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E. A. Whitehead (Edward Anthony Whitehead) Biography

(1933– ), (Edward Anthony Whitehead), The Foursome, Alpha Beta, The Sea Anchor, Old Flames, Mecca, Spectator

liverpool theatre

British dramatist, born in Liverpool, educated at Cambridge University. He worked as a postman, milkman, bus conductor, teacher, drug salesman, and, from 1966 to 1971, an advertising account executive before turning to the theatre. His first play, The Foursome (1971), is about two courting couples picnicking near Liverpool; Alpha Beta (1972) is about a marriage in terminal decline; and The Sea Anchor (1975) is about a group of people on a somewhat forlorn ‘dirty weekend’ who wait vainly on the Irish coast for the arrival by dinghy of a friend whose frustrations may or may not have brought him to suicide. All these plays define the relationship between the sexes as a mix of hatred, horror, fascination, and mutual disgust; but none in more extreme terms than Old Flames (1975), during which the only male character, invited out to dinner, is literally eaten by the women he has disappointed and misused, among them his own mother. Mecca (1977), set in a Moroccan holiday camp, also involves a xenophobic mistrust of national differences, and reaches a climax with the murder by two sexually envious Englishmen of a native suspected of rape. Whitehead has also served as the Spectator's theatre critic.

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