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APORIA OR EUPHORIA: BRITISH POLITICAL THEATRE AT THE DAWN OF THE 90s

Elizabeth Sakellaridou
AAA: Arbeiten aus Anglistik und Amerikanistik
Vol. 17, No. 1 (1992), pp. 51-70
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43023590
Page Count: 20
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
APORIA OR EUPHORIA: BRITISH POLITICAL THEATRE AT THE DAWN OF THE 90s
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Abstract

The sociopolitical and ethical structures of Thatcherite Britain of the 80s brought the British political theatre into deep crisis which was aggravated by the spectacular fall of official socialism in Eastern Europe. Political theatre has had to re-examine all its parameters — its goals, its audiences, its economics, its thematic resources — and start a critique of its own aesthetics and ideology. Under the pressure of Thatcherism some writers have responded by hardening their old Marxist opposition, others by getting assimilated by the bourgeois culture and only few have shown a combined integrity and flexibility so as to revise the old discourse of political theatre and attempt a renewal of its morphological and ideological structures. In the last four years some socialist playwrights have shown their concern for the theatre's deep crisis not only in interviews and prefaces to their works but, most importantly, in the publication of collections of essays on politics and theatre. Among other rather sketchy suggestions David Edgar's fairly grounded proposal for a "carnivalesque theatre" and Howard Barker's for a "catastrophic theatre" deserve special attention as new alternatives for an exhausted political theatre of the past.

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