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The Slab Boys

The Slab Boys
Your Price: $15.95 CDN
Author: John Byrne
Publisher: Samuel French
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 117
Pub. Date: 1982
ISBN-10: 057361914X
ISBN-13: 9780573619144

About the Play:

The Slab Boys is one of the best-loved works in twentieth-century Scottish theatre.

The Slab Boys is a full-length drama by John Byrne. A group of boys who mix paints at a Scottish carpet factory pull secret pranks to escape the reality of their drab existence and to express defiance against their superiors. Its language and characters are rich and dense, and it truly is a Scottish classic.

The Slab Boys is set in a dingy paint-mixing room of a carpet manufacturer in Scotland. The slab boys are teen age factory workers who are responsible for kneading ground pigments into smooth paint for designers. Entrapped by Scotland's rigid social and economic structure, their narrow dream is to graduate to a desk job or, in rare cases, to break away into the world of art and design. Using humour as his primary instrument, the author skilfully conveys the frustrations of disengaged young people in this comic work that still resonates with audiences.

The Slab Boys premiered in 1978 at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh. It was a success in 1979 at the Actors Theatre of Louisville and Off Broadway in 1980 at the Hudson Guild Theatre and on Broadway in 1983 at the Playhouse Theatre. Six degrees of Kevin Bacon? The Broadway production starred some young men who became Hollywood hotshots: Kevin Bacon, Val Kilmer and Sean Penn as the three roistering kids in working-class rock 'n' roll Scotland.

Cast: 2 women, 6 men

What people say:

"We laugh at the banter and we care about the burdens of the characters about young hope at an early standstill." — The New York Times

"The play is human and funny.... Characters bristle with comic animosities or falter in bittersweet absurdities." — New York Magazine

About the Playwright:

John Byrne is a Scottish playwright, screenwriter, and artist. He studied at Glasgow School of Art from 1958 to 1963, and has since made a remarkable contribution to Scottish arts and culture through his varied career as a prolific illustrator, painter, printmaker and writer. He illustrated jackets for Penguin Books and record covers for the Beatles, Billy Connolly and the late Gerry Rafferty. Drawing upon his pre-artschool experiences in the colour-mixing room of a 1950s carpet factory in Paisley, The Slab Boys written in 1978 is named by the National Library of Scotland as one of the 12 key works written between 1970-2010.