Originally staged at New York's Chelsea Theater Center, "The Contractor" is ostensibly about the raising of a tent for a wedding on an English estate. The play's action seems simple: workmen raise a tent, decorate it and finally pull it down. But the small specifics of everyday life are used to explore the inner hostilities, love and conflict of these apparently ordinary people. "David Storey uses the most ordinary situations to the most extraordinary effect"; observed John J. O'Connor in The New York Times, "his tent metaphor gradually encompassing such themes as the disintegration of the family, the social structure, the British Empire and even Western Civilization. The language is almost always casual, yet incessantly ominous. The selectivity is brilliant."
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