The Political Theatre of David Edgar : Negotiation and Retrieval
David Edgar's writings address the most basic questions of how humans organize and govern themselves in modern societies. This study brings together the disciplines of political philosophy and theatre studies to approach the leading British playwright as a political writer and a public social critic. Edgar uses theatre as a powerful tool of public discourse, an aesthetic modality for engaging with and thinking/feeling through the most pressing social issues of the day. In this he is a supreme rationalist: he deploys character, plot and language to explore ideas, to make certain kinds of discursive cases and model hypothetical alternatives. Reinelt and Hewitt analyze twelve of Edgar's most important plays, including Maydays and Pentecost, and also provide detailed discussions of key performances and critical reception to illustrate the playwright's artistic achievement in relation to his contributions as a public figure in British cultural life.
- Electronic book text
- CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
- Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing)
- Cambridge, United Kingdom
- 15 b/w illus.
Table of contents
1. Introduction: political commitment and performative practice; 2. Intervening in public discourse: Edgar as discursive arbiter; 3. Things fall apart: after ideology in Continental Divide and Maydays; 4. Governing memberships: Destiny, Playing with Fire and Testing the Echo; 5. A legend in your own time: The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs, Mary Barnes and Albert Speer; 6. Socialism's aftermath: The Shape of the Table, Pentecost and The Prisoner's Dilemma; 7. Conclusion: negotiating retrieval.
"Janelle Reinelt and Gerald Hewitt's meticulously researched and clearly argued book offers a timely and refreshing way of looking at a dramatist whose socially committed work over four decades has established him as one of the most accomplished and influential political playwrights in Britain."