Revolution and the end of history: Caryl Churchill's Mad Forest

Adiseshiah, Sian (2009) Revolution and the end of history: Caryl Churchill's Mad Forest. Modern Drama, 52 (3). pp. 283-299. ISSN 0026-7694

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Revolution and the End of History: Caryl Churchill's Mad Forest
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3138/md.52.3.283

Abstract

Caryl Churchill’s Mad Forest, written and performed very soon after the Romanian revolution in 1990 and performed both in London and Bucharest, is a dynamic, inter-cultural play that represents a variety of perspectives on the revolutionary events, as well as oscillating between English and Romanian cultural and language coordinates. It has a peculiar topicality in its detailed and specific usages of different aspects of the revolutionary narrative, its sketches of family life before and after the revolution, and the inclusion of the revolution as reported in quasi-documentary-style testimony.

The perspective in this article is one that places the play within a framework that thinks through Mad Forest’s relationship to the triumphant, neoliberalist heralding of “the end of history,” most famously argued by Francis Fukuyama in his 1989 article of that name. This discourse gained further confidence from the collapse of Eastern Europe, a collapse that was viewed by proponents of the end-of-history argument as signalling the permanent disintegration of communism and a victory for capitalism. However, Mad Forest is considered here as a play that reflects multiple perspectives on the revolutionary period and, while declining to provide political solutions as such, simultaneously refuses to accede to the implications of the end-of-history argument.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Caryl Churchill’s Mad Forest, written and performed very soon after the Romanian revolution in 1990 and performed both in London and Bucharest, is a dynamic, inter-cultural play that represents a variety of perspectives on the revolutionary events, as well as oscillating between English and Romanian cultural and language coordinates. It has a peculiar topicality in its detailed and specific usages of different aspects of the revolutionary narrative, its sketches of family life before and after the revolution, and the inclusion of the revolution as reported in quasi-documentary-style testimony. The perspective in this article is one that places the play within a framework that thinks through Mad Forest’s relationship to the triumphant, neoliberalist heralding of “the end of history,” most famously argued by Francis Fukuyama in his 1989 article of that name. This discourse gained further confidence from the collapse of Eastern Europe, a collapse that was viewed by proponents of the end-of-history argument as signalling the permanent disintegration of communism and a victory for capitalism. However, Mad Forest is considered here as a play that reflects multiple perspectives on the revolutionary period and, while declining to provide political solutions as such, simultaneously refuses to accede to the implications of the end-of-history argument.
Keywords:Caryl Churchill, Mad Forest, end of history, Romanian revolution, Fukuyama, British left
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q320 English Literature
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Humanities
ID Code:2492
Deposited By: Sian Adiseshiah
Deposited On:19 May 2010 21:23
Last Modified:13 Mar 2013 08:37

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