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Liam Allport's Review

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

Scrounge follows the story of Carol, a very disabled woman, who tries to claim PIP for her disability but is faced with the cruel and unjust system of benefit redemption. From prejudice remarks, to looking at an inside view of how benefits are decided. Scrounge opens eyes to the true struggles of disabled people’s role and treatment in the modern English society. The plays two main characters show different perspectives of the benefit system with Carol trying to redeem benefits and Abby, a friend of Carol’s daughter who must keep her job since she has money problems, who gets a new job as a benefits reviewer to determine who receives PIP Benefits and who gets rejected. Following the story of Abby, we get to see just how absurd the determination process of getting benefits are, with small questions having an extremely significant impact on the overall criteria and how her character changes throughout the play as she has to put herself before those that apply for benefits.

 

One scene in the play that particularly impacted me was when Abby was assessing Josh, a man with terminal brain cancer. In this scene we saw Abby showing sympathy towards Josh by being friendly towards him, however after being called into her supervisor’s office she is told that she is not to get personal or friendly with Josh and to only ask the questions that are on the sheet. This scene really left a mark on me since my nan went through the exact same situation as Josh and was also denied benefits for her brain tumour along with the general realisation that the main quota that reviewers have to follow is to reject 80% of the people that come in to apply, with the clarification that if they really needed it they would apply again.

 

Overall, the play was really impactful and insightful on the lifestyle of disabled people and the oppression and discrimination that they have to deal with such as having to prove that they are disabled through a rigged system as well as government figures stating that disabled people are a bunch of frauds and are faking it just to get money whilst also demanding that disabled people don’t deserve benefits with the belief that if they can type, they can work. Despite being a relatively short read, the message that the playwright pushes across to the reader is crystal clear and very impactful, leaving you to question how much you can actually trust your own government with your health or the health of a loved one if they were to become disabled in any way, shape or form.