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The New War Plays: From Kane to Harris by Julia Boll (auth.)

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By Julia Boll (auth.)

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Extra info for The New War Plays: From Kane to Harris

Sample text

In Euripides’ Bacchae (405 BC), a man is torn apart by delirious women – one of them his mother, thus portraying the taboo of infanticide. After committing patricide and incest, Sophocles’ Oedipus blinds himself (ca. 429 BC), and his Ajax commits suicide on stage (ca. 450–430 BC). The extensive representation of violence in the English Mystery and Passion Plays prompts medievalist Jody Enders to state that ‘[m]urder, torture, and violence, it seems, have perpetually functioned as theatre’ – note here that she lists them as the basic components of medieval plays (48).

Delderfield’s Worm’s Eye View 24 The New War Plays (1945), Hugh Hasing’s Seagulls over Sorrento (1949) and Colin Morris’s Reluctant Heroes (1950) (ibid. 8). Other plays tend to present a romantic myth of military life. The fictional frame mostly has an authentic historical reference to wars in the past, such as Charles Wood’s plays Cockade (1963), Veterans (1972) and Jingo (1975) (ibid. 10). In 1959, John Arden’s ‘un-historical parable’ Serjeant Musgrave’s Dance broached the issue of the cyclical nature of revenge killings within the framework of a colonial war, and in the 1960s, one of the most important British plays on war emerged: Joan Littlewood’s Oh, What a Lovely War!

As a final example, the effect of a globalised economy on the generation of conflict is explored in Harris’s Solstice, in which a minority community is uprooted in order to exploit the resources of the territory, and in Fall (2008), which portrays a newly peaceful society attempting to ensure its readmission into the international community by restoring certain economic connections with other countries: Howard: . . We don’t have anything we can sell, no minerals, no resources, but we have space.

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