Irish rioters, Latin American dictators, and desperate optimists’ Play-boy
journal contributionposted on 2005-09-13, 11:39 authored by Neal Swettenham
The narrative process is inherently selective and consequently open to distortion and falsification. J. M. Synge humorously illustrated this in The Playboy of the Western World, in which his central character, Christy Mahon, reinvents himself through the telling and retelling of his own story. Play-boy, a much more recent performance work created by Desperate Optimists, takes as its opening gambit the riots that accompanied the first performances of this controversial Irish classic and adds a bewildering variety of other narrative materials to the mix – providing, as it does so, a tongue-in-cheek commentary on this story about stories. A detailed account of the show in performance, and the manner in which the company construct their own tall tales initiates an investigation into how fact becomes fiction in the creation of new narrative accounts, narrative being considered as a participatory event that is both a psychological imperative and a ludic pleasure. Neal Swettenham lectures in drama at Loughborough University. His research into the role and status of narrative in contemporary theatre has led him to fresh examinations of both traditional story-based drama and avant-garde performance work. In particular, he has written about the plays of American dramatist Richard Foreman and is currently exploring the challenges presented to both actor and director by these texts.
- The Arts, English and Drama
- English and Drama
CitationSWETTENHAM, N., 2005. Irish rioters, Latin American dictators, and desperate optimists’ Play-boy. New Theatre Quarterly, 21(3), 241-254.
Publisher© Cambridge University Press
NotesThe definitive version of this article: SWETTENHAM, N., 2005. Irish rioters, Latin American dictators, and desperate optimists’ Play-boy. New Theatre Quarterly, 21(3), 241-254, is available at: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=NTQ.