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Consider the dramatic effectiveness of Alan Bennett's "A cream cracker under the settee".

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Consider the dramatic effectiveness of Alan Bennett's "A cream cracker under the settee". Alan Bennett's "A cream cracker under the settee" is full of dramatic technique. The play was one of the first monologues, and therefore was, in a way, one of the new sensations of the mid-eighties. The idea behind the play is simple; the main character, named Doris, is in her seventies and lives on her own, save for weekly visits from her minder/'cleaner', Zulema. A crippling accident during Zulema's absence causes Doris to reflect on her past and present life. In many ways the play is a Satire, which portrays the discriminatory treatment of the elderly. There is a wide range of dramatic devices in the play, such as; pause, flashbacks, imagery, repetition, register, emotive language and irony. Pause is used continuously and regularly by Bennett throughout the play, it can be used for a verity of reasons, in this particular example it is used as a way to change the subject; "I can nip this leg and nothing. (pause) Ought to have had a dog." ...read more.


You couldn't get past for it. Proper prams then, springs and hoods. Big wheels. More like cars than prams ... Wilfred spotted it in the evening post. I said, 'Don't lets jump the gun Wilfred." Flashbacks in the play allow for variety in the text, maintaining the audiences attention by renewing the subject being discussed in the dialogue. Alan Bennett's scripts are popular for many reasons, one of which is his excellent use of imagery, he has the ability to give an audience member a vivid picture of an object or a scene. "A cream cracker under the settee" is no exception to this, with several distinct lines devoted to imagery. One example is Doris' description of the pram, another is found towards the end of the play in another flashback; "I'd leave the door on the latch and go on to the end for some toffee, and when I came back Dad was home and the cloth was on and the plates out and we'd have our tea." ...read more.


Same as the cream cracker. I'll be in Stafford house, Zulema, but you'll be in the unemployment exchange." Later in the play Doris eats the cracker, this can be regarded as symbolism, what it symbolises can only be based on opinion, some may say it symbolises the destruction of Doris' last hope, while others may say it's the removal of her life. This uncertainty of it's meaning is good in terms of dramatic effectiveness, as it allows the audience to draw their own conclusions, which can be more enjoyable. Bennett allows the audience to formulate their own opinions again at the end of the play. He ends the play with Doris, still on her own and the light fading. This understated ending is very much a cliffhanger. The audience are left with the big question 'does Doris die?'. This again adds to the dramatic effectiveness of the play. I myself have seen a few other plays by Alan Bennett and have seen and experienced the same perfect drama. "A cream cracker under the settee" is indeed a fantastic example of how dramatic devices can be used to an extraordinary standard. ...read more.

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