Post-War British Drama: Looking Back in Gender

Post-War British Drama: Looking Back in Gender

Post-War British Drama: Looking Back in Gender

Post-War British Drama: Looking Back in Gender

Synopsis

In this extensively revised and updated edition of her classic work, Look Back in Gender , Michelene Wandor confirms the symbiotic relationship between drama and gender in a provocative look at key, representative British plays from the last fifty years.Repositioning the text at the heart of theatre studies, Wandor surveys plays by Ayckbourn, Beckett, Churchill, Daniels, Friel, Hare, Kane, Osborne, Pinter, Ravenhill, Wertenbaker, Wesker and others. Her nuanced argument, central to any analysis of contemporary drama, discusses:*the imperative of gender in the playwright's imagination* *the function of gender as a major determinant of the text's structural and narrative drives*the impact of socialism and feminisim on post-war British drama, and the relevance of feminist dynamics in drama*differences in the representation of the fmaily, sexuality and the mother, before and after 1968*the impact of the slogan that the 'personal is political' on contemporary form and content.

Excerpt

In the quick forge and working-house of thought.

(William Shakespeare, Henry V)

This book is a revised and updated version of Look Back in Gender. That book was itself the culmination of a phase of work which began for me in 1981 with Understudies, continued with an updated version, Carry on, Understudies (1986) and was followed by Look back in Gender (1987). During this time I also edited five anthologies of plays: Strike While the Iron is Hot (Journeyman Press, 1980), and the first four volumes of Plays by Women (Methuen, 1982-1985).

These books came out of my own situation; the hybrid and, in Britain, the sometimes difficult position of being on both sides of the creative fence. At the turn of the 1960s to 1970s I began writing poetry, plays and short stories, and from 1971 to 1982 I worked on Time Out magazine (founded in 1968) as poetry editor, and theatre, book and film reviewer. At the same time I became heavily involved in socialist-feminism, its constantly developing theory, debate and creativity.

The heady mix of politics and art which characterised much of that time had its objective correlative in the abolition of theatre censorship in Britain in 1968. It meant then that as a working/beginning playwright, it was relatively easy to get plays put on in the variety of theatre spaces-makeshift, converted, new-which rapidly appeared. Although since 1979 my main dramatic work has been for radio, in 1987 I inadvertently became a statistic in theatre history, when my dramatisation of Eugene Sue's The Wandering Jew, at the Lyttelton Theatre, was the first work by a British woman playwright to appear

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