Edward Bond's 2077 'Chair' plays and the crisis of the present

Hudson, James (2014) Edward Bond's 2077 'Chair' plays and the crisis of the present. In: What Happens Now: 21st Century Writing in English, Monday 14th July - Thursday 17th July 2014, University of Lincoln.

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Paper)
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

Throughout his career, a favourite stratagem of Edward Bond’s has been to use his diagnosis of current social and political configurations as a point from which to extrapolate about where these present tendencies will eventually lead humankind. While this was perhaps most memorably evoked by the post-apocalyptic War Plays trilogy in 1985, more recently Bond has devoted a tranche of plays to exploring what our future society might be like with further texture and precision. Set in the late twenty-first century, Bond’s ‘Chair’ and ‘Paris Pentad’ plays speculate about a repressive, militarised, and rigidly bureaucratic society where an authoritarian state that has ‘abolished the past’ regulates and prescribes the activities of its citizens, even down to exact placement of furniture in rooms. Staged at the Lyric, Hammersmith in April 2012, Bond’s trio of plays set in 2077, Chair, The Under Room and Have I None all explored this dystopian future in productions that reverberated uncannily with the English riots of August 2011. This paper discusses the relationship that Bond’s imagined future has to our contemporary juncture and suggests that the potency of the vision lies not in its predictive or prophetic accuracy but in its excavation and interrogation of the central problems of our current political co-ordinates.

Keywords:Edward Bond, Chair, Saved, Neoliberalism
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
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ID Code:14524
Deposited On:17 Jul 2014 14:03

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