , Gray " c o n t i n u e d t o e x p l o r e t h e same s o r t o f sub-Orton t e r r i t o r y , w i t h an o v e r l a y o f Donald Q M c G i l l s e a s i d e - p o s t c a r d v u l g a r i t y c a r e f u l l y c u l t i v a t e d . " The themes o f s e x u a l p e r v e r s i o n and murder a r e e v i d e n t h e r e , as i s t r a n s v e s t i s m . Moreover, the f a r c i c a l s i t u a t i o n w i t h ( l i v e ) b o d i e s t u m b l i n g i n and o u t o f the wardrobe i s q u i t e r e m i n i s c e n t o f the a n t i c s w i t h t h e c o f f i n i n L o o t , and t h e p e r v e r t e d , c o r r u p t , unaware p o l i c e o f f i c e r seems a d i r e c t d escendant o f T r u s c o t t . The death o f t h e guppies t h r o u g h Goodboy's incompetent manoeuvrings w i t h t h e gas p i p e i s s u r e l y somewhat s i m i l a r t o the death o f the g o l d f i s h i n The R u f f i a n on t h e S t a i r . T h i s c o n n e c t i o n i s s t r e n g t h e n e d by Goodboy's p e r p e t u a l c o n c e r n f o r and f e e d i n g o f t h e s e f i s h w h i l e he i s c o n t i n u a l l y p l a n n i n g t o murder h i s w i f e and D o r i s , a s i t u a t i o n p a r a l l e l t o J o y c e ' s l a c k o f c o n c e r n f o r humanity, but g r i e f f o r her g o l d f i s h . A c o n n e c t i o n can be made between t h e t r e a t m e n t o f the guppies i n Dutch U n c l e , and t h e theme o f the g o l d f i s h i n Tom S t o p p a r d ' s Jumpers. Here t o o , the l i f e o f a f i s h i s seen t o have more importance than t h a t o f a p e r s o n : .George's f u r y a t t h e death o f t h e f i s h (and t h e t o r t o i s e and the hare) i s i n d i r e c t c o n t r a s t t o h i s t o t a l unawareness o f McFee's d e a t h . 109 Many c r i t i c s , , when w r i t i n g o f Tom S t o p p a r d , have been c o n t e n t t o l a b e l him as an " i n t e l l e c t u a l . " 9 T h i s l a b e l may have o r i g i n a t e d because so many o f S t o p p a r d ' s dramas a r e d e r i v e d from o t h e r p l a y w r i g h t s o r a u t h o r s ; o b v i o u s examples a r e the i n f l u e n c e and c o n t r i b u t i o n o f Shakespeare, B e c k e t t and P i r a n d e l l o t o R o s e n c r a n t z and G u i l d e n s t e r n Are Dead, and the e f f e c t o f t h e S h a v i a n drama o f debate, Wilde (and The Importance o f  B e i n g E a r n e s t ) on T r a v e s t i e s . I t seems q u i t e c l e a r t h a t S t o p p a r d i s more Wildean than o t h e r modern p l a y w r i g h t s : h i s p l a y s a r e i n g e n e r a l "the working o u t o f an i n t e l l e c t u a l , a l m o s t one might s a y , a s c h o l a r l y c o n c e i t . " ^ C e r t a i n l y S t o p p a r d p l a c e s more emphasis on language than any modern w r i t e r ; h i s p l a y s are p y r o t e c h n i c s o f v e r b a l w i t and a b i l i t y . In a d d i t i o n t o t h i s Wildean i n f l u e n c e , S t o p p a r d i s o b v i o u s l y i n d e b t e d t o t h e T h e a t r e o f the Absurd; h i s p l a y s have v e r y d e f i n i t e e x i s t e n t i a l undertones (and i n t h e c a s e o f R o s e n c r a n t z and G u i l d e n s t e r n Are Dead, e x i s t e n t i a l o v e r t o n e s ) . Thus S t o p p a r d , i n combining the t r a d i t i o n s o f comedies o f language and t h e T h e a t r e o f t h e Absurd, i s v e r y d e f i n i t e l y c o n t i n u i n g O r t o n ' s t r a d i t i o n , even i f he i s n o t d i r e c t l y i n d e b t e d t o O r t o n . By a more d e t a i l e d e x a m i n a t i o n o f S t o p p a r d ' s work, however, we can show a c l o s e r l i n k between S t o p p a r d and O r t o n . The Real I n s p e c t o r Hound c e r t a i n l y reminds one o f L o o t , p a r t l y because both parody elements o f d e t e c t i v e f i c t i o n (as, i n c i d e n t a l l y , does A f t e r M a g r i t t e ) , but a l s o because I n s p e c t o r Hound and C h i e f I n s p e c t o r Foot ("Foot o f t h e Yard") a r e v e r s i o n s o f the c o r r u p t p o l i c e m a n , T r u s c o t t . In A f t e r M a g r i t t e , B r i t i s h j u s t i c e i s shown t o be something o f a f a r c e ; l i k e t h e d e t e c t i v e i n L o o t , Foot w i l