The chapter provides a semi-autobiographical narrative that considers classism and racism against the background of movement from one class to another and the dislocation that produces. It explores James Martell’s notions of misinterpellation – when someone responds to a call that they know is not for them – and how a refusal of interpellation can function politically as a decolonising move. If, instead of taking on the habits and values to which we are called, we retain our loyalty to the place we are from, whatever that might be, then we have the potential to resist interpellation’s colonising move.
The chapter juxtaposes quantum cosmology and Lacanian psychoanalysis in a reading of Michael Frayn’s play Copenhagen, and discusses its staging and the controversies it provoked. The play explores the visit of Werner Heisenberg to Neils Bohr in Copenhagen during the Second World War and their discussions about the feasibility of developing nuclear weapons. Did either of them attempt, as experts, to stall the development of nuclear weapons? It enacts three divergent scenarios of the meeting and shows how it is not possible to determine which is the more accurate. Memory is unreliable, and, more importantly, we cannot even know our own thoughts and motivations, let alone those of others. The chapter points to the impossibility of either physical security or intellectual certainty in a world of entanglements.
Collecting contacts with Gabrielle Enthoven
This chapter explores the personal and professional networks created by female theatre practitioners in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century through a detailed case study of Gabrielle Enthoven – actor, playwright, translator and theatre collector. Born into privilege, Enthoven was the daughter of a colonial administrator who grew up in Egypt and the Sudan. She lived in Windsor, met Oscar Wilde and played with the royal children, spending her twenties messing about on boats and in theatres with the local soldiers. She then married and moved to Chelsea and began to network with theatre and arts professionals before devoting her life and wealth to creating a world-class collection of theatre ephemera that she donated to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
The imaginary archaeology of redevelopment
This chapter explores how a street theatre company deploys different aesthetic and rhetorical tactics to engage with working-class heritage and local identity before and during urban redevelopment. PlayRec (2006–08) and SPP (2011–12), by KompleXKapharnaüM, offer two models of theatre archaeology that re-enact the excavation of the industrial past and the construction of local memory. PlayRec uses montage and shock aesthetics to restage the collection and distortion of personal testimony. SPP plays on the relation between irony and authenticity to engage spectators in the construction of a blatantly invented past for a blatantly invented neighbourhood (the Carré de Soie, straddling Villeurbanne and Vaulx-en-Velin, on the eastern outskirts of Lyon). The peculiar theatricality of each project reveals how street theatre can engage in critical praxis while caught up in redevelopment: its capacity to make change is linked to its capacity to make sense of change.
The Australian and New Zealand repertoires and fortunes of North American performers Margaret Anglin, Katherine Grey and Muriel Starr
In the early twentieth century the careers of female professional actors generated complex webs of international activity, with prolonged touring mixed with occasional sustained residence in national regions. The performers explored in this chapter were all significant Australian theatre stars for varied periods. Most of their careers were played out working with major commercial managements and venues, in vehicles which typically placed at the centre of the spectacle the charismatic, socially transformative or suffering feminine. Their varied careers exhibit the typical early-century generic syncretism wherein probing explorations of contemporary life and social change effortlessly spanned modernism and social or costume melodrama.
The clergy and emigration in practice
The belief that clergymen had the power to influence individual emigration decisions had considerable currency in nineteenth-century Ireland. Radical constitutional and economic reform aside, this influence was long thought to be the best weapon in the anti-emigration armoury. A great deal of practical involvement was expected of Irish clergymen when it came to emigration from their congregations. The image of the grave featured heavily in the clergy's anti-emigration rhetoric, and in poetic laments and Catholic periodical fiction. Clergy were also apt to remind would-be emigrants that the city slums of America and Britain were already clogged with those who had gone before, their own hopeful journeys ending in misery and degradation. Worst of all, as Archbishop John Joseph Lynch of Toronto later claimed for North America, and as a private survey of England contemporaneously revealed, Irish Catholic immigrants, both male and female, tended to be over-represented in the prison population.
The art of performance and her work in film
Film created new opportunities for work and posed a challenge for some established stage actors: the performer’s relationship with the audience was fundamentally changed and new professional interactions were required, with those in entrepreneurial roles emerging from the production and marketing of film. This chapter examines the film work of the iconic actor Ellen Terry (1847–1928), known internationally for her Shakespearean and other performances on stage. The circumstances of Terry’s involvement in the new medium of film are considered as well as her descriptions of the new experiences of performing and viewing performance in film.
Women performers and the law in the ‘long’ Edwardian period
In the period leading up to the First World War, British women increasingly used the courts as a platform to challenge their lower legal, social and political status in Edwardian society, most notably in the defences mounted by militant suffragists at the Old Bailey in May 1912. In a different way, women performers – frequently backed by their commercial managers and publicists – were using the courts to argue for self-determination and control, particularly of their public image. This chapter explores the social, legal and commercial context of a range of libel cases – some successful, others not – brought by women performers.
Ian Scott and Henry Thompson
This chapter traces two key threads in Stone’s exploration of corporations and their impact on wider society; one to do with the media, and the other concerning government. The first part of this chapter examines Talk Radio and Any Given Sunday exploring how and why the critique of corporations manifest itself in a particular way during this era. The chapter then considers the critique of mainstream media organisations offered in documentaries like Comandante and the Untold History series towards anything that might constitute a provocation to the dominant national narratives, before returning to consider what W., Wall Street: MNS and Savages had to say about corporate and government accountability.
This concluding chapter explores the difference between tragedy and hope: traversing the fantasy that we can know what the world might be with any certainty, and retaining a dream of a different sort, a hope without guarantees. It argues that traversing the fantasy and accepting the inevitability of a lack or an excess does not mean abandoning hope or giving up on dreams altogether. It examines Lauren Berlant’s notion of cruel optimism, where what we desire turns out to be an obstacle to our desire, David Scott’s tragic sensibility, and Les Back’s idea of hope as improvisation.