May/June 2012

Salt Of The Earth
by John Godber

Directed by
Jan Ford

Made the most of the play's
undoubted strengths
Michael Gray

Grasp of Godber's black
humour was memorable
Braintree & Witham Times

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Salt Of The Earth spans three generations of decent honest working class folk from a West Yorkshire mining town, making the best of what they have and the most of every opportunity they are given.

Beginning during the post-war austerity of 1947 and culminating amid the backdrop of the Miners' strike in the 1980’s, the play follows the lives of sisters Annie and May and their families through the 20th Century, through an era of changing values and attitudes.

It is 1947 and two teenage sisters Annie and
May Parker are off to work.

Their boyfriends Roy and Harry are miners at the local pit.

Annie and Roy, and May and Harry are now married and spend their weekend spare time on picnics or at the Palais de Dance.

It is 1956 and May has had a baby boy, Paul.

Harry comes from the pit to report that there has been a roof collapse.  Roy has been crushed by the fall and has died on his way to hospital.

Annie grieves for her husband.

May argues with Mrs Potter over Mrs Potter's son making a mess in her garden.

Paul is now ten years old and is playing with his friend Tosh.  Kay, a local girl, comes in wanting to play with them.

Paul is now a teenager still at school and Kay, who works at the chocolate factory, is his girlfriend.  Auntie Annie complains to them about her nerves and tells them to enjoy themselves before old age catches up.

Paul and Tosh are miming to the music
"Ziggy Stardust" with a tennis racquet and sweeping brush.

It is 1974 and Paul has been offered a place at Sussex University to read English.

Act II moves forward to 1980.  May and Harry still celebrate at the Miners' Welfare Club.  Paul is now studying for his MA and Tosh is working.  Kay arrives; she is married with two children.

May is in hospital for a hysterectomy.  As she recovers, Harry and Paul talk about their lives.  Paul is now a struggling journalist.

It is the Miners' Strike and Mrs Potter, Harry and Tosh are on the picket line at the Kirkby pit.

All are gathered for May's birthday.  Paul has brought his girlfriend Cherry to meet his parents.  May is not pleased to see them.

Cherry and Paul are left alone.  Cherry is concerned about May but Paul regrets coming back.  He remarks that Philip Larkin was right all along about parents.



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