l not l e t r u l e s and r e g u l a t i o n s p r e v e n t him from d o i n g n o h i s duty! H a r r i s : J u s t a minute. Have you g o t a s e a r c h w a r r a n t ? (Holmes pauses.) Foot: Yes. H a r r i s : Can I see i t ? Foot: I c a n ' t put my hand t o i t a t t h e moment. H a r r i s : ( i n c r e d u l o u s . ) You c a n ' t f i n d y o u r s e a r c h w a r r a n t ! Foot: ( smoothly.) I had i t about my person when I came i n . I may have dropped i t . Have a l o o k round, Holmes . . . . H a r r i s : Now look here --F o o t : Can I see y o u r t e l e v i s i o n l i c e n s e ? ( H a r r i s f r e e z e s w i t h h i s mouth open. A f t e r a l o n g  moment he c l o s e s i t . ) H a r r i s : ( v a g u e l y T ~ E r , i t must be about . . . somewhere. Foot: Good. While y o u ' r e l o o k i n g f o r y o u r t e l e v i s i o n l i c e n s e , Holmes w i l l l o o k f o r t h e s e a r c h w a r r a n t . ( H a r r i s s i t s down t h o u g h t f u l l y ) ! ! The t e c h n i q u e o f bamboozlement and v e i l e d t h r e a t s employed here i s i d e n t i c a l t o T r u s c o t t ' s i n s i s t e n c e t h a t he i s from the Water Board. McLeavy: Who a r e you? T r u s c o t t : I'm an o f f i c a l o f the M e t r o p o l i t a n Water Board, s i r , as I've a l r e a d y t o l d you. McLeavy: But the water board has no power to keep l a w - a b i d i n g c i t i z e n s c o n f i n e d t o t h e i r rooms. T r u s c o t t : Not i f the c i t i z e n s a r e law a b i d i n g . McLeavy: Whether t h e y ' r e law a b i d i n g o r n o t t h e water board has no power. T r u s c o t t : I don't propose t o argue h y p o t h e t i c a l c a s e s w i t h you, s i r . Remain where you a r e u n t i l f u r t h e r n o t i c e . 1 2 Bones, t h e d e t e c t i v e i n Jumpers i s a l s o i n t h i s mold. He i s r a t h e r s t u p i d --George: Yes, I'm something o f a l o g i c i a n , m y s e l f . Bones: R e a l l y ? Sawing l a d i e s i n h a l f , t h a t s o r t o f t h i n g ? ! ^ -- and not e n t i r e l y above r e s o r t i n g to b r i b e r y and c o r r u p t i o n when need be. I s h o u l d t h i n k t h a t any competent, o r b e t t e r s t i l l , eminent p s y c h i a t r i c e x p e r t w i t n e s s would be p r e p a r e d t o say so. Of c o u r s e , he wouldn't be cheap, but i t can be done, do you f o l l o w me?! 4 There i s a f u r t h e r s i m i l a r i t y between t h e " l u n a c y " o f Dr. P r e n t i c e i n What the B u t l e r Saw and t h a t o f George Moore i n Jumpers. In both c a s e s i n t h e s e c h a r a c t e r s a r e demonstrated t o be f a r l e s s mad than the i n d o m i t a b l e r a t i o n a l i s t s (Ranee and A r c h i e r e s p e c t i v e l y ) i n t h e s e p l a y s . Orton and S t o p p a r d share i n a v i s i o n o f the Absurd, n o t as an e x i s t e n t i a l c o n t i n g e n c y , but as a form o f c o n t r o l , r a t i o n a l i s m and a u t h o r i t y . Perhaps the p l a y w r i g h t whose a f f i n i t i e s w i t h Orton seem the c l o s e s t , and who appears to be c o n t i n u i n g and r e d e f i n i n g the genre o f b l a c k comedy most s u c c e s s f u l l y , i s P e t e r Barnes. He and s e v e r a l o t h e r modern w r i t e r s ( f o r example Howard Brenton and David H a l l i w e l l ) , have been d e s c r i b e d as w r i t i n g a new and complex k i n d o f b l a c k comedy. [They] t r e a t m a t e r i a l o f a c e r t a i n k i n d (thus murder, but sex murder o r c h i l d murder) i n a c e r t a i n way, w i t h o u t d i s a p p r o v a l and i n a comic manner s u g g e s t i n g t h a t l i f e i s more complex than e v e r and t h a t dark f a n t a s y and savage comedy ar e the most d i r e c t and o n l y adequate way o f t e l l i n g t he t r u t h w i t h o u t compromise.15 T h i s form o f w r i t i n g c o n t i n u e s t h e Orton t r a d i t i o n ; both t h e s u b j e c t m a t t e r and the t r e a t m e n t mentioned here a r e Ortonesque. ( I t i s a comment on our age, however, t h a t o r d i n a r y murder i s no l o n g e r a taboo -- i n o r d e r t o shock one'has t o w r i t e about a p a r t i c u l a r l y n a s t y t y p e o f murder.) Moreover, A r n o l d