The Drag Factor

The drag factor by Frank Vickery is a play about a typical welsh family and the experiences and secrets within the family. From reading the play I know that the family is very traditional in their ways. The play consists of three main characters, which are in the family; a son Nigel, the mother Ruby and the father Griff. I think that Ruby seems to be the matriarch of the family and keeps the family together. Griff struggles to accept that his son is gay and begins to disown him, until Ruby brings him around and makes him realise that he could loose his son and his wife.

At the beginning of the play Ruby is dressed in a lolly pop ladies uniform. She is in her mid-fifties. She has a,.. ‘a large mans hanky in her hand. She is wiping her nose… ‘ This shows that something has happened to her to make her feel upset and cry. When the nurse appears Ruby says, “Is that is? Can I do in now nurse? ” “How is he this morning? ” This shows that she is eager to see her son and wants to know how he is. It also tells e that she is a loving and caring person. ‘After a second or two Ruby gets up and looks into the room through the round hole in the door… This shows that she is a concerned mother. When Griff enters, Ruby’s husband, he tells Ruby, “I’m not here for him, its you I’ve come for. ”

This suggests that’s they have got problematic relations. The line, “They’re hiding something from me, I’m sure of it,” suggests that Ruby is paranoid and over protective of her son. Also she later says, “Good God, no. I can’t eat,” this tells me that she is so worried and concerned about her son that she wont eat until she know her son is ok. Ruby and Griff talk about Nigel giving up one of his day jobs, Ruby claims to know what her son will decide, “… t’ll be his day job in Cardiff. ” This suggests that Ruby knows her son like the back of her hand and knows what decisions he will make before he makes them himself. It seems that Ruby’s always been aware of the problematic relationship between her husband and her son, she says, “You know what you were like when he wouldn’t take that job on the railway. ” Ruby is trying to make Griff see things from her point of view.

She is trying to hold the family together. When Ruby and Griff discuss the incident at the club he tells her, “We’re in every Saturday from now on… This suggests that their relationship was strong and they would go out every week, however, since Nigel has come out of the closet Griff feels ashamed and embarrassed in front of his friends. ” ‘My son is a female impersonator,’ I said. ‘He does it for a living. I heard your husband does it for kicks. ‘” Ruby’s reaction tells me that she is a strong character, not afraid to speak her mind. Also she doesn’t care what other people think. She is proud of her son and protective as she will stand up for him no matter what. Ruby tries to make her husband see the reality of the situation by saying, “Tell me why you like drag acts, Griff? She’s putting him on the spot and making a point stating that he can’t just stop liking them just because his son is part of the show.

He needs to support him. Ruby changes tactics to persuade Griff. She knows how to handle him. Ruby keeps mentioning the time that Griff dressed up in women’s clothes in order to make a point that he does it too as well as his son, so there shouldn’t be a problem. When Ruby tells her husband that their only son is gay, she says, “Do you know what hurts me the most? Not that he’ll never get married, but that I’ll never show a little grandchild over the crossing and into the school.

This reveals that’s Ruby is sad that she will never have grand children but she is coming to terms with it. When Griff looses his temper Ruby tells him, “You’re going to be a very lonely old man, Griff. ” She’s trying to say to him that he could loose his son and his wife if he carries on. Ruby has had time to deal with the situation, unlike her husband. So when he tries to blame Ruby for their son being gay she says, “Hey, you can’t blame me. Now it’s not my fault. ” Ruby is refusing to take the blame and she has dealt with the situation by not blaming herself because if she did then she would not be able to deal with it.

Ruby tells Griff, “Everything will be alright in the end. ” This suggests that Ruby’s out look on life is as long as they are together it will be alright. She is trying to be sensible and realistic. Towards the end of the play Ruby says, “Look, when you go in there… ” This shows that she is threatening Griff and she is not afraid to put him straight. Griff talks about being gay like its something you can fix. However Ruby talks to him and her speech reveals that she know a lot more than what she’s letting on about being gay and she knows her son will do the right thing.

Ruby does admit to Griff that she found things difficult at first, “Oh don’t think he didn’t break my heart, because he did. ” This suggests that Ruby felt pain but she couldn’t show it and couldn’t be honest about her feelings because she needs to keep the family together. The magazine helped Ruby by advising her to let her son know that there is always a place for him at home no matter what happens. Griff asks, “Does this mean he’s coming to us when he gets out of here? ” This says that Ruby makes most of the decisions in their relationship and Griff just goes along with it.

He will try and make his point but in the end he will do as Ruby says. Griff tries to take control by saying, “What if I said he can’t come home? ” Ruby replies with, “What if I said you can bugger off? ” This suggests that she will always put her son first, Griff is being unreasonable. Ruby brings up the subject of Richie Thomas to try and persuade Griff even more. It is also another secret that the family have. Richie Thomas fancied Griff. “You accepted it and understood. Why can’t you show something of the same for your son? ” She used Richie as an example because Griff loved him for what he was, why can’t he do the same for his son.

Ruby tells Griff, “When he was a little boy, all I wished was for him to be happy… and he is. I forgot to wish for me to be happy too. ” Ruby’s real feelings show here. She would have liked to have been happy also, with grandchildren, but she won’t be happy now. Ruby refuses to let Griff go into Nigel’s hospital room with her, I think this is because Griff tries to make her choose but she’s not carrying him anymore. Ruby uses cleaver tactics, by saying to him, “You remember that weight we talked about?… Isn’t that what husbands are for? ” She’s almost saying ‘do it for me’.

She’s trying to persuade Griff to see his son. It will be helping her if he sees his son. They are a team and need to stick together. I think that Ruby plays the role of the matriarch in the family. She is strong and is the glue that holds the family together. Ruby has an extremely close relationship with her son. Griff blames her for their son being gay. He feels cheated as a father because he wants a straight son who will marry a woman and have kids. He wants a traditional welsh family when the son follows in the fathers footsteps and the daughter follows in the mothers footsteps.

Their family has been through a similar situation before, therefore, they will pull though it again. Ruby controls her husband and tells him what to do. She persuades him to come to terms with their son being gay. This suggests that Ruby’s relationship with her husband is predictable and she is used to persuading him. She also knows how to handle her husband. Ruby is a typical mother and is heart broken by the news as she has always wanted grandchildren. When Ruby talks about ‘roots and wings’ she means that Nigel should be free to do what he wants and still be able to come back home to his loving family.