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But not that: Caryl Churchill’s political shape shifting at the turn of the millennium

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date06/2013
JournalModern Drama
Journal number2
Volume56
Number of pages10
Pages145-164
Early online date30/04/13
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The article focuses on Caryl Churchill’s This Is a Chair (1997) and Far Away
(2000) to analyse Churchill’s political shape shifting at the turn of the millennium, when ideological resistance to capitalism has all but disappeared. Positioning This Is a Chair as a critical-political turning point in Churchill’s repertoire, I argue that René Magritte’s visual thinking about the arbitrary relation of words and things is seminal to Churchill’s struggle to create a political-theatre canvas. In relation to Far Away, I demonstrate how Churchill’s critique of global capitalism involves a dissolve – the appearing, yet disappearing, traces of the Brechtian dramaturgy of her earlier playwriting, and a renewal of the epic through a composition that is both experiential and elliptical. Ultimately, the article
argues that the need to impress on audiences the urgency of dis-identifying with capitalism informs Churchill’s political perspective through a dialectic shift from Herbert Blau’s “imminence of a ‘not-yet’” to the negative of “but not that.”