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British Playwright Arnold Wesker Dies at 83

LONDON — Playwright Arnold Wesker, known as one of the “Angry Young Men” of the British literary scene in the 1950s, has died at the age of 83. Wesker wrote more than 40 plays, including “Chips with Everything” and “Chicken Soup with Barley.”

Wesker was a founder of the “kitchen sink” school of drama in the 1950s, alongside John Osborne, which produced gritty portrayals of blue-collar life, in opposition to the light-weight, middle-class theater that had preceded it. He was seen as part of a new wave of writers, that included Kingsley Amis and Alan Sillitoe, who became known as the “Angry Young Men.”

He is best known for five plays that were presented at London’s Royal Court Theatre between 1957 and 1962: “The Kitchen,” “The Wesker Trilogy” (“Chicken Soup with Barley,” “Roots” and “I’m Talking About Jerusalem”) and “Chips with Everything.”

Speaking to the BBC, the director Stephen Daldry described Wesker “one of the most committed and impassioned writers of his generation.”

“He was an adventurer and delight in the rehearsal room, who challenged and stretched every director he worked with,” Daldry said. “With his passing… we are beginning to lose the voices of a generation that shaped theater as we understand it today.”

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