Drunken Language, Elliptical Politics: Caryl Churchill’s Oblique Protest Theatre

Authors

  • Matt Jones University of Toronto

Keywords:

political theatre, war on terror, Caryl Churchill, British theatre, Iraq war

Abstract

Can “political theatre” exist in today’s political climate? In the last few decades, our understanding of politics and theatre has undermined the basis on which prior generations of artists conceived of both politics and theatre. Caryl Churchill’s Drunk Enough to Say I Love You? sits at the intersection of critiques of dramatic theatre and new forms of post-dramatic, non-representational performance. The play tells the story of a man, Guy, who falls in love with a country, Sam, and critics have largely seen the play as an allegory for the “special relationship” between Britain and the United States. But while the play riffs on that metaphor, it also includes aspects that work against a political reading. Churchill’s depiction of the relationship as a sincere gay love affair raises questions about what it means to say that politicians are “in bed together.” As the play develops, the political critique and the personal relationships seem to work against each other, and the play becomes an elliptical invitation to think political theatre anew.

Author Biography

Matt Jones, University of Toronto

Matt Jones is a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, where he researches war, terrorism, and racism in performance. His dissertation, “The Shock and Awe of the Real: Political Performance in an Age of War and Terror,” is a transnational study of theatre, live art, protests, and digital media installations about the recent conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and beyond. He is the recent co-editor, with Barry Freeman, of a special issue of Canadian Theatre Review on “Post-Truth” in performance. www.mattjones.space

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Published

2019-04-25

How to Cite

Jones, M. (2019). Drunken Language, Elliptical Politics: Caryl Churchill’s Oblique Protest Theatre. Analyses/Rereadings/Theories: A Journal Devoted to Literature, Film and Theatre, 5(1), 11-20. Retrieved from https://czasopisma.uni.lodz.pl/art/article/view/4705

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Articles