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Francesca Pritchard's Review

Studying Scrounge for a module called "The Director's Handbook" for their Theatre International Baccalaureate, Francesca had this to share...

Scrounge, written by Amie M Marie 2021 is a play that explores the difficulties faced by the disabled community and in particular the effects of governmental changes to the personal independence payment (Pip) in 2016.

 

The play is very powerful and tells the story of Carol who is affected by disability, aspects of the play use verbatim effect which is particularly effective as the audience is exposed to the real-life conversations and the harsh realities of the Pip process. Carol’s character is very well developed thus allowing the audience to understand the full and harsh effects that the PIP system has upon the disabled community. The playwright’s personal experience is also prominent throughout and the emotions behind the writing are clearly illustrate to the audience and creates a meaningful overarching message.

 

The main story line follows the character of Carol, but the other characters that are introduced into the story also play important roles as characters such as Abby explores the process of PIP, but in the eyes of an examiner. This perspective is interesting as it provides a further and more in depth understanding of the process, and also the push for statistical progress within the system. In addition to these characters there is also a constant presence of a more philosophical interpretation of the treatment of disabled people in the form of character who uses direct address, the origins and meaning of this character isn’t entirely clear but that also each member of the audience to form their own opinions.

 

The key themes are consistent throughout and further emphasises the criticism of the PIP system. Personally, I found that the treatment and lack of support for the cancer patient in particular had a resounding effect as it had never before ecoured to me, which I think is the reasoning behinds those scenes as it is something that we simply cannot fully understand unless we experience it ourselves. Despite the fact that the man would never regain health and would only deteriorate but despite this the PIP system would not offer any sort of aid. This to me, was rather shocking as it resonated with me on a personal level.

 

The aims of the playwright, I believe is rather prominent throughout the course of the play which is in my opinion is successful and demonstrates the importance of the issues raised. The playwright aims to highlight the injustice of the PIP system and how the disabled community are in fact reliant on those payments are in the majority of cases in need of those payments but because of the actions of a minority, people who are in fact in need are then discriminated against but not only the PIP system but also the views and judgements of the public. The incorporation of a news scene highlights how the public are influenced by journalism and political opinions regarding disabled people, which further demonstrates to the audience the cause and effect of these actions.  

 

I personally, really enjoyed the play and felt that it was successful in highlighting the issue surrounding the disabled community, I think that plays that not only entertain but also educate are vital and allows playwrights to express personal and political views through the form of theatre.