H i n c h c l i f f e ' s comment t h a t P e t e r Barnes "wishes t o w r i t e comedy t h a t i s i n t e n s e l y s e r i o u s i n a t h e a t r e t h a t i s both a moral 1 c p l a t f o r m and e n t e r t a i n i n g " c o u l d e q u a l l y w e l l have been a p p l i e d t o Orton. Barnes' f i r s t s u c c e s s f u l play, The R u l i n g C l a s s , i s c o n c e r n e d w i t h t h e b l u r r e d d i s t i n c t i o n between madness and i n s a n i t y , and i s a l s o q u i t e Ortonesque i n i t s r u t h l e s s p o r t r a y a l o f man's h y p o c r i s y -- e s p e c i a l l y about sex. T u c k e r , why a r e t h o s e t a b l e l e g s uncovered? S t a r k naked wooden l e g s i n mixed company -- i t ' s n o t d e c e n t S o c i e t y ' s c o n c e r n w i t h appearances and i t s r i d i c u l o u s a c c e p t a n c e o f 112 the 14th E a r l when he appears sane and decorous ( a l t h o u g h he i s i n r e a l i t y b e h a v i n g l i k e J ack t h e R i p p e r ) i s m a s t e r f u l l y p o r t r a y e d h e r e . The themes a r e not o n l y Ortonesque: the manner i s t o o . Hi s a f f i n i t y w i t h Orton comes o u t i n h i s l e a n i n g t o V i c t o r i a n m a t t e r and manner and i n h i s way o f h a n d l i n g s i m i l a r l y s e n s a t i o n a l m a t e r i a l -- sex murders, b i z a r r e complexes --i n a s i m i l a r l y c o o l , deadpan s t y l e . ' 8 The f a r c i c a l s t y l e o f t h i s p l a y i s r e m i n i s c e n t o f O r t o n , as a r e t h e i n c r e d i b l y l i t e r a l exchanges which demonstrate man's l a c k o f i m a g i n a t i o n and c o n c e r n w i t h t r a d i t i o n . Dr. Herder: H i s l o r d s h i p i s a p a r a n o i d - s c h i z o p h r e n i c . S i r C h a r l e s : But he's a Gurney. Dr. Herder: Then he's a p a r a n o i d - s c h i z o p h r e n i c Gurney who b e l i e v e s he's God. S i r C h a r l e s : But we've always been Church o f England. A f i n a l , perpaps somewhat tenuous l i n k t o Orton i s t h a t the Master o f Lunacy i n t h . i s p l a y i s c a l l e d T r u s c o t t . He, l i k e h i s namesake i n L o o t , i s c o r r u p t and f o o l i s h ; i t would be t e m p t i n g t o assume Barnes had bestowed the t i t l e o f Master o f Lunacy upon him, n o t o n l y f o r the n e c e s s i t i e s o f p l o t i n The R u l i n g C l a s s , but a l s o as a t r i b u t e t o Orton's c h a r a c t e r i -z a t i o n . Barnes' n e x t p l a y , The B e w i t c h e d , d e v e l o p s and s t r e n g t h e n s the genre o f b l a c k comedy even f u r t h e r . Ronald Bryden sums up i t s i m p o r t a n c e : In t h e b l a c k f a r c e o f Joe O r t o n , the m e t a p h y s i c a l w i t o f Tom S t o p p a r d , the Goyescan h o r r o r o f Edward Bond's E a r l y  Morning and L e a r , t h e r e i s a common note which one c o u l d o n l y , a t the t i m e , d e s c r i b e b r i e f l y as Jacobean -- a sense o f t h i n g s f a l l i n g a p a r t , a b i t t e r d e l i g h t i n t h e i r new randomness, an a p p a l l e d d i s g u s t a t t h e s u p e r s t i t i o n and b r u t a l i t y r e v e a l e d by the c o l l a p s e o f the o l d o r d e r . . . . P e t e r Barnes g a t h e r s a l l t h e s e t h r e a d s t o g e t h e r i n The  Bewitched. I t i s a neo-Jacobean p l a y which c r y s t a l l i z e s , c l a r i f i e s and p i n s down what i t i s l i n k s t h e Jacobeans and h i s c o n t e m p o r a r i e s . 2 0 113 The Bewitched thus completes the c i r c l e , as i t were, o f B l a c k Comedy, by r e t u r n i n g t o one o f t h e r o o t s o r s o u r c e s o f t h e genre. A l t h o u g h Orton's i n d e b t e d n e s s t o Jacobean drama has not been c o n s i d e r e d i m p o r t a n t enough to d i s c u s s i n d e t a i l , Orton has o b v i o u s l y r e a d and taken some-t h i n g from t h i s drama, as the e p i g r a p h t o What t h e B u t l e r Saw d e m o n s t r a t e s . We can t h e r e f o r e see t h a t many modern p l a y w r i g h t s a r e f o l l o w i n g and r e s h a p i n g Orton's d r a m a t i c u n i v e r s e , n o t o n l y by w r i t i n g B l a c k Comedy, but a l s o by d e v e l o p i n g v a r i o u s o t h e r a s p