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16. The Remains of the British Empire: The Plays of Winsome Pinnock

Gabriele Griffin

Subject Literature

Place Europe » United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Northern Europe » Éire (Republic of Ireland)

Key-Topics drama, empire

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405122283.2006.00020.x


It seems to me that when we look at plays and interpret them, we're not embracing what's actually happening in the world, that there is far more collision and clash and influence between different groups, and that things are breaking down much more than we acknowledge. Pinnock (in Edgar 1999 : 59) The gap which Pinnock's pessimistic statement of 1999 identifies between seeing and reading plays, on the one hand, and what is ‘actually happening in the world’, on the other, points to the (perennial) question of the relationship between representation and material reality in agonistic contexts such as the current one. That context has, from the early 1990s — following on from the demise of the communist regimes in 1989 and the so-called Balkan wars of the 1990s, to various tragic events in Britain, such as the murder of Stephen Lawrence in 1993 and the Hatfield train crash in 2000, that have resulted in major public inquiries — fuelled a new wave of political theatre, nationally and internationally, which has closed the temporal gap between what is actually happening in the world and representation, through the immediacy with which writers have responded to those events in various cultural forms including performance. The need to make sense of, and give meaning to, events that mark and shape public and personal histories becomes more acute at moments of crisis, but such crises do ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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