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British Brutalism, the ‘New European Drama’, and the Role of the Director

  • Sanja Nikcevic

The explosion of new theatre writing in Britain during and since the 'nineties contrasted with a dearth of original plays on continental Europe, east and west. Sanja Nikcevic attributes this in part to the dominance over the previous decades of the role of leading directors, who increasingly sought out raw materials to shape productions conforming to their own or their company's ideas. She traces the attempts in a number of countries to correct the imbalance by encouraging new writing through workshops and festivals—yet also how the explosion and importation of the British ‘in-yer-face’ style then affected the kind of new writing that was considered innovative and acceptable at such events. She argues against the claims made for the political significance of plays such as Sarah Kane's Blasted, suggesting rather that the acceptance of the normality of violence without reference to its social context negates the possibility of remedial action. A former Fulbright Scholar, Sanja Nikcevic is Head of the Department of English Literature at the University of Osijek, Croatia. Her full-length publications include The Subversive American Drama: Sympathy for Losers (1994), Affirmative American Drama: Long Live the Puritans (2003), and New European Drama: the Great Deception (2005). She was the founder and for eight years the president of the Croatian Centre of the International Theatre Institute.

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New Theatre Quarterly
  • ISSN: 0266-464X
  • EISSN: 1474-0613
  • URL: /core/journals/new-theatre-quarterly
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