TOUCHED

Marjorie Yates as Sandra at Nottingham Playhouse 1945, the hundred days between victory in Europe and victory in Japan; in a working-class suburb of Nottingham, a group of women emerge from the tight rein of war. A new future beckons with the impending return of the soldiers.

First directed by Richard Eyre at the Nottingham Playhouse in 1977, Touched was performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London, in 1981 and subsequently at regional theatres throughout Britain.

'The resonant public statements of the politicians are threaded through the ironic realism of life in a land fit for heroes flowing with milk and honey' 
Michael Coveney, Financial Times

Touched was first performed at the Nottingham Playhouse on 9 June 1977, with the following cast:

  • SANDRA - Marjorie Yates
  • MARY - Lorraine Peters
  • BETTY - Kay Adshead
  • JOHNNY - Mick Ford
  • JOAN - Susan Tracy
  • PAULINE - Donna Owens/Seanna Watkinson
  • BRIDIE - Annie Hayes
  • KEITH - Malcolm Storry
  • HARRY - Brian Glover
  • MOTHER - Kristine Howarth
Directed by Richard Eyre
Designed by William Dudley
Lighting by Rory Dempster

Touched was performed at the Royal Court Theatre, London on 20 January, 1981, with the following cast:

Touched Poster
  • SANDRA - Marjorie Yates
  • JOAN - Sharon Duce
  • BETTY - Kathryn Pogson
  • MOTHER - Elizabeth Bradley
  • PAULINE - Karen Dawson/Nicola Bullars
  • MARY - Jean Boht
  • BRIDIE - Anna Keaveney
  • KEITH - Ian Jentle
  • HARRY - Bill Dean
  • JOHNNY - Mike Packer
Directed by William Gaskill
Designed by Frank Conway
Lighting by Andy Philips
Sound by Mic Pool

Publishing History:
Methuen - ISBN 0-413-61210-4

Author's Notes:


To my mother

I was not born until the Second World War had been over for two years. I was part of that post-war boom, the 'babies boom', bred out of love, relief, accident or simply the resumption of old habits. And I grew up with the usual pulp of heroic war films, and comics, only much later challenged by a purge of anti war literature. While I therefore gained a fairly graphic picture of the life of a soldier, it occurred to me, one fine day while talking with my mother, that I had hardly any picture of the world of those who stayed at home - those whose different battles had been fought in the landscape I had grown up in. I knew nothing, really, about the sacrifice and suffering of the women who only a few years later were to pick me up and put me down, and place pennies in my hand. Pennies I had never thought to return.

As I listened more closely to the tale of my mother and her friends, the background of this play began slowly to grow, and as it grew, it focussed on that 'stillpoint of the turning world', that time of peace that was not a full peace, war that was not a full war, that period where people hesitantly began to think they could risk breathing and hoping again - those one hundred days of summer from Victory in Europe Day in May, to Victory in Japan Day. I was considerably helped in understanding the wider ambiguities of this time by Angus Calder's remarkable work, The People's War - a time in which the impossible occurred; the impossible in horror seen at Belsen and overlooked at the time at Hiroshima, the impossible at home with the overthrow of Churchill and the arrival of a new Labour Government, the impossible in science with the splitting of the unsplittable atom - all encapsulated between Victory in Europe and Victory in Japan, and the coming of the final peace that many times must have seemed even more improbable.

Reviews:

'Stephen Lowe's Touched...is a beautifully written piece effortlessly linking the private and public worlds'
Michael Billington - Guardian

'Touched is truly identified with working people and a radical vision, unlike many contemporary plays for which the same claim is made'
Jim Hiley - Time Out

'Excellent'
John Elsom - Listener











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