Elisabeth Angel-Perez and Aloysia Rousseau (eds.) The New Wave of British Women Playwrights: 2008-2021
Merle Tönnies and Eckart Voigts (eds.) Twenty-First Century Anxieties: Dys/Utopian Spaces and Contexts in Contemporary British Theatre
Love in Contemporary British Drama: Traditions and Transformations of a Cultural Emotion.
Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2021.
ISBN 9783110714647, 294 pp., hardb., € 99,95 (2021)
Despite the recent turn to affects and emotions in the humanities and despite the unceasing popularity of romantic and erotic love as a motif in fictional works of all genres, the subject has received surprisingly little attention in academic studies of contemporary drama. Love in Contemporary British Drama reflects the appeal of love as a topic and driving force in dramatic works with in-depth analyses of eight pivotal plays from the past three decades.
Following an interdisciplinary and historical approach, the study collects and condenses theories of love from philosophy and sociology to derive persisting discourses and to examine their reoccurrence and transformation in contemporary plays. Special emphasis is put on narratives of love’s compensatory function and precariousness and on how modifications of these narratives epitomise the peculiarities of emotional life in the social and cultural context of the present.
Based on the assumption that drama is especially inclined to draw on shared narratives for representations of love, the book demonstrates that love is both a window to remnants of the past in the present and a proper subject matter for drama in times in which the suitability of the dramatic form has been questioned.
Beyond Documentary Realism: Aesthetic Transgressions in British Verbatim Drama.
Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2021.
ISBN 9783110696691, 384 pp., hardb., € 99,95 (2021)
Verbatim theatre, a type of performance based on actual words spoken by “real people“, has been at the heart of a remarkable and unexpected renaissance of the genre in Great Britain since the mid-nineties. The central aim of the book is to critically explore and account for the relationship between contemporary British verbatim theatre and realism whilst questioning the much-debated mediation of the real in theses theatre practices.
Performing Immanence: Forced Entertainment.
Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2021.
ISBN 9783110710953, 194 pp., hardb., € 79,95 (2021)
Performing Immanence: Forced Entertainment is a unique probe into the multi-faceted nature of the works of the British experimental theatre Forced Entertainment via the thought of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari.
Jan Suk explores the transformation-potentiality of the territory between the actors and the spectators, namely via Forced Entertainment’s structural patterns, sympathy provoking aesthetics, audience integration and accentuated emphasis of the now. Besides writings of Tim Etchells, the company’s director, the foci of the analyses are devised as well as durational projects of Forced Entertainment. The examination includes a wider spectrum of state-of the-art live artists, e.g. Tehching Hsieh, Franko B or Goat Island, discussed within the contemporary performance discourse.
Performing Immanence: Forced Entertainment investigates how the immanent reading of Forced Entertainment’s performances brings the potentiality of creative transformative experience via the thought of Gilles Deleuze. The interconnections of Deleuze’s thought and the contemporary devised performance theatre results in the symbiotic relationship that proves that such readings are not mere academic exercises, but truly life-illuminating realizations.
Mireia Aragay and Martin Middeke (eds.)
Of Precariousness. Vulnerabilities, Responsibilities, Communities in 21st-Century British Drama and Theatre.
Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2017.
ISBN 9783110546743, 241 pp., hardb., € 102,95 (2017)
Drawing primarily on Judith Butler’s, Jacques Derrida’s, Emmanuel Levinas’s and Jean-Luc Nancy’s reflections on precariousness/precarity, the Self and the Other, ethical responsibility/obligation, forgiveness, hos(ti)pitality and community, the essays in this volume examine the various ways in which contemporary British drama and theatre engage with ‘the precarious’. Crucially, what emerges from the discussion of a wide range of plays – including Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem, Caryl Churchill’s Here We Go, Martin Crimp’s Fewer Emergencies and In the Republic of Happiness, Tim Crouch’s The Author, Forced Entertainment’s Tomorrow’s Parties, David Greig’s The American Pilot and The Events, Dennis Kelly’s Love and Money, Mark Ravenhill’s Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat, Philip Ridley’s Mercury Fur, Robin Soans’s Talking to Terrorists, Simon Stephens’s Pornography, theTheatre Uncut project, debbie tucker green’s dirty butterfly and Laura Wade’s Posh – is the observation that contemporary (British) drama and theatre often realises its thematic and formal/structural potential to the full precisely by reflecting upon the category and the episteme of precariousness, and deliberately turning audience members into active participants in the process of negotiating ethical agency.
Ariane de Waal
Theatre on Terror: Subject Positions in British Drama.
Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2017.
ISBN 978-3-11-051708-8, 297 pp., hardb., € 99,95 (2017)
In a moment of intense uncertainty surrounding the means, ends, and limits of (countering) terrorism, this study approaches the recent theatres of war through theatrical stagings of terror. Theatre on Terror: Subject Positions in British Drama charts the terrain of contemporary subjectivities both ‘at home’ and ‘on the front line’. Beyond examining the construction and contestation of subject positions in domestic and (sub)urban settings, the book follows border-crossing figures to the shifting battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan. What emerges through the analysis of twenty-one plays is not a dichotomy but a dialectics of ‘home’ and ‘front’, where fluid, uncontainable subjects are constantly pushing the contours of conflict. Revising the critical consensus that post-9/11 drama primarily engages with ‘the real’, Ariane de Waal argues that these plays navigate the complexities of the discourse – rather than the historical or social realities – of war and terrorism. British ‘theatre on terror’ negotiates, inflects, and participates in the discursive circulation of stories, idioms, controversies, testimonies, and pieces of (mis)information in the face of global insecurities.
