- A play by the US dramatist David Mamet that confrontsthe sensitive subjects of sexual harassment and 'political correctness'.After its premiere in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the play opened off-Broadway in October 1992 and created an uproar among both feminists and anti-feminists, with the cast being subjected to frequent heckling from the audience. A year later it was seen in London at the Royal Court Theatre in a production by Harold Pinter that starred Lia Williams and David Suchet; this was revived (with the same leads) in 2004.
The plot explores the conflict between Carol, an insecure college student, and John, a slightly pompous, middle-aged professor. During a tutorial, Carol appears to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown because she cannot understand John's academic jargon; when she begins to cry,John puts an arm round her shoulders. This is followedby a mildly risqué joke. Encouraged by campus feminists, Carolaccuses him of sexual harassment and attempted rape, a charge thatresults in John losing his job and facing criminal charges. Exasperatedby the injustice John eventually loses his self-control, knocks herto the floor and kicks her violently as she cowers under the table - an action that provoked cheers from male members of the audiencein both New York and London. Recovering himself, John apologizes butrealizes it is too late.