Sam Holcroft

Rules for Living (NHB Modern Plays)

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Everyone creates their own coping strategies or rules for living. But what happens when an extended family gathers in the kitchen for a traditional Christmas and they each follow those rules, rigidly?
In Sam Holcroft’s theatrically playful, dark comedy the family does just that. And when the instructions are there for all to see, audience included, there’s really no place to hide.
As long-held mechanisms for survival are laid bare, even Mum, who’s been preparing this lunch since last January, becomes embroiled.
Long-held rivalries and resentments will out. Accusations fly, relationships deconstruct, the rules take over.
Rules for Living premiered at the National Theatre, London, in March 2015.
This book is currently unavailable
105 printed pages
Original publication


    Agam Mizrahishared an impression10 months ago
    👍Worth reading


    ghettoqtten101has quoted6 years ago
    Notes on the Rules
    The rules are cumulative: once they appear, each rule applies throughout the rest of the play.
    The rules will work best if integrated into organic actions – characters finding naturalistic reasons to sit, stand, etc.
    The rules give both ‘necessary and sufficient’ conditions to the characters. By which I mean: when a rule states that ‘Matthew must sit to tell a lie,’ this means both that ‘when Matthew is sitting, he is always lying’, and that ‘when Matthew is lying, he is always sitting.’ The audience will gradually learn this from watching the play unfold. I decided not to clutter the rules by attempting to express it directly (‘Matthew may sit if and only if he is lying…’).
    This ebook was created before the end of rehearsals and so may differ slightly from the play as performed.

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