The Aesthetics and Politics of Character and Subjectivity in Contemporary British Theatre

  • Cristina Delgado-Garcia

Traethawd ymchwil myfyriwr: Traethawd Ymchwil DoethurolDoethur mewn Athroniaeth


This doctoral project offers a politically-inflected renegotiation of the related notions of character and subjectivity as they are currently used in Anglophone theatre studies. It proposes to strategically rethink character as “any figuration of subjectivity in a theatre text or performance” so as to enable a less prescriptive inquiry into the theatrical forms and subjective figures that veer away from the liberal-humanist ideal. This understanding of character is deployed to re-route and politicise the reception of four contemporary British, script-led works that experiment with speech attribution – a heterogeneous textual strategy that has often been interpreted as offering “no characters”.
Chapter One surveys the conflicting narratives on the crisis and death of character that have been generated in the last thirty years, setting the ground for this project’s redefinition of character as a malleable category. Chapter Two examines the theories of the subject of Judith Butler, Alain Badiou and Jacques Rancière, with a brief introduction to Louis Althusser’s theory of interpellation. Their conceptualisations of subjectivity can help theatre studies to disarm liberal-humanist preconceptions about the subject, and anchor inquiries about character on political grounds. Chapter Three examines three scripts concerned with the physical and psychic aspects of the subject, alongside several productions: Sarah Kane’s Crave (1998) and 4.48 Psychosis (1999), and Ed Thomas’s Stone City Blue (2004). This thesis contends that character in Kane’s plays outlines “non-individuated characters” that performatively refuse the regulatory norms that give intelligibility to the subject; the “dividuated” characters of Stone City Blue vindicate a fragmented, melancholic and relational definition of subjectivity. Chapter Four examines Tim Crouch’s ENGLAND in relation to collective character: figurations of the subject that spill over national boundaries and that are configured through practices.
Dyddiad Dyfarnu02 Hyd 2013
Iaith wreiddiolSaesneg
Sefydliad Dyfarnu
  • Prifysgol Aberystwyth
GoruchwyliwrKaroline Gritzner (Goruchwylydd) & Carl Ivan Lavery (Goruchwylydd)

Dyfynnu hyn