Using at least two performances studied onthe unit, analyse developments in theatrical genre, mode, form and uses ofspace since 2000. Inthis essay I will begin Analyse developments in theatrical genre,mode, form and uses of space since 2000 from the subsequent plays: Stoning Maryby Debbie Tucker Green and POSH by Laura wade. I will critically compare bothplays and analyse their connections in relation to its themes in theatre and itsworld wider context. I will conclude by discussing how Theatrical Genre, mode,form and uses of space have exhibited a variation since 2000. ‘Contemporary Theatre ‘refers to the work ofthose artists in Britain who are creating unique forms of theatre to expresswhat it is like to be alive today’ (…) To express the variety of experiencewhich comes from living in a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-nationalcountry. The result is a complex and dynamic British Theatre. (,Shank, 1994) Stoning Mary by Debbie Tucker green glances at thereality of an unstable world in an everyday context with stories of awar-scarred country and the Idea of those being transposed into a white Culturewith an all white Cast.
The Play was first Performed at the Royal Court JerwoodTheatre Downstairs in 2005, which has been revealed that she was the firstBlack woman to have her two plays first Performed on the main stage downstairsand also go an international recognition for her New Writing Plays, which is acommon rarity within the Black artists in the Theatre world. Our society desire to seewhat is depicted as ‘real’ in Theatre, nevertheless that is because in reallife that self isn’t always heard without being performed or decorated, whichsome 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 tuckergreen wanted to delve in and explore in this play, the idea that if thesecharacters were overly decorated as well as played by white actors wouldattract a different kind of spectator focus on the wider issues. Reviews showdisagreement on how she accomplished this.
“Though Stoning Mary is only an hour long, it doesn’t manageto sustain its emotional effects: intriguing, but not quite successful.” (Hanks,2005) “(…) Making open structures, performancesthat really ask the public to join the dots, to make connections- pieces thatdemand they run contrary or contradictory scenarios in their heads as theperformance unfolds etc.” (Svich, 2004) Stoning Mary perhaps makes you wonder how some of the audience having aPrivilege which is invisible from their inside, how open would they be to atleast experience and see what her work means in another light. However, Debbie TuckerGreen tackles this in a way that brings attention and focus to the wider issuesin the play in terms of trying to understand what is happening as well asopening a new door for Black communities to feel that they can come to thetheatre and laugh or cry without feeling like they don’t know what is happeningwhen it’s the opposite way. The cultural Stereotypeswere perhaps played out so strong with white actors which undoubtedly willbring some discomfort f in the audience when watching, however you could saythis is a good feeling to bring out in order to make people aware of theirPrivilege 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 havenot 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 washappening to them was happening to white people. It happens all the time.’. (L.
Goddard, 2015) DebbieTucker Green Breaks apart the Synthesis by drawing attention to thepre-existing Relationships. “You cansee what Tucker Green is trying to do: shock us into new awareness by transposing three putative third worldstories into a whiteculture. “(Billington,2005) By having White Actors, you could argue that the Authoris allowing the actor who is portraying it to have less in common with whatthey are portraying, which if it were to be actors from African and Caribbeandescent the effect would somewhat be typical. By introducing this cultural swapallows the audience to also hear these stories more attentively.
Semioticsand the ‘troubling of signs’ is used to do this. Traditionally, a black actorwould play a black character, this is the signifier and sign; but in her postdramatic play, this is changed, as a white actor plays a black actor. If we areviewing 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. Marginsto Mainstream discusses how in the Twentieth century there was a clearchange in how Black Playwrights were gaining more status and ability to achievemore than previously. In 2003 elevenBlack British Plays were being performed, which was an excellent outcome andgiven 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 theywrite about with the assumption that is once again just another black play thateither discusses Current issues such as: Racism, black on black violence oridentity, however that is something we need to move away from and be more opento understand these plays aren’t being written just for white audiences, anddue to our current state how can Black writers not write about it when it’s apredominant topic which needs be discussed.
I question why a white playwrightwho writes on political current issues isn’t as criticised as a Blackwriter. Once again, a reminder, thatDebbie Tucker green and her casting decision is something of a much deepercontext than we imagine. The fact that a white face is straight away givenvalidity/ or attention. However, Margins tomainstream discusses and questions whether black’s plays are being writtenfor a better chance to be mainstream or simply stories they wanted to write. Idon’t believe this is the case if I were to answer that question in relationthe black plays due to the fact that although the black community has very manysimilar 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 indeedstories they want to write, whether their close to home truths or not, thesePlaywrights seem to be focused in looking beneath the images in the media andelevate to debates on contemporary black experience and a better appreciationof the issues.
