Men at work
in Jack Rosenthal
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This chapter explores three of Jack Rosenthal's plays: The Dustbinmen, The Knowledge and London's Burning. The plot arises in The Dustbinmen and London's Burning from the nature of the job, which involves interaction with the community at large. While rubbish-collection makes for comedy, plots about firefighting are more generically mixed and tend to tragicomedy. As is customary in Rosenthal's plays, The Knowledge opens enigmatically so that information about its setting has to be pieced together by the viewer. In London's Burning, an institution rather than a character is under scrutiny; but none of these plays is primarily documentary in form. Rather, each deploys a precise and accurate backdrop of factual detail as a way of generating both character and narrative, particularly in the setting for London's Burning.

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