'Hassan': Iraq on the British stage

Warden, Claire (2012) 'Hassan': Iraq on the British stage. Theatre Notebook, 66 (3). pp. 160-180. ISSN 0040-5523

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Abstract

This article examines Basil Dean's 1923 performance of James Elroy Flecker's play 'Hassan'.
In the SAS (Special Air Service) headquarters in Hereford, England there is a regimental clock. On it is inscribed a verse from James Elroy Flecker's 1913 poem The Golden Road to Samarkand:

We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go / Always a little further: it may be / Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow / Across that angry or that glimmering sea. / (Flecker, Samarkand 7)

Inherent in this epitaph is a spirit of travel and adventure, of conquering the natural world. But there is also potential danger ­ an unknown and unreachable goal. In recent years the SAS troops who completed their training in the shadow of this clock have been deployed in Iraq, a complex arena of war with its suicide bombers, rising civilian casualty count and tensions within the allied forces, both in the respective governments and in ground-level operations.

Keywords:Basil Dean, theatre, modernism, James Elroy Flecker, Theatre history, Orientalism, Conflict, First World War, Digitised
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
ID Code:7073
Deposited On:11 Dec 2012 23:15

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