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This show closed on January 26, 2019

About The Cane

“It will be the biggest send off any teacher has ever had. No teacher is as loved”

After 45 years as a dedicated teacher, Edward is looking forward to the imminent celebration to mark his retirement. But his home is under siege. A mob of angry students have gathered. A brick has been thrown through the window, he and his wife haven’t left the house for six days, and now his estranged daughter has arrived with her own questions.

“Why would they attack the most popular teacher in the school?”

Mark Ravenhill’s previous work for the Royal Court includes Over There (& Schaubühne, Berlin), Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat and Shopping and Fucking. Royal Court Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone directs.

Mark Ravenhill at Samuel French Bookshop | Tue 18 Dec, pre-show from 6.30pm

Writer Mark Ravenhill will be signing copies of his plays in the Samuel French Bookshop in our Balcony Bar. This event is free and does not require a ticket.

The Big Idea: Post-show Talk | Tue 18 Dec

Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone in conversation with writer Mark Ravenhill. This event is free with a ticket to that evening’s performance.

Tell Me More

The thick tension seeping from the stage in “The Cane” engulfs the audience during the scene when a father and long-estranged daughter reopen old wounds and overturn ugly stones from their past. Meanwhile outside, the roiling pressure of a mounting riot ensues as a constant reminder to the family of their stark differences. Edward, the old fashioned patriarch and lifelong educator, is finally confronted with the deeds of his past from when he was a promoter and practitioner of corporal punishment in school. His daughter Anna, also an educator, appears to represent the liberal opposition to these antiquated ideas, but may in fact have intentions that are more personal and bitter bubbling beneath the surface.

Premiering at the Royal Court, “The Cane” is produced by director Vicky Featherstone, who creates a surreal family drama that teeters on the edge of nightmare. Mark Ravenhill’s fiery new play reminds us that even in a private setting, we can never fully extricate ourselves from the heated ramifications of public debate.

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What To Watch For

  • It wasn’t until 1986 that “caning” students as a form of punishment was banned in schools. The practice of using “the cane” on students was always contentious, and now Mark Ravenhill imagines what the Evening Standard calls a “risk of trial by the mob, in which justice and vengeance get confused” for those educators who once used the violent method.
  • As a dramatist, Ravenhill is known for his edginess and controversial commentary on society. His breakout 1996 play, “Shopping and Fucking,” demonized the upswell of consumer culture.
  • Ravenhill is also known for creating the dark comedy television series “Vicious” starring Sirs Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as a gay couple whose relationship has lasted 50 years, but is not exactly loving.

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Run Time

1 hr 15 min

Start Date

End Date

Age

Suitable for ages 14+

Royal Court

Sloane Square, London, SW1W8AS

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