The theater community lost an icon on Sunday, Nov. 20, when Shelagh Delaney, who wrote the acclaimed play “A Taste of Honey” when she was a teenager, died at age 71. She had been battling cancer.
“A Taste of Honey,” which was made into a film in 1961, was a provocative play when it opened at the Royal Stratford East in London in 1959. The story of a young woman who becomes pregnant by a black sailor and her gay friend who becomes the baby’s surrogate father, the play would be Delaney’s only great success.
Delaney was also known for being a muse for Morrissey and The Smiths. She was featured on their “Louder Than Bombs” album cover in 1987, and their song “This Night Has Opened My Eyes” was based on “A Taste of Honey.” It includes a line from the play: “The dream has gone but the baby is real.” Other quotes from the play can be found throughout The Smiths’ music.
“I’ve never made any secret of the fact that at least 50 per cent of my reason for writing can be blamed on Shelagh Delaney,” Morrisey once said of her.