To define black British theatre in terms of race alone isto miss the point. Black practitioners are uniquely placed to deliver anincisive view of Britain today because we view it from two perspectives – blackand white ‘I never set out to write plays … I wasjust 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 allwords, ain’t it?’ (cited in Gardner, Guardian, 30 March 2005) In Michael Billington’sreview of Stoning Mary he states thatfor him it felt like an acted poem rather than a fleshed-out Play. ThoughBillington also implied in Contemporary British Theatre that “thetypical image of English theatre is that it is ironic and text based; Scottish theatreis hard-headed and realistic; Irish theatre is a word drunk and tragi-comic;and welsh theatre, not having a written dramatic tradition, tends toward performanceart and take place outside conventional theatre buildings. “((SHANK, 1994)). Stoning Mary shouldn’t be expected tofit in the traditional image of English theatre which Michael Billingintonseems to be expecting though not what he had preciously discussed in 1991 abouta greater cultural change. Posh isabout a fictionalised story of the Originally called Bullingdon club which isan all male dining club for oxford University undergraduates, which is not atall seen as official by the institution.
In the play we see privileged students who abuse their powerdue to being part of this club. Poshwas first performance at the Royal Court in 2010, the play trails an untanglingnight involving the 10-man Riot Club (Originally Bullingdon Club) which takesplaces in a country pub where they proceed to tore apart and everyone in it. Inthis man filled room where arguments take place, lower class folks paid off,prostitutes, poetry and wine which results in despicable actions. Posh highlights theobscure world of the Upper class and how it’s these sorts of personas that havebeen in power for Generations and weather is still different in the presentday.The play introduces Naturalistic characters which points towards what wenatural see outside the audience seat. We ask the simplequestion to ourselves “How do these people get away with it?” and the simpleanswer is merely Privilege. The Play states what posh males arelike and this leaves audience to think and decipher their thoughts on whatcould possibly a member of a male spectator’s real attitude. Posh solely showsyou one side which is the privileged male perspective and therefore that willbe what we experience whilst watching the performance, whereas post-dramatictheatre says you must read signs.
Before 2000 it’d be obvious that Laura wadewould be in no place to write about the Male experience nor comment politicallyon their power, as she is a female herself. However, since then many more femaleplaywrights are beginning to break down the barriers between men and women. Cheryl Langes states that “Many female critics believe that maleauthors write inadequately from the female perspective. Therefore, it is notsurprising that they believe that women are more capable of writing from thefemale perspective. As with male authors, many theorists believe that identityis also very important when discussing female authors. Susan Gubar believesthat men see women as “blank pages,” but that women sometimes also seethemselves in this way, using writing to re-create themselves. The femaleauthor is deeply involved in her work, because it is often considered are-shaping of herself, whereas the male author is creating something outside ofhimself.
“These two plays written by females since 2000 introduce tous a shift in the 20th century simply due to the fact they are twowomen who can write about such topics which begin discussions outside thetheatre world to a wider context. “Since the theatre was considered disreputable,few women were able to gain the experience in theatre to write plays (…) Manyof the plays written by women were produced and distributed anonymously, so thefull history of women playwrights is still to be written” (Goodman, 1998) In Stoning Mary, a Black female playwright deciding thatfor her plays that talks about home truths in her community to be portrayed bya white cast and In Posh another Female writer writing about the privilegedmale experience. “Proud feminist, unafraid to speak their minds or their politics inpublic” (Solga, 2016)) Not only do Plays such as stoning Mary and Poshgenerate a debate about social welfare and Justice, they introduce depictionswhich was Absent in 1970 as well as the Female Power as Playwrights ‘perhapsthat is also where the play stumbles, because while we don’t particularly careabout any of the deserved downfalls of these entitled young men, we’re notinvested in them getting away with impunity either. And if one is notsympathetic to their mishaps or gloating over their mistakes, then there’s notmuch left to connect the audience to this club of one-percenters, except lightamusement and a mild disdain.’ (Tan, 2017) In 2017 an all-female cast was performed at London’sPleasance 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 thechange in gender and its purpose in theatre. Could it be it was done for thesake of theatricality – to show the theatre world this director or productionis different or progressive? In the Book Liminal acts, it is discussed thatLiminal Performance functions to offend, confront or unsettle no matter whatthe traditions in Avant Garde performance, abiding to any dominant structure orideologies. Perhaps that is what the idea was behind this decision, deconstructthe original to have an indirect outcome on the political.
An all-femaleCast Production can be argued to be a danger in the way it perhaps attempts tobegin a national conversation (of the mainstream), thus it is perhaps may leadto a different conversation which in no way needed in the context of this playand its time. However, once again we realise that what was noise(women) hasbecome valid speech. “Post dramatic plays differentiate themselves fromrepresentational theatre by offering actors and audiences theatricalexperiences that are not tied to the vicissitudes of either character or plotbut seek to investigate broader issues, free of drama’s limitations.” ((Dramaonlinelibrary.com,n.d.) As I have argued