The Wesker Trilogy: Roots

  • by Arnold Wesker
    Directed by John Dexter

    First performance: 28th June 1960 (30 performances)




  • Jenny Beales . . . . . . . . Patsy Byrne
    Jimmy Beales . . . . . . . . Charles Kay
    Beatie Bryant . . . . . . . . Joan Plowright
    Stan Mann. . . . . . . . Frank Finlay
    Mrs. Bryant. . . . . . . . Gwen Nelson
    Mr. Bryant . . . . . . . . John Colin
    Mr. Healey . . . . . . . . Anthony Hall
    Frank Bryant . . . . . . . . . .. Alan Howard
    Pearl Bryant . . . . . . . . Cherry Morris
    Postman. . . . . . . . Terry Palmer

    Chicken Soup with Barley was first performed at The Belgrade Coventry on the 7th of July 1957 and the following week at The Royal Court. Wesker had planned that it would be the first in a trilogy of plays. The second play Roots was also performed first at The Belgrade and then at The Court. In 1960 with I'm Talking About Jerusalem all three were performed at The Court as The Wesker Trilogy

    Explores the theme of 'self-discovery'. Beatie Bryant, daughter of Norfolk farm labourers, has fallen in love with Ronnie Kahan from the Chicken Soup family. She returns from London to visit her family all of whom await the arrival of Ronnie. During the two-week waiting period Beatie is full of Ronnie's thoughts and words. To greet him the family gathers for a huge Saturday afternoon tea. He doesn't turn up. Instead comes a letter saying he doesn't think the relationship will work. The family turns on Beatie. In the process of defending herself she finds, to her delight, that she's using her own voice.