Absurd Person Singular Introduction A “Comedy” • A black comedy (or dark comedy) is a comic work that employs black humor, which, in its most basic definition, is humor that makes light of otherwise serious subject matter Its Purpose • The purpose of black comedy is to make light of serious and often taboo subject matter, and some comedians use it as a tool for exploring vulgar issues, thus provoking discomfort and serious thought as well as amusement in their audience. Popular themes of the genre include murder, suicide, depression, abuse, mutilation, war, barbarism, drug abuse, terminal illness, domestic violence, sexual violence, paedophilia, insanity, nightmare, disease, racism, homophobia, sexism, disability (both physical and mental), chauvinism, corruption, and crime. Alan Ayckbourn • A prolific English playwright. He has written and produced more than seventy full-length plays in Scarborough and London between 1972 and 2009. Absurd Person Singular Major Themes • • • • Wealth and Power: Wealth and Status Marital Relationships: Feminism and Power Addiction: Drugs and Alcoholism Infidelity: Men Cheating on their Wives Question: • Do you feel different about the play after watching it? Why? Why not? Addiction: • Eva, Geoffrey’s wife is addicted to painkillers. We are subtly introduced to this in Act 1 where she asks for a glass of water and says, “I have to take these,” pills in her hand and when asked by Sidney if she is sick she says, “Depends on what you mean by ill, doesn’t it.” This implies her depression, but also addiction. • At the opening of Act 2 we see Eva addicted to drugs as Geoffrey plans on leaving her Addiction Continued… • The idea that Eva’s addiction is tied to Geoffrey’s infidelity and abuse is also quite evident. • Ayckbourn demonstrates how influential people can be while demonstrating the interdependence of one another in a relationship. Cleaning • It is clear that Jane cleans in order to cope with what is going on in her life and the challenges that her and Sidney face both in their marriage and in their social/economic lives. At the end of Act 1 when Sidney angers, Jane sings happily “Release me”, which symbolizes her happiness while cleaning when coping with the scolding Sidney just gave her. Business in the Kitchen • Major occurrences occur in the kitchen. They kitchen then serves as a place where things happen in Act 1. The men all discuss business in the kitchen and when the women do enter things happen (Eva takes drugs). • The kitchen is therefore the area where the drama happens and the living room is where the party happens.