ARNOLD WESKER The kitchen
This play was first presented in 1959 at the Royal Court Theatre with a shortened version. The complete version was in the same place in 1961. The play is contemporary and written in prose. It has got two acts and an interlude between them.
PETER: A young German. He has worked in the restaurant for three years. He is very impulsive and passionate and this carries him problems sometimes. However, he is good-natured and nice to people sometimes. He is Monique’s lover.
KEVIN: A young Irish lad. He is astonished of the way people work in the Tivoli as he is a very good cook used to prepare better food. He might leave the job as he does not feel very comfortable there. He is self-assured and conservative in his thinking.
GASTON: He is a Cypriot in his forties. He is very impulsive and this causes a fight between he and Peter. He is very bad-tempered at work.
MONIQUE: She is Peter’s lover even though she is currently married. She is arguing with Peter all the time even though they love each other. She might be waiting for a baby by Peter.
HANS: He is the other German in the kitchen. He is young and does not speak much English, so Peter has to translate some things for him and they speak german with one another. He is in love with Cynthia, one of the waitresses, but he can not even articulate a word in English when she is near him.
PAUL: A young Jew who is in charge of the pastrycooks with Raymond. He is very calm and reflexive and is not usually affected by the rush of the kitchen.
NICHOLAS: He is a young Cypriot who is in charge of the Cold Buffet. He is used to drink a lot and always gets drunk by the end of the day.
MARANGO: He is the proprietor of the restaurant. He is seventy-five and has a very sad face. He is very calm and altive and usually wanders around the kitchen just checking how it all goes. He is not very kind with the workers actually, even though they earn good money with him.
The story begins at seven thirty in the morning as usual. There come the first workers and eventually the kitchen will be full of them. There are about fifteen workers in the kitchen. In the first act there is showed one of the rush hours of the day in the kitchen and how everybody gets crazy to accomplish their job.
Within the interlude is when workers have their supper-time. Some of the workers go out to have their supper but some have it just there. Peter asks everybody what their dream would be if there was no kitchen. They have a good chat, as though they were friends. Later, he is asked the same question and has no answer for it. He also spends his time building an arch with the kitchen’s stuff and showing it to everybody.
In the second part of the play, all the workers come back to work and they get prepared for a new rush of clients. There comes a tramp and they give him soup in an old tin. Peter takes him the pan and gives him two meat cutlets. That is reported to Marango who thinks everybody is against him. Peter argues with Monique again, who tells him she will not leave her husband by the moment and will not have his child. He gets very angry and nervous and in a rush attack starts breaking everything, including the gas lead. The restaurant is a mess. Marango finally shouts at Peter angry and sorrowful to see all he has done, which he thinks is exclusively a sabotage on him.
SPACE: The play is represented completely in the kitchen of a restaurant called “Tivoli”.
TIME: The play is represented all in a day. Describes how the routine of a restaurant is. The author writes continuously, in a lineal way refering to time.
LITERARY RESOURCES: The author uses a really simple language, a colloquial language, and in some cases we can see a vulgarism. We can consider some expressions as metaphors