|Title: Pam Gems Plays 4
|Author: Pam Gems
|Country: United Kingdom
|Publisher: Quota Books Limited
|Genre: Plays, Playwriter, Theatre
Pam Gems Plays Vol 4
Volume four of a series of plays written by Pam Gems. Franz Into April, Pasionaria, Aunt Mary and Up In Sweden.
Franz Into April was first performed at the Institute of Contemporary Art on 5 December 1977, produced by FRANK HATHERLEY, designed by SALLY GARDNER, and directed by FRANK HATHERLEY. – Pam Gems shows considerable dramatic skill in instructing us in the principles of Gestalt Therapy while, at the same time, involving us in a series of flesh-and-blood encounters. We see Franz in action as a doctor trying to get two patients to find their own solutions to their problems; and then we see him as a man irresistibly drawn to a prim English nurse, making love to her, and finally getting her to accept their relationship on a free, non-possessive basis. Patricia Franklin is very fine as the nurse – the quintessential repressed Englishwoman – while Warren Mitchell had me aching with laughter as the doctor whose philosophy happily licenses his crusading sexual appetite. For its impact and humour, it deserves a much wider audience. – TED WHITEHEAD. The Spectator. 24/12/1977
Pam Gems talks to Lyn Gardner about politics, people and Pasionaria – her latest play based on the life of Dolores
Ibarruri, the Spanish Republican leader of the 1930s. – I was a child during the Spanish Civil War. There were pictures in the papers of women and children being bombed, people running, cities flattened. Spaniard fighting Spaniard – that most terrible tragedy – civil war. And reports of a woman – known as La Pasionaria – who was either a ferocious fiend, or a courageous defender of freedom, depending on the newspaper you read. Who was she? A Spanish figurehead, it seemed, famous for saying ‘They shall not pass’ and ‘It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.
AUNT MARY was first performed at the Donmar Warehouse, Covent Garden, London, UK, on the 15th June, 1982. Pam Gems didn’t write about herself. She wrote to escape. Much as when we go to the theatre, we also seek escape. Like many of us, she was traumatised in childhood. But she was doubly traumatised by going straight from the frying pan of childhood into the fire of the Second World War. ‘Stiff upper lip.’ That’s what they called it. Stiff Upper Lip: the British way of dealing with trauma, which meant denial and diversion into humour. This quintessentially British trait is succinctly personified by the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
UP IN SWEDEN was first performed on the 17th of October,1975, at the Haymarket Theatre in Leicester, and subsequently, from the 27th of October to the 8th of November, at the King’s Head Theatre, Islington, London, UK. There is a phrase, used in Xmas catalogues, about a certain type of recherché gift: “for the man who has everything.” To people in the Third World, we in the West have everything. We don’t starve, we have access to heat, light, education, medicine, libraries, and we are free to travel. Even in our present state of recession and rising unemployment, we are affluent. And, of all the Western countries, Sweden perhaps stands, more than any other, for the ‘best’ of Western enlightenment. A country where there is almost no poverty; where men are allowed paternity leave; where it seems the rational obtains. Sweden, the home of the Nobel prize – gift of the armament king.