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It’s bad enough bein’ stuck with a kid without ‘avin’ you ‘anging round’ me neck. The ‘ole street’s laughin’ be’ind yer back.
Described by Edward Bond as ‘almost irresponsibly optimistic’, Saved is a play set in London in the sixties amidst the cultural poverty and frustration of a generation of young people on the dole and living on council estates.
The play opens on Len and Pam preparing to have sex and asking each other their names. Pam’s parents are deadlocked in a stultified, silent marriage. Len stays with the family as a lodger despite being rejected by Pam, in order to keep an eye on her neglected baby. Pam leaves the baby with Frank, whom she claims is its father, leading to one of modern theatre’s most shocking scenes.
Saved’s atmosphere of domestic bleakness ultimately cracks to reveal an underlying animalistic brutality, then settles back again, with an alarming glimpse of how little human life seems to be worth. It quickly became a notorious play and has since had a profound influence on a whole new generation of writers who emerged after it. The play was first staged privately in November 1965 at the Royal Court Theatre for members of the English Stage Society at a time when plays were still censored. Bond’s refusal to alter its scenes in response to the censor’s demands meant it played a fundamental role in the successful campaign to repeal the laws governing censorship of plays.
Methuen Drama’s iconic Modern Plays series began in 1959 with the publication of Shelagh Delaney’s A Taste of Honey and has grown across six decades to now include more than 1000 plays by some of the best writers from around the world. This new special edition hardback of Saved was published to celebrate 60 years of Methuen Drama’s Modern Plays in 2019, chosen by a public vote and features a brand new foreword by Simon Stephens.
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