“A work in grimy pubs to explore
“A Taste of Honey” Kitchen sink drama A “kitchen sink drama” is a phrase used to describe a British cultural movement which came around in the late 1950’s to early 1960’s in plays, art, films and television. It used a style of social realism which often depicted the domestic situations of working class people living in rented housing and spending their time off work in grimy pubs to explore social issues and political controversies. The films, plays and novels using this style are often set in poorer industrial areas in the North of England, and use the rough accents and slang heard in those regions.The kitchen-sink drama is placed in an ordinary home setting and typically tells a fairly dull family story.
Family tensions often come to the forefront with realistic conflict between husband and wife, parent and child, between siblings and with the wider community. The may also be a family that has to pull together against external forces that range from the rent-collector to rival families. “A Taste of Honey” synopsis Act 1: scene 1 In the first scene, Helen (a semi- whore) and her daughter Jo are moving into a “shabby, comfortless flat in Manchester”.We find out they are quite poor as this is the best they can afford.
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Helen finds some of Jo’s drawings and she suddenly realises how little he knows about Jo. Jo rejects the idea of going to art school and blames Helen interrupting her training by moving her from school to school, she now only wants to leave school so she can get a job, earn her own money and get away from Helen. After this, Peter (Helens boyfriend) comes in. Jo thinks that Helen had them move to get away from him, but we are never told if that is the case. Peter doesn’t realise how old Helen is until he sees Jo.
Peter then, to ever ones surprise, asks Helen to marry him. With no proper answer from Helen, Peter leaves. Act 1: scene 2 The scene begins out side with Jo walking home with her black boyfriend. The two begin a light hearted conversation in which he asks Jo to marry him and she agrees even though the boy is in the navy and will be away for six months before they can marry. The boy gives Jo a ring which she hides under her cloths so Helen won’t see it. Also in the conversation we learn that Jo is leaving school and is going to start a part-time job in a pub.
During the next set piece Helen tells Jo that she is going to marry Peter. Peter enters and a new dialogue begins, with Jo attacking Helen and Peter, Helen and Peter attacking Jo, and Helen attacking both Jo and Peter. We find out that Jo is very upset about Helen marrying Peter; even so she carry’s on provoking him. After, Helen and Peter leave Jo on her own for Christmas.
Jo begins to cry and is consoled by her boyfriend. She invites him to stay over Christmas, although she has feelings she may never she him again. After a pause, Helen and Jo appear on stage. It’s Helens wedding day.Jo has got a cold so she will not be able to go to the wedding. Because Jo is in her pyjamas, Helen spots the ring that Jo’s boyfriend gave to her and learns the truth that the where going to marry.
She scolds Jo for thinking of marrying so young. When Helen calms down, Jo asks about her real dad. Helen says that she married a “puritan” and that she had to look else where for sexual pleasure. Helen describes Jo’s father as “not a very bright man”. Helen then rushes off to her wedding. Act 2: scene 1 Several months later and Jo is living in the same shabby flat.
We find out that she has to work to jobs, one of a day in a shoe shop and one of an evening in a bar, in order to be able to afford the rent. She is pregnant, but her boyfriend has not yet returned to her. She returns from a funfair to the flat with Geoff, an effeminate art student. Jo offends him by insensitively asking about his sexuality and Geoff retaliates by criticising her drawings. Jo apologises and asks him to stay and sleep on the couch. Geoff begins to show concern for Jo as they develop a friendly joking relationship.
After a moment of darkness we see Jo, irritable and depressed by her pregnancy, with Geoff by her side consoling her. Geoff then kisses Jo and asks her to marry him. Jo declines by saying that she like shim but not in that way. At this point Helen enters having been contacted by Geoff, who wishes to keep the fact that he contacted her secret from Jo.
Jo guesses that is was Geoff that brought Helen to them and becomes angry with both of them. Helen and Jo begin to argue, and when ever Geoff try’s to get involved he is attacked to one or both women. Helen offers Jo money, at which pointPeter comes in, drunk, takes back the money from Helen and insists they leave. After a moment’s hesitation, Helen goes out with Peter. Act 2: scene 2 In the beginning of act 2: scene 2, the baby is due any moment, Jo and Geoff both seem happy. Geoff tells Jo that Helen was probably exaggerating about Jo’s dad having mental deficiencies.
Geoff bought Jo a doll so she could practise holding the baby but Jo, assuming the baby will be black like its father, throws the doll to the ground because it’s the wrong colour. Jo and Geoff are about to have tea with Helen burst in with her bags from act 1.She says she has been thrown out by Peter and is going to moving with Jo. Helen attempts to get rid of Geoff by being very rude towards him, while overwhelming Jo with presents and advice. While Jo is asleep, Geoff leaves because he realises Helen is to strong for him and he doesn’t want there arguing to affect Jo. When Jo wakes up Helen tells her that Geoff is out shopping, but when Helen learns that baby will be black she storms out for a drink.
Jo, now alone and in labour, begins to hum a tune that Geoff was singing previously, still unaware that he as left. Character descriptions HelenHelen is a middle-aged woman; she is an alcoholic “semi-whore”. She has little interest in her daughter and any thing she does. Helen gets married to Peter nut is dumped during act 2: scene 2.
Helen says she has been married before to a “puritan” and had to look else where for sex, thus she came across Jo’s real dad “a bit retarded” who she had a one night stand with. Helen may also be a racist, because when she learns that Jo’s baby will be black she rushes out for a drink leaving Jo alone during her labour. Jo Jo is a teenage girl who has to deal with pregnancy and womanhood throughout the play.She has a difficult relationship with her mother, Helen, who is always drinking or off with her boyfriend Peter. Jo is a talented artist but rejects the idea of going to art school because she and her mum, Helen, are always moving around. Jo meets her boyfriend and becomes pregnant by him. She then forms a relationship with an effeminate art student named Geoff.
Jo ends up in labour alone as both her mum and Geoff have left her. Peter Peter is a wealthy man from London. He is the boyfriend/husband of Helen. He doesn’t care too much for Jo or the fact that she’s pregnant.The boy The boy, also known as Jimmy, is a black sailor, and is the boyfriend of Jo.
He is the one that gets her pregnant he also asks Jo to marry him in six months when he gets back from sea. After he spends Christmas with Jo, he is never seen again in the play. Geoff Geoff is an effeminate art student who forms a friendly relationship with Jo after her boyfriend leaves her. He is with Jo all though her pregnancy and even asks her to marry him so the baby will have a name, but in the end when Helen, Jo’s mum, moves in he cant stand her so he leaves Jo and doesn’t return.