University of Portsmouth PORTSMOUTH Hants UNITED KINGDOM PO1 2UP This Dissertation
Burdon, Chelsey (2009) How did in-yer-face theatre reflect the social and political climate of post Thatcher Britain? BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth. Has been retrieved from the University of Portsmouth’s Research Repository: http://eprints.port.ac.uk
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firstname.lastname@example.orgHow did In‐Yer‐Face theatre reflect the social and political climate of Post Thatcher Britain? Chelsey Burdon 362007
University of Portsmouth
School of Creative Arts, Film and Media Studies April 2009
Dissertation submitted in part fulfilment for the requirements of the BA (Hons) Film and Drama 1
Table of Contents
Chapter One “What Society? There is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families.”
Pg11 Chapter Two
“We had to fight an enemy in the Falklands.... We always have to be aware of the enemy within, which is more difficult to fight and more dangerous to liberty”
Pg19 Chapter Three
“If you want something said‐ ask a man. If you want something done‐ask a woman” Conclusion Bibliography
This study uses critical reviews and textual analyses of 5 key In‐Yer‐Face plays, alongside contextual information regarding the political backdrop of 1990’s Britain, in an attempt to establish a relationship between this provocative form of theatre and the social and political climate of Britain in the wake of Thatcherism. The dramatic texts within this study cover a range of themes and differ greatly in terms of content, yet they share an aesthetic of cruelty and confrontational flair that places them under an umbrella term known as In‐Yer‐Face theatre, popularised in the mid 1990’s and produced predominantly by young, emerging playwrights. Each chapter takes a well known quote from Margaret Thatcher as a starting point by which to deconstruct elements of British Ideology and culture, positing the dramatic texts alongside the attitudes of Thatcherism and analysing them in light of their contextual background. The first chapter looks at David Eldridge’s Serving it Up and Judy Uptons Ashes and Sand with particular regards to unemployment, the class divide and British Nationalism looking specifically at the teenage generation. The second chapter focuses on the infamous Sarah Kane play Blasted and attempts to establish what its writer is trying to convey about war and Britain’s relation to and attitude towards it. Finally the 3rd chapter looks at the role of gender and sexuality in Mark Ravenhill’s Shopping and Fucking and Martin Crimp’s Attempts on her Life with particular reference to the crisis of masculinity and the fracturing of gender identities. This breadth of thematic study is underpinned by a grounded understanding of the political and social issues surrounding the plays and the policies and ideals put into practice by the Thatcherite government that may have influenced the writers. 3
How did In‐Yer‐Face theatre reflect the social and political climate of Post Thatcher Britain? Introduction
“Theatre is not external force acting upon society, but a part of it. It’s a reflection of the way people within that society view the world” Sarah Kane (Sierz, 2001a, p.93)
The above quote came from the late Sarah Kane; arguably one of the most progressive British dramatists of the 20th century. My dissertation plans to be an exploration of that statement, with particular analysis of the mid 90’s genre of theatre; which became most commonly known as In‐Yer‐Face Theatre, I intend to explore to what extent British Theatre of this period reflected the country’s political and social climate. To what extent did plays like Blasted, Shopping and F**king and Serving it up really comment on the British ideology, if at all? What was it about Britain in this post Thatcher era that encouraged and inspired so many new...
Bibliography: Allen, G., & Hicks, J. (1999) A Century of Change: Trends in UK Statistics since 1900. Retrieved November 4th, 2008 from United Kingdom Parliament Website: http://www.parliament.uk/commons/lib/research/rp99/rp99‐111.pdf
Billington, M. (1999, March 10) Heirs of Pirandello. The Guardian, p. 12. Retrieved March 3, 2009 from the Nexis UK database
Charles, N. (2002). Gender in Modern Britain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Crimp, M. (2007). Attempts on Her Life. London: Faber & Faber.
D’monte, R. (2008) Thatcher’s Children: Alienation and Anomie in the plays of Judy Upton. In R. D’Monte, G. Saunders (Eds.), Cool Britannia? British Political Drama of the 1990’s (pp. 79‐96). Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan
Driver, S., & Martell, L
Duke, S., & Edgell, S. (1991) A Measure of Thatcherism: A Sociology of Britain. London; Harper Collins Academic
Eldridge, D. (1997). Serving It Up & A Week With Tony. London: Methuen.
Kane, S.(2001). Complete Plays. London: Methuen Drama
Peacock, D. (1999) Thatcher’s Theatre: British Theatre and Drama in the 80’s. London: Greenwood Press
Playwright Kane Found Dead (1999) Retrieved December 10th, 2008 from the BBC news website: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/284378.stm
Ravenhill, M. (1999, 23 February). Obituary: Sarah Kane. The Independent. Retrieved December 10th, 2008 from http://www.independent.co.uk/arts‐ entertainment/obituary‐sarah‐kane‐1072624.html
Ravenhill, M. (2005) Shopping and Fucking: Student Edition. (D. Rebellato, Ed) London: Methuen Drama. (Original work published 2001)
Sierz, A. (2001a) In‐Yer‐Face Theatre: British Drama Today. London: Faber and Faber
Sierz, A (2001b, February 17) Outrage Theatres gave young writers freedom‐ no ideologies, no rules, no taste
Sierz, A. (2006) The Theatre of Martin Crimp. London: Methuen Drama
Spencer, C. (2007, Feb 21) Looking forward in a different class of anger. The Telegraph. Retrieved December 10th, 2008 from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/drama/3663150/Looking‐forward‐in‐ a‐different‐class‐of‐anger.html
They Said What?
TV Interview for Granada: World in Action. (1978) [Transcript]. Retrieved September 20, 2008 from the Margaret Thatcher Foundation http://www.margaretthatcher.org/speeches/displaydocument.asp?docid=103485
Urban, K. (2001) An Ethics of Catastrophe: The Theatre of Sarah Kane. [Electronic Version] A Journal of Performance and Art, 23 (3), 36‐46
Woddis, C. (1994) Ashes and Sand Review. Retrieved October 29th, 2008 from http://www.judy.ukwriters.net/1ashes.htm
Zimmerman, H. (2003) Images of woman in Martin Crimp’s Attempts on her Life [Electronic Version]. European Journal of English Studies, 7(1), pp.69‐85
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