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A Taste of Honey

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by

Helen Thom

on 18 September 2014

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Transcript of A Taste of Honey

Shelagh Delaney
Born 1939
Bought up in Salford, Manchester
Left school at 16, had a series of jobs but was always interested in writing
Didn't like the drama and films of the 1950's as they didn't reflect the lives and characters of the working class.
She decided to turn a novel she had been writing, into a play, 'A Taste of Honey'. She sent it to Joan Littlewood in London, who ran a theatre company.
Shelagh Delaney was only 18 years old when she wrote the play.
Setting
The flat is a rented 'maisonette', located in a deprived area of industrial Manchester
References to theft & prostitution, and descriptions of tenements, poor and under-nourished children support the idea of a deprived area
Flat overlooks a gasworks and is close to a canal, slaughterhouse and a cemetery.
Play takes place in a flat and on the street outside
The flat itself is dirty, damp and poorly
equipt:
- fire doesn't work
- cooker is faulty
- roof leaks etc

Throughout the play, the noise of children singing and playing on the streets is heard
The two central female characters are both untidy and have a lack of hygiene
Bathroom is shared at the end of a corridor
The Characters ...
'Jo'
'Helen'
'Geof'
'Peter'
'The Boy/Jimmy'
'Jo'
Central character
Is a school girl at the start of the play and an expectant mother at the end
Her age is unclear; although she goes to school, she tells her boyfriend that she's nearly eighteen
When she does leave school she gets a part time job in a pub, then after as a sales assistant
At the start of the play, we learn that she has never had a boyfriend
The only reference to her father is in Act I Scene I when Jo says "he's dead"
'Helen'

Mother of 'Jo'
Attractive looking woman who is 'older' than she makes out to be
Divorced from first husband after a brief affair with 'Jo's' father
Struggles to exist financially and relies on money from male friends
Very dependent on alcohol
a very changeable character; can be kind and caring one minute, then cruel and insulting the other.

'Geof'
Appears in Act II, when Jo discovers he is homeless
Moves in with Jo, does chores around the flat and pays the rent
Homosexual
An Art student
'Peter'
A brash salesman
Wears an eye patch and smokes cigars
At least 10 years younger than 'Helen'
Appears to be successful in making money; he drives, buys a house, spends money freely buying gifts for Helen and chocolates for Jo
He detests where Helen & Jo live
Both Peter & Helen drink heavily
In Act I he is the 'persistent' lover to Helen but by Act II, he is seen as an aggressive drunk
'The Boy / Jimmy'
Jo's boyfriend and father of Jo's baby
22 years old
Black
From Cardiff, Wales
Use to be a nurse before starting 'National Service'
His real name is not mentioned until the end of Act II
The Plot
ACT I
ACT II
SCENE I
Helen & Jo move
Peter asks Helen to marry him
Helen kicks Peter out
SCENE II
Jo and 'The Boy/Jimmy' meet
Jimmy proposes
Helen is engaged to Peter
Helen finds Jo's ring
Helen Leaves to get married
SCENE 1
Jo is pregnant
Jo and Geof are friends
Jo is depressed
Geof helps Jo
Helen comes to visit
Geof wants to marry Jo
SCENE II
Jo is due anytime
Jo wants Helen to come back
Helen comes back
Helen kicks Geof out
Jo doesn't know Geof is gone
RACISM
&
PREJUDICE
HOMOSEXUALITY
THE WORKING CLASS
INTER-RACIAL RELATIONSHIPS
SINGLE PARENTS
THEMES
WITHIN THE WORK

RELATIONSHIPS
LONELINESS
PROMISCUITY
The title 'A Taste
of Honey' comes from
the bible.
It refers to a period of
happiness which each
character experiences
at some point during
the play.
AWARDS
The play opened at the Theatre Royal, London 1958. It was so successful that it moved to the West End in 1959.
The play was performed in New York 1960.
The play won:
the New Play Award 1958
New York Drama Critics Award 1961
British Academy Award for 'Best Picture' 'Best Actress'
The play is set in the 1950's
Full transcript