Killing of Sister George

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A: Frank Marcus Pf: 1965, Bristol Pb: 1965 G: Drama in 3 acts S: June's living room, London, 1960s C: 4fSister George, played by the actress June Buckridge, is the district nurse character in a popular BBC radio serial Applehurst. Something of a national figure, Sister George rides her bicycle down country lanes singing hymns and is loved by everyone for her goodness. Unfortunately, June's private life does not match that of Sister George: she is a heavy drinker and is constantly having rows with her lesbian partner Alice (Childie) McNaught, a spoilt and childish woman. Matters come to a head when June is involved in a drunken incident in a taxi with some nuns. Mercy Croft, a BBC executive and June's immediate boss, visits her to warn her that she must do more to maintain her public image. Just as June and Childie are about to go to a fancy-dress party as Laurel and Hardy, Mercy returns with the news that the decision has been reached to kill off Sister George in a road accident in two weeks' time. This will rid the show of the now awkward June and boost ratings considerably. At the same time, Mercy promises to find a job for Childie. June listens to her death on the radio and is further humiliated when Mercy offers her a part in a new series as a cow. The strain proves too much for June and Childie's relationship, but Mercy is more than willing to provide comfort to Childie.

A: Frank Marcus Pf: 1965, Bristol Pb: 1965 G: Drama in 3 acts S: June's living room, London, 1960s C: 4f

German-born Frank Marcus broke ground with this play in two main ways: it deals openly with lesbian relationships, and it is the first play to explore the phenomenon of the nationally acclaimed soap-opera figure, now a staple of British tabloids. Both on stage and on screen, Sister George in Beryl Reid's performance became a moving image of an ageing woman rejected by society, a kind of female Death of a Salesman.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).

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Frank Marcus (1928—1996)

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