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Shopping and Fucking

Shopping and Fucking
Your Price: $18.95 CDN
Author: Mark Ravenhill
Publisher: Methuen Drama
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 96
Pub. Date: 1997
ISBN-10: 0413712400
ISBN-13: 9780413712400
Cast Size: 1 woman, 4 men

About the Play:

Shopping and Fucking (sometimes billed as Shopping and F**king) is a full-length drama by Mark Ravenhill. The ground-breaking debut from one of the most important playwrights of the 1990s, this play concerns five misfits in an uncertain drug society. Supposedly friends or at least acquaintances, no one can really be honest with each other, sexually or financially.

Shopping and Fucking graphically depicts the self-defeating lifestyles of London's lost youth. Drugs and sex are interchangeable commodities in a world where sexual orientation is not an issue. Mark Ravenhill takes the names of his four main characters from pop stars and shows them buying, selling and stealing whatever they can – drugs, sex and ready meals. Mark used to work in the City but is now a recovering junkie; after a topless audition for a shopping channel Lulu is asked to sell ecstasy by her interviewer; Gary, who has been sexually abused by his step-father, is an underage prostitute looking for someone to fulfill his violent fantasies; Robbie tries to make enough to pay the threatening landlord by setting up a phone sex line with Lulu. With a raw mixture of black humour and bleak philosophy, the play shows the lives of disconnected youth reduced to transactions by a dysfunctional consumerist society. This harrowing, fast yet humorous commentary is central to the 1990s movement sometimes called 'in-yer-face theatre'.

Shopping and Fucking made the leap from sensational fringe theatre success to critical acclaim and box office bonanza at the Royal Court Theare in London in 1996, transferred to the West End, undertook a national tour, and an international touring company mounted productions of the play in Australia, Sweden, and Israel. On the marquee of the Royal Court Theatre where it premiered, and on the cover of his plays (although not inside) it appeared and appears censored, as Shopping and F***ing. As with most censorship, the deletion of the offending matter only attracted more attention to what was missing and further contributed to the success of one of the most important theatrical events of the 1990s. The play has become a favourite scene study vehicle in acting classes and workshops and has been performed in regional repertory, fringe festival, and college theatre productions.

Cast: 1 woman, 4 men

What people say:

"...a darkly humorous play for today's twenty-somethings ... a real coup de theatre." — The Evening Standard

"Plunges you into the world of disposability, disconnection and dysfunction, where relationships to be trusted have to be reduced to transactions ... strong stuff." — The Independent

"Ravenhill has more to say, and says it more refreshingly and wittily, than any other playwright of his generation." — Time Out (London)

About the Playwright:

Mark Ravenhill is an English playwright, actor, director, and journalist. He studied English and Drama at Bristol University from 1984–1987, and held down jobs as a freelance director, workshop leader and drama teacher. After staging a short piece, Fist, as part of the I'll Show You Mine season of shorts at London's Finborough pub theatre venue, he was prompted to write a larger scale work that burst on to the theatre scene in 1996 as the huge hit Shopping and F***ing. One of the most distinctive contemporary UK playwrights, he was appointed Associate Director of London's Little Opera House at The King's Head Theatre in September 2010. He played an active role in the venue's relaunch as London's third Opera House. In 2012, he became Writer in Residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). He often writes for the arts section of The Guardian.

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