Thursday, 15 December 2011

Blurb for FIVE WOMEN at South London Theatre

Five Women - adapted from the book by Tony Parker
Tuesday January 24 to Saturday January 28, 8pm Prompt Corner

In February 1963 five women were released from Holloway prison and agreed to talk to author Tony Parker about their lives. Parker's unique style of listening led to five extraordinary stories each one surprising in a different way from the others. Janie Preston, 60, who spent her life stealing cash to buy beer and who insists on a hard punishment for her wrong doing. Miss McDonald, 40, who always gave her name and address in exchange for the goods she had no intention of buying because, as she said, "I am not a liar, Mr Parker".  Joe Bishop, 30, who felt at home in Holloway prison nearly as much as she did in the lesbian clubs of Soho. Diane Richards, 24, whose happy go lucky philosophy brought her no luck, and even less happiness, though it gave her three, no four, children and led men to try to look after her. And Millie Jackson, who was sent to prison for running away from the orphanages and care homes but who had committed no crime at all. Our play presents these five women's monologues using the real words, phrasing, and facts from the real women of the past. They are at times funny, sad, puzzling, shocking, but always fascinating, moving and thought provoking.

This is only the second time this work has been performed. The first time was as a BBC Wednesday play produced by Tony Garnet (Cathy Come Home) and Directed by Roy Battersby. Originally scheduled for 1967, it provoked such angst amongst senior management at the BBC that it was delayed, cut, and broadcast in the middle of the night 2 years later after an of letters between artists (letter is signed by Tony Garnett, Jim Allen, Roy Battersby, Clive Goodwin, Ken Loach, James MacTaggart, Roger Smith, Kenith Trodd, 13th Feb 1969, p2) and management (an anonymous piece entitled Keeping Faith With The Viewer, 16th January, 1969, p4) in the Radio Times.