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Title: Talking taboos: the personal over the political? : contemporary Polish playwriting : theme and dramatic technique in selected modern Polish plays
Author: Oxley, Natasha Emma Fortescue
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 2469
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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The focus of this thesis is contemporary Polish playwriting after Poland's accession to the European Union in 2004. From a broad reading of plays by many new writers, four playwrights were selected for study on the basis of prominence and artistic merit: Pawel Demirski, Dorota Maslowska, Malgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk and Przemys law Wojcieszek. Their plays were studied as texts and in performance, and twelve main plays became the focus of closer analysis. The thesis identifies and examines three major concurrent themes in the works of these playwrights. Remembering versus forgetting the past is discussed through the lens of selected aspects of memory studies, including Nora's lieux de mémoire, Hirsch's postmemory and Assman's mnemohistory. The playwrights are shown to share an endorsement of the de-politicisation of collective memory and to advocate a cessation of the passing down of trauma to post-war generations. The human body is highlighted as another concurrent thematic concern and is illuminated by certain tenets of Catholic doctrine as well as Merleau-Ponty's phenomenology. The playwrights' rejection of the tabooisation of the body is demonstrated and the shared notion of the body as both sentient and unifying is exemplified. Social marginalisation is examined as the final concern, with an emphasis on the notion of the 'other', particularly in relation to socio-economic status, sexuality, and religious beliefs. The plays are shown to support and promote a rejection of the myth of homogeneity in favour of openness to diversity. Major dramatic techniques are then closely examined. It is demonstrated that the plays share traits with Lehmann's theory of postdramatic theatre, including a rejection of Aristotelian unities. Key commonalities are evidenced, particularly comedy, bad language, intertextualities with the outside world, and an engagement with Polish social realities. The playwrights' approach to the spectator as a socio-political being is shown to be of paramount importance.
Supervisor: Fellerer, Jan Sponsor: CEELBAS
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Polish drama--21st century ; Polish drama--History and criticism ; Dramatists ; Polish ; Memory in literature ; Human body in literature ; Poland--Social conditions--21st century