A Cream Cracker under the Settee
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Stephanie Cole stars as 75 year-old widow Doris, obsessive about tidiness and maintaining her independence. Lying prostrate on the floor after a fall, she spies a cream cracker under the settee, which she determines to use as evidence against her incompetent home help. The original production was nominated for three BAFTA awards.
Thora Hird in Talking Heads: A Cream Cracker Under the Settee
Coronation Street’s Stephanie Cole will appear in A Cream Cracker Under The Settee as fiercely independent 75-year-old widow Doris. Karl Theobald, of Green Wing, stars as devoted son Graham Whittaker in A Chip In The Sugar, while Siobhan Redmond, of the RSC, plays the ascerbic Miss Ruddock in A Lady of Letters.
Bennett’s play ‘A Cream Cracker Under The Settee.’ (A Cream Cracker) is a monologue. Monologue is a Greek word, mono, meaning one and logue, meaning to speak or talk. Doris is a character in her seventies, and the only speaker in the play. Advantages of this are, you get to know the character - Doris - very well, this makes the play easier to follow, also with just one speaker more interesting stories can be told. But having one speaker could also be a disadvantage, this is because the play relies heavily on one performance, which after a while could get tedious. Bennett employs the technique to make the play more interesting, it helps us to understand more."A Cream Cracker under the Settee" is played out as a monologue by Doris (), a seventy-five-year-old woman who is a widow, following her fall from the buffet (stool). Her disapproval of home-helper Zulema's cleaning leads her to attempt to clean a picture of her and Wilfred, her late husband, and subsequently her fall. Her position, now of suffering from a "numby" leg, gives her natural desire to find help. Thus she moves from her position on a chair, to the floor near where she fell, and finally to the door of her front house. An exhausted Doris drags herself back to the living room after failing to get help from the front door. Eventually she hears the voice of a policeman, enquiring as to why her home lights are off. Instead of asking for his help she lets him leave after telling him she was napping. It is assumed by the situation, and by the fact that the conclusions to Bennett's plays are typically bleak, that Doris later dies. Throughout the monologue she discusses past issues and events in her life, characters and situations such as the death of her baby, the possible implication of her obsessive cleaning. Although this gives no evidence that Doris suffers from OCD (). Use of juxtaposition of humour and sadness is used frequently by , as it is in many of the Talking Heads monologues to great effect. Such effects include the interaction of passing time. The televised monologue gives the impression of a dark evening as the end of her life is suggested; the passing of time reflecting the passing of her life. Further more the moving from the comfy position of her settee possibly indicates the movement from a secure and comfy position in life to her current situation. Issues such as treatment of the aged, growing old and life choices are constantly discussed throughout the monologue.