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Abigail's Party by Mike Leigh - Plot and Subplot

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Introduction

Abigail's Party Plot & Subplot * Abigail's Party is a naturalistic play. * It has linear narrative (it has a beginning/middle/end) unlike "East" by Steven Berkoff (the other play we are studying), which is episodic. * East uses montage, and juxtaposes forms, which is a complete contrast from Abigail's party, which has completely naturalistic dramatic form. * It follows all of Aristotle's three unities of, one place; real time; continuous action; therefore is a "well made play" * The plot is based on the two main characters Beverly & Laurence * The characters Angela & Tony, Sue and Abigail form the subplot * The Subplot drives the main plot * The structure of a "well made play" is in three parts, exposition; development; resolution: PLOT Main plot: the main plot is the break down and failure of Beverly and Laurence's marriage. Exposition: is the introduction to the characters and the situation. At the start of the play, we are introduced to Beverly & Laurence, who are a married couple; with no children, that are hosting a small party. ...read more.

Middle

this shows Beverly knows him well, and we also see Laurence's frustration with it, as he denies that he has heartburn when Beverly asks, "No I haven't... just a light case of indigestion". Resolution: The play deepens further; all loose ends tie together, leading to a denouement. As the play comes to an end, Beverly and Laurence's arguments become worse, they become angrier and they deliver sharper criticisms. They argue over an erotic painting, which Beverly wants to show her guests, but this aggravates Laurence as he finds it inappropriate " Laurence: that's cheap pornographic trash! Bev: Laurence, just because a picture happens to be erotic, doesn't mean it's pornographic.". After this the tension is at its highest " Laurence: Beverly don't bring that picture downstairs! Bev: oh, sod off Laurence! ... Drop dead!" and it all leads to Laurence's sudden and dramatic heart attack. During the heart attack we notice that Beverly still loves and cares for Laurence and is very worried about her husband "what's going on? What's the matter with him? Laurence! ... has he passed out? ...read more.

Conclusion

Sue is culturally similar to Laurence as they have the same tase (literature, music, art), which helps Laurence show off, also both Sue and Laurence like olives, which helps Laurence prove his point as he had argued with Beverly about the olives. Sue's character is very reserved, she is sensible and formal, which emphasises the ridiculousness of the other characters. Sue seems to be very uncomfortable throughout the play, which suggests awkwardness, and it may suggest that Beverly is a bad hostess. We get the impression that Sue feels pressured by Beverly as when she tries to reject Beverly's offer of a "top up" to her drink she still seems to have more and more to drink. Sue's character set's a contrast between Beverly and Laurence, and Sue's life, in the way of culture, personality, way of life etc. Abigail: Although Abigail is only talked about in the play, and is not seen, her character is threatening towards Beverly, causing Bev to be jealous that a 15 year old is having a big party, and Bev isn't, creating a sense of competitiveness. Also Abigail's party is the reason sue was invited. Angela Trupia ...read more.

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