Rethinking Character in Contemporary British Theatre: Aesthetics, Politics, Subjectivity
Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2015.
ISBN 978-3-11-040390-9, 228 pp., hardb., € 99,95 (2015)
The category of theatrical character has been swiftly dismissed in the academic reception of no-longer-dramatic texts and performances. However, claims on the dissolution of character narrowly demarcate what a subject is and how it may appear. This volume unmoors theatre scholarship from the regulatory ideals of liberal humanism, stretching the notion of character to encompass and illuminate otherwise unaccounted-for subjects, aesthetic strategies and political gestures in recent theatre works. To this aim, contemporary philosophical theories of subjectivation, European theatre studies, and experimental, script-led work produced in Britain since the late 1990s are mobilised as discussants on the question of subjectivity. Four contemporary playtexts and their performances are examined in depth: Sarah Kane’s Crave and 4.48 Psychosis, Ed Thomas’s Stone City Blue and Tim Crouch’s ENGLAND. Through these case studies, Delgado-García demonstrates alternative ways of engaging theoretically with character, and elucidating a range of subjective figures beyond identity and individuality. Alongside these analyses, the book traces a large body of work that has experimented with speech attribution since the early twentieth-century. This is a timely contribution to contemporary theatre scholarship, which demonstrates that character remains a malleable and politically-salient notion in which understandings of subjectivity are still being negotiated.
Liveness on Stage: Intermedial Challenges in Contemporary British Theatre and Performance
Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2014.
ISBN 978-3-11-034653-4, 274 pp., hardb., € 109,95 (2014)
Theatre is traditionally considered a live medium but its ‚liveness‘ can no longer simply be taken for granted in view of the increasing mediatisation of the stage.
Drawing on theories of intermediality, Liveness on Stage explores how performances that incorporate film or video self-reflexively stage and challenge their own liveness by contrasting or approximating live and mediatised action. To illustrate this, the monograph investigates key aspects such as ‘ephemerality’, ‘co-presence’, ‘unpredictability’, ‘interaction’ and ‘realistic representation’ and highlights their significance for re-evaluating received notions of liveness. The analysis is based on productions by Gob Squad, Forkbeard Fantasy, Station House Opera, Proto-type Theater, Tim Etchells and Mary Oliver. In their playful approaches these practitioners predominantly present such media combination as a means of cross-fertilisation rather than as an antagonism between liveness and mediatisation.
Combining an original theoretical approach with an in-depth analysis of the selected productions, this study will appeal to scholars and practitioners of theatre and performance as well as to those researching intermedial phenomena.
Eberhard Bort (ed.)
The State of Play: Irish Theatre in the ‚Nineties‘
Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 1996.
202 pp. ISBN 3-88476-232-X. EUR 19,50
„…our theatre in the nineties is alive and well and in pursuit of new understanding, new images, fresh articulation of who we are as a people, what we are as individuals and where we are headed as a nation in the age of the Maastricht Treaty, the Common Agricultural Policy, and the Land of Heart’s Desire, where the Deutschmark is re-writing all our histories. In high (or is it not low?) Germany we came to dig a little deeper into such questions and challenges as these histories continue to pose. Allthough our agenda was the contemporary theatre and drama, it was not forgotten that the battle standard followed was originally designed by Yeats, suitably mocked at by Shaw, and carried with pride and passion by Synge almost one hundred years ago.“
Thus Christopher Murray in this introductory essay of this volume: a timely assessment of Irisch drama and theatre in the 1990s, developed from the papers given at an international conference on contemporary Irisch Theatre at the University of Tübingen, south Germany. The conference marked the fifteenth anniversary of the Tübingen Anglo-Irisch Theatre Group, a University-based company which has produced well over sixty Irish plays in Tübingen and beyond.
Table of Contents
Eberhard BORT: „Preface:’There’s a Buzz'“
Ivy BANNISTER: „A Place Called Tübingen“
Christopher MURRAY: ‚The State of Play: Irish Theatre in the ‚Nineties“
Karin McCULLY: National Theatre: The State of the Abbey“
Anna McMULLAN: „Reclaiming Performance: The Contemporary Irish Independent Theatre Sector“
Cathy LEENEY: „Deevy’s Leap: Teresa Deevy Remembered in the 1990s“
Brendan MacGURK: „Commitment and Risk in Anne Devlin’s Ourselves Alone and After Easter“
Gerald DAWE: „A Hard Act Stewart Parker’s Pentecost“
Robert F. GARRATT: „Beyond Field Day: Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa“
Eberhard BORT: „‚Come on You Boys in Green‘: Irish Football, Irish Theatre, and the’Irish Diaspora'“
Claudia W. HARRIS: „Reinventing Women: Charabanc Theatre Company“
Tom MAGILL: „Between a Bible and a Flute Band: Community Theatre in the Shankill and in Long Kesh“
Beate RICHTER: „The Experience of Understanding Belfast: The Adventure of Translating Graham Reid“
Stuart MARLOW: ‚The Northern Irish Troubles: A Problem of Representation“
Mary CLOAKE: „Beyond the Theatre Review: The Arts Council and Regional Developments in Irish Theatre“
Paul O’HANRAHAN: „Local Arts Centres and Irish Theatre“