Friday, January 24, 2020

State of Play by David Edgar Essay -- masculinity, power, gay men

David Edgar, in his book State of Play: Playwrights on Playwriting (1999) highlights the fact that in the mid 90’s there seemed to be an â€Å"over-arching theme† (edgar, 1999, p27) in contemporary British play that looked at ideas of masculinity. â€Å"Gay plays like Jonathan Harvey’s Beautiful Thing†¦ lad’s plays like Jez Butterworths Mojo†¦ [and] girls-in-a-boys’ gang plays like Irving Welsh’s Trainspotting†¦ address masculinity and its discontents’ (ibid, p.27). In this essay I will look at what ideas of masculinity are, and how these discontents have been addressed in contemporary theatre (and the idea of the â€Å"decline of the dominant role of men†(edgar, 1999, p.28)) and how the crisis of masculinity(ref) has been staged. I will do this by looking at performances from Ron Athey, Franko B, and Gregory Burkes’ Black Watch. Firstly however, I will look at a definition of what masculinity is, in order to discuss what representations of this idea are being performed in the selected pieces of work. Perhaps one of the main reasons as to why there is thought to be a ‘crisis’ of masculinity, is because the term itself is so hard to define, in a sociological sense. Jack Kahn in his book ‘An Introduction to Masculinities’ states that â€Å"masculinity is a hypothetical construct because, in and of itself, it cannot be directly observed and measured† (2009, p.3). This is because â€Å"masculinities and male behavious are not the simple product of genetic codings or biological predispositions† (Whitehead and Barrett, 2001, p.16), it is instead a conceptual idea that is used to explain a collection of behaviors, attitudes, thoughts and emotions that make up a specific identity. masculinity is not just one idea, nor is it specifically a male thing, it is an inte... ...h it had some recognisable substantive basis† (Whitehead and Barrett, 2001, p.53) Works Cited Brittan, A. 1989. Masculinity and power. Oxford, UK: Basil Blackwell. Burke, G. 2007. Black Watch. London: Faber and Faber. Edgar, D. 1999. State of play. London: Faber and Faber. Kahn, J. S. 2009. An introduction to masculinities. Chichester, U.K.: Wiley-Blackwell. Petersen, A. R. 1998. Unmasking the masculine. London: Sage Publications. Phelan, P. 1993. Unmarked. London: Routledge. Reeser, T. W. 2010. Masculinities in theory. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. Richards, M. 2003. Ron Athey, AIDS and the politics of pain. Body, Space and Technology, 3 (2). Sierz, A. 2011. Rewriting the nation. London: Methuen Drama. Walsh, F. 2010. Male trouble. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Whitehead, S. and Barrett, F. J. 2001. The masculinities reader. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

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