Edward Bond edited by David Davis

DOI: 10.5040/9781408167342.00000005
Scenes: 13. Roles: Male (8) , Female (4) , Neutral (0)

Set in London in the sixties, the action of Saved is set in amidst the cultural poverty and frustration of a generation of young people on the dole and living on council estates.

The play opens on Len and Pam preparing to have sex and asking each other their names. Pam’s parents are deadlocked in a stultified, silent marriage. Len stays with the family as a lodger despite being rejected by Pam, in order to keep an eye on her neglected baby. Pam leaves the baby with Frank, whom she claims is its father, leading to one of modern theatre’s most shocking scenes.

Saved's atmosphere of domestic bleakness ultimately cracks to reveal an underlying animalistic brutality, then settles back again, with an alarming glimpse of how little human life seems to be worth.

With only a few exceptions, the play’s violence and language met with widespread outrage from reviewers and Saved became notorious from its first (private) production in 1965 at the Royal Court Theatre, London. Bond’s refusal to alter its scenes in response to the censor’s demands meant it played a fundamental role in the successful campaign to repeal the laws governing censorship of plays.