Watching War on the Twenty-First Century Stage is the first publication to analyse the ways in which UK theatre has represented, interrogated or contested images of war and terrorism as they are habitually presented in the dominant media. Drawing on theories of spectacle and a wide array of plays and productions - including plays from playwrights such as Caryl Churchill, Mark Ravenhill and Martin Crimp, as well as devised and dance-based theatre - Spectacles of Conflict is a richly provocative engagement with an issue that permeates contemporary culture and consciousness. Residents in wealthy nations such as the UK are invited – at a safe distance, from the comfort of our sofas or our desktops – to spectate, to gawp at, to indulge in images of violence and conflict. Finburgh asks how plays and performances have succeeded, or failed, in negotiating their own status as spectacle in order to make war as it is actually waged, more palpable, in all its devastating vastness.
Among the many 21st-century plays and productions analysed are: Headlong Theatre Company's site-specific series of nineteen short plays Decade, Mark Ravenhill's play cycle Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat, Simon Stephens's Pornography, Lone Twin's Alice Bell, Howard Barker's The Dying of Today, Roy Williams' Days of Significance, Gregory Burke's Black Watch, David Hare's Stuff Happens, Martin Crimp's The City, Nicholas Kent and Richard Norton-Taylor's Justifying War: Scenes from the Hutton Enquiry, Jonathan Lichtenstein's Memory, and DV8's Can We Talk About This?.
The original and interdisciplinary interrogation offers new ways of analysing representations of war and gives coherence to a large and ever-expanding field by examining and evoking a broad spectrum of theatre and performance pieces, that includes national and fringe productions, text-based theatre and physical performance, and promenade, site-specific and conventional pieces.
About the Author
Clare Finburgh is Senior Lecturer in Drama at the University of Kent, UK. As well as writing on British theatre and war, she specializes in French critical theory and theatre. She has co-written Jean Genet (with David Bradby, 2011) and co-edited Genet Politics and Performance (2006), Contemporary French Theatre and Performance (2011) and Rethinking Absurdist Theatre: Ecology, the Environment and the Greening of the Modern Stage (Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2015).
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
By Way of an Introduction
1. War and/as Spectacle
2. Helmets: Soldiering as Spectacle
3. Headscarves: 'Terrorism' as Spectacle
4. Hoods: Human Rights Abuses Omitted from Spectacle
Conclusion. 'Violence without Violence'