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Foreskin's Lament


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Greg McGee (b. 1950)

 

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A: Greg McGee Pf: 1980, Auckland Pb: 1981 G: Tragicom. in 2 acts; prose and some verse S: Rugby changing room and verandah outside Larry's house, c.1980 C: 7m, 2fUrged on by the coach Tupper, a rugby team are practising for a big match on Saturday. Ken the captain, who has recently had concussion, falls to the ground and is carried off. Their manager Larry, a local businessman, massages Ken gently, and is made fun of by the players when they come from training. Foreskin (Seymour), who is a university student, reassures Larry. Larry invites everyone back after the big game to see the New Zealand–South Africa rugby match, but Foreskin refuses to watch an apartheid-selected team in action. Tupper encourages his men to play dirty on Saturday, but Foreskin objects strongly, then asks Tupper not to make Ken play. At Larry's party after the game, Ken is lying in a coma in hospital, and Foreskin remains detached from the general merriment. Clean (Lindsay), a thuggish and now very drunk policeman, pesters Moira, but backs off when he discovers that she is a lawyer. Foreskin warns Moira that New Zealand is run by people like Clean, whatever high-flown ideas the intellectuals may have. Tupper tries to persuade Moira to settle down with Foreskin, so that he will become a steadier, more dependable member of the team. Foreskin reveals that he saw Clean kick Ken in the head. When Tupper hears this, he fights with Clean. Larry intervenes and is knocked unconscious. Foreskin smashes the television screen and addresses the audience: Ken has died, and, breaking into verse, Foreskin laments the state of his nation.

A: Greg McGee Pf: 1980, Auckland Pb: 1981 G: Tragicom. in 2 acts; prose and some verse S: Rugby changing room and verandah outside Larry's house, c.1980 C: 7m, 2f

Using rugby as a lively and powerful metaphor for the unfeeling nature of New Zealand society (‘a junkyard for obsolete mentalities’), McGee wrote one of the most important plays of antipodean theatre. Its onstage nakedness, references to Larry's homosexuality, and provocative subject matter made it extremely controversial.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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