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A: Patrick Marber Pf: 1997, London Pb: 1997 G: Drama in 2 acts S: London, 1993–7 C: 2m, 2fWhen Daniel Woolf's taxi knocks down Alice Ayres, they fall in love and begin living together. She gives up her job as an erotic dancer to become a waitress, and Dan stops writing newspaper obituaries to devote himself to writing a novel. When, a year and a half later, his novel is published, he is photographed by Anna and is powerfully attracted to her. Seeing her again a year later at an exhibition of her photographs, he begs her to be with him, but she is now attached to Larry, a doctor. Soon after, Anna begins an affair with Dan but marries Larry. A year later, Dan confesses his affair to Alice, and Anna tells Larry. Later Larry meets Alice in a table-dancing club, but she pretends not to know him. Anna meets Larry to get the divorce papers signed and has sex with him, which Dan finds hard to cope with. Larry and Alice become lovers, but Anna eventually goes back to Larry. Dan finds Alice, but his jealous questioning drives them apart. She is killed in New York. Larry and Anna split up. Dan, now head of obituaries, leaves for New York to identify the body.

A: Patrick Marber Pf: 1997, London Pb: 1997 G: Drama in 2 acts S: London, 1993–7 C: 2m, 2f

Marber's award-winning play analyses with cruel but persuasively plausible insight the toing and froing between two couples. From these tangled relationships, the women prove to be the wiser and more sensible sex. As Larry admits: ‘We're the old people, Dan; old men, shaking our fists over these women, like some ancient ritual.’

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).

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