The Work: Plays

The Wedding Feast

1974, (5w 11m)


LOUIS LITVANOV, a shoe manufacturer with idealistic notions about the need to treat your employees as equals, finds himself outside a house from which come the sounds of a wedding. He recognises the voices and realises it"'s the wedding of one of his employees. LITVANOV persuades himself that if he joins the wedding guests he will be warmly greeted, and admired for calling in to wish them well. He doesn't plan to stay but is persuaded to, as an honoured guest. Slowly he becomes drunk with them.

The proximity of their employer invites the abuse of his employees. The wedding party ends as a comic, chilling disaster.


"Then I'll leave, with a joke about the wedding bed which'll make them roar with laughter, and then I'll kiss the bride, gently, on the forehead, and I know how they'll all look at me because it's a beautiful gesture, in the right proportion, at the correct moment, everything correct, most important. For to every action is a time and place and they see that I know that. And then, in the factory, next week, the efficient industrialist. Kindly but firm. Not the place to remember weddings and kisses. Work! The world must turn on. Men must be fed, houses built, shoes cut out and sewn up. Two sides! They'll see two sides of me and when they're old they'll tell their children and I'll be spoken of with affection, honoured, remembered."


... as theatrically effective as anything he has written .…
John Barber, The Daily Telegraph

uneasy comment on our smug, uncertain society ... one of the most devastating developments I have experienced in the theatre ...
Gerrard Dempsey: The Daily Express

a naturalistic tour de force unapproached by any other recent playwright ...
Robert Cushman: The Observer