Daniels Plays: 2: Gut Girls , Beside Herself , Head-rot Holiday , Madness of Esme and Shaz

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Bloomsbury Academic, Dec 5, 1994 - Drama - 352 pages

Sarah Daniels is "a writer with a natural talent for disturbance"—Observer

Set in the gutting sheds of the slaughterhouse at the Cattle Market in late Victorian Deptford, The Gut Girls shows how the lives of the girls are changed when their work is made illegal - "Regarded as little better than whores by their contemporaries the gut girls are...a boisterous, beer-swilling, strong-minded bunch, handy with a knife both in the gutting shed and outside it, defiantly independent in attitude and scornful of the illusion of male supremacy." Malcolm Hay (Time Out). Beside Herself is the first of three plays in this volume that deal with women and madness - "a dramatic analogue of a contemporary social tragedy which exists on a scale we are only just beginning to comprehend" (Observer); Head-Rot Holiday commissioned by Clean Break theatre company for ex-offenders, portrays the fate of women detained in special hospitals, a euphemism for an institution for the "criminally insane" - "There is a fine, hard humour, as well as compassion, in the way Head-Rot Holdiay examines the contradictions entangling these women's lives"; The Madness of Esmé and Shaz is "A weird and wondrous black comedy." (Spectator)

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About the author (1994)

Sarah Daniel's plays include Ripen Our Darkness (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London, 1981); Ma's Flesh is Grass (Crucible Studio Theatre, Sheffield, 1981); The Devil's Gateway (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London, 1983); Masterpieces (Manchester Royal Exchange, 1983; Royal Court Theatre, London, 1983/4); Neaptide, winner of the 1982 George Devine Award (Cottesloe, National Theatre, London, 1986); Byrthrite (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London, 1986); The Gut Girls (Albany Empire, Deptford, 1988); Beside Herself (Royal Court, London, 1990); Head-Rot Holiday (Clean Break Theatre Company, 1992); The Madness of Esme and Shaz (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London, 1994); Blow Your House Down, based on the novel by Pat Barker (Live Theatre, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1995); Dust (Cottesloe, National Theatre, London, 2003); and Flying Under Bridges (Watford Palace Theatre, 2005).

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