Elizabeth Baker was literally an overnight success in 1909. She went from “obscure stenographer making five dollars a week” to “one of the most widely discussed playwrights in London” when her first play, CHAINS, had a one-performance “try-out” at the Royal Court in London in 1909. The Times and The Globe both called CHAINS “remarkable.” The next year, Baker’s drama was running in repertory with the plays of Galsworthy, Barrie, Granville Barker and Shaw, and was hailed as “the most brilliant and the deepest problem play by a modern British writer since Major Barbara.” (The New Age)
CHAINS tells the stories of a few ordinary people yearning for a less ordinary life. Charley lives with his wife Lily in suburban London, sharing a cramped house with a lodger. Charley commutes daily to an office in London, his only pleasure is the tiny garden patch beside the house which gives little satisfaction. Charley’s sister-in-law, Maggie, finds the drudgery of shop work so stifling that she plots an escape by marrying a kind man she doesn’t love—an escape that can’t provide the adventure she craves.
Charley & Maggie are both shaken when Charley’s lodger announces that he’s tired of the grind and leaving for Australia—the day after tomorrow. His decision sends a tremor through the family that threatens to break the ties that bind Maggie and Charley to their ordinary lives.
June 7th, 2022
July 17th, 2022
CHAINS is appropriate for ages 12 and up.
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