Homegrown Drama of the Mid-Eighties (Part I: SURVEYS 1985-86)
JNZL: Journal of New Zealand Literature 1987, Annual, 5
JNZL: Journal of New Zealand Literature
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If there is a common denominator in the work of our indigenous playwrights of. this period, it is the battle of the sexes. More precisely, perhaps, it is a preoccupation with the place and power of women in that and every other kind of battle, past and present. No Shuriken, no Once on Chunuk Bair, no Foreskin's Lament or Tooth and Claw amongst this lot. For better and/or worse, it was women--wimmin--who bared teeth and claws in our native drama at the middle turn of the eighties. Not only were seven of the eleven scripts submitted to me by Playmarket written by women; in all of them--including Roger Hall's Dream of Sussex Downs--women are central to the action and concern of the plays. A boon for our women performers (my classically-trained mind still baulks at applying the term actors to both sexes; to my knowledge, English is the only language in which one is trying to obliterate the professional gender distinction; in other highly emancipated cultures, women take pride in maintaining it: acteur-actrice, Schauspieler-Schauspielerin). So: a boon for our women-performers, ever the majority in training, ever the minority in castlists; for, despite the variable quality of our mid-eighties' harvest of drama, they get the better deal in terms of exploration, definition, nuance and histrionic chances; many of the male characters are mere brutes or wimps. A sorry lot, these lords of creation: domestic tyrants, incestuous swine, child molesters, wife bashers, rapists, foul-mouthed philanderers, consumers of pornography, drunkards and killers. At their best or least dangerous, they are weaklings, impotent halfwits and copouts. There are some exceptions--the work of dramatists who prove themselves again writers and poets of stature first and propagandists second: Mervyn Thompson, Renee and Fiona Farrell Poole.
- 2,99 €
- Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
- Published: 01 January 1987
- Publisher: University of Waikato
- Print Length: 25 Pages
- Language: English