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Shirley Valentine

Shirley Valentine
Written by Willy Russell
Date premiered 1986
Place premiered Everyman Theatre
Liverpool
Original language English
Subject A holiday in Greece refreshes an unhappy middle aged Liverpool housewife in more ways than one
Genre Comedy
Monodrama

Shirley Valentine is a one-character play by Willy Russell.[1][2] Taking the form of a monologue by a middle-aged, working class Liverpool housewife, it focuses on her life before and after a transforming holiday abroad.

Contents

  • Plot 1
  • Productions 2
  • Awards and nominations 3
  • Film adaptation 4
  • Further reading 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Plot

Wondering what has happened to her youth and feeling stagnant and in a rut, Shirley finds herself regularly alone and talking to the wall while preparing an evening meal of egg and chips for her emotionally distant husband. When her best friend wins a trip-for-two to Greece, she packs her bags, leaves a note on the cupboard door in the kitchen, and heads for a fortnight of rest and relaxation. In Greece, with just a little effort on her part, she rediscovers everything she had been missing about her existence in England. She finds so much happiness, in fact, that when the vacation is over she decides not to return, ditching her friend at the airport and going back to the hotel where she'd been staying to ask for a job and to live a newly self-confident life in which she is at last true to herself.

Productions

Commissioned by the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, the play premiered in 1986, with Noreen Kershaw directed by Glen Walford. Two years later it opened in London's West End at the Vaudeville Theatre, with Pauline Collins directed by Simon Callow. After eight previews, the Broadway production, with Collins again directed by Callow, opened on 16 February 1989 at the Booth Theatre, where it ran for 324 performances. Ellen Burstyn replaced Collins later in the run, and Loretta Swit starred in a US national tour in 1995.

From 26 March - 8 May 2010, as part of the Willy Russell season at the Menier Chocolate Factory, Meera Syal played Shirley in the production's first London West End revival. A West End transfer of the Menier Chocolate Factory production ran at the Trafalgar Studios from 20 July - 30 October 2010. Meera Syal reprised her role as Shirley.

Awards and nominations

Pauline Collins as Shirley Valentine addresses the kitchen wall in the Broadway production
Awards
Nominations

Film adaptation

Russell adapted his play for a 1989 film version, directed by Lewis Gilbert, with Collins again playing the title role.[2]

Further reading

  • Russell, Willy, Shirley Valentine and One for the Road. Portsmouth, NH: Methuen 1988. ISBN 0-413-18950-3

References

  1. ^ Klein, Alvin (24 April 1994). "'"THEATER; One Woman's Fling In 'Shirley Valentine.  
  2. ^ a b James, Caryn (30 August 1989). "Shirley Valentine (1989) Review/Film; Shirley Valentine Talks With Others".  

External links

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