Using uses of space since 2000. In this essay


Using at least two performances studied on
the unit, analyse developments in theatrical genre, mode, form and uses of
space since 2000.



this essay I will begin Analyse developments in theatrical genre,
mode, form and uses of space since 2000 from the subsequent plays: Stoning Mary
by Debbie Tucker Green and POSH by Laura wade. I will critically compare both
plays and analyse their connections in relation to its themes in theatre and its
world wider context. I will conclude by discussing how Theatrical Genre, mode,
form and uses of space have exhibited a variation since 2000.

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‘Contemporary Theatre ‘refers to the work of
those artists in Britain who are creating unique forms of theatre to express
what it is like to be alive today’ (…) To express the variety of experience
which comes from living in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-national
country. The result is a complex and dynamic British Theatre. (,Shank, 1994)


Stoning Mary by Debbie Tucker green glances at the
reality of an unstable world in an everyday context with stories of a
war-scarred country and the Idea of those being transposed into a white Culture
with an all white Cast. The Play was first Performed at the Royal Court Jerwood
Theatre Downstairs in 2005, which has been revealed that she was the first
Black woman to have her two plays first Performed on the main stage downstairs
and also go an international recognition for her New Writing Plays, which is a
common rarity within the Black artists in the Theatre world.


Our society desire to see
what is depicted as ‘real’ in Theatre, nevertheless that is because in real
life that self isn’t always heard without being performed or decorated, which
some audience members may see as going to the Theatre as an Education in a way,
as well as entertainment. In stoning Mary, that is something Debbie tucker
green wanted to delve in and explore in this play, the idea that if these
characters were overly decorated as well as played by white actors would
attract a different kind of spectator focus on the wider issues. Reviews show
disagreement on how she accomplished this.


“Though Stoning Mary is only an hour long, it doesn’t manage
to sustain its emotional effects: intriguing, but not quite successful.” (Hanks,




“(…) Making open structures, performances
that really ask the public to join the dots, to make connections- pieces that
demand they run contrary or contradictory scenarios in their heads as the
performance unfolds etc.” (Svich, 2004) Stoning Mary perhaps makes you wonder how some of the audience having a
Privilege which is invisible from their inside, how open would they be to at
least experience and see what her work means in another light. However, Debbie Tucker
Green tackles this in a way that brings attention and focus to the wider issues
in the play in terms of trying to understand what is happening as well as
opening a new door for Black communities to feel that they can come to the
theatre and laugh or cry without feeling like they don’t know what is happening
when it’s the opposite way.



The cultural Stereotypes
were perhaps played out so strong with white actors which undoubtedly will
bring some discomfort f in the audience when watching, however you could say
this is a good feeling to bring out in order to make people aware of their
Privilege of always being in a place of security or how we say in today’s world
“woke” by bring things to one’s awareness of stereotypes which they may have
not considered before. Debbie tucker green claims “I was interested in questioning what we don’t see and hear.
The stories of people who would be in the headlines every day if what was
happening to them was happening to white people. It happens all the time.’. (L. Goddard, 2015) Debbie
Tucker Green Breaks apart the Synthesis by drawing attention to the
pre-existing Relationships.


“You can
see what Tucker Green is trying to do: shock us into new awareness by transposing three putative third world
stories into a white
culture. “(Billington,2005)


By having White Actors, you could argue that the Author
is allowing the actor who is portraying it to have less in common with what
they are portraying, which if it were to be actors from African and Caribbean
descent the effect would somewhat be typical. By introducing this cultural swap
allows the audience to also hear these stories more attentively. Semiotics
and the ‘troubling of signs’ is used to do this. Traditionally, a black actor
would play a black character, this is the signifier and sign; but in her post
dramatic play, this is changed, as a white actor plays a black actor. If we are
viewing the context of the play as, ‘theatre that will be seen by white people’
then the troubling of signs will enable audiences to grasp the ideas more.


to Mainstream discusses how in the Twentieth century there was a clear
change in how Black Playwrights were gaining more status and ability to achieve
more than previously.  In 2003 eleven
Black British Plays were being performed, which was an excellent outcome and
given more recognition. These include Kwei-Armah’s Elmina’s Kitchen at the royal Court as well Debbie Tucker Green’s Stoning Mary.


We sometimes misconstrue Black writers and what they
write about with the assumption that is once again just another black play that
either discusses Current issues such as: Racism, black on black violence or
identity, however that is something we need to move away from and be more open
to understand these plays aren’t being written just for white audiences, and
due to our current state how can Black writers not write about it when it’s a
predominant topic which needs be discussed. I question why a white playwright
who writes on political current issues isn’t as criticised as a Black
writer.  Once again, a reminder, that
Debbie Tucker green and her casting decision is something of a much deeper
context than we imagine. The fact that a white face is straight away given
validity/ or attention.  



However, Margins to
mainstream discusses and questions whether black’s plays are being written
for a better chance to be mainstream or simply stories they wanted to write. I
don’t believe this is the case if I were to answer that question in relation
the black plays due to the fact that although the black community has very many
similar experiences, doesn’t necessarily mean that will be told the same way,
therefore I’d argue that these are being written for the mainstream but indeed
stories they want to write, whether their close to home truths or not, these
Playwrights seem to be focused in looking beneath the images in the media and
elevate to debates on contemporary black experience and a better appreciation
of the issues.