e c t s o f h i s drama — f o r example, h i s s t y l e and v e r b a l b r i l l i a n c e . N e v e r t h e l e s s h i s g r e a t e s t c o n t r i b u t i o n t o E n g l i s h drama was p r o b a b l y i n the f i e l d o f B l a c k Comedy, m a i n l y because t h i s genre has had so much e f f e c t on B r i t i s h t h e a t r e i n t h e l a s t ten y e a r s . The d i s c u s s i o n o f t h e s e newer p l a y w r i g h t s i s n o t i n t e n d e d to d e n i g r a t e t h e i r o r i g i n a l i t y , nor t o reduce Orton t o t h e s t a t u s o f a mere i n n o v a t o r o r f i g u r e h e a d . The a u t h o r s mentioned i n t h i s f i n a l c h a p t e r a r e a l l worthy o f i n d i v i d u a l c o n s i d e r a t i o n ; moreover, O r t o n , a l t h o u g h h i s form, c o n t e n t and even s t y l e may have been c o p i e d , p a r o d i e d and experimented w i t h by numerous o t h e r w r i t e r s , r e m a i n s , as t h i s study has s u g g e s t e d , i n i m i t a b l e . NOTES Chapter I 1 John R u s s e l l T a y l o r , The Second Wave (London: Methuen and Co., 1971), p. 125. 2 John R u s s e l l T a y l o r , I n t r o d u c t i o n to New E n g l i s h D r a m a t i s t s 8 (Harmondsworth, M i d d l e s e x : Penguin Books, 1965), p. 13. 3 L.W., "Joe O r t o n " i n The Readers E n c y c l o p a e d i a o f World Drama, eds. John Gassner and Edward Quinn (London: Methuen and Co., 1970), p. 630. 4 F r e d e r i c k Lumley, New Trends i n 20th Century Drama, 4th ed. (London: B a r r i e and J e n k i n s , 1972), p. 323. 5 Quoted i n James Fox, "The L i f e and Death o f Joe O r t o n , " The Sunday  Times Magazine, 22 November 1970, r e p r i n t e d i n T h e a t r e '71, ed. S h e r i d a n Morley (London: H u t c h i n s o n and Co. L t d . , 1971), p. 76. 6 John L a h r , I n t r o d u c t i o n to The Complete P l a y s by Joe Orton (London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1976), passim. 1 I b i d . , p. 22. 8 I b i d . , p. 24. 9 "The B i t e r B i t " : Joe Orton i n t e r v i e w e d by Simon T r u s s l e r , Play_s_ and[ P l a y e r s (August 1964), p. 16. 1° R. D. L a i n g , The P o l i t i c s o f E x p e r i e n c e (Harmondsworth, M i d d l e s e x : Penguin Books, 1 9 6 7 7 7 p . 12. 1 1 I b i d . , p. 50. 1 2 James Fox, "The L i f e and Death o f Joe O r t o n , " p. 68. 1 3 Joe Orton i n "The B i t e r B i t . " 14 Laurence K i t c h i n , Drama i n the S i x t i e s (London: Faber and Faber, 1966), p. 22. - 114 -115 ! 5 M a r t i n E s s l i n , The T h e a t r e o f the A b s u r d , r e v . ed. (New York: Anchor Books, 1 9 6 9 ) , p. 364 . 16 M a r t i n E s s l i n , R e f l e c t i o n s (New York: Doubleday and Co. I n c . , 1 9 6 9 ) , p. 184. 17 A n t o n i n A r t a u d , The T h e a t r e and i t s Double, t r a n s . Mary C a r o l i n e R i c h a r d s (New York: Grove Press I n c . , 1 9 5 8 ) , p. 93 . 18 John L a h r , I n t r o d u c t i o n to The Complete P l a y s , p. 9. Orton mentions h i s a d m i r a t i o n f o r S t r i n d b e r g and T r a v e r s i n "The B i t e r B i t " ; James Fox c i t e s t he i n f l u e n c e o f V o l t a i r e , S w i f t and Lewis C a r r o l l (p. 7 1 ) , and i n an i n t e r v i e w w i t h G i l e s Gordon, T r a n s a t l a n t i c  Review 24 ( 1 9 6 7 ) , Orton t a l k s about h i s a d m i r a t i o n o f W i l d e , P i n t e r and B e c k e t t . 20 M a r t i n E s s l i n makes a c o n n e c t i o n between Lewis C a r r o l l and t h e T h e a t r e o f the Absurd, The T h e a t r e o f the A b s u r d , p. 298 . 21 I b i d . , p. 304. 22 M a r t i n E s s l i n , R e f l e c t i o n s , p. 20 . 23 Joe O r t o n , The R u f f i a n on the S t a i r i n Crimes o f P a s s i o n (London: Methuen and Co. L t d . , 1 967 ), p. 15 . A l l f u r t h e r r e f e r e n c e s are t o t h i s e d i t i o n . 24 George W e l l w a r t h , The T h e a t r e o f P r o t e s t and Paradox (New York: New York U.P., 1 9 6 4 ) , p. 212 . 25 John L a h r , I n t r o d u c t i o n to The Complete P l a y s , p. 18. 26 R. D. L a i n g , The D i v i d e d S e l f (Harmondsworth, M i d d l e s e x : Penguin Books, 1 9 6 5 ) , p. 69 . 2 7 Ronald Bryden, "Review o f L o o t , " The O b s e r v e r Weekend* Review, O c t o b e r 2 , 1966. 