27 Nov

Hunger  ***** 

Adapted by Amanda Lomas 

From the novel by Knut Hamsun 

Directed by Fay Lomas 

This is described as a psychological novel. But it shows how cruelty can impinge on somebody’s brain and turn them mad. 

A young man leaves university with ambitions to be a writer. He has no money to back him up and he tries to get work. Most of the jobs he goes for are gone, or he is considered over qualified.  He has to give up his friends because he cannot afford to drink and eat with them. His landlady has been good to him, allowing him to owe the rent, but finally she is not able to keep him any longer and he has to leave with his few possessions which he has to sell in order to appease his hunger. He has a blanket belonging to one of his friends which he uses as his only shelter when things get very bad for him. He is hungry, but after a time with no food, he can no longer digest any food. He will not tell anybody that he is without sustenance as his pride won’t let him. When he is picked up by the police, he pretends he is dunk and is given a cell to sleep in, but they do not consider allowing him to have the breakfast provided for the vagrants. 

Eventually his hunger is causing him physical pain and he feels that the lack of food is causing his brain to deteriorate. As he becomes more and more vagrant, he finds the world a very cruel place. He gets beaten up, mocked and attacked by strangers. He is arrested but pretends to be drunk so that the policeman doesn’t think he’s just a vagrant. 

 It is a example of urban lack of pity. As soon as it is known that he is a vagrant he is kicked about and bullied by everyone. Just as nowadays people see the homeless and walk on by assuming that they have become that way due to drink and/or drugs. This is not necessarily the case, but I think if free drink and drugs were on offer to someone who is freezing cold and starving, they would be foolish not to accept. 

 Written in 1890, it is just as valid today. Walking down a street in Central London or any large city, you can see the bodies lying in the doorways. It is such a common sight that it is mostly ignored. There are so many of them now and the numbers of the homeless are rising.   

This play should be seen, because it shows how an innocent person can become homeless. Not because of drink or drugs, but because of bad luck. The play has humour, intensity and total watchability.  

One Response to “HUNGER”

  1. susanrdo November 27, 2019 at 9:18 pm #

    Wish I could go see this . . . written in 1890. . . amazing.   Hugs! Susan


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