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Massa: Script Excerpt

Arthur Munby worked for the Victorian Church Commission, but in his summer holidays he became a proto-sociologist, scouring England for examples of women working in hard, physical labour, the record of which is in his diaries and extraordinary photographs, particularly of the surface coalpit 'lasses' of Northern England. The strangenes of his hobby was compounded however by his 14-year clandestine affair with maid-of-all-work Hannah Cullwick, whom he eventually married. An unlikely social pairing, their relationship was modern for its time, and they were forced to separate but saw each other regularly into old age.

"A theatrical goldmine of fleshy confrontations about class, gender and ideas of 'work' . His skills for turning history into drama cannot be faulted - the lasses' banter is a delight to witness." Paula Webb, Time Out Magazine.

Massa by Steve Gooch scene

Munby: You clean chimneys?

Hannah: There's nowt to it really.

Munby: In all that soot?

Hannah: Soot's nothing. I cleans me teeth wi' it. Swish out after, yer mouth feels wonderful. (MUNBY is amazed) Honest! There's nowt to mind in a bit o' dirt. Fact is, it's kind of relaxin'. Not havin' to mind how you look.

Munby: If only you could tell our Dresden dolls that.

Hannah: What dolls?

Munby: Dresden. It's a kind of china.

Hannah: Oh right, I know. (Thinks a moment, then:) Aye, I've known a few like that mesen.

Munby: Perhaps you should keep a diary too.

Hannah: Me!

Munby: Record everything. Sweeping chimneys, cleaning your teeth with soot, Dresden dolls. From the moment you rise to when you go to sleep. Everything you do.

Hannah: What, cleanin' the fires? Blackin' boots? Scrubbin' the step? All my borin' chores?

Munby: They're not boring. To me they're interesting ...

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