To define black British theatre in terms of race alone is
to miss the point. Black practitioners are uniquely placed to deliver an
incisive view of Britain today because we view it from two perspectives – black
and white




‘I never set out to write plays … I was
just messing about writing stuff down … I didn’t know whether it was a poem,
the lyrics to a song or a play. It is all much of a muchness to me. It’s all
words, ain’t it?’ (cited in Gardner, Guardian, 30 March 2005)



 In Michael Billington’s
review of Stoning Mary he states that
for him it felt like an acted poem rather than a fleshed-out Play. Though
Billington also implied in Contemporary British Theatre that “the
typical image of English theatre is that it is ironic and text based; Scottish theatre
is hard-headed and realistic; Irish theatre is a word drunk and tragi-comic;
and welsh theatre, not having a written dramatic tradition, tends toward performance
art and take place outside conventional theatre buildings. “((SHANK, 1994)). Stoning Mary shouldn’t be expected to
fit in the traditional image of English theatre which Michael Billinginton
seems to be expecting though not what he had preciously discussed in 1991 about
a greater cultural change.


Posh is
about a fictionalised story of the Originally called Bullingdon club which is
an all male dining club for oxford University undergraduates, which is not at
all seen as official by the institution.

In the play we see privileged students who abuse their power
due to being part of this club. Posh
was first performance at the Royal Court in 2010, the play trails an untangling
night involving the 10-man Riot Club (Originally Bullingdon Club) which takes
places in a country pub where they proceed to tore apart and everyone in it. In
this man filled room where arguments take place, lower class folks paid off,
prostitutes, poetry and wine which results in despicable actions.


Posh highlights the
obscure world of the Upper class and how it’s these sorts of personas that have
been in power for Generations and weather is still different in the present
The play introduces Naturalistic characters which points towards what we
natural see outside the audience seat.

We ask the simple
question to ourselves “How do these people get away with it?” and the simple
answer is merely Privilege.


The Play states what posh males are
like and this leaves audience to think and decipher their thoughts on what
could possibly a member of a male spectator’s real attitude. Posh solely shows
you one side which is the privileged male perspective and therefore that will
be what we experience whilst watching the performance, whereas post-dramatic
theatre says you must read signs. Before 2000 it’d be obvious that Laura wade
would be in no place to write about the Male experience nor comment politically
on their power, as she is a female herself.  However, since then many more female
playwrights are beginning to break down the barriers between men and women.

Cheryl Langes states that “Many female critics believe that male
authors write inadequately from the female perspective. Therefore, it is not
surprising that they believe that women are more capable of writing from the
female perspective. As with male authors, many theorists believe that identity
is also very important when discussing female authors. Susan Gubar believes
that men see women as “blank pages,” but that women sometimes also see
themselves in this way, using writing to re-create themselves. The female
author is deeply involved in her work, because it is often considered a
re-shaping of herself, whereas the male author is creating something outside of
himself. ”

These two plays written by females since 2000 introduce to
us a shift in the 20th century simply due to the fact they are two
women who can write about such topics which begin discussions outside the
theatre world to a wider context. “Since the theatre was considered disreputable,
few women were able to gain the experience in theatre to write plays (…) Many
of the plays written by women were produced and distributed anonymously, so the
full history of women playwrights is still to be written” (Goodman, 1998)


In Stoning Mary, a Black female playwright deciding that
for her plays that talks about home truths in her community to be portrayed by
a white cast and In Posh another Female writer writing about the privileged
male experience. “Proud feminist, unafraid to speak their minds or their politics in
public” (Solga, 2016)) Not only do Plays such as stoning Mary and Posh
generate a debate about social welfare and Justice, they introduce depictions
which was Absent in 1970 as well as the Female Power as Playwrights


that is also where the play stumbles, because while we don’t particularly care
about any of the deserved downfalls of these entitled young men, we’re not
invested in them getting away with impunity either. And if one is not
sympathetic to their mishaps or gloating over their mistakes, then there’s not
much left to connect the audience to this club of one-percenters, except light
amusement and a mild disdain.’ (Tan, 2017)


 In 2017 an all-female cast was performed at London’s
Pleasance Theatre. Thou we can’t sympathise with them when they are played by women.
It doesn’t have the same effect as when they are played by men. We question the
change in gender and its purpose in theatre. Could it be it was done for the
sake of theatricality – to show the theatre world this director or production
is different or progressive? In the Book Liminal acts, it is discussed that
Liminal Performance functions to offend, confront or unsettle no matter what
the traditions in Avant Garde performance, abiding to any dominant structure or
ideologies. Perhaps that is what the idea was behind this decision, deconstruct
the original to have an indirect outcome on the political.



An all-female
Cast Production can be argued to be a danger in the way it perhaps attempts to
begin a national conversation (of the mainstream), thus it is perhaps may lead
to a different conversation which in no way needed in the context of this play
and its time. However, once again we realise that what was noise(women) has
become valid speech.

“Post dramatic plays differentiate themselves from
representational theatre by offering actors and audiences theatrical
experiences that are not tied to the vicissitudes of either character or plot
but seek to investigate broader issues, free of drama’s limitations.” ((,



As I have argued