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A Companion to Modern British and Irish Drama: 1880 - 2005

Mary Luckhurst (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4443-3204-9
608 pages
March 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to Modern British and Irish Drama: 1880 - 2005 (144433204X) cover image

Description

This wide-ranging Companion to Modern British and Irish Drama offers challenging analyses of a range of plays in their political contexts. It explores the cultural, social, economic and institutional agendas that readers need to engage with in order to appreciate modern theatre in all its complexity.
  • An authoritative guide to modern British and Irish drama.
  • Engages with theoretical discourses challenging a canon that has privileged London as well as white English males and realism.
  • Topics covered include: national, regional and fringe theatres; post-colonial stages and multiculturalism; feminist and queer theatres; sex and consumerism; technology and globalisation; representations of war, terrorism, and trauma.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgements xi

List of Illustrations xii

Notes on Contributors xiii

Introduction 1
Mary Luckhurst

Part I Contexts 5

1 Domestic and Imperial Politics in Britain and Ireland: The Testimony of Irish Theatre 7
Victor Merriman

2 Reinventing England 22
Declan Kiberd

3 Ibsen in the English Theatre in the Fin de Siecle 35
Katherine Newey

4 New Woman Drama 48
Sally Ledger

Part II Mapping New Ground, 1900–1939 61

5 Shaw among the Artists 63
Jan McDonald

6 Granville Barker and the Court Dramatists 75
Cary M. Mazer

7 Gregory, Yeats and Ireland’s Abbey Theatre 87
Mary Trotter

8 Suffrage Theatre: Community Activism and Political Commitment 99
Susan Carlson

9 Unlocking Synge Today 110
Christopher Murray

10 Sean O'Casey's Powerful Fireworks 125
Jean Chothia

11 Auden and Eliot: Theatres of the Thirties 138
Robin Grove

Part III England, Class and Empire, 1939–1990 151

12 Empire and Class in the Theatre of John Arden and Margaretta D'Arcy 153
Mary Brewer

13 When Was the Golden Age? Narratives of Loss and Decline: John Osborne, Arnold Wesker and Rodney Ackland 164
Stephen Lacey

14 A Commercial Success: Women Playwrights in the 1950s 175
Susan Bennett

15 Home Thoughts from Abroad: Mustapha Matura 188
D. Keith Peacock

16 The Remains of the British Empire: The Plays of Winsome Pinnock 198
Gabriele Griffin

Part IV Comedy 211

17 Wilde's Comedies 213
Richard Allen Cave

18 Always Acting: Noel Coward and the Performing Self 225
Frances Gray

19 Beckett's Divine Comedy 237
Katharine Worth

20 Form and Ethics in the Comedies of Brendan Behan 247
John Brannigan

21 Joe Orton: Anger, Artifice and Absurdity 258
David Higgins

22 Alan Ayckbourn: Experiments in Comedy 269
Alexander Leggatt

23 'They Both Add up to Me': The Logic of Tom Stoppard's Dialogic Comedy 279
Paul Delaney

24 Stewart Parker's Comedy of Terrors 289
Anthony Roche

Part V War and Terror 299

25 AWounded Stage: Drama and World War I 301
Mary Luckhurst

26 Staging 'the Holocaust' in England 316
John Lennard

27 Troubling Perspectives: Northern Ireland, the 'Troubles' and Drama 329
Helen Lojek

28 On War: Charles Wood's Military Conscience 341
Dawn Fowler and John Lennard

29 Torture in the Plays of Harold Pinter 358
Mary Luckhurst

30 Sarah Kane: From Terror to Trauma 371
Steve Waters

Part VI Theatre since 1968 383

31 Theatre since 1968 385
David Pattie

32 Lesbian and Gay Theatre: All Queer on the West End Front 398
John Deeney

33 Edward Bond: Maker of Myths 409
Michael Patterson

34 John McGrath and Popular Political Theatre 419
Maria DiCenzo

35 David Hare and Political Playwriting: Between the Third Way and the Permanent Way 429
John Deeney

36 Left in Front: David Edgar's Political Theatre 441
John Bull

37 Liz Lochhead: Writer and Re-Writer: Stories, Ancient and Modern 454
Jan McDonald

38 'Spirits that Have Become Mean and Broken': Tom Murphy and the 'Famine' of Modern Ireland 466
Shaun Richards

39 Caryl Churchill: Feeling Global 476
Elin Diamond

40 Howard Barker and the Theatre of Catastrophe 488
Chris Megson

41 Reading History in the Plays of Brian Friel 499
Lionel Pilkington

42 Marina Carr: Violence and Destruction: Language, Space and Landscape 509
Cathy Leeney

43 Scrubbing up Nice? Tony Harrison's Stagings of the Past 519
Richard Rowland

44 The Question of Multiculturalism: The Plays of Roy Williams 530
D. Keith Peacock

45 Ed Thomas: Jazz Pictures in the Gaps of Language 541
David Ian Rabey

46 Theatre and Technology 551
Andy Lavender

Index 563

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Author Information

Mary Luckhurst is Senior Lecturer in Modern Drama at the University of York. She is the author of Dramaturgy: A Revolution in Theatre (2006), co-author of The Drama Handbook: A Guide to Reading Plays (2002), and co-editor of Theatre and Celebrity in Britain, 1660-2000 (2005). She has also edited The Creative Writing Handbook: Techniques for New Writers (1996), On Directing: Interviews with Directors (1999), and On Acting: Interviews with Actors (2002). She was awarded a University of York outstanding teaching award in 2006 and is also one of the Higher Education Academy's National Teaching Fellows.
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The Wiley Advantage


  • An authoritative guide to modern British and Irish drama.

  • Analyses a broad range of plays in their political contexts.

  • Outlines the cultural, social, economic and institutional frameworks that readers require in order to appreciate the drama of this period.

  • Engages with theoretical discourses challenging a canon that has privileged London as well as white English males and realism.

  • Topics covered include: national, regional and fringe theatres; post-colonial stages and multiculturalism; feminist and queer theatres; sex and consumerism; technology and globalisation; representations of war, terrorism, and trauma.


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Reviews

"Offers strong and accessible scholarship on major playwrights and aspects of theatrical history and historiography, and usefully reflects on its own practices and agendas, and will be extremely useful to students and theatre scholars." Cercles

"A Companion to Modern British and Irish Drama 1880-2005 is a much needed intervention in the field, with its substantial coverage of Irish drama and significant essays on the work of women playwrights, as well as solid coverage of the usual suspects. It is profitably innovative in terms of both structure and content. Many volumes with such a coverage remit fail to ever go much beyond the standard canonical playwrights and texts...a ‘must buy’ for all University libraries...this is a volume which will have currency for years to come." New Theatre Quarterly

"Luckhurst argues for a reassessment of 'Englishness,' and, accordingly, this companion emphasizes postcolonial and feminist agendas and questions the dominance of urban locales and certain theatrical institutions...combined, the essays provide a necessary reassessment of British and Irish drama." Choice

“There is so much valuable material in the book that it is sure to be frequently read and consulted.”
Donald Hawes, Reference Reviews

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