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Abigails Party Context

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Introduction

Mike Leigh, who is the playwright of Abigail's party, was born in 1943. He was brought up in a Jewish immigrant family in the over populated, working class area of Salford, Lancashire. He trained at RADA as an actor and then went on to East 15 Acting School to start his directing skills. It was here that Leigh met Alison Steadman, whom he married in 1973 and had two sons with. At school, Leigh felt he didn't fit in because he was very literary. I think this is a link to the character of Laurence, whom is very like Leigh. Leigh's father was a doctor and openly disapproved of his son's interest in drama and theatre. Leigh writes the character of Laurence as a man whose intellect is unappreciated. I think this is a reflection of Leigh's feelings as a young man. ...read more.

Middle

Labour was voted in again in 1976, under Harold Wilson, and then James Callaghan. But the Governments failure to deal with the rising unemployment problem paved way for a glorious Tory Win in 1979, under Margaret Thatcher's guidance. She was the first female Prime Minister ever to rule Britain. None of these iconic political highlights are mentioned at all in the play. It emphasises Beverley's ignorance towards politics as the strikes and energy rationing will have been an important aspect of her husbands work. But her unsympathetic attitude towards him leads us to assume that she may have been aware, but not at all interested in these topics, this can also be said for other characters in the play. In 1970 the equal pay act gave women the same pay as men for similar jobs. This recognised women as independent workers. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, that variation wasn't often seen within each estate as having only one house style per estate allowed building companies to achieve economies of scale. The layouts of the estates were less rigid than before as developers used curved road lines and non-rectangular plots to disguise the uniformity. This will have been a good time for Laurence, financially, as he will have profited from this sudden rise in housing costs. It could be said that it was seen as a particularly successful career at the time and therefore it would be very fitting for Leigh to have written Laurence as an estate agent. The idea of Laurence being successful and rich will have suited Beverly's character very well, as she is written as a kept woman. This play is still very popular today as it focuses on universal themes and issues. Leigh's naturalistic approach to the performance makes the plot believable and enjoyable to watch. ...read more.

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