28 E r i c B e n t l e y , The P l a y w r i g h t as T h i n k e r (New York: Reynal and H i t c h o c k , 1 9 4 6 ) , p. 176 . 2 9 Joe O r t o n , L o o t , 1967 ; r p t . (London: E y r e Methuen, 1 9 7 5 ) , p. 6 6 . A l l f u r t h e r r e f e r e n c e s a r e t o t h i s e d i t i o n . 30 E r i c B e n t l e y , The P l a y w r i g h t as T h i n k e r , p. 176 . 31 O s c a r W i l d e , A Woman o f No Importance i n C o l l e c t e d P l a y s (Harmonds-worth, M i d d l e s e x : Penguin Books, 1 968 ), p. 121 . 3 2 L o o t , p. 5 6 . 116 O s c a r Wi1de, The Importance o f B e i n g E a r n e s t i n C o l l e c t e d P l a y s (Harmondsworth, M i d d l e s e x : Penguin Books, 1968), pp. 264-5. 3 4 L o o t , p. 31. 3 5 Joe O r t o n , Head to Toe (London: Anthony B l o n d L t d . , 1971), p. 149. C h a p t e r II 1 Joe O r t o n , E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e , r e v . ed. (London: Eyre Methuen L t d . , 1973), p. 94. A l l f u r t h e r r e f e r e n c e s a r e to t h i s e d i t i o n and w i l l h e n c e f o r t h be quoted i n the t e x t . 2 Joe O r t o n , The Good and F a i t h f u l S e r v a n t i n Joe O r t o n , The Complete  P l a y s , p. 165. A l l f u r t h e r r e f e r e n c e s a r e t o t h i s e d i t i o n and w i l l be quoted i n the t e x t . 3 Joe O r t o n , The R u f f i a n on the S t a i r i n New Radio Drama. Quoted i n John R u s s e l l T a y l o r , The Second Wave, p. 126. 4 H a r o l d P i n t e r , The Room (London: Methuen and Co. L t d . , 1960), p. 24. 5 Keath F r a s e r , "Joe O r t o n : H i s B r i e f C a r e e r , " Modern Drama, 14 (1971), 414. 6 C h r i s t i a n W. Thomsen, "Joe Orton und das e n g l i s c h e T h e a t e r der s e c h z i g e r J a h r e , " Maske und Kothurn 19, no. 4 (1973), 326. ( I t i s r e p e a t e d l y n o t e d t h a t Orton's f i r s t two p l a y s e x h i b i t a d i s t i n c t i n f l u e n c e from P i n t e r ; they i m i t a t e the s t y l i s t i c p r i n c i p l e s o f h i s "comedy o f menace." However, i t i s o f t e n o v e r l o o k e d , t h a t i n The R u f f i a n on the  S t a i r as i n E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e , a s u b t l e i n v e r s i o n o f t h e t y p i c a l P i n t e r s i t u a t i o n o f an i n t r u d e r ' s d ark, t h r e a t e n i n g , m y s t e r i o u s i n f l u e n c e i n an i n h a b i t e d room takes p l a c e . [ T r a n s l a t i o n mine.]) ^ Thomsen a l s o makes t h i s comparison, but i n a d i f f e r e n t c o n t e x t . See note 14 below. 8 John L a h r , A s t o n i s h Me (New York: V i k i n g Books, 1973), p. 87. 9 John R u s s e l l T a y l o r , The Second Wave, p. 127. 1 0 Joe Orton i n "The B i t e r B i t . " 11 John R u s s e l l T a y l o r , The Second Wave, p. 129. C h r i s t i a n W. Thomsen, p. 327. 117 ^ 3 M a r t i n E s s l i n , " C l a s s i c Echoes," P l a y s and P l a y e r s (June 1967), p. 35. C h r i s t i a n W. Thomsen, p. 328. ( W i l s o n , l i k e J e r r y i n A l b e e ' s Zoo S t o r y , wishes f o r t h i s d e a t h , n o t i n o r d e r t o o b t a i n a s o r t o f q u a s i -m y s t i c a l communication between v i c t i m and k i l l e r , but t o revenge h i m s e l f f o r t h e murder o f h i s b r o t h e r . [ T r a n s l a t i o n mine.]) 15 Oscar W i l d e , An I d e a l Husband i n C o l l e c t e d P l a y s (Harmondsworth, M i d d l e s e x : Penguin Books, 1968), p. 157. 15 John R u s s e l l T a y l o r , I n t r o d u c t i o n t o New E n g l i s h D r a m a t i s t s 8, p. 13. 17 Norman N a d e l , "Review o f E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e , " New York World  Telegram, O c t o b e r 13, 1965. 18 R i c h a r d Watts J r . , "Review o f E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e , " New York  P o s t , O c t o b e r 13, 1965. | y W a l t e r K e r r , "Review o f E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e , " H e r a l d T r i b u n e , O c t o b e r 13, 1965. 20 K a t h a r i n e Worth, R e v o l u t i o n s i n Modern E n g l i s h Drama (London: G. B e l l and Sons, 1972), p. 150. 2 1 I b i d . 