‘The shadows fly before the rush of light’: expressionist experimentation and political efficacy in Ewan MacColl’s ‘The Other Animals’

Warden, Claire (2007) ‘The shadows fly before the rush of light’: expressionist experimentation and political efficacy in Ewan MacColl’s ‘The Other Animals’. New Theatre Quarterly, 23 (4). pp. 317-325. ISSN 0266-464X

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Abstract

It has generally been assumed that the Expressionist movement had little noticeable impact on British theatre. This paper suggests that in the plays of Ewan MacColl (and in particular his 'The Other Animals' of 1948) there is a discernible challenge to this assumption. In order to advocate a specific political position, MacColl took the conventions of Expressionism and developed a highly engaged, artistically innovative theatrical aesthetic that could tackle socio-political inequalities and the suppression of the dissident voice. Through linguistic experiment, episodic structure, representational characters, and a focus on the individual mind, the playwright challenges the audience to confront class injustice and hegemonic tyranny.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:It has generally been assumed that the Expressionist movement had little noticeable impact on British theatre. This paper suggests that in the plays of Ewan MacColl (and in particular his 'The Other Animals' of 1948) there is a discernible challenge to this assumption. In order to advocate a specific political position, MacColl took the conventions of Expressionism and developed a highly engaged, artistically innovative theatrical aesthetic that could tackle socio-political inequalities and the suppression of the dissident voice. Through linguistic experiment, episodic structure, representational characters, and a focus on the individual mind, the playwright challenges the audience to confront class injustice and hegemonic tyranny.
Keywords:Theatre Workshop, Joan Littlewood
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W440 Theatre studies
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
ID Code:5765
Deposited By: Claire Warden
Deposited On:31 May 2012 08:54
Last Modified:31 May 2012 08:54

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