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Shelagh Delaney's 'A Taste of Honey' .

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Introduction

C20 DRAMA COURSEWORK 'A TASTE OF HONEY' By Shelagh Delaney 'A Taste of Honey' was first produced in 1958 and shocked audiences. What aspects of the play do you think would have been controversial at the time? Compare the play with the more recent TV version, focusing on what you find shocking about its impact today. How does the social context in which a play is seen affect audience reaction? 'A Taste of Honey' was first produced in 1958 and it shocked its audiences. Today, it is still viewed as a controversial play, but with the many changes in society over the past 40 years, it is different issues that disturb modern viewers. 'A Taste of Honey' is a play about controversial issues, and was also part of a controversial movement in theatre, known as the 'Angry Young Man'. This movement was headed by John Osborne, whose play 'Look Back in Anger' had an inestimable impact on British theatre. Theatre had recently been a form of middle-class entertainment with few hard-hitting and true to life storylines - this was completely changed with the rise of the 'Angry Young Man' movement. The main characters of these plays shared certain rebellious and critical attitudes toward society. The writer of 'A Taste of Honey', Shelagh Delaney, was also a part of this movement, and her impactful and honest play caused great discussion amongst audiences across the country. The new attitudes to the theatre are reflected in this play, as there are a great many issues packed into it. ...read more.

Middle

It is highly probable that part of Jo was just going out with Jimmie as a way of rebelling against her mother, as she knew it was a part of her life over which her mother had no control. We know that Jo doesn't really care what other people think, and we can tell this from what she says, for example, when Jimmie is asking how her mother will react to them getting married, Jo says, 'She's not marrying you, I am. It's got nothing to do with her.' When we find out that Jo is pregnant, you can expect that the audience would be appalled, as not only is this a teenage pregnancy, and an illegitimate child, but it is also the result of a mixed-race relationship. This child could probably not be anymore of a social outcast. Today, if a girl was in Jo's position she would be helped, and there are many organizations and people willing to help teenage mothers. However, in Jo's time no one would have wanted to make life easier for her but would have treated her in exactly the opposite way - as a social outcast. Today, teenage pregnancy is not exactly seen as a good thing, but it is accepted that it happens and that young mothers need help if they are going to be able to be part of society. The fact that the father of Jo's baby was black would make no difference today either. ...read more.

Conclusion

He then returns but Jo does not know this, and Helen tells him to go for good, so he leaves. At the end of the play Jo still thinks Geof is coming back. However, in the television version, Geof only leaves once. This makes his leaving seem more impactful and dramatic to the viewer. It also leaves the possibility that he might come back. The social context in which a play is seen can affect audience reaction greatly. Today, when we watch 'A Taste of Honey', we need to remember that it was written in a time when people were extremely prejudiced about things that we today do not consider to be a problem at all. We need to remember that this play was written to make people at the time aware of these important social issues and to make them think about their personal views. 'A Taste of Honey' had a great impact on the 1950's audience, and it caused much discussion about the things that were important in society. However, if it was seen today as a play, and the audience did not know that it had been written in a time when the issues in it really were big issues, it probably would not make much of an impact at all, as the issues in it would not really be shocking to a modern audience. But the play should be viewed with remembrance of the social context in which it was written and then it will make a lasting impression on its audience, whatever time and whatever social context it is seen in. 1 ...read more.

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