2 2 Joe Orton i n "The B i t e r B i t . " 23 John L a h r , I n t r o d u c t i o n t o E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e , r e v . ed. (London: Eyre Methuen, 1973), p. 6. ^ I n t e r v i e w w i t h G i l e s Gordon, T r a n s a t l a n t i c Review, 24 (1967), 94. 2 5 John R u s s e l l T a y l o r , The Second Wave, p. 125. 2^ Bamber G a s c o i g n e , "Review o f E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e , " O b s e r v e r  Weekend Review, May 10, 1964. 2^ John L a h r , I n t r o d u c t i o n t o E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e , p. 8. 2 8 Norman N a d e l , "Review o f E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e . " 2^ Oscar W i l d e , The Importance o f B e i n g E a r n e s t , p. 267. 3 0 O r t o n t a l k i n g t o t h e B.B.C. Quoted by L a h r , I n t r o d u c t i o n t o E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e , p. 9. 31 John L a h r , I n t r o d u c t i o n , The Complete P l a y s , p. 18. 118 3 2 John R u s s e l l T a y l o r , The Second Wave, p. 135. 3 3 I b i d . , p. 136. 3 4 C h r i s t i a n W. Thomsen, p. 336. ( F o r t h e f i r s t time i n h i s c a r e e r as a d r a m a t i s t , Orton has come o u t from b e h i n d h i s c o v e r o f i r o n y and c y n i c i s m , has shown h i m s e l f t o be v u l n e r a b l e and demonstrates c h a r a c t e r -i s t i c s such as human warmth, p i t y and f i g h t i n g h a t r e d . [ T r a n s l a t i o n mine.]) 3 5 I b i d . ( I t i s however, i n t h i s form, new t o E n g l i s h Drama. [ T r a n s l a t i o n mine.]) 3 6 W. H. Auden, "The Unknown C i t i z e n . " 3^ John L a h r , I n t r o d u c t i o n t o The Complete P l a y s , p. 18. 3 8 C h r i s t i a n W. Thomsen, p. 336. (The workman appears as a h a l f -m e chanical p r o d u c t , which w i t h o u t e x c e p t i o n h i s s k i l l r e p r o d u c e s and s e l l s , who wears o u t , r u i n e d by bad management, and i s then s e t a s i d e and w r i t t e n o f f . [ T r a n s l a t i o n mine.]) 3^ John R u s s e l l T a y l o r , The Second Wave, p. 136. 4 0 John L a h r , I n t r o d u c t i o n t o The Complete P l a y s , p. 19. C h a p t e r I I I 1 P h y l l i s H a r t n o l l , ed., The C o n c i s e O x f o r d Companion t o the T h e a t r e (London: O x f o r d U.P., 1972), p. 170. 2 I b i d , p. 107. 3 E r i c B e n t l e y , "The P s y c h o l o g y o f F a r c e , " i n L e t s Get A D i v o r c e  and Other P l a y s , ed. E r i c B e n t l e y (New York: H i l l and Wang, 1958), p. x i x. 4 I b i d . 5 John L a h r , A s t o n i s h Me, p. 91. 6 I b i d . 7 George B e r n a r d Shaw, M i s a l l i a n c e , quoted as e p i g r a p h t o L o o t . 8 John L a h r , A s t o n i s h Me, pp. 89-90. 119 9 Joe O r t o n , What the B u t l e r Saw (London: Methuen and Co. L t d . , 1969), p. 28. A l l f u r t h e r r e f e r e n c e s a r e t o t h i s e d i t i o n and w i l l be quoted i n the t e x t . 10 John L a h r , A s t o n i s h Me, p. 89. E r i c B e n t l e y , "The P s y c h o l o g y o f F a r c e , " p. x. 1 2 R i c h a r d Watts, J r . , "Two On The A i s l e , " New York P o s t , March 19, 1968. ^ 3 M a r t i n E s s l i n , "Review o f L o o t , " P l a y s and P l a y e r s ( O c t o b e r 1966), p. 19. 1 4 Douglas Watt, "Review o f L o o t , " New York D a i l y News, March 19, 1968. 15 Simon T r u s s l e r , I n t r o d u c t i o n t o New E n g l i s h D r a m a t i s t s 13 (Harmonds-worth, M i d d l e s e x : Penguin Books, 1968), p. 10. 1 6 "The B i t e r B i t . " ^ Simon T r u s s l e r , I n t r o d u c t i o n t o New E n g l i s h D r a m a t i s t s 13, p. 11. 1R E r i c B e n t l e y , "The P s y c h o l o g y o f F a r c e , " p. xv. ^ 9 M a r t i n E s s l i n , "Review o f L o o t . " Of) Ronald Bryden, "Review o f L o o t , " O b s e r v e r Weekend Review, O c t o b e r 2, 1966. > 2 1 I b i d . K a t h a r i n e Worth, R e v o l u t i o n s i n Modern E n g l i s h Drama, p. 150. 2 3 P h y l l i s H a r t n o l l , ed., The O x f o r d Companion t o t h e T h e a t r e (London: O x f o r d U.P. 1952), p. 255. 2 4 Joe Orton quoted by John L a h r , I n t r o d u c t i o n to The Complete P l a y s , p. 20. 2 5 I b i d . 2^ Joe Orton quoted by M a r t i n E s s l i n , " C l a s s i c Echoes," P l a y s and  P l a y e r s (June 1967), p. 35. 