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Shopping and Fucking


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A: Mark Ravenhill Pf: 1996, London Pb: 1996 G: Drama in 14 scenes S: A flat, interview room, bedsit, pub, hospital, and department store, London, 1990s C: 4m, 1fRobbie and Lulu are lovers of Mark, who leaves to seek treatment for his drug addiction. Lulu, an actress, is interviewed by the sinister Brian for a television job in advertising, and is given Ecstasy tablets to sell. Mark reappears, but is reluctant to commit to Robbie again. Mark, in search of impersonal sex, pays to lick 14-year-old Gary's anus, but is alarmed that he is bleeding. Robbie goes to sell his Ecstasy tablets but gets so high himself that he gives them away and then gets beaten up. Gary reveals to Mark that he was abused by his stepfather and invites Mark to stay. Brian gives Robbie and Lulu one week to find £3,000 for the missing Ecstasy tablets. They begin to offer phone sex to get the money. Mark introduces Gary to Robbie, who is violently jealous. Gary is willing to pay Robbie for finding the kind of powerful father figure that Gary is looking for. Robbie plays the role of dominant master, has sex with him, but draws the line at penetrating him with a knife, which Gary begs for: ‘I thought you were for real. Pretending, isn't it. Just a story.’ Robbie and Lulu give Brian his money. Insisting that ‘money is civilization’, Brian hands the money back. Robbie and Lulu share their food with Mark in a final scene of togetherness.

A: Mark Ravenhill Pf: 1996, London Pb: 1996 G: Drama in 14 scenes S: A flat, interview room, bedsit, pub, hospital, and department store, London, 1990s C: 4m, 1f

In the desolate world portrayed by ‘Inyerface’ theatre of the 1990s, Ravenhill's play at least allows words like ‘love’ to continue to possess some residual meaning. The main hope of redemption in an empty universe is to establish connections by making stories: ‘Big stories’ about God or socialism ‘all died, or the world…forgot them, so now we're all making up our own stories’, ‘stories so that we can get by’.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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