Friday, 3 September 2010

tackling the range

When Athol Fugard attacked younger playwrights for not taking enough interest in politics, he could make an impressive claim:

In South Africa we had to work in small venues, but our dissident writers made a major contribution to the fact that dialogue eventually replaced bombs and bullets.

It would be hard for younger playwrights to rival that kind of impact. But no interest in politics? In the comments that followed, DaveSplendour suggested - with all due respect to a very distinguished playwright - that maybe Fugard hadn't been keeping up with the work of younger playwrights:

this doesn't even hold water even if you do look at plays which are more straightforwardly political – DC Moore, Lucy Kirkwood, Mike Bartlett, James Graham, Bola Agbaje, Lucy Prebble, and Matt Charman are all tackling a range of subject matters in their work including climate change, British foreign policy in the Middle East, the complicity of NGOs in African war crimes, sex traffic, as well as British domestic policy and social cohesion.

1 comment:

  1. Well exactly...there is plenty of political theatre around...the Tricycle's Afghanistan season (with, I think, twelve new plays about Afghanistan from twelve playwrights) was so successful they've brought it back. One of the plays from the original got expanded into a full-length play for the National, which just opened (JT Rogers's Blood and Gifts), and the Tricycle's just done another similarly-organised season on women & politics. The Lyric Hammersmith's just revived Simon Stephens's play Punk Rock (about teenage anomie). In the last few weeks, I've seen plays about climate change (Mike Bartlett's Earthquakes in London at the National), the London bombings (David Watson's Pieces of Vincent at the Arcola) & freedom of religion (Howard Barker's Anne Boleyn at the Globe)...all this in what is traditionally silly season... I think we playwrights are doing all right when it comes to being political...