2 7 Stage d i r e c t i o n i n Joe O r t o n , The Erpingham Camp i n Crimes o f  P a s s i o n , p. 46. A l l r e f e r e n c e s a r e t o t h i s e d i t i o n and w i l l be quoted i n the t e x t . 120 2 8 C h r i s t i a n W. Thomsen, p. 334. (Erpingham, however, behaves l i k e God t he F a t h e r i n the mediaeval mystery p l a y s . . . . The comparison i s n o t f a r - f e t c h e d . In a d d i t i o n to h i s mediaeval d r a m a t i c h e r i t a g e , Orton i m i t a t e s E l i z a b e t h a n t r a g e d y . P r e p a r e d by the prophecy o f h i s h u b r i s from t he b e g i n n i n g o f the p l a y , the s p e c t a t o r e x p e r i e n c e s Erpingham's d o w n f a l l from t h e z e n i t h o f h i s might. [ T r a n s l a t i o n mine.]) 2 9 I b i d . , pp. 334-5. 3 0 John R u s s e l l T a y l o r , The Second Wave, p. 134. 3 1 I b i d . 3 2 The p a r a b l e o f t h e Gadarene swine may a l s o be seen as a B r e c h t i a n e n c a p s u l a t i o n d e v i c e which p o i n t s o u t t h e p o l i t i c a l moral o f the p l a y . 3 3 John R u s s e l l T a y l o r , The Second Wave, p. 134. 3 4 M i c h a e l B i l l i n g t o n , "Wit o v e r t he Corpse," The Times, August 27, 1968. 3 5 George M e l l y , "Review o f Fu n e r a l Games," The O b s e r v e r Weekend  Review, September 1, 1968. 3 6 Keath F r a s e r , "Joe O r t o n : H i s B r i e f C a r e e r , " p. 418. 3 7 C h r i s t i a n W. Thomsen, p. 337. 3 8 Joe O r t o n , Funeral Games i n The Complete P l a y s (London: Eyre Methuen, 1976), pp. 324-5. A l l r e f e r e n c e s a r e t o t h i s e d i t i o n and w i l l be quoted i n the t e x t . 39 John R u s s e l l T a y l o r , The Second Wave, p. 136. 4 0 I b i d . , p. 137. 4 1 M i c h a e l B i l l i n g t o n , "Wit ov e r t he Corpse." 4 2 One need o n l y r e a d t he enormous p r o l i f e r a t i o n o f a r t i c l e s on t h e l a t e Gary G i l m o r e t o r e a l i s e t h e p e r c e p t i v e n e s s o f Orton's comment. 43 John R u s s e l l T a y l o r , "Review o f What t h e B u t l e r Saw" i n P l a y s  and P l a y e r s ( A p r i l 1969), p. 25. 44 John R u s s e l l T a y l o r , The Second Wave, p. 136. 4 5 H a r o l d Hobson, "Review o f What the B u t l e r Saw," The Sunday Times. March 9, 1969. 4 6 Ronald Bryden, "Review o f What the B u t l e r Saw," The O b s e r v e r Weekend Review, March 9, 1969. 4 7 Robert Cushman, i b i d . , J u l y 20, 1975. 4 8 John R u s s e l l T a y l o r , P l a y s and P l a y e r s ( A p r i l 1969), p. 25. 4 9 Frank Marcus quoted i n James Fox, "The L i f e and Death o f Joe O r t o n , " pp. 67-8. 5 0 Robert Cushman, "Review o f What the B u t l e r Saw." 5 1 Orton i n t e r v i e w e d by G i l e s Gordon, T r a n s a t l a n t i c Review 24, p. 5 2 Keath F r a s e r , "Joe O r t o n : H i s B r i e f C a r e e r , " p. 417. 5 3 K a t h a r i n e Worth, R e v o l u t i o n s i n Modern E n g l i s h Drama, p. 153. 5 4 John L a h r , "Review o f What the B u t l e r Saw," P l a y s and P l a y e r s (September 1975), p. 21. 5 5 K a t h a r i n e Worth, R e v o l u t i o n s i n Modern E n g l i s h Drama, p. 153. 5 6 John L a h r , A s t o n i s h Me, p. 94. 5 7 John L a h r , P l a y s and P l a y e r s (September 1975), p. 23. 5 8 K a t h a r i n e Worth, R e v o l u t i o n s i n Modern E n g l i s h Drama, p. 153. 5 9 I b i d . , p. 151. 6 0 I b i d . , p. 152. 6 1 O s c a r W i l d e , The Importance o f B e i n g E a r n e s t , p. 311. 6 2 K a t h a r i n e Worth, R e v o l u t i o n s i n Modern E n g l i s h Drama, p. 153. C h a p t e r IV 1 M a r t i n E s s l i n , The T h e a t r e o f the A b s u r d , p. 336. 2 A r n o l d H i n c h c l i f f e , B r i t i s h T h e a t r e 1950-1970 ( O x f o r d : B a s i l B l a c k w e l l , 1974), p. 146. 3 K a t h a r i n e Worth makes a s p e c i f i c c o n n e c t i o n between F l i n t and F u n e r a l Games; t h i s i s q u i t e a c c u r a t e , but t h e p l a y i s Ortonesque i n more g e n e r a l ways as w e l l . 4 David M e r c e r , • F 1 i n t (London: Methuen & Co. L t d . ) , p. 9. 122 5 I b i d , p. 58. 5 K a t h a r i n e Worth, R e v o l u t i o n s i n Modern E n g l i s h Drama, p. 40. 