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Title: Hauntology and contemporary British political theatre 1995-2010
Author: Clements, Rachel Elizabeth Adelaide
ISNI:       0000 0004 2696 684X
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2010
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Hauntology and Contemporary British Political Theatre (1995-2010) This thesis explores the presence of ghosts in contemporary British theatre, using a Derridean framework to develop an understanding of the politics and effect of the spectre. Considering embodied ghostly characters, the presence of absence, and haunting as a dramaturgical structure, its central argument is that the spectral moment has a radical potential; that plays use this to explore and create moments of indeterminacy and rupture. It develops detailed analyses of key works of political theatre from the past fifteen years, using Derrida's thinking about hauntology, justice and responsibility to reassess the effect and meaning of these works. Chapter One explores Derrida's notions of hauntology and the spectre in relation to Martin Crimp's landmark work, Attempts on Her Life (1997). Chapter Two focuses on Sarah Kane's Cleansed (1998), using a close analysis of the ghost of Graham to argue that Kane's use of spectrality points towards a dramaturgy of survival. The third chapter turns to Derrida's conception of justice, and discusses two pieces of documentary theatre (Justifying War [2003] and My Name is Rachel Corrie [2005]). Looking at the tensions between theatrical event and verisimilitude, it argues that the impact of these pieces is located in their spectral moments. Chapter Four considers the relationship between Derrida's thinking about the spectre and about the stranger, looking at Mark Ravenhill's work and suggesting that much of the discomfort and challenge of his plays lies in moments of haunting and inhospitality. The final chapter traces Caryl Churchill's use of ghosts throughout her career, showing how her approach to visibility and presence has developed, and uses Derrida's thoughts on forgiveness and Judith Butler's work on precariousness and vulnerability to discuss Churchill's controversial short play, Seven Jewish Children (2009).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available