Download Heritage, Nostalgia and Modern British Theatre: Staging the by Benjamin Poore PDF

By Benjamin Poore

The level portrayal of the Victorians in recent years is a key reference aspect in realizing notions of Britishness, and the profound politicisation of that discuss during the last 4 a long time. This book throws new mild on works through canonical playwrights like Bond, Edgar, and Churchill, linking theatre to the broader tradition at huge.

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It focuses on a trend within playwriting about the Victorians, evident since the late 1980s, of having modern-day characters haunted by the ghosts of the Victorians who previously inhabited that house or landscape. I coin the term ‘supernatural realism’ to describe this type of play, where a social-realist view of society is juxtaposed with a Victorian ghost story; in doing this, the implications for the plays’ representation of ‘the real’ are further interrogated. I focus on two works with a similar subplot of a body hidden in a Victorian house – Kate Atkinson’s Abandonment (2000) and Mike Leigh’s It’s a Great Big Shame!

49 Almost the only other recently written Victorian drama was William Douglas-Home’s The Queen’s Highland Servant, which had not troubled the Lord Chamberlain on its submission the previous year. In the light of the ongoing comparative conservatism of representations of the Victorians in the theatre in this period, then, The Ruling Class by Peter Barnes provides a useful point of comparison with Early Morning, having a similar irreverence towards chronology, but having been rather more commercially successful.

Early Morning was scheduled to be performed at the Royal Court in April 1968, when the Theatres Act was on the statutes book but had yet to become law. 19 After the Theatres Act had been passed, the Royal Court mounted another production in 1969, but the play never attracted as much interest in the reviews pages as it had in the news pages. One of the kinder comments is William Gaskill’s ‘you just have to live with it. 20 The Evening Standard said of the first night of the 1968 production, ‘its reception was distinctly sotto voce .

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