7 John R u s s e l l T a y l o r , The Second Wave, p. 169. 8 I b i d . , p. 170. 9 H i n c h c l i f f e , B r i t i s h T h e a t r e , p. 141. John R u s s e l l T a y l o r a grees w i t h t h i s term, but p o i n t s o u t t h a t i n t e l l e c t u a l s h o u l d not be used i n a p e j o r a t i v e sense. 10 John R u s s e l l T a y l o r , The Second Wave, p. 101 H Tom S t o p p a r d , A f t e r M a g r i t t e (London: Faber and Faber, 1971), pp. 26-7, 12 L o o t , p. 52. 13 Tom S t o p p a r d , Jumpers (London: Faber and Faber, 1972), p. 44. 1 4 I b i d . , p. 58. 1 5 H i n c h c l i f f e , B r i t i s h T h e a t r e , p. 169. 1 6 I b i d . 1^ P e t e r Barnes, The R u l i n g C l a s s (London: Heinemann, 1969), p. 88. K a t h a r i n e Worth, R e v o l u t i o n s i n Modern E n g l i s h Drama, p. 156. 19 P e t e r Barnes, The R u l i n g C l a s s , p. 9. 20 Ronald Bryden, I n t r o d u c t i o n t o The Bewitched by P e t e r Barnes (London: Heinemann, 1974), p. v i i i . BIBLIOGRAPHY A r t a u d , A n t o n i n . The T h e a t r e and I t s Double. T r a n s . Mary C a r o l i n e R i c h a r d s . 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"Review o f L o o t . " P l a y s and P l a y e r s , O c t o b e r 1966, p. 19. . The T h e a t r e o f t h e Absurd. Rev. ed. Garden C i t y , New York: Anchor Books, 1969. Fox, James. "The L i f e and Death o f Joe O r t o n . " The Sunday Times Magazine, 22 November 1970, pp. 44-52. R e p r i n t e d i n T h e a t r e '71. Ed. S h e r i d a n M o r l e y . London: H u t c h i n s o n & Co. L t d . , 1971. F r a s e r , Keath. "Joe O r t o n : H i s B r i e f C a r e e r . " Modern Drama, 14 (1971), 413-19. G a s c o i g n e , Bamber. "Review o f E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e . " O b s e r v e r Weekend  Review, May 10th, 1964. G a s s n e r , John and Q u i n n , Edward, eds. The Readers' E n c y c l o p e d i a o f  World Drama. London: Methuen & Co., 1970. Gordon, G i l e s . " I n t e r v i e w w i t h Joe O r t o n . " T r a n s a t l a n t i c Review, 24 (1967), 93-100. Gray, Simon. Dutch U n c l e . London: Faber and Faber L t d . , 1969. . Wise C h i l d . 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Jumpers. London: Faber and Faber L t d . , 1972. . The Real I n s p e c t o r Hound. London: Faber and Faber L t d . , 1968. S t y a n , J . L. The Dark Comedy: The Development o f Modern Comic Tragedy. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge U. P., 1968. Sypher, W y l i e . Comedy. Garden C i t y , New York: Anchor Books, 1956. T a y l o r , John R u s s e l l . Anger and A f t e r : A Guide t o the New B r i t i s h  Drama. Harmondsworth, M i d d l e s e x : Penguin Books, 1963. I n t r o d u c t i o n to New E n g l i s h D r a m a t i s t s 8. Harmondsworth, M i d d l e s e x : Penguin Books, 1965. . "Review o f What the B u t l e r Saw." P l a y s and P l a y e r s , A p r i l 1969, pp. 23-26. . The Second Wave: B r i t i s h Drama f o r t h e S e v e n t i e s . London: Methuen & Co., 1971. Thomsen, C h r i s t i a n W. "Joe Orton und das e n g l i s c h e T h e a t e r d e r s e c h z i g e r J a h r e . " Maske und Kothurn, 19, no. 4 (1973), 321-41. T r u s s l e r , Simon. I n t r o d u c t i o n to New E n g l i s h D r a m a t i s t s 13. Harmonds-worth, M i d d l e s e x : Penguin Books, 1968. . _ " T n e B i t e r B i t : Joe Orton i n t r o d u c e s E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e . " P l a y s and P l a y e r s , August 1964, p. 16. Wardle, I r v i n g . "Review o f The Erpingham Camp." The Times, June 7, 1967. Watt, Douglas. "Review o f L o o t . " New York D a i l y News, March 19, 1968. Watts, R i c h a r d . "Review o f E n t e r t a i n i n g Mr. S l o a n e . " New York P o s t , O c t o b e r 13, 1965. . "Two on t h e A i s l e . " New York P o s t , March 19, 1968. W e l l w a r t h , George. The T h e a t e r o f P r o t e s t and Paradox: Developments i n the Avant-Garde Drama. New York: N. Y. U. P., 1964. W i l d e , O s c a r . P l a y s . Harmondsworth, M i d d l e s e x : Penguin Books, 1968. Worth, K a t h a r i n e J . R e v o l u t i o n s i n Modern E n g l i s h Drama. London: G. B e l l and Sons, 1972. 

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