Carry On, Understudies: Theatre and Sexual Politics

Carry On, Understudies: Theatre and Sexual Politics

Carry On, Understudies: Theatre and Sexual Politics

Carry On, Understudies: Theatre and Sexual Politics

Excerpt

This book is a revised, updated and greatly expanded edition of a monograph first published in 1981. The original book came into being after I had suggested to Methuen a book, edited by myself, of three of the collaboratively written plays about sexual politics, from the early to middle 1970s. The editor did not feel that the plays were 'good' enough as plays to warrant publishing; we then had a rather tetchy, not to say argumentative, telephone conversation, in which I said how important it was to document such theatre work, that it had particular merits in its own right, and that there was enough happening which I could write a book about, but what was the point of writing a book about work which would never see the light of print? The conversation ended in great disappointment and frustration on my part; but about a week later I had a letter from Methuen's editor, taking me up on my 'suggestion' to write a book. After some thought, I decided to go ahead-such offers do not come by every post-and over the next few months began work on what was to become Understudies, while also finding a publisher for the anthology of plays.

Understudies took me two years to write-1978-80. The entire book was based on original research, in the sense that no plays were in print, and apart from a very small number of articles and reviews, there was no secondary source material. I had myself been writing plays and writing theatre reviews for Time Out, and during the 1970s had seen pretty well 100 per cent of all the plays I documented and discussed. I collected about a hundred hours of interview material, talking to people all over the country. I drew

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