English Drama Group
"Habeas Corpus" summer semester 2010
For those unfamiliar
with English Common Law
"habeas corpus" is Latin for "you shall have the body".
In Alan Bennett’s play of the same name, the playwright presents a group of horny middle-class Brits who seem to have just discovered that they have bodies.
The play, set in the 1960s, focuses on a manic day
in the life of Arthur Wicksteed,
a respectable doctor in his
fifties, slightly bemused and bored with life and his wife Muriel. He falls for just about anything in a skirt. Dr Wicksteed, who has spent a lifetime falling for the physical temptations of his scantily clad patients, is really no happier than his rival Sir Percy Balding, who has spent his life, in the main, avoiding them.
Arthur’s sister, (a flat-chested spinster) engaged to Canon Throbbing (a saucy vicar), dreams of large breasts and orders some in a box, not anticipating a salesman is likely to come and fit them.
Meanwhile the Wicksteeds’ son Dennis is convinced he has only three months to live. Arthur Wicksteed dislikes his hypochondriac son, and he can't stand his wife, who infrustrated revenge tries desperately to seduce not only a former lover, Balding, but also the salesman who has arrived to fit her sister-in-law’s false breasts. This results in much laughter, with unwanted pregnancies and unsuccessful suicide bids upping the pace.
The whole story is delivered to us by the all-seeing, all-knowing housekeeper to the Wicksteeds - Mrs Swabb, whose brilliant one-liners to the audience will have you in stitches!
Due to the sometimes racy content of the play
we recommend that it is not suitable for students under 15 years old.