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Rules for Living (NHB Modern Plays)

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9781848424692: Rules for Living (NHB Modern Plays)
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Everyone creates their own coping strategies or rules for living. But what happens when an extended family gathers in the kitchen for a traditional Christmas and they each follow those rules, rigidly?

'With all due respect, that sounds like the biggest load of pseudo-psychological mumbo-jumbo I've ever heard in my life.'

In Sam Holcroft's theatrically playful, dark comedy the family does just that. And when the instructions are there for all to see, audience included, there's really no place to hide.

As long-held mechanisms for survival are laid bare, even Mum, who's been preparing this lunch since last January, becomes embroiled.

Long-held rivalries and resentments will out. Accusations fly, relationships deconstruct, the rules take over.

Riles of Living premiered at the National Theatre, London in March 2015.

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Review:

Sam Holcroft's ingenious and insightful play... Funny, revealing and excitingly unusual... What a strong understanding of the human psyche Holcroft has and what a great trick she has for highlighting her characters' psychological tells.... A great calling card. --The Times

Combines a hilarious Ayckbourn-style family comedy with an analysis of individual survival strategies... this is an intelligent comedy that leaves us questioning at what point the rules for living we all adopt become a form of entrapment. --Guardian

Holcroft gives a brilliant reading of how we form alliances in families and how small tokens of complicity can sometimes turn into deeper attachments. Rules are broken, lies are told, little secrets exposed...The effect is that of an Alan Ayckbourn play which has been injected with a good dose of MDMA. Suddenly everything is shiny, bright; you instinctively love this drama.... Great stuff. -- Arts Desk

A seriously canny satire. Holcroft not only ridicules our perfectionist culture, but shows the neurosis beneath and lets us feel the stress of its feedback loop ourselves... As simmering resentments boil over into an almighty, uproarious melee Holcroft's self-aware postmodernism cleverly skewers our obsessive-compulsive culture of self-improvement and self-censorship... "Look after yourselves," it says. "And each other." --Variety

About the Author:

Sam Holcroft's plays include Edgar & Annabel, part of the Double Feature season at the Paintframe, at the National Theatre, London; Dancing Bears, part of the Charged season for Clean Break at Soho Theatre and Latitude Festival; While You Lie at the Traverse, Edinburgh; Pink, part of the Women, Power and Politics season at the Tricycle; Vanya, adapted from Chekhov, at The Gate; Cockroach, co-produced by the National Theatre of Scotland and Traverse (nominated for Best New Play 2008, by the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland and shortlisted for the John Whiting Award, 2009) and Ned and Sharon at the HighTide Festival. Sam received the Tom Erhardt Award in 2009, was the Pearson Writer-in-Residence at the Traverse Theatre, 2009 - 10, and was appointed Writer-in-Residence at the National Theatre Studio in 2013.

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