Jim Cartwright was born in 1958 and he was brought up in Farnsworth, Lancashire. At the age of 16 he went to train at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, and after that Cartwright worked as an actor. The technique used by Cartwright which involved using monologues which owes much to Brecht which is also used in a number of other plays. For example, in Cartwright’s play, ‘Two’, where the Landlord and Landlady who own the pub move easily from talking directly to the audience to talking to their customers, however these are improvised and only they can see them as the audience have to use their imagination.
Explaining the style of Cartwright is slightly complicated. The themes that Cartwright uses covers many different categories: the first is that of a character feeling as though it is themselves against the world, just like what some characters felt in ‘Two’, like the old woman who looked after her dying husband. How a memory takes a role within a character and even so, his work still defies easy categorisation, it is not always essentially northern nor is it ever entirely realistic although it is sometimes domestic and universal. Cartwright’s target audience at the time when he first wrote ‘Two’ was focused in the north of England.
The characters within Two symbolised what life was actually like in the 1980’s in the north of England. The different types of relationships were used so that the audience can really relate to their own lives with the lives of the characters within the play. Despite the play being over ten years old, it has been recently performed and the audience can still relate to the characters and their relationships with others, which shows that people still experience the same experiences within relationships used back in the 80’s still happen in real life at this moment in time.
As this play is set in the 1980’s in the north of England, most people within this time were lower middle class. Also at this time the prime minister of the United Kingdom was Margaret Thatcher and her reputation which she left on the country wasn’t good especially for the lower middle class. This is also how the audience at the time can relate to the play because of the fact that ‘Thatcher’s Britain’ was affecting every aspect of social life in Britain including the pub life.
The pub was a local community place as it still is now, however back in the 1980’s especially in the north of England, where people had very little money and their was usually a pub near everyone’s house. People would meet their, it was part of their life, ‘to pop down to the pub’ every Friday or Saturday night, or ‘go for a quick pint before the evening shift’. This still happens now, however it was far more common when the play was first written. This is why the pub was such an obvious place to set this play in, because it was a local community place for friends to meet.
It is part of their everyday to day life, and because the theme is ‘relationships’ we can see how basic their lives are and can basically tell all about their relationships from right there in the pub, and only seeing them once. This play is dealing with things that most people are affected with at least some point during their life, relationships and this is why the audience can relate to this because they can reflect with their own experiences, like what the characters are feeling and going through with the different types of relationships.
With the play ‘Two there are several things that can be said about it. Firstly the audience which it has been targeted at is very wide and isn’t directed at an individual age group when dealing with the theme of relationships. As the play was written during the 80’s and during the Margaret Thatcher reign, Cartwright had made this clear and has used this to show how Thatcher treated Britain so that the audience can connect more with the play because of their own experiences of this back then. This isn’t just directed to this play, it is also connected to other plays Cartwright has also written, like ‘Road’.
The fact that the play is set in the north of England means that the characters would have an accent; this means that the play would only be realistically relevant to those in the north of England. This means that Cartwright’s image of the U. K when Thatcher was in power was that the south was rich and the north was poor. Is this why Cartwright’s play never deal with issues within the south of England, although the theme of relationships can connect with anyone. However, Cartwright deals with more political and social issues with most probably had been affecting the country at the time.
Like on of his previous plays, ‘Road’ which deals with those issues which can relate to the play. The play is still performed at this present day and is still very relevant to those today because of the theme of the play, relationships which is very relevant to those today in everyday life as it deals with several forms of relationships and the problems they involve. I think this play would still be relevant to those in the future as much as it does now and back when it was first written in the 1980’s and many years after that.
The play deals with issues from domestic violence, to losing a wife, finally getting engaged to the man you love, to looking after a loved one with a life threatening illness. The issue between the Landlord and Landlady is that their child dies at the age of seven. This helps those who have experienced this or a similar experience, and shows that relationships can still work out no matter what, as this is shown between them at the very end of the play, and the last sentences said by both of them towards each other were